Protein bars are everywhere, but most of them are glorified candy bars full of unhealthy ingredients advertised as something that can help you. If you do manage to find one that’s not full of junk, then you might not be crazy about how it tastes. While most people seek protein after an exercise session, you don’t need to take excessive amounts to get the benefits you desire. In fact, you don’t even need to be a gym-rat to benefit from protein at all.
A protein bar can be a delicious way to satisfy your hunger and help you focus at work in between meals. Finding one with quality ingredients and a pleasant taste doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Here are the 27 best protein bars we found and tips for choosing the right one for you.
1. Syntha-6 Protein Crisp
Syntha-6 Protein Crisp provides you with 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar per bar. It has a rice crispy like texture, which most people find tasty, and it makes a great alternative to a candy bar if you have a sweet tooth. The primary ingredient is whey protein, which is a good choice because it’s a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. While the bar has a good ratio of protein to sugar, you’ll want to be careful as this bar contains sucralose. Eating too many sugar-free sweeteners may cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.
2. Protein Cookie
No one would ever complain about eating a cookie, and this one provides 18 grams of protein to satisfy any cravings. It’s created by MuscleTech, which is a well-known nutritional company in the fitness industry with many tasty products. The cookie is gluten-free and contains 14 grams of sugar, which might seem high, but it’s about half the amount of leading brands, according to the cookie’s website. MuscleTech promises this cookie is soft and delicious, just like the ones you’d buy at the bakery. It features a blend of brown rice flour and whey protein.
3. Quest Bars
Quest is another well-known company in the fitness world, and their products are tasty and packed with protein. This bar contains 170 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of fat. It’s gluten-free and has a shorter than average ingredients list, which is ideal when comparing it to other brands with lots of fillers. It features milk and whey protein isolate, soluble corn fiber, almonds, water, apples, natural flavors, erythritol, palm oil, sea salt, cinnamon, calcium, sucralose, and malic acid. It also provides 14 grams of fiber, which is great for filling you up and curbing hunger.
4. Combat Crunch Bars
Combat Crunch Bars claim to taste just like a soft-batch cookie without the taffy-like texture of a sports bar. It’s gluten-free, triple-layered, and baked just like a cookie. Plus, it has 210 calories and 20 grams of protein per bar. It also has 12 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar (1 gram of sugar alcohol), and 7 grams of fat. It contains isomalto-oligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic fiber that helps fuel the good bacteria in your gut for healthy digestion. As with other bars that include sugar alcohols, don’t eat too many if you are sensitive to sugar-free sweeteners.
5. NITRO-TECH Crunch Bar
The NITRO-TECH crunch bar has 22 grams of protein, which is about 2 grams more than most brands. It also has 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and 7 grams of sugar with 3 grams of sugar alcohol. It delivers a premium grade of protein in the form of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and milk protein isolate. Be careful of the artificial ingredients in this bar as it contains numerous types of artificial food colorings, which have been linked to hyperactivity and other problems to those who are sensitive to it.
6. Cake Bites
The company Optimal Nutrition creates cake Bites, and they sound like a delicious way to get your protein fix. For every three cake serving, you get 20 grams of protein 7 grams of fat, and 6 grams of sugar with three grams of total added sugar. Be mindful that the bar does not contain any fiber, and it has the artificial food colorings red 40 and blue 1, which have been linked to irritability and increased aggressiveness in some people. They come in six different flavors, including birthday cake, chocolate dipped cherry, red velvet, chocolate-frosted donut, blueberry cheesecake, and chocolate mint.
7. The Complete Cookie
The Complete Cookie by Lenny and Larry’s is a vegan cookie with 16 grams of plant-based protein. They also provide 8 grams of fiber and are made with non-GMO, kosher ingredients. There are no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols in this cookie, so they might be a good option if you have digestive issues or are sensitive to added sweeteners. It should be noted that these bars contain wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. Their vegan protein blend is made from pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, and wheat gluten.
8. Carb Killa
This bar is a good option if you are trying to avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Carb Killa is a high-protein bar made by Grenade. One bar has 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar (11 grams of sugar alcohol), and 23 grams of protein. The website even offers a tasty recipe for turning this bar into homemade protein pancakes. It also contains 15 percent of your daily calcium requirements, but it has higher than average amounts of sugar alcohol than other bars to keep the total carbohydrate content down.
