mini french picnic bento

6 05 2012

i know it’s been over a month since i posted… seems like i was just talking about doing a proper spring bento, and now it’s almost summer! between bananas work travel and some family-related travel as well, i think i was away for 13 days of the month of april. needless to say, there’s been a lot of less-than-formal lunch-packing (think pre-portioned veggie sticks in zip-loc bags, ugly tupperwares of batch-made salad, and LOTS of yogurt)! that said, i’ve been doing well with sticking to my caloric and nutritional guidelines, and i’ve kept off the weight by following the guidelines set out by the tone it up nutrition plan.

one thing about dieting, though, is that sometimes you really need to allow yourself the non-diet foods you love. cheese is a total calorie bomb (particularly the creamy kinds i love), and that was a hard lesson for me to learn as a mostly-non-meat-eater who used to consider cheese a main protein source. dairy is also not a TIU-approved meal 3 ingredient…

but sometimes you have to let yourself have what you crave, and a great way to do that is with a portion-controlled version of your food vice. after landing at my home airport after one of my recent business trips, i saw these ile de france “brie bites” in the terminal’s snack shop. i grabbed a bunch before heading to the cab line, because these little gems are perfect for fulfilling my cheese craving in a sensible, binge-proof way.

tomorrow’s lunch has a delicious brie bite along with a mock turkey and ham sandwich. i made this with arnold’s new “pocket thins” flatbread (these are really moist and good!), dijonnaise, and butter lettuce. it’s just three slices of tofurkey smoked turkey and two of yves veggie ham, but i cut each round slice in half (forming a semi-circle that matched the shape of the pocket), and then i cut the filled pocket in half to form two wedges. i added two ripe mini-tomatoes on the vine, a mini-paper cup of blueberries, and five cornichons to complete the country picnic feel for this lunch, which i hope to enjoy outside! nutritional info and more lunch product tips after the jump.

in addition to the brie bites, i’ve picked up other single-serve food items for fool-proof portion control in my lunches. a great one that you may see in a future bento is this “hummus to go” — just add fresh veggies and it’s a perfect snack, or bulk up for a low-cal lunch with another protein or a starch.

here are a couple of other items i’ve purchased lately for bringing calorie-controlled meals with me on the go… it really is a lifestyle!

  • built NY’s lunch tote: insulated and rather stylish, which is great for my trendy, image-conscious workplace (BYO makes a similar product)
  • reusable, dishwasher-safe snack pouches by lunchskins: come in snack and sandwich sizes, environmentally friendly and super lightweight and compressable (allowing me to stash them in the bottom of my purse when empty)
  • joemoe’s XL double-walled stainless steel portable mug with removable tea infuser: i’ve been drinking a lot of herbal loose-leaf tea lately (which helps me feel full and stay energized), and i searched far and wide for a mug in which i could brew tea, but that would keep my tea warm all day… this is the winner, and it’s larger than a lot of the other options out there, too!

and, here are the stats for this mini-picnic lunch:

  • faux turkey and ham pocket sandwich – 210 calories (3.6 g. fat [0.5 g. poly], 705 mg. sodium, 85 mg. potassium, 27.4 g. carbs [7.1 g. fiber, 3.1 g. sugars], 19.5 g. protein, 6.7% vitamin A, 8.5% calcium, 17.6% iron)
  • ile de france brie bite – 70 calories (6 g. fat [4 g. sat.], 20 mg. cholesterol, 160 mg. sodium, 1 g. carbs [1 g. sugars], 11% calcium)
  • approx. 12 blueberries, 15 calories (0.1 g. fat, 20.1 mg. potassium, 3.8 g. carbs [0.6 g. fiber, 2.6 g. sugars] 0.2 g. protein. 4.2% vitamin C)
  • 5 cornichons, 5 calories (280 mg. sodium, 1. g carbs [1 g. fiber], 2% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C)

TOTAL: exactly 300 calories (!!!)


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11 responses

6 05 2012
Brunhi

Adorable!!! Love it!!🙂 Im gonna try to “copycat”, my coworkers will love it !! (All female teachers)

7 05 2012
sherimiya

Mmmm, love me some soft cheese too… glad you’re keeping up with your goals even as busy as you are. Take care megan!

8 05 2012
gamene

thanks for your comment sheri! have been reading about your gluten-free adventures with TS and have been so impressed with everything you’ve been cooking up lately🙂 … hope you guys are all great!

8 05 2012
Selvinas

Woah, your blueberries look big! Mine are always very small…like Malteser size small.

8 05 2012
gamene

haha selvinas, i got these on sale at key food, but they were nice and sweet-tart. maybe it’s just not blueberry season where you are, yet?

8 05 2012
Selvinas

They sell them yearround but I think sometimes they come from greenhouses. But they are always small. I’ve only ever seen them a bit bigger and those were imported.

9 05 2012
Burinsmith

Love all the COLOUR! This lunch is so inviting, it really is like a french picnic! How I imagine it to be…!

5 09 2014
Grown-Up Bento Lunches | Zinedipity

[…] A Pic-Nic to go […]

23 06 2015
12 Bento Box Lunch Ideas to Get You Through the Week

[…] Mini French Picnic: Feast on soft brie, tomatoes on the vine and those cute snack-size pickles for a delicious (and […]

12 10 2015
Alisa Lowery

This looks amazing! Also, where did you find that container? I love it!

1 02 2016
4 Healthy Lunches 4 Tasty Ways - IdealFit

[…] Mini French Picnic from Bento Zen. This is the perfect bento for when you’re feeling snacky and don’t want one big heavy meal. It includes a mini ham sandwich with a brie cheese to spread onto the bread, tangy cornichon pickles, and fresh blueberries. This might not be the most filling of the bento lunches, but it’s fun to eat and great for a day when you’re headed out for a big dinner or don’t have time to sit down and devote to eating a full meal. […]

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