How We Chose The Best Protein Bars
The first thing we considered when searching for our favorite protein bars was what different consumers may need.
Were recreational strength athletes that are always on the lookout for the optimal snack to power us through workouts, work, and our day-to-day activities. A great protein bar will have macronutrients that promote muscle recovery and satiation while also sometimes keeping calories on the lower end of the spectrum.
Another aspect we looked at were ingredients what is the bar made out of? In reality, finding a completely natural protein bar isnt always incredibly easy, so we considered every bars ingredients and assessed them with others in their category accordingly. These major factors helped guide a lot of our top protein bar picks.
Are Protein Bars Healthy
Most protein bars you’ll find in big-box grocery stores wouldn’t necessarily be considered “healthy” because they are typically high calorie and have a high sugar content. However, the best protein bars make an effort to offer the highest quality ingredients and the biggest nutrient bang for your buck. These bars can be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet to help you hit your macros, satiate hunger, curb cravings, supplement calories, or any number of other healthy living goals.
The Best Protein Bars
Our favourite flavour: Chocolate brownie
Most whey bars try for a fluffy or chewy centre and dont quite pull it off, making them at best a functional snack you eat for the protein rather than the enjoyment. Optimum Nutrition instead goes for a body of crispy rice puffs on a chocolate base and the result is aces. Its not the honey-sweet Rice Krispie bar you are probably hoping for, but its become our go-to when stomach rumbles strike in the afternoon.
The fine details: Theres a solid 20g dose of protein and just 1.8g of sugar, plus 16g of carbs, which is no bad thing if youre planning on cycling home from work later. However, theres a fair whack of saturated fats 5.3g, about a quarter of your recommended daily limit.
Our favourite bar: Eroica
This is an excellent all-round protein bar, especially for endurance athletes or anyone not especially worried about their carb and sugar intake. Its one of the only bars that comes close to being as delicious as Velofortes Forza bar, since its also made from natural ingredients like nuts and candied peels, and it contains more protein at 20g per double-bar pack. However, its expensive those all-natural bars go easier on your stomach than they do on your wallet.
Our Favourite Bar: Double Dark Choc Nut
Our favourite bar: Forza
Our favourite bar: Chocolate chip salted caramel
Our favourite bar: Chocolate
Our favourite bar: Brilliant Birthday Cake
Our favourite bar: Chocolate caramel
Our favourite bar: Hazelnut & Nougat
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Naked Nutrition Naked Bars
Naked Nutrition is a company that weve come to appreciate with their ultra-clean and simple products. No fillers, junk, or artificial stuff sneaks into anything they produce.
So, when you buy aNaked Bar, rest assured youre eating a simple and clean bar that is one of your best options outside of having real whole-food.
What sets them apart from the EPIC Performance Bar and RXBAR? They not only have more protein in their bar but the source of their protein is of high-quality grass-fed whey protein. With just 5 simple and clean ingredients, the Naked Bar by Naked Nutrition is a great option if you tolerate dairy and are looking for a bit more protein in your protein bar.
Sakara Dark Chocolate Energy Bars
The Ingredients: The first ingredient? One of our preferred plant-based proteins:organic raw hemp protein. Combined with dates, almonds, cassava root fiber, chicory root fiber and raw dark cacao, the ingredients in this bar are nutrition superstars. Dates give this bar natural sweetness and a chewy consistency. Theyre also associated with a decrease in inflammatory markers seen in neurodegenerative diseases. Cacao is packed with calcium and antioxidants such as theobromine which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective properties.
The Flavor: A smooth, dark chocolate consistency with an added crunch, these bars are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The Nutrition Facts: This bar has 10g of plant-based protein, 12g of fiber, 3.4mg of iron, 50mg of calcium, 290mg of potassium and 3mcg vitamin B12 in 190 calories.
$29 for a box of six , sakara.com
How To Choose The Best Protein Bars
When choosing the best protein bars, most people tend to focus on two factors: flavor and price. And no wonder. Protein bars are definitely more expensive than regular snack bars. Itâs also quite challenging to find a protein snack that doesnât have the characteristic dry texture and flour-like aftertaste. At the end of a day, we want to enjoy our bar, just like we would any other snack. However, not all protein bars are healthy and a few more aspects need to be taken into account when assessing a protein bar. There are three more criteria to look into: the types of ingredients, the quality of the protein blend used, and the ratio of macronutrients in a single serving.
Itâs probably not surprising that the protein content is the key factor. The amount and type of this macronutrient will determine the quality of the bar. However, itâs worth noting that more does not necessarily mean better. Our bodies are limited in terms of how much protein they can utilize for muscle building purposes. According to a review published in The Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition , eating more than 25g of protein in one sitting can be counterproductive as the excess will be either burned for energy or deposited as fat. At the same time, you donât want a bar thatâs high-protein only in the name.
