Fast Times Snack Attack: Starbucks Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box

Bad planning and Houston traffic led to my latest Fast Times adventure. I had a full day of meetings and errands planned out, and I knew I would be gone for hours. I have been on quite the health kick lately, so I even brown-bagged some healthy snacks: fruits, veggies, and a Nalgene full of water.

Obviously, I left the food sitting on the counter, and ran out the door. And then got stuck in traffic resulting from three separate accidents.

Two hours after my lunch meeting, I still had miles to go but was running out of steam. I started scanning strip malls, looking for any place with food that I could grab and go, and I spotted a Starbucks. My last experience with Starbucks food was a breakfast sandwich that was tasty, if not entirely visually appealing. So I threw caution to the wind and pulled into the parking lot.

I really needed something I could eat in the car, so as I scanned the refrigerated case of pre-packaged meals, I settled on the Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box. Nothing required a utensil, and everything would survive a few minutes in the car here or there while I ran errands. The bistro box includes: brie, gouda and two-year aged cheddar; nine-grain crackers, apples, dried cranberries and whole roasted almonds.

At 480 calories, this is a high-calorie "snack," but cheese and crackers and one-quarter of an apple don't really feel like a meal either. I was feeling full after eating the apple, half the cheese and crackers, and all of the almonds. For $5, this is a great deal, and all of the ingredients are of high-quality, with the notable exception of the dried cranberries.

I know it may seem weird to fixate on that, but I eat and bake with a lot of dried cranberries and these were insubstantial and just ... not great. Of all the things to skimp on, that seemed strange to me. That said, the cheeses were really yummy, and I particularly enjoyed the sharp cheddar paired with the Granny Smith apples. A cracker and Brie dressed up the lackluster dried cranberries and created a nice balance of creamy and crunchy, salty and sweet, with that slight tang from the cheese at the end. I would buy this again in a heartbeat.

Nutritional info: 480 calories, 28 g fat (10 saturated), 470 mg sodium, 39 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 18 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber

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