Are you a fan of Panera Bread’s refreshing beverages? If so, you might be wondering, is Panera Bread iced green tea healthy? That’s what’s up next in my “Is it Healthy?” series. Today, we’ll dive deep into the pitcher and uncover whether Panera’s passion papaya iced green tea is truly a good choice for your daily diet.

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

First things first, let’s peek at the ingredients of Panera Bread’s Iced Green Tea. You’ll find a mix of green tea leaves, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), citric acid, and a touch of pure cane sugar. It’s worth noting that the sweetener used is cane sugar, not artificial sweeteners, which might be a relief for those trying to avoid artificial additives in their drinks.

According to Panera Bread’s Website, these are the ingredients in this tea:
Passionfruit Papaya Naturally Flavored Green Tea Mix (Water, Passion Fruit Papaya Flavored Green Tea Syrup (Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Brewed Green Tea, Natural Flavors [Natural Passion Fruit Flavor, Green Tea Essence, And Green Tea Extract], Fruit Juice [Color], Ascorbic Acid, Turmeric Oleoresin [Color], Beta-Carotene [Color], Papaya Puree

Sugar

While small amounts of sugar can be part of a balanced diet, excessive consumption of added sugars can contribute to health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s best to consume sugar in moderation.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a weak organic acid found naturally in citrus fruits. It is often used as a flavoring and preservative in food and beverages. In small amounts, it is generally safe to consume.

Brewed Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and can be considered a healthy ingredient.

Natural Flavors

While natural flavors themselves aren’t inherently unhealthy, the specific composition of natural flavors can vary, so it’s hard to make a general statement about their healthiness.

Fruit Juice (Color)

Fruit juice may be added for color. Depending on the source of the fruit juice, it may provide some nutrients, but it’s often concentrated and may contain added sugars. It’s important to check the source and quantity of fruit juice used.

Ascorbic Acid

Also known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin found in various fruits and vegetables. It acts as an antioxidant and is essential for immune function, skin health, and wound healing.

Turmeric Oleoresin (Color)

Turmeric oleoresin is extracted from turmeric and used as a natural colorant. It contains curcumin, a compound with potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Beta-Carotene (Color)

Beta-carotene is a pigment found in many fruits and vegetables that gives them their orange color. It is a precursor to vitamin A and has antioxidant properties.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 150 Cal
Calories from Fat 0 Cal
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fatty Acid 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 15 mg
Carbohydrates 38 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Total Sugars 38 g
Protein 0 g
Caffeine 0 mg

Pros and Cons

This is short and sweet – this tea is made with simple ingredients and contains natural antioxidants from the green tea leaves, which is a good thing. But it’s still not a great alternative to sugary sodas or energy drinks, because it’s loaded with 38 grams of sugar.

A Healthier Alternative: DIY Passion Papaya Green Tea

So is Panera Bread iced green tea healthy? Well, there are healthier choices, like something homemade. If you’re looking for a healthier option, here’s a copycat recipe for Panera’s Green Tea with a twist:

Ingredients:

  • 4 green tea bags
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon passion fruit extract powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or natural sweeteners (adjust to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Instructions:

1. Steep the green tea bags in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool to room temperature.

2. Stir in the passion fruit or papaya nectar and honey until well combined.

3. Chill the tea in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

4. Serve over ice and enjoy your homemade, healthier version of Panera’s Passion Papaya Green Tea!

This homemade version allows you to control the amount of sweetener you add, making it a great option for those looking to cut back on sugar while still enjoying a delicious drink. Each tablespoon of honey equals about 17 grams of sugar, so keep that in mind when sweetening your drink.

Making an Informed Decision

When it comes to making an informed decision about what to sip on next time you visit Panera, consider your personal preferences and nutritional needs. Since this drink is high in sugar, why not try making your own refreshing green tea concoction at home with the recipe above?

Remember, moderation is key, and incorporating healthier beverages like green tea into your daily diet can offer numerous health benefits, from boosting energy levels to supporting weight loss and even lowering the risk of certain diseases. So whether you’re reaching for a cup of coffee or an iced tea, here’s to making good choices for your taste buds and your health!

Other Posts in the Is it Healthy Series:

Is Lentil Pasta Healthy? Everything You Need to Know
Is it Healthy to Have a Fruit Smoothie Every Day?
Is Gnocchi Healthy? Nutrition Details + Plant-Based Recipe