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The Best Tasting Protein Bars to Help You Stay Healthy on the Go

Protein bars are a quick and easy source of energy. Try these tasty protein bars next time you need fuel for a busy day.
Best Protein Bars

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Protein bars are a quick and easy way to fuel up pre- or post-workout, or for busy days on the go. Packed with protein sources, which are essential for cell repair and development, protein bars can help give you the energy you need for work, exercise and more. Still, with hundreds of protein bar brands on the market, it can be tough to try them all and find ones you actually want to eat. It can also be challenging to find protein bars that accommodate diets like gluten-free or vegan without skimping on flavor. To help make shopping for protein bars easier, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to not only the healthiest protein bars to try, but the most delicious as well.

Our Picks for the Best Protein Bar:

Best Protein Bar for Weight Loss: Quest Protein Bar

Quest Protein Bar

Quest Bars come in a variety of flavors and rank top on our list as the best protein bar for weight loss. With 21 grams of protein in each bar and coming in low in sugar and carbohydrates, these tasty protein bars can be a great asset for those with weight loss goals. As a high source of protein, Quest Bars can help you stay full and alleviate any cravings. They can also double as a healthy alternative to a candy bar. In addition, Quest Bars have low sugar alcohol content, which can be helpful for weight loss and overall health since foods high in sugar alcohol content can cause bloating and upset stomach.

Pros

  • More than a dozen flavor varieties, including our favorite, Cookies & Cream
  • Made with prebiotic fiber, which helps promote gut health
  • Two grams of sugar or less in each protein bar

Cons

  • Some people may have trouble digesting whey protein isolate
  • Flavors may be too sweet-tasting for some
  • High fiber levels can create a grainy texture that some may not like

Specs

  • Calories: 200 calories
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Carbs: 21 grams
  • Fat: Eight grams
  • Sugars: One gram
  • Flavors: 15
  • Price/bar: $2.91

Purchase Quest Bar


Best Protein Bar for Muscle Gain: Pure Protein Bar

Pure Protein Bar

Bodybuilders often gravitate towards Pure Protein bars for building strength, since they’re designed to support lean muscle and an active lifestyle. Packing in 20 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbohydrates and two grams of sugar per bar, Pure Protein Bars are one of the best options to consider if gaining muscle mass is your goal. Plus, the low sugar content helps people avoid any energy crashes before or after a workout.

Some of the flavors available include chocolate salted caramel, chewy chocolate chip and birthday cake. While these protein bars can get expensive if bought on Pure Protein’s official website, coming in at $3.99 per bar, you can get a much better deal of $2.11 per bar if you purchase them on iHerb.com.

Pros

  • Relatively low carb content
  • Good for before or after workouts
  • Low sugar content

Cons

  • No dietary fiber, so you may get hungry quickly
  • Extensive ingredient list with sugar alcohols
  • Can be expensive when bought on official website

Specs

  • Calories: 200 calories
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams
  • Fat: Five grams
  • Sugars: Two grams
  • Flavors: Nine
  • Price/bar: $2.11

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Best Low Calorie Protein Bar: Orgain Protein Snack Bar

35% off first subscription orders plus free shipping

Orgain Protein Snack Bar

Not only are Orgain Protein Snack Bars made with plant-based protein and vegan-friendly, they’re also very low in calories, totaling just 150 calories per bar. These non-GMO snack bars are USDA certified organic and made with ingredients that are truly good for you, like brown rice protein, so you can feel equally good about adding these vegan protein bars to your diet. While Orgain Protein Snack Bars may not serve as an entire meal replacement, since they only have 10 grams of protein per bar, they make for a great snack or a light source of fuel before or after a workout. Tasty flavors include Decadent Chocolate Brownie, S’mores and Chocolate Coconut. Orgain Protein Snack Bars are also very fairly priced, coming in at $1.67 per bar on Orgain’s website.

Pros

  • Low calorie
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Made with clean ingredients

Cons

  • Lower protein content
  • Higher sugar content
  • Won’t work as a meal replacement

Specs

  • Calories: 150 calories
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Fat: Five grams
  • Sugars: Six grams
  • Flavors: Six
  • Price/bar: $1.67

35% off first subscription orders plus free shipping

Purchase Orgain Protein Snack Bars


Best Tasting Protein Bar: Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar

Power Crunch Bar

With 14 unique flavors to choose from, it’s no surprise Power Crunch whey protein bars rank as our best tasting protein bar. Whether you’re in the mood for Chocolate Mint, French Vanilla or Lemon Meringue, Power Crunch has an option for all palettes. While these tasty energy bars aren’t the lowest in fat (14 grams per bar), 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 (including protein, fat and carbohydrates) 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. That’s 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 they’re truly fun to eat.

