The question I’ve heard the most from people over the last two and a half weeks is, “So, how much weight have you lost?” (10.5 lbs. and proud of it). A close runner-up is, “Are you sick of the food yet?”
Considering that my diet is usually so varied, I was a little worried that the Protein Bar menu would start boring me at some point in the process. Thankfully, I haven’t hit that wall. There is a strong span of options on hand, so it’s easy to change up my meals. I have discovered that I’m not a big fan of having agave-sweetened quinoa for breakfast, but it’s easy to skip that when there are egg white burritos, steel cut oatmeal, and the Politics Acai’d shake on hand to start my day instead.
I’ve also learned that, much like In-N-Out Burger, Protein Bar has a secret menu. It’s not codified like it is at the West Coast chain – and you can’t order a Double-Double Animal Style here – but the staff is happy to customize your dish or drink with any of the ingredients on hand. My personal favorite is the Buffalo Bar-rito supplemented with creamy avocado and Greek yogurt (I have to tip my hat to manager Katie M. for that suggestion), though I also like getting the Guac & Roll Bar-rito with Sriracha sauce mixed in. If I want something more belly warming, I order a large Quinoa Chili with chicken topped with red onions, cheddar, yogurt, avocado, and hot sauce (seen above).
Since I’ve eaten my way through the majority of the menu, I polled the staff for their favorite customized creations for me to try out during the last week and a half of my Protein Bar Challenge. Here are a few of the top picks that I’m sure will help me stay excited and on track with my diet.
To start the day with a healthy take on steak and eggs, order the Southwest Bar-rito or the Santa Fe Scramble with beef.
If you’re fiending for wings with a Tex-Mex twist, try the Buffalo Bowl with Greek yogurt, avocado, and Cholula hot sauce.
Boost your Tuscan soup with layers of quinoa, chicken, and Parmesan to stay full longer. You can also make your Baja salad even more flavorful with the addition of raisins, dried cranberries, cucumbers, and diced tomatoes.
The Black Bean Bowl isn’t exciting enough for you? Scoop on dollops of fat-free Greek yogurt and avocado to add a rich creaminess to the dish without packing on the calories.
Pounds lost: 10.5
As well as reading my posts about my Protein Bar Challenge here on the Plate blog, you can follow my progress on Twitter @nevinmartell (hashtag #proteinbarchallenge) or on Facebook.