9. Fitjoy Bars
FitJoy Bars are non-GMO, gluten-free, and don’t contain any artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors. One bar contains 230 calories, 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They have a yogurt-flavored coating that gives them a creamy and delicious taste with 20 percent of your daily calcium requirements. It’s also gluten-free and is colored with plant-based extracts, such as beta-carotene, radish extract, spirulina extract, and turmeric. Try this bar if you need a protein fix but don’t want many artificial ingredients in the recipe.
10. FIT Crunch Bars
FIT Crunch Bars contain 380 calories, 30 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of sugar (16 grams of sugar alcohol) per bar. According to the bar’s website, it’s the only six-layered baked bar in the world. As this bar is calorically dense and contains a lot of protein, it’s ideally suited for someone who wants to put on weight. It doesn’t have much fiber in it, and the sugar alcohol content is high, but it’s a good option if your sole purpose is to get more protein in your diet.
11. EPIC Bar Bacon
EPIC is a great company if you’re concerned about eating clean. It’s also a great bar for meat lovers. The bar is 100 percent sugar-free, gluten-free and contains uncured bacon and pork with no nitrates. It has 130 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no carbs, no fiber, no sugar, and 15 grams of protein per bar. The company was designed to be Paleo-friendly. You can purchase them from Amazon for $2.06 per bar or $24.69 for a 12 pack. This bar is ideally suited for someone looking to eat a high-fat or protein and low carb diet with no added sugars.
12. KIND Strong Honey Smoked BBQ Protein Bar
This bar contains 230 calories, 16 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of protein per bar. It also has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar. While it might not be the first choice for serious bodybuilders, this bar makes a great snack bar for someone looking to eat better. It would also be great after an exercise session to help your muscles recover as it contains almonds, which are high in the amino acid l-arginine. L-arginine has been shown to help build lean muscle and blast belly fat.
13. Soul Sprout Sweet ‘N Salty Sprouted Nut Bar
This bar is unique because it contains sprouted ingredients, which is a process that increases the bioavailability of specific ingredients. This means that you’re more likely to absorb them and utilize them for energy. They also tend to be easier to digest. This bar contains sprouted cashews and almonds. It has 220 calories, 15 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. As a whole food bar, this is a good option for someone who is concerned about eating too many artificial ingredients, preservatives, or sugar alcohols.
14. Luna Protein Mint Chocolate Chip
The Luna Protein Mint Chocolate Chip bar is a good option if you have a craving for a treat but want to eat something healthy instead. It’s made by Clif Bar and Company and features 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein per bar. It uses soy protein isolate and macadamia nut butter as its protein sources, and the majority of its ingredients are clean with no color dyes or sugar alcohol. You’ll also get some added antioxidants from its organic alkalized cocoa blend.
15. GoMacro Macrobar Protein Paradise: Cashew Caramel
The GoMacro Macrobar Protein Paradise bar is vegan, gluten and dairy free, non-GMO, organic, kosher, and soy free. It’s made with lots of high-quality plant-based ingredients, such as organic brown rice, organic sprouted flax, organic coconut oil, organic cashews, and organic pea protein. It contains 260 calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber and 11 grams of protein per bar. This is a good no-nonsense bar if you’re looking for an alternative to cane sugar and ingredients that you can’t pronounce. It also contains 10 percent of your daily recommended iron intake.
16. Rise Bar Lemon Cashew
Sometimes the best bars are the ones that contain the fewest ingredients. This bar’s claim to fame is what you won’t be putting in your body when you eat it, and that includes artificial ingredients, flavors, and sweeteners. It has just four ingredients: organic cashews, coconut nectar, pea protein and lemon extract. One bar contains 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of fiber. It would be a great mid-afternoon snack, a pre or post-workout bar, or even a breakfast bar on the go.
17. Exo Bar Cocoa Nut
Exo protein bars are only made with real food ingredients. They are also dairy, soy, and gluten-free. But the kicker is that they are made out of crickets. Before you shun the idea of eating insects as a snack, consider that they contain about as much protein as chicken breast and three times the amount of calcium. This bar also has almonds in it for a nice crunch, and it contains a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. One bar has 300 calories, 20 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 13 grams of sugar.