Pros

  • Made with no sugar alcohols
  • 14 flavors (Chocolate Peanut Butter is our favorite)
  • Keto-friendly

Cons

  • Higher fat content (14 grams)
  • Lower protein content (13 grams)
  • Whey protein may trigger sensitive stomachs

Specs

  • Calories: 220 calories
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Sugars: Five grams
  • Flavors: 14
  • Price/bar: $1.98

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Best Healthy Protein Bar: ALOHA Protein Bar

ALOHA Bar

ALOHA organic protein bars are made with minimal ingredients, making them the healthiest protein bar option on our best protein bars guide. Packed with a blend of brown rice protein, pumpkin protein, cashew butter and natural flavors, ALOHA snack bars are almost entirely organic. They’re also vegan-, soy-, gluten- and dairy-free, so they accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs. As a certified B Corp company, ALOHA benefits the community and environment as well, so you can feel good about buying their bars. The flavor options include Vanilla Almond Crunch, Lemon Cashew, Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Sea Salt.

Pros

  • Mostly organic ingredients
  • ALOHA is a certified B Corp company
  • Vegan-, soy-, gluten- and dairy-free

Cons

  • Higher carb content (24 grams)
  • Higher calorie content (240 grams)
  • Lower protein content (14 grams)

Specs

  • Calories: 240 calories
  • Protein: 14 grams
  • Carbs: 24 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Sugars: Five grams
  • Flavors: 14
  • Price/bar: $2.50

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Best Plant-Based Protein Bar: RXBAR Plant Protein Bar

RXbar Plant Protein Bar

RXBAR is a popular brand known for their egg white based protein bars, but the company also makes equally tasty plant-based protein bars. Rather than using egg whites, RXBAR Plant Protein Bars incorporate pea and almond protein to pack in around 10 grams of protein per bar. These bars are also paleo- and vegan-friendly and have a minimal ingredient list that contains just five core ingredients, including dates, peanuts or cashews, oats, pea protein and almond protein. These bars are soft and chewy, and currently come in two flavors: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip. There are also rotating seasonal flavors that are entirely plant based, such as Pumpkin Spice for the fall.

Pros

  • Paleo- and vegan-friendly
  • Made with just five core ingredients
  • Soft and chewy texture

Cons

  • High in sugar (17 grams)
  • Higher carbohydrate content (25 grams)
  • Limited flavor selection

Specs

  • Calories: 210 calories
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fat: Nine grams
  • Sugars: 17 grams
  • Flavors: Three
  • Price/bar: $2.17

Purchase RXBAR Plant Protein Bars


Best Vegan Protein Bar: GoMacro MacroBar

GoMacro Bar Source

Blended with almond butter, coconut milk and plant-based protein, GoMacro MacroBars are made entirely from vegan-friendly plant sources. They use a protein blend made out of sprouted brown rice and pea proteins, and each bar contains around 11 grams of protein, making it a great snack or quick source of energy.

GoMacro bars are soft and chewy and available in 14 flavors, including Cashew Caramel, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate and Almonds, among others. Accommodating numerous dietary needs, including dairy-free and low FODMAP, GoMacro MacroBars use high sourcing standards to guarantee their bars are organic and full of whole ingredients. While these energy bars have a lot of carbohydrates, you can rest assured that the carbohydrates come from clean sources, since these bars are USDA certified organic. Plus, all 12-pack purchases come in compostable trays, so they’re good for the earth as well.