âA rule of thumb is if it’s hard to pronounce, itâs not likely to be natural, and more likely to be an additive or preservative,â she says.
What’s The Difference Between Protein Bars And Protein Powder
Protein bars differ from protein powders in that they are a multi-ingredient source of protein that doesn’t need to be mixed with some sort of liquid like water to be consumed. They’re edible directly out of their packaging and may contain different additional ingredients than what’s found in a powder.
Read Also: Meal Replacement Vs Protein Shake
Orgain Protein Bars 12
One of the best vegan protein bars
For a quite affordable protein bars option, you cant go wrong with Orgain.
These protein bars are a bit smaller in size than others, but still provide 10 grams of vegan protein, Jones says. They have a really smooth texture and crave-able taste with a size and nutrient profile great for the average generally active person.
Best Protein Bar With Simple Ingredients: Rxbars
Even though RXBARs are made from a handful of simple ingredients including egg whites, nuts, and dates the flavor options are endless, which is why Wintana Kiros, R.D.N., L.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Reset Lifestyle, recommends the snacks to her clients. Each of the best-selling bars provides 12 grams of protein and 4 to 5 grams of fiber, “which keeps blood sugar stable and helps make you feel full longer,” she says. Try the mixed berry for a smoothie-flavored treat, the chocolate coconut to be mentally transported to the tropics, or the peanut butter chocolate for a Reese’s-like treat.
Recommended Reading: High Protein Meals For Muscle Gain
Nugo Egg White Protein Bars
âPer Peanut Butter: 200 calories, 8 grams fat , 250 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates , 14 grams proteinâ
Egg whites are the source of protein here, and they’re what make this bar high in protein but remain fairly low in calories. The ingredients are very simple, too: dates, egg whites, peanuts, cashews, almonds, natural flavor and sea salt.
These bars are on the lower end of the fiber range â 2 grams per bar â but they get the job done as a snack high in protein along with a healthy balance of carbs and fat. They’re available in Peanut Butter, Blueberry, Maple Pecan and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt.
âBuy itâ: âPriceâ: $24.79 per 12-pack
Over Easy Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars
The Ingredients: Over Easy breakfast bars are made with just eight simple ingredients that pack a variety of nutrients and benefits. Organic oats are the first ingredient, providing antioxidants such as vitamin E and avenanthramides . These antioxidative compounds are unique to oats, and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The Flavor: If youre a peanut butter lover, this bar is the one for you. A plus? It doesnt get crumby like other oat bars do.
The Nutrition Facts: In just 220 calories, the Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar provides 11g of protein, 220mg of potassium, 6g of fiber and healthy unsaturated fats.
$2.19 per bar, $29.95 for a box of 12, overeasyfoods.com
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Health Warrior Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars
Health Warriors Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars are the real deal. Each bar contains roughly 8 grams of protein and is made entirely of organic ingredients. Not to mention, this bars approximate 1:1:1: ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat will keep your bloog sugar stable and hunger satisfied.
A great source of iron and magnesium, these bars are delicious and portable. What more could you ask for?
Optimum Nutrition Protein Crisp Bar: The Best Low
Price: From £15 for ten bars |
These bars are almost unbelievably sweet and satisfying considering that there is a measly 1.8g of sugar in each 65g serving, and they do a great job of bringing to mind the Rice Krispies snacks that were a highlight of many childhoods. That nostalgia hit is achieved by Optimum Nutrition putting a layer of puffs on top of a chocolate base, and the combination of textures is a surefire winner.
The nutritional stats make for happy reading as well. Each bar has 20g of protein and just 215 calories. Another huge bonus is the massive 13g of fibre thats almost half of your recommended daily intake of 30g. Do be aware, however, that the lack of sugar is compensated for by a load of artificial sweeteners, which can cause stomach upset.
Key specs Weight: 65g Protein per bar: 20g Flavours: Chocolate brownie, marshmallow, peanut butter
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What To Consider Before Buying Protein Bars
The best protein bar will not only taste great, but it should meet your daily dietary needs.
Whether your dietary needs are based on ingredients, macronutrients, or calories, were confident that theres a protein bar on the market that will match your wants and desires. When consumed mindfully, protein bars can be a great way to pack in extra protein.
Best Vegan Protein Bar: Gomacro Macrobar In Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
One of Munro’s all-time favorites, this protein bar tastes exactly like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but it provides 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. Plus, plant-based eaters can feel confident that the snack is free of any animal products the bar is certified vegan as well as certified gluten-free and USDA-certified organic.