18. Think Thin Protein Nut Bar: Chocolate Coconut Almond
Think Thin Protein Nut Bars are made with nuts and pumpkin seeds, so they are high in both protein and fiber to help curb hunger. They’re also gluten-free. Each bar has 190 calories, 11 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. They’re sweetened with real sugar and coconut, so they don’t contain any sugar alcohols. This would be a good bar for someone who needs a pick-me-up in the afternoon as opposed to a sugary candy bar or treats.
19. Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bar: Mint Chocolate
Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bars have 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein per bar. They’re made with superfoods, such as chia seeds, organic quinoa, and oats, which makes them higher in fiber than most bars. In fact, they contain 20 percent of your daily fiber intake. The mint flavors make them a refreshing choice for a protein bar, and these bars are easier to digest than other brands, which makes them ideally suited for a pre-workout energy boost.
20. Mighty Bar Grass Fed Organic Beef: Cranberry & Sunflower Seed
This bar will cost you more than others, but that’s because it’s made of grass-fed beef from cows have been fed natural food instead of highly inflammatory corn products. As a result, the meat is higher in omega three fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids to reduce inflammation and assist with weight loss. One bar contains 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, no fiber, and 8 grams of protein. If you’re starving or need more protein, you can even eat two without feeling guilty or wrecking your fitness goals!
21. Amazing Grass Protein Superfood: Chocolate Almond Butter
Amazing Grass makes this protein superfood bar. It’s a favorite among those who prefer plant-based protein over whey or animal products. It features a tasty blend of seven alkalizing greens, whole nuts, veggies, superfoods and fruits with real chocolate. You’ll also find some surprising ingredients inside, like organic acai, rose hips, and organic spirulina. Unlike other bars, you can use these to bring you closer to your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. One bar contains 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.
22. Aloha: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
If you’re looking for a way to get your chocolate chip and peanut butter fix in your diet without wrecking your fitness goals, then try this bar. It’s made from Aloha and contains 270 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 18 grams of protein per bar. As it’s a bit high in carbohydrates, this bar would work well as a protein-rich breakfast bar or pre-workout meal. The plant-based protein blend comes from peanuts, pea protein, and pumpkin seeds. The bar is also organic and contains no artificial ingredients.
23. No Bake Blueberry Muffin Protein Bars
If you’re looking for a high-protein breakfast option, then try these no-bake homemade bars. Chances are you probably keep most of these ingredients in your house anyway. You’ll need almond flour, oat flour, almond or cashew butter, vanilla protein powder, pure maple syrup, milk of your choice, blueberries, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt. You can also adjust the ingredients based on your protein needs. The best part is that you know exactly what’s in them and you won’t have to worry about artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or food dyes. They’re also great for kids.
24. No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars
These bars are paleo, keto, and vegan-friendly. Plus, you can make them at home. They take five minutes to prep and five minutes to create. You’ll need some coconut flour, the protein powder of your choice, peanut butter or your choice of nut butter, the sweetener of your choice, and some chocolate chips. This recipe can be tailored to meet any needs. For example, you can make it sugar-free or include as much protein as you’d like. Make some ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for whenever you need a protein boost.
25. Apple Cinnamon Raisin Protein Bars
This protein bar is Paleo and Whole30 approved and does contain any sweetener except for fruit. They’re dairy and gluten-free, and only take about 10 minutes to make. One bar contains approximately 136 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. You won’t have to worry about insulin spikes or digestive problems with this bar. Ingredients include raw almonds and cashews, pitted dates, dried apples, egg white powder, raisins, spices, and water. Try these as an on-the-go snack or right before a workout.
26. Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Bars
If chocolate isn’t your thing, then maybe you’ll enjoy these vanilla protein bars. They take about five minutes to throw together, but they’ll need to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you can enjoy them. They’re easy on the stomach and make a great snack anytime hunger strikes. Ingredients include oats, vanilla whey protein powder, coconut oil, peanut butter, raw honey, almond milk and vanilla extract. They’re creamy and delicious, and you won’t get tired of eating them.
27. Paleo Protein Bars
Lots of store-bought bars contain hard to digest ingredients. Making your own bars at home saves you time, money, and worry about what you’re eating. These bars are Paleo approved, so they don’t contain any processed grains or sugars. They call for grass-fed vanilla whey protein powder, almond butter, raw honey, eggs, salt, and baking soda. They’re soft, chewy, and perfect for dessert or on-the-go snacking. You can even use a sugar-free sweetener such as erythritol if you’re trying to cut back on carbs.