Pros

  • 12-packs come in compostable trays
  • Organic ingredients
  • Accommodates vegan, gluten-free, kosher, soy-free and dairy-free diets

Cons

  • Very high in carbohydrates (39 grams)
  • Higher sugar content (14 grams)
  • Not the most affordable bars on the market 

Specs

  • Calories: 290 calories
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Carbs: 39 grams
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Sugars: 14 grams
  • Flavors: 14
  • Price/bar: $3.29

Purchase GoMacro MacroBars


Best Protein Bar for Breakfast: Perfect Bar

Perfect Bar

If you’re facing a busy morning and don’t have time to make breakfast, a protein bar can serve as a meal replacement. Perfect Bars are our favorite pick for breakfast because they’re made with more than 20 super foods, have a higher calorie and macronutrient count to keep you full, and come in 11 flavors. Depending on the flavor, Perfect Bars are made with dried whole food powders that can include kale, flax seed, carrots and more, so each bar nets you essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. As such, they’re an excellent source of energy in the morning, especially if you have a long day ahead of you. At 330 calories per bar, they should keep cravings at bay for several hours. There are 11 flavors, including Almond Butter, Blueberry Cashew and our personal favorite, Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter.

Pros

  • Made with more than 20 super foods
  • Includes dried fruits and vegetables
  • Good source of energy in the morning

Cons

  • Higher sugar content (18 grams)
  • High calorie count may not make this a good snack
  • Runs on the pricey side

Specs

  • Calories: 330 calories
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 24 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Sugars: 18 grams
  • Flavors: 11
  • Price/bar: $2.62

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Best Gluten-Free Protein Bar: think! High Protein Bars

think! high protein bar

Those who follow gluten-free diets will enjoy think! High Protein Bars, which come in eight tasty flavors, each made with 20 grams of protein to keep you full. From White Chocolate to Chocolate Fudge, these gluten-free protein bars use soy protein and whey protein isolate combined with non-GMO ingredients to create a healthy source of energy. The best part is, each bar is made with zero grams of sugar, so they’re an excellent choice for those watching their sugar intake. The high protein content also makes think! High Protein Bars a good option for pre- or post-workout fuel.

Pros

  • Compliant with gluten-free diets
  • Zero grams of sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners

Cons

  • Whey and soy protein don't work for some dietary needs
  • Contains milk and tree nuts, which are common allergens
  • High carb count (24 grams)

Specs

  • Calories: 230 calories
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbs: 24 grams
  • Fat: Nine grams
  • Sugars: Zero grams
  • Flavors: Eight
  • Price/bar: $2.73

Purchase think! High Protein Bars


Best Protein Bar for Diabetes: ONE Bar

ONE Bar

Monitoring your sugar intake is essential to managing diabetes, so it’s important to steer clear of protein bars that are high in sugar. There are numerous low-sugar protein bar options available on the market, but ONE Protein Bars are our favorite because of their great taste. With decadent flavors like Cinnamon Roll, S’mores and Maple Glazed Doughnut, you can enjoy your favorite desserts-turned-protein bars without the guilt (or sugar). These bars also pack in nearly 30% of the recommended fiber intake, so they help curb cravings, as well.

Pros

  • Only one gram of sugar per bar
  • High protein content (20 grams)
  • Unique, dessert-based flavors

Cons

  • Not very budget-friendly
  • Milk and whey protein isolate may not work for some
  • Made with artificial sweeteners

Specs

  • Calories: 220 calories
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fat: Eight grams
  • Sugars: One gram
  • Flavors: 17
  • Price/bar: $2.79

Purchase ONE Protein Bars


Best Low Carb Protein Bar: EPIC Bar

Epic Bar

Our favorite low carb protein bars don’t follow the traditional model of dessert-based flavors, but instead take on a more savory approach. EPIC Protein Bars are made with real meat—like bison, chicken, venison and beef—in order to offer animal-based sources of protein. Great for those on low carb, keto or grass-fed diets, EPIC bars come with rich, flavorful tastes that those who don’t like sweets might enjoy. There are even spicy flavor options, like Chicken Sriracha. Made with just a handful of ingredients, these protein bars are low in calories and even lower in carbohydrates. They’re also Whole30 approved.

