Food on the Run: Starbucks Bistro Boxes

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Eating on the run can be a challenge when you want quick service and healthy. Starbucks launched a new product line in mid-July to change all that. Their new nutritious grab-and-go options called Bistro Boxes incorporate Dietary Guideline recommendations. Meal and snack options comprised of whole foods like vegetables, fruit, proteins, and whole grains apply the new MyPlate icon in a fast food option. Whether selecting the entrée or snack size, you can enjoy a nutrient rich, whole food focused meal for less than 500 calories. Some even include a chocolate treat! Sodium and fat in several of the options are still on the higher side so care when ordering is necessary. However, these new alternatives rise to the top of our Food on the Run list and are definitely something worth checking out.
Entrée Size Bistro Boxes- Offered for approx. $6.95 plus tax in the mainland U.S./$7.95 plus tax – HI/$6.75 plus tax in Canada

Chipotle Chicken Wraps - White seasoned chicken strips served with whole-wheat tortillas, pepper jack cheese, lime-cilantro slaw, and tomato avocado salsa with a dark chocolate treat
Calories – 380
Fat – 15 grams
Sodium – 970 mg
Carbohydrate – 35 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 26 grams
Sesame Noodles – Noodles, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, snap peas and tofu with pickled cucumbers and sesame peanuts with a dark chocolate treat (photo above, used with permission from Starbucks)
Calories – 350
Fat – 11 grams
Sodium – 720 mg
Carbohydrate – 50 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 15 grams
Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Chicken, red lettuce, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, peanuts with peanut sauce and a chocolate treat
Calories – 360
Fat – 19 grams
Sodium – 1,150 mg
Carbohydrate – 32 grams
Fiber – 4 grams
Protein – 17 grams
Salumi & Cheese – Prosciutto, salami, Asiago cheese, crackers, and olives with a chocolate treat
Calories – 420
Fat – 26 grams
Sodium – 1,710 mg
Carbohydrate – 22 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 25 grams
Snack Size Bistro Boxes - Offered for approx. $4.95 plus tax in the mainland U.S./$5.95 plus tax – HI/$5.45-$5.95 plus tax in Canada

Tuna Salad – Albacore tuna with relish, celery, carrots, and Cheddar cheese served with multi-grain crackers and blanched green beans
Calories – 380
Fat – 21 grams
Sodium – 780 mg
Carbohydrates – 24 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 23 grams
Protein – A cage-free egg, white Cheddar cheese with honey peanut butter spread, multigrain muesli bread, apples and grapes
Calories – 380
Fat – 19 grams
Sodium – 470 mg
Carbohydrates – 37 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 13 grams
Chicken & Hummus – Hummus grilled chicken strips, cucumber and carrot sticks with grape tomatoes and a wheat pita
Calories – 270
Fat – 8 grams
Sodium – 520 mg
Carbohydrates – 29 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 16 grams
Cheese & Fruit – Brie, Gouda, Cheddar cheese, nine-grain crackers with apples, dried cranberries and roasted almonds
Calories – 480
Fat – 28 grams
Sodium – 470 mg
Carbohydrates – 39 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 18 grams
What do you think about these new options? How do they stack up with your nutrition expectations for fast food? Are they offered at a fair price point for the nutrition focus?

