Protein bars are great for settling the munchies and providing a fast dose of protein, and several are high in grams—offering 20 grams in just one bar! Yet, protein bars are also generally around 150-250 calories, which is more in the snack zone.
And if you’re having a meal, where you’ll need an extra 150-300 calories, depending on your activity level, you’ll need to find ways to tack on additional calories and nutrients to reach your daily macronutrient requirements and get those extra vitamins and minerals.
That protein bar may not contain enough calories to really fuel your body and keep you full until your next meal or snack. Plus, if you don’t eat enough during the day, you could cause muscle deterioration, fatigue and irritability, weakened performance during workouts, and malnourishment, which may increase risk for disease, too.
Luckily, you can use a protein bar as a great starting base and then pair it with other foods to create a complete meal. Here are a few ways to do so.
You can easily chop up a protein bar and add it to your Greek or skyr yogurt. Choose a yogurt that is plain or low in sugar, and with the Greek or skyr aspect, you’ll ease digestion and get those immune-boosting probiotic benefits to keep your gut and health in check. Dessert flavors would taste great here—think chocolate sprinkled doughnut, oatmeal chocolate chip, white chocolate raspberry, birthday cake and more.
And you can even add in some nuts for crunch or fresh berries, too. DIY a delicious yogurt parfait, using the bar as the “granola” and layering in some other healthy toppings for added protein, fiber, good fats and of course flavor.
Salad can be dull on its own, but you can also create a super nutritious salad that has some crunch, fruitiness, creaminess, and freshness all in one. And if you pair a protein bar with it, you can think of that bar as your “dessert” or candy-like bar indulgence after eating those greens. It might trick your mind into finishing that salad and enjoying it more, as you know you have a chocolatey snack coming your way afterwards!
Whether you choose a couple slices of deli cheese, a few cheese sticks, or a grilled cheese sandwich on whole grain or low-carb bread, cheese happens to offer excellent calcium, vitamin D and protein, and it tastes great with a variety of flavors—many of which are found in protein bars.
Chocolate, fruit, oats—these are all amazing protein bar flavors that complement cheese. Brie and blueberry muffin or strawberry cheesecake? Yes, please. Cheese and maple waffle? Yup. Cinnamon roll and a nice creamy spread? Amazing. The list goes on!
Sliced Avocado on Toast
Avocado tastes great with chocolate—just think, people often cook it in chocolate mousse as a way to make a luscious, healthy, and low-sugar dessert. It’s found in so many keto and low-carb recipes, in particular.
So, pair avocado on whole grain or low-carb toast with a protein bar that has a chocolate flavor. This might be caramel chocolate chunk, chocolate brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough, or cookies & cream, among others!