Any Suggestions for a Good Tasting Meal Bar That My College Students Can Keep?

Updated on October 11, 2017
D.N. asks from Chicago, IL
14 answers

Okay, my 2 older girls are away at school. One of them is very much like me in that she cannot eat first thing. The problem is that the café is not open all day and with her classes and job on campus it is hard for her to eat something in the morning. While she can carry a bag of cereal in her back pack, it can get pretty boring and not exactly filling for the full time till lunch. Does anyone have suggestions for meal bars I can send her that she can carry in her backpack that have nutrition and not a ton of sugar? and won't break the bank

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the suggestions. While meal bars are not the best choice, it is one option we are going to try. She does eat yogurt but get tired of it all the time. Grocery shopping is not easy for her. She suffers from Osgood Schlatter and while 6 blocks may not seem like much, it can sometimes seem like a couple of miles for her. I will be checking labels though because she is allergic to coconut oil.

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answers from Denver on

Premier protein bars are pretty good and you can buy them in a box for less than $1 per bar at Walmart. Thet have 30g of protein

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answers from Boston on

My son loved these bars in his last year of high school and asked me to send them to college. They held up well in transit and I think he refrigerated them in his room - do your kids have one of those small dorm fridges?

3 C rolled oats
1/3 C almond butter (or cashew butter)
1 C dried sour cherries (or cherry/raisin combination, or sweet vs. sour, or other dried fruit like raisins or currants)
1/2 C orange juice
1/3 C honey
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg whites (or use 1 egg & 2 whites from the carton, or use 2 eggs) - I used several methods and the bars held together just fine)
2 Tblspns ground flax seed (you could mix more in the bars to increase the healthy fats)

You'll probably want to double this at least, more if you are sending to 2 kids.

Set oven at 350, spray 8" square pan with canola oil or similar spray. Mix all ingredients except flax meal, and press into prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Let cool 5 minutes, then sprinkle flax seed on top and let it cool completely. Cut into bars.

We also use heavily fortified protein shakes with all non-GMO ingredients and carrying US patents (so you know the ingredients on the label are in the product), no fillers. My son made up a bunch of shakes with dry ingredients (no refrigeration needed) and he just grabbed one on the way to class. It was easy to find water anywhere on campus. These not only kept him from getting sick when everyone else got the flu, they supported his heavy athletic training schedule. I can't say enough about how much they helped then and continue to help us all now. There's also an alternative to those caffeine-laced energy drinks that are so terrible and which also keep college kids up at night.

Hope your girls are enjoying being back on campus!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I'm with T.F. Nice bars are yummy and filling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son loves the special K bars that are strawberry. I have not tired them but they smell incredible.



answers from Anchorage on

We make our own and the kids love them. I use dried fruit and nuts (can use any variety to change up the taste, this last time I used blueberries, pineapple, cherry, apple, and strawberries with flaxseeds, cashews, and almonds). You grind them all up in a food processor after they are dried (I use a dehydrator but you can buy some fruits already dried) and then mix it all with a small amount of coconut oil to hold it all together.


answers from Springfield on

belvita makes a protein bar that is a soft bake, individually wrapped and simple. plus its protein packed so it staves off hunger for several hours.
fiber one also makes a protein bar thats yummy and can keep one from needing to eat for a while.
other things that my fitness trainer does to keep up with the 6 small protein packed meals a day is a tuna pouch, the ready to eat kind. eaten straight out of the pouch it is also a great meal option.(and starkist has so many flavors its hard to get boring.)
fruits like apples, pears, peaches, and bananas are all grab and go foods too, i eat an apple on the drive between dropping the kids at school and my workout at the fitness center
there are many choices when it comes to fruit and yogurt dipped breakfast bars too, my daughter likes the belvita breakfast bars (they look like dog biscuits but taste good)
your daughter just needs to head to the store and look at the options for snack bars, meal bars and protein bars that will satisfy her tastes.



answers from Sacramento on

Larabars are really good. Here's a link. I like them because there's no added sugar and they have a decent amount of protein to keep you functioning.


answers from Dallas on

I like the Kind bars. I'm not a breakfast person, I don't eat a lot and these hold me over pretty well. I've been known to have one or two of these bars along with my water ( fruit infused) and go 24 hours and not get hungry.

I know I'm not the best at nutrition but I've had no appetite and these do have protein. There's also a protein water I drink on occasion.


answers from San Francisco on

My college kiddos liked nuts (favorites were raw almonds and salted cashews) trail mix, dried fruit (especially mango and papaya) sunflower seeds and beef or turkey jerky.
Trader Joes was where I stocked up on these items as they had a good variety and they were well priced.
They never really liked any of the bars.



answers from Kansas City on

I LOVE Larabars! They are so good. Plus the ingredient list is short and they are made with fruits and nuts. With an allergy to coconut oil, you will have to look at the labels. I'm not sure if they use that but I wouldn't be surprised. They have enough variety that you can get a bunch and have different flavors. Usually you can find them on sale for $1/bar. They sell them in boxes too, which are cheaper, but the flavor options are limited.



answers from New York on

I am not a big fan of "meal" bars. Like I tell me husband - the reason many of them taste as good as a candybar, is because they are just about as good for you as one. I think they are fine occasionally, in a pinch, but they aren't something I think people should rely on to be a substitution for a healthy meal.

There are other very easy and portable items that are healthier than a bar and either require little or no refrigeration: fruit (add peanut butter single serve packets for a boost of protein) - apples, bananas, grapes, kiwi, blueberries, a hard boiled egg, beef jerky (in moderation), almonds, bagel thins. Although fruit would be a little harder to mail to a college kid (we purchased gift certificates from the local grocer on line and then mailed to our college kids for fruit and vegie purchases and the occasional 1/2 doz eggs that they boiled up in the common kitchen for their dorm and threw in their fridge for the week), the rest is easily mailed and cost friendly. Even some muffins made with healthy ingredients is cheaper and just as portable as meal bars.

Being a busy college student isn't a good excuse to eat healthy and, in fact, it is probably one of the most important times to be focusing on good eating habits :)

Good luck!


answers from Boston on

Not a big fan of meal bars. Have your girls grab zip lock baggies and fill them with nuts,cereal, peanut butter crackers, If they have a mini fridge they can cut up veggies and throw handfuls into a baggie along with some humus. When my youngest was away at college we didn't bother with a meal plan. She'd cook and then store the left overs in her mini fridge and eat for a couple days until they were gone. Then she'd cook something else.


answers from Norfolk on

Our son doesn't get up before noon if he doesn't have to - so he doesn't eat a lot in the way of breakfast.
If we've sent him snacks, cookies, brownies - he'll eat those since he has them in his room and then get a late lunch and sometimes dinner late at night.
Although a run to IHOP at 2am does happen sometimes.
His sleeping and eating times are all over the place - but then I was the same way when I was in college.
There are all kids of breakfast bars, cereal bars, protein bars in many flavors.
The only ones we don't like are peanut butter flavors - but many people love them.
If she has a fridge - yogurt, cheese sticks, cottage cheese - are all great - and even if you throw it in your backpack (a ziplock is a good idea just in case anything breaks) and eat it a few hours later it's fine to keep the hunger at bay.



answers from Honolulu on

I like Luna Bars. Their flavors are great and I like their ingredients.

For more substantial meal bars, if meat is not a problem, the Epic Bars are excellent. They contain ingredients like bison, or poultry, or beef, and they have no gluten, refined sugars, or crazy additives. They're really filling and have good protein in them. Their website is

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