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LIN1263 2/25/2018
I live in B.C. Canada and the Starbucks here does not have bistro boxes, they have something healthier in 3 flavors for $7.00 each,500 calories. They are called bowls,not a traditional salad & very large & completely healthy, low sodium, low fat,low sugar, quinoa, seeds, grains,nuts,dried fruit, beans etc. The container is flat & circle shaped and different items are put beside each other for you to mix together, they come with toppings & dressing at 500 calories and are healthy & satisfying, much better then regular fast food salads.It has complete nutrition with all nutrition information on the bottom of the bowl. It can be eaten there or take out as it is completely ready in a clear plastic container. It is large enough for a supper. Report
Sodium content way too high as an option for us since Hubby has to watch his sodium because of high blood pressure. Report
Sodium content is throuh the roof. Not a healthy option. Report
Way too much sodium.....Starbucks needs to straighten that out before I would consider those meals. Report
I think this is a great option for someone like me! I was Starbucks last night picking up a skinny latte and noticed the Bistro Boxes and they looked yummy. Since there is only hubby and me, I would choose this as a weekly lunch. It seems better than Lean Cuisine. Thanks for the info! Report
For the most part, it's a healthy option but not practical for the average person who can't spend that much for a small meal like that. But then again, Starbucks, in general, is not targeted to the average person, price-wise. (For me, it's a yummy rare treat.) Report
Well done on the Vegetarian and Vegan options that's awesome! I'd still rather support my locally source locally owned café/deli but then some people are never happy :p Report
The options look great, however, previously noted, very high in sodium. I really think restaurants do not think about sodium content b/c they aren't used to folks caring about that ingredient. The calorie counts aren't terrible and I believe that's what they think to be the number one concern in nutrition...sodium actually accounts for a LOT of weight gain in people. Something they should def take a better look at~! Report
Why are they so high in sodium? Report
Sounds good! Report
This is great for traveling (especially at airports where healthy food can be hard to find) but WHY so expensive? The portions are pretty small (which helps keep the calorie counts down) but I just can't fathom paying so much for a snack/lite meal on a regular basis. Report
I actually got the sesame noodles the other day before seeing this post, the noodles do NOT have a lettuce base or ANY snap peas and did not come with any 'chocolate treat' but...who really needs one with this anyway? Report
There are a few I would give a try if the chance arises that I'm near a starbucks when needing a quick meal. However most have way more fat, calories , carbs, or sodium for one eating for me. Report
With 3 exceptions, the sodium levels in the suggested choices are ridiculous. I continue to be astounded at the "healthier" food options loaded with salt! I'm limited to 1,500 mgs daily. Most of these selections would equal 50% or more of that total. When are food producers really going to pay attention to this issue? Report
Thanks for sharing,but i will agree that the sodium content is way to high!! I am glad that places are starting to give those of us who are more concerned of our health a better choice. Maybe someone from 'Starbucks' will be reading all our comment and will have wonderful place to dine,but until then i will be brown bagging it.That way i know whats in it!! Report
Wow can't wait to try these. Thank you for sharing this info. Report
I love love love the protein plate. When I work on Saturdays, I find I don't often have time for breakfast if I want to be at work on time. So I stop at my friendly Starbucks neighbor when I get to work and have a protein breakfast. I know it's not the best option available, but I believe it's better than other things I could eat. Including things available at Starbucks. :) I don't drink the coffee, though. It's too rot gut. Report
I don't know call me crazy, but the numbers do not look like anything I would want to work with. I personnaly would rather go to the nearest market and take my chances on finding something. Report
Look great, but will have to pass...way too much sodium for me! Report
Being flexitarian, I have used the protein Bistro Box, which is the same exact recycled High-Protein Plate they used to have in corrugated cardboard.

I do a lot of my own cooking and/or preparing during my workweek. This is for a weekend day and only when I'm shopping downtown.

