Customizable Bistro Protein Box

by | Aug 14, 2023

This Bistro Protein Box recipe template is the perfect lunch or snack to meal prep ahead of time. These bistro boxes are ideal to pack for back to school or bring to work. Plus, you get to customize with a mix of your favorite proteins, energizing carbohydrates, crunchy veggies, and a tasty dip.

Bento boxes with protein, carbs, and veggies

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by The American Egg Board. All opinions are my own; I never feature a brand that I don’t love!

What is a bistro box?

A bistro box is a box broken up into compartments/sections and filled with a balance of protein, carbs, veggies, and dip choices. It’s also commonly called a “protein box” or “bento box. Crafting your own protein boxes at home is an easy way to save on time and cost.

Simply mix and match various ingredients to suit your taste buds and dietary preferences. Plus, you can skip the grocery run and use up any bits of food you already have on hand!

Mix and match these bistro protein boxes

Are eggs healthy?

A staple I always add to my bistro boxes is hard boiled eggs. This small but mighty ingredient is a nutrient powerhouse. One large egg packs in 6 grams of complete protein alongside essential vitamins and minerals for healthy living. Here are some benefits of eggs to keep in mind.

Eggs for brain health

The choline in eggs helps support lifelong brain health at every age and stage,​​ including memory, thinking, mood and more. Choline isn’t found in high quantities in many foods. Luckily, eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline in the American diet.

Choline is critical to good health and remains essential throughout the lifespan.Getting enough choline is especially important for pregnancy and early childhood development. In fact, recent studies have found maternal choline intake during the second and third trimesters can improve measures of cognitive function in infants and can have long term benefits on brain development and health.

Carton of eggs with hard boiled eggs next to it

Eggs for muscle recovery

Eggs are considered a complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids (aka building blocks of proteins). Enjoying high-quality protein, like eggs, in combination with carbohydrates post-workout can help refuel our muscles and optimize recovery.

The protein and good-for-you fat found in eggs can also help you feel fuller longer, making them a perfect choice for sustained energy throughout the day. Try meal prep breakfast burritos, veggie loaded egg muffins, or a savory potato hash for breakfast.

Eggs fit into a heart-healthy diet

Science is in alliance: Heart-healthy eating can include eggs, as supported by an abundance of research including a recent Harvard study evaluating up to 32 years of data.

In fact, according to the American Heart Association, healthy people can include an average of seven eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. Older adults with normal cholesterol and vegetarians can include more in the context of moderation.

How do you make a bistro protein box?

Let’s talk about how to assemble your completely customizable bistro protein box.

1. Start with eggs

These nutritional powerhouses are a great way to start your bistro box. You could meal prep hard-boiled eggs or try egg muffin bites (bonus points for adding veggies!).

Hard boiled eggs on grey background

2. Add extra proteins

Along with the hard boiled egg, I recommend adding over 1 to 2 ounces (or about 2 to 4 tablespoons) of additional protein foods. 

Here are some protein choices to try:

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.)
  • Nut Butter
  • Sliced Turkey or Chicken
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Edamame

3. Add carbs

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Try to mainly choose ones filled with lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Here’s some examples:

  • Fruit (strawberries, grapes, blueberries, sliced apples, orange segments, watermelon chunks, etc.)
  • Sliced Baguettes
  • Energy Bites
  • Pita Chips
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Rice Cakes
Protein meal prep boxes

4. Add veggies

The goal is to get at least 3 servings of vegetables/day. This box includes ~1 serving of vegetables, helping you work towards this goal.

Try these colorful veggie options:

  • Bell Peppers
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carrot Chips
  • Snap Peas
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Celery Sticks
  • Cauliflower Florets
  • Zucchini Sticks
  • Feel free to add a variety of multiple different veggies too!

5. Don’t forget the dip

I find plain veggies can get somewhat bland, so I recommend serving with a dip on the side.

