Caitlin Meets Panera Eat Smarts
Every day I go to the grocery, prep, cook, and serve people food. I write about food, read about food, tweet about food, and the Food Network is the soundtrack of my life. My two little boys know where every grocery store sample table is, the check-out employees are like family members, and the butchers keep tabs on how big the boys are getting.
Just when I think I can’t get anymore food thoughts into my brain, I am introduced to Panera Eat Smarts.
Panera Eat Smarts is a multi-level food knowledge online game. Level One: the easiest with games like Spin-a-Meal, where your only job is pressing a button until you get under a certain calorie count. Level Two: features quizzes based on your knowledge and personality in the kitchen (and after honestly answering a series of questions about my eating habits I was labeled a grazer, and I would happily agree). Level Three: features classic kids’ games like a matching game featuring serving sizes, and the alphabet with a tip for every letter.
Besides getting my competitive juices flowing, the Panera Eat Smarts site is loaded with beautiful pictures and simple cooking videos (and I am not afraid to tell you that I learned quite a bit). The educational content surrounding calories was super helpful and has me looking at some of the foods I play with in a different light.
My all time favorite feature are the recipes found at the end of the game. I consider it the “cherry on top”.
Known as The Eating Social Challenge, this is a menu of recipes organized by course. The recipes looked so good and easy I had to put them to the test myself. I have to say they are simple, fast, and delicious.
First, I chose the Grilled Banana Sandwich. This recipe was so easy that I had my husband do most of the work. He emptied peanut butter, honey, bananas, cream cheese and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mashed them together. Spooned between Panera’s Honey Wheat Bread and toasted to perfection, it was the perfect combination of savory sweet.
Next I cooked the Breakfast Bake with Asparagus and Fontina. Since I am not a morning person (at all), I am always looking for a recipe I can make the night before and just pop in the oven. This breakfast bake featured Panera’s fresh croissants, so the layers are filled with fluffy layers of buttery bread. Oh my, it was so, so good!
As you will see, I paired this with a fresh orange salad.
Finally, I wanted to try the Spanish Migas. I had never heard of migas before, but how could a recipe go wrong that features garlic, peppers, chorizo, and sun-dried tomatoes? For this recipe you dice up Panera’s French Baguettes that are soaked in a little water and toasted in all the juices from the chorizo. We served it with fried eggs, olive oil, and fresh parsley to make it a complete dish.
After an afternoon of Eat Smarts gaming not only did I learn how Panera cuts their pineapples, that fresh orange juice will help me get out of bed, and a portion of chicken breast is the size of a playing card, I was named a Grand Master. I didn’t get a t-shirt with my new title, but I did get entered to win Sandals Luxury Vacation for 2 — which is a lot more fun! If you are looking for a fun, educational way to spend some time, I say go to Panera Eat Smarts and start playing!
Note: We are proudly working with Panera on the Eat Smarts program. Caitlin fell in love with the game and we were ultimately selected to be a partner.
- Crafted by Caitlin
- Edited by Molly