Lunch at Le Pain

On Friday I met a friend, and fellow dietitian, for lunch.  We went to Le Pain Quotidien, which was originally opened in Brussels as solely a bakery.  Today it operates in 14 countries and is more than just a bakery, it now has a full kitchen with waitress service.  I started noticing this restaurant/bakery popping up all around NYC in the last several years.  They are known for local, organic and wholesome food – what could be better?!

The menu is really fantastic with a mixture of salads, tartines (open-faced sandwiches), soups and quiches.  Since there were so many tantalizing sounding options, we decided to split two things to maximize our experience there.

MenuAs you can see, the calorie counts were listed.  This is a law in NYC for all chain restaurants.  It can be really helpful for making a good choice.  The two things we split were approximately 500 calories each, which is right around how many calories my meals typically provide (except when I eat out, or am very hungry from intense exercise days!).

First up was the Organic Tofu Salad with organic mesclun, nori, three savory dressings:

Tofu SaladYou can see a huge base of fresh greens topped with tomatoes, sesame seeds and a delicious vinaigrette.  We each had 3 triangles of tofu which were topped with different dressings.  My favorite one was the basil pesto – yum!  The salad was very light and flavorful.

Up next, was a Turkey Tartine whole wheat bread topped with whole grain mustard, turkey, avocado, sprouts and tomato chutney

Turkey TartineIt’s hard to even see the tartine here, with all the toppings!   But underneath all the veggies is an open-faced turkey sandwich.

The food was all incredibly fresh and flavorful.  We left feeling perfectly full – not too stuffed at all.  I love when you eat fresh, wholesome food that’s chock full of nutrients and you feel really great afterwards!

Nutrition Tidbit:

  • When eating out, sharing is a great way to taste more without ordering several courses all for yourself.
  • Studies have shown that maximum food enjoyment comes from the first few bites of something, and diminishes with each bite onwards.
  • By stimulating your taste buds with various types of food, but small quantities you can feel more satisfied with less!
  • Next time you eat out, try ordering two appetizers for yourself instead of an entree or split 2 entrees with someone else.  Eat very slowly, and savor every bite – actually think of how good the food is, and check in with yourself in the middle of eating to see how full you are.  Try to stop when you are just satisfied.

Have you ever tried this tactic?

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5 Responses

  1. Wow, this sounds like a fabulous place. I would love to be a fly on the wall at a lunch with two dietitians! 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

  2. I wish they had that law everywhere. It is always so annoying when you have to search the website beforehand to find any nutritional info.

    That lunch looked amazing! I wish we had more restaurants like that down here in FL.

  3. These dishes look great! Love the tips. I always like sharing my meals because I always want to a little bit of everything!

  4. Wow, that place looks wonderful! I love the idea of having nutrition facts on menus for the most part. I think it can be a great tool, but again education is key. I also think it shouldn’t be right next to the item, but available in the back. But of course most people eating at a place like this one probably are more conscious and truly care about those types of things 🙂 I love sharing!
    -kristen

  5. I’ve been to the upper west side location a few years ago and wasn’t really impressed. The food portions were so tiny – both my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I left hungry. Your food looks incredible, though. Maybe they got better 🙂 Also, I love that they now provide nutritional info due to the new law. I’ve never seen it like this – printed right on the menu. SO cool!

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