I've started to avoid their coffee though ... Report
I don't like coffee, so I don't go to Starbucks. Report
These sound lovely but unfortunately are going to pack a price to match. Report
No thanks, not for me. I'll keep on packing my own snacks for my errand days. Report
I saw a couple that I'd be willing to try for a quick lunch grab during the school year. Thanks for sharing! Report
Thanks - I would not have even considered them before! Report
Glad for this info. I always thought they would be way high in calories but never actually checked. Thanks for showing yet another option for making good choices. Report
I love those options. Report
I love these options. I always get the protein one or the fruit and cheese on the weekends for breakfast/lunch. Delicious and healthy! Report
Now I might hit starbucks up for lunch when coming back to work after working out - Good to know. Report
Wow, I have never seen these! They are like the same price and a "value meal" at you average fast food place and have only one meals worth of calories. Report
small portions but way high in sodium. Report
I'll be checking out one of these. Thanks for the head-up! Report
thank you Report
Nice! Better options than most!! Thanks for sharing!! Report
Half the day's sodium is a bit high, but better than a lot of fast-food options. I'll be curious how they keep them fresh--and what kind of pull-date patterns develop. But it's a great idea, on the whole. Report
They look good, but I have gastroparesis; they all contain items that I cannot eat. Report
I would definitely take one of these meals, over the usual junk food and large deli sandwiches that are available most places for lunch. I'm someone who works fulltime, has a long commute, and thus wants to find convenient and healthy food on the go, or, when I'm traveling! It would be nice to find a Starbucks with this option somewhere along I-5 between LA and SF Bay Area, versus McDonald's. It's a good choice and it's portable. Yes there is high sodium but there are a lot of other healthy ingredients too. Not bad overall. The snack size is probably appropriate for me just due to the calories.

I realize that corporations like Starbucks are "out to make bucks". I still think that we should give them credit for trying to improve menus.

Note: The food is being marketed as "Bistro Box", not as a "Healthy Choice" box. We have to figure out what we will eat or not. Cheeses, pickles, dressings, processed meats and sauces are often the culprits that add sodium. Report
Thank you for passing that info' along! Report
thanks for the info, i'll definitely try them out. Report
Great information - thanks for sharing. Report
I bought the sesame noodles this morning and will eat it for lunch. It fits within my carb limits per meal that I have for my meal plan. Report
I've seen these advertised, so thank you for the info... they sound better than I would have hoped for Starbucks! My small chuckle is that the 'snack options' really have the same amount of calories (generally speaking) as the meal sized. Guess that happens when you add cheese, though?!
Sounds yummy! Report
How encouraging! The world is changing folks. It is gradually starting to respond to my (our?) dietary needs and I couldn't be happier. I live by myself and eat out a lot. Fast food is a staple of my diet and there are more and more outlets that now have items I can order without guilt. Yaaa!! More and more choices giving more and more variety. I also patronize Subway which has several nutritious items low in calories and sodium (who just opened a sit-down outlet in this city).. Now if regular restaurants would just get on board. Report
This is good to know! I might try the chicken chipotle wrap! Report
There are two Starbucks near my office within a 1 mile radius of each other and both carry most of these options. I've had a few of these and I think they're great if you're on the run or waiting for a train or plain. That's usually when I'll get them, or when I've forgotten my lunch or didn't have time to pack it. I do agree about the sodium content though and will stick to the snack-size portion. Report
Very informative, thank you! Report
These are good for grabbing a light meal before you get on a plane. You never know what your getting in an airplane meal and there is usually a starbucks in the major airports, I love to grab a tea and a box before boarding a plane. Report
I like the protein platter in a pinch (which they've had for at least 5 years) but $5+ for a few bites of fruit and an egg? not worth the price. Report
i love this concept...if only i lived closer to a starbucks :) Report
I'll dance a jig all the way to the restaurant that prepares low sodium fare. Unfortunately, StarBucks doesn't make the cut. Even the snack size is rediculously high in sodium. If they would actually cook their foods, they could cut sodium in the so-called healthy meals in half. I don't know how they can call an 1100mg sodium meal, healthy. I have nothing against Starbucks. Pre-low sodium diet, I was there 2 or 3 times a month. I love all their flavored coffees & the new sandwich wraps and so-forth that they were offering. since I started the low sodium switch...I havn't stepped in a Starbucks in 5 wks. And I've lost 11 pounds in that 5 wks! yes, if I'm out & about, and hungry, if a starbucks is on the way, I might be tempted to get the lowest sodium snack size but even then, would only eat half of it. The 500mgs offered is half my sodium intake for the day! Report
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