How Much Sodium is in Protein Bar Lunches?

Tony and I had a day last week when we switched lunch routines. Normally, I’m the one scarfing down restaurant lunches while Tony is eating healthy creations of his own making.

But you may already have seen his post about his prime riblunch at a buffet. As it happened, I was trying to eat something healthy that day with a coworker and my experience was a good lesson in how important it is to read menu nutrition information before you go out to eat, even if it’s to a place that, on the surface, would seem to be a healthy choice.

My Protein Bar spinach and pesto bowl.

A colleague, who is a vegetarian, had suggested we try lunch at a Protein Bar, a small chain of Chicago eateries. The place has this mission statement on its Web site: “Our mission is simple: provide active, on-the-go people with healthy, flavorful choices while having a positive impact on everyone we meet and in everything we do.”

The menu is full of things I usually don’t eat, such as black beans and quinoa and a variety of vegetarian options. How could any of that be bad for me? Well, luckily, my coworker and I reviewed the menu before going and I was shocked and dismayed to see the levels of sodium in almost all the dishes listed.

Sodium count for salads, for example, ranged as high as 1,479 mg. A salad that sounded good to me, listing these ingredients: “Organic beef, blue cheese, dried cranberries, diced tomatoes, and our house-made Balsamic Flax Vinaigrette dressing chopped with our Super 6 Salad Mix,” came in at 1,026 mgs, or half a day’s allowance for a healthy person, more than half for someone like me who deals with high blood pressure.

The story was the same for various bowls listed. The worst of those listed 1,314 mgs of sodium. The one I picked had the lowest sodium count available, 805 mgs, a still not inconsiderable amount.

Try harder, Protein Bar. I take you at your word that you want to have a positive impact on people but you can’t do that with so much sodium in everything you seem to serve.

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Filed under calories, fast food, healthy eating

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