Here are some ones I love:

  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Queso
  • Salsa
  • Black Bean Dip
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
  • Peanut Sauce
  • Baba Ganoush
  • Pesto
  • Tzatziki
Snack box with protein, fruits, and veggies

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Serving Tips: For an even more satisfying meal, you can pair your bistro box with a side salad or soup.
  • Troubleshooting Tips: If you find your veggies are getting a bit soggy after a few days, try placing a piece of paper towel at the bottom of the container to absorb excess moisture.
  • Scaling Tips: Making bistro boxes for a group, your kids, or multiple days? Simply repeat the instructions to make as many bistro boxes as you need.

Can I make this box ahead of time?

Absolutely! These snack boxes are ideal for meal prep. Add all the ingredients to the meal prep container sections and store in the fridge. These will save you time during busy weekdays and ensure you have a nutritious meal or snack box ready to go.

Meal prep snack box in the fridge

How do I store these protein boxes?

Add an airtight lid over your protein boxes and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Perfect to enjoy all week long! See this recipe in action on my Instagram video!

Need more help with recipes for your busy schedule?

In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen so that they can enjoy nourishing foods they love and stress less about mealtime. Click here to learn more about this virtual program led by a dietitian.

Bistro Protein Box

Bistro Protein Box

Yield: 1 bistro box
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This Bistro Protein Box recipe template is the perfect lunch or snack to meal prep ahead of time. Plus, you get to customize with a mix of your favorite proteins, energizing carbohydrates, crunchy veggies, and a tasty dip.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 to 2 ounces protein of your choice (nuts, nut butter, sliced turkey or chicken, roasted chickpeas, edamame, etc.)
  • 1 cup carbohydrate of your choice (fruit, sliced baguettes, energy bites, pita chips, whole grain crackers, rice cakes, etc.)*
  • 1 cup vegetables of your choice (bell peppers, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrot chips, snap peas, broccoli florets, zucchini sticks, etc. Feel free to do a variety too!)
  • 1 to 2 ounces dip of your choice (single serve hummus, guacamole, queso, salsa, black bean dip, cottage cheese, greek yogurt ranch dip, peanut sauce, baba ganoush, pesto, tzatziki, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Protein: Start by adding the hard boiled egg and protein choice to the top compartment of the bistro box. 
  2. Carbohydrates: Next, fill the bottom left compartment with your carbohydrate choice. 
  3. Vegetables: Then, in the bottom right compartment, place your vegetable choice. 
  4. Dip: Don't forget the dip! Add your dip choice to a separate single-serve container to have alongside your bistro box (or purchase single serve packs).
  5. Feel free to repeat the same process for as many boxes as you’d like.
  6. Store prepped bistro protein boxes in the fridge for up to 5 days until ready to eat.

Notes

Note on Amounts: The amount of ingredients you add to the bistro box will vary depending on your calories needs. If this is for a child or to have as a snack, you may consider adding less. If this is for an adult or to have as a meal, you may consider adding more.

*Carbs Note: If you are adding crackers to the carbohydrate section, I’d recommend putting them in a separate resealable bag to put either inside of the box or on the side of the box. This will help prevent them from getting soggy or stale.

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Customizable Protein Bistro Boxes for back to school

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Hi, I'm Mackenzie...

nice to meet you!

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and recipe developer. I create simple recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice.” I also help busy people gain kitchen confidence through my hands-on program.

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In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen. Click here to learn more about this virtual program with a dietitian!

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2 Comments

  1. Maddy

    Do you have a link for purchase for the protein/bento/bistro containers shown? Are they made of glass or some other material? Many thanks! Such a cool and awesome idea! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Mackenzie Burgess

      Hi Maddy! Thanks so much for the comment. You can find these containers in glass (https://amzn.to/3PICveQ) or plastic (https://amzn.to/3RuUzKP) depending on what you prefer. Enjoy and happy bistro box making! ~Mackenzie

      Reply

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