Read Also: High Protein Breakfast For Muscle Gain
Can A Protein Bar Replace A Meal
While eating balanced meals with protein, fat and carbs is the easiest way to see whats on your plate, a protein bar can replace a meal if needed. As long as protein bars have close to the recommended 25 to 30 grams of protein that healthy adults are advised to consume three times a day, they can suffice as a meal replacement. Still, be wary of protein bars high in carbs or added sugar, since regularly consuming high levels of carbs can raise your blood pressure over time. If your protein bar has less than 25 grams of protein, you may want to consider adding a second small protein source to your meal, such as greek yogurt or a boiled egg, to reach the recommended amount.
Q: Are Protein Bars Good For Muscle Growth
A: Yes, protein bars can help you build muscle mass, especially if you pair them with good strength and resistance exercises and a healthy, protein-rich diet, plus a protein shake. Bear in mind that if youre trying to build muscles, you should be consuming about 1 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
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Protein Bar Vs Granola Bar
Theres no formal definition for a protein bar, but the numerous bars boasting their protein prowess are not created equal. A typical snack or granola bar contains minimal protein, 2 grams or even less per serving. Some other bars may fall mid-range with 8 to 10 grams of protein per bar. For a bar to provide more substantial protein, look for one with closer to 12 to 25 grams per serving, depending on your needs. Protein requirements vary greatly from person to person a 150-pound adult requires a minimum of 55 grams per day. Protein requirements for athletes and active individuals will be more generous.
Best Tasting Protein Bar: Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar
With 14 unique flavors to choose from, its no surprise Power Crunch whey protein bars rank as our best tasting protein bar. Whether youre in the mood for Chocolate Mint, French Vanilla or Lemon Meringue, Power Crunch has an option for all palettes. While these tasty energy bars arent the lowest in fat , they do have a lower carbohydrate content of around 11 grams per bar, making them a great choice for people on keto or higher-fat diets.
Overall, their macronutrients are about equal. Plus, they have no sugar alcohols, like erythritol, which are common finds on many protein bar ingredient lists that some people tend to avoid. Thats because sugar alcohols, including erythritol, can potentially cause gastrointestinal side effects. At the end of the day, Power Crunch bars remind us of our favorite childhood desserts, which is why theyre truly fun to eat.
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Best Protein Bar Free Of Added Sugars
The RXBar gives you a healthy dose of protein and fiber with no added sugars or sweeteners.
Pros: Simple ingredients, no added sugar or other sweeteners, paleo, gluten-free, 5g fiber, 18 flavors
Cons: Price can fluctuate often, sometimes making the bars expensive, only 12g protein per serving
Many protein bars try to hit you over the head with sweetness from as many sources artificial and natural as they can. The goal is to distract you from the typically unpleasant taste of protein. This is not the case with the RXBar.
When looking at the wrapper, the first thing you notice is that the few, simple ingredients they use to make their bars are listed on the front. For example, the company’s most popular flavor, chocolate sea salt, is made from three egg whites, six almonds, four cashews, two dates, chocolate, cocoa, natural flavors, and sea salt. That’s it.
Each chocolate sea salt bar has 12g protein, 210 calories, 9g fat, 240mg sodium, 13g sugar, and 5g fiber. There are no trans fats, which are generally considered bad for you. Plus, the bars are in the middle of the pack price-wise for our guide – $1.57 per bar and 15.3 cents per gram of protein.
My Insider colleagues, and Mary Hanbury, both recommend the RXBar. Mary taste-tested 12 of the most popular protein bars, and the chocolate chip RXBar was her favorite. Mara also liked the taste and that the ingredients are clean and simple.
Q: Are Protein Bars Healthy
A: You probably already know the answer to this one! While there is no substitute for a healthy and balanced diet, protein bars are convenient and if you choose the right one, you can reap their health benefits. Its probably a good idea to check the ingredients list to make sure that the bar youre regularly eating is not full of added sugar, additives, trans-fats and other questionable ingredients though.
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The 9 Best Protein Bars For Women Of 2022
Swiner is a family medicine/general medicine expert, covering a broad spectrum of both medical and mental health issues. She loves taking care of the family as a wholefrom the cradle to the grave. Her interests include Minority Health, Womens Health and Pediatrics. As a wife and mother of two, she uses real-life experiences to clearly communicate keys to better health and wellness for mind, body and spirit. She is the author of How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex.
Yvonne McGreevy is a researcher, fact-checker, video content creator, and writer with over 15 years of experience working with various publications.
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproductslearn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Protein bars have been a staple for decadesand with good reason. Theyre convenient, portable options for snacks and meal replacements, says Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN. They can be especially beneficial options for on-the-go snacks, as well as a protein-rich bite before or after workouts. But of course, as with any packaged food, options aboundwhich is exactly why we asked registered dietitians for their top picks so you can choose the one that works for you.
Ahead, learn more about the best protein bars for women.
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