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Snacking Painlessly

The irony of bread being pain in French is not lost on me.

Supplementing my workday changing roster of fruit, Greek yogurt, oatmeal or Kashi TLC bars hasn’t been easy since being forced to limit sugar and starch in my diet (yeah, I know there are carbs in oatmeal and granola bars, and well, fruit too, but I said limit not banish). Sammies are out. So too, sushi and grandma slices. And one can only handle brothy soups or blah salads so many days of the week.

So, I was curious about the new $3.49 and under, 200 calories or less Au Bon Pain Portions. Yes, there’s something childish and pathetic about a corporation doling out healthy amounts of food for you. I can’t stand the 100-calorie pack boom. People not being able to divvy up their own food and put them into baggies is about as sad as the inability to make your own peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I’m also not wild about Au Bon Pain (I seriously burnt out on them while briefly freelancing at the NY Post because the shop was on the ground floor and gave employee discounts and I was too cheap and lazy to stray further a field) but it’s ridiculously hard to find something filling and starchless within a block of my office so I gave them a try this afternoon.

There were combos with hummus, olives and cucumbers, asparagus and almonds, cheese, grapes and crackers and a few mixes involving tuna or chicken. I’d have stealthily snapped a photo of the case but I only had my camera phone on me and it’s next to useless (as you can see from this post's illustration).

The Thai Peanut Chicken & Snow Peas was exactly that atop a small tuft of romaine lettuce. The vegetables were crisp, snappy and free from brown wilty spots and the strips of poultry were fine enough, sweetish as might be expected and not hot at all despite the red flecks dotting them. And once I started digging into it, I realized there was more chicken than I’d anticipated, though these new items are more like snacks than meals—you’d have to possess the stomach capacity of a cat (well, a normal-sized cat, not mine) to feel remotely full.

It’s doubtful that I would ever eat something so lackluster at home, but my standards are lower for at-desk lunches (essentially not messy or foul smelling or tasting). The food could’ve been much worse, that’s all I’m saying. I’ll explore more options next week. And who said April was going to be dull?

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