Pros

  • Savory and spicy flavor options
  • Animal-based protein sources
  • Made with simple ingredients, such as meat, fruits and spices

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegan diets
  • Pricier than many protein bars
  • Low protein content (11 grams)

Specs

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Carbs: Three grams
  • Fat: Five grams
  • Sugars: Six grams
  • Flavors: Nine
  • Price/bar: $2.42

Purchase EPIC Protein Bars


Best Cheap Protein Bar: Gatorade Recover Protein Bar

Gatorade Recovery Protein Bar

Protein bars can get pricey, so if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, look no further than Gatorade Recover Protein Bars. Sponsored by the NFL, NBA and MLB, these inexpensive bars are designed to help fuel muscle recovery and rebuilding. They come in seven flavors that include Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Caramel. Each bar is packed with 20 grams of protein, but they’re also high in sugar, calories, fat and carbohydrates, and some customers say they taste too sweet.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • High protein content (20 grams)
  • Good for muscle rebuilding

Cons

  • High sugar content (29 grams)
  • Higher calorie count (350 grams)
  • Includes ingredients you may want to avoid, like corn syrup and palm oil

Specs

  • Calories: 350 calories
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbs: 41 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Sugars: 29 grams
  • Flavors: 7
  • Price/bar: $1.50

Purchase Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bars


Why are protein bars considered healthy?

Protein bars are considered healthy for a number of reasons. They can help curb your appetite and reduce cravings, which can be helpful for busy people who don’t have time to sit down and eat a whole meal. Protein bars also have antioxidant effects, which can help prevent or slow damage to cells. They can lower levels of homocysteine (an amino acid used to make protein) in your body, which is helpful because having too-high homocysteine levels can increase your risk for heart disease; increased homocysteine levels can also be a sign of a vitamin deficiency that may require dietary changes or a multivitamin supplement.

Protein bars also allow you to increase your protein intake, which can help reduce your chances of developing diabetes. That’s because higher protein intake helps you lower your blood sugar. However, this is only true of high-protein bars that have high levels of fiber as well. On the contrary, high-fat snack bars that are low in protein do the opposite, and can actually cause your blood sugar to spike. If you’re still unsure how protein bars could affect your unique nutritional needs, it’s always a smart idea to consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to discuss your health goals.

Depending on the type of protein bar you buy, one single protein bar can contain as much as 30 grams of protein, which provides you with almost the same amount of protein as eating a 3.5 ounce serving of chicken breast. While protein powder shakes can also help you up your protein intake, they aren’t as convenient as grabbing a protein bar on the go.

What nutritional and ingredient standards should I look for?

Protein bars with minimal, natural ingredients will almost always be your best option because they’re typically free of artificial sweeteners, added sugars, fillers and other ingredients that may not be good for you in the long run. A simple rule of thumb to avoid potentially troublesome additives is to steer clear of ingredients you've never heard of or can’t pronounce; typically, those tend to be filler products or added sweeteners or sugars.

Instead, seek out brands with health certifications that use mostly whole food ingredients. Studies show that protein bars made with wheat or algae protein have the highest nutritional value, so keep an eye out for those ingredients while you’re shopping around. Protein bars made with grass-fed sources are also great for your health, since a grass-fed diet helps give your body cancer-fighting antioxidants and increases your vitamin A and E levels.

Protein bars made with sunflower protein, on the other hand, contain the lowest nutritional value.

Also look for protein bars high in grams of protein and low in grams of sugar. Avoid bars with a calorie count over 350, especially if they’re made with added sugar or fillers. It’s important to consider your daily caloric intake (and how many calories you should consume to lose, gain or maintain your weight, depending on your goals) before selecting a bar.

Protein bar FAQs

Can a protein bar replace a meal?

While eating balanced meals with protein, fat and carbs is the easiest way to see what’s 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. (Still, carbs are important for a balanced diet, so it will ultimately depend on how many carbs you consume throughout the day.) 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.

Can protein bars make you gain weight?

A protein bar could potentially make you gain weight, depending on the type of protein bar you buy. Regularly consuming protein bars high in calories alongside other high-calorie meals could cause weight gain, especially if you aren’t getting enough physical activity to burn off those excess calories. Protein bars high in sugar can also be detrimental to weight loss or maintenance. If you’re still unsure about how your favorite protein bars could affect your weight, it’s best to consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist; these experts can help you find a protein bar that’s right for your needs.

How much protein do I need each day?

Adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of protein three times a day for optimal health. Other research shows that healthy adults can safely consume up to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.

Are protein bars considered processed food?

Technically, protein bars are considered processed foods. That’s because processed food is defined as any food that has been “altered in some way during preparation.” But just because protein bars fall into the processed food category doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad for you. Like any non-whole food, they should be eaten less frequently, but as long as you’re buying protein bars that are high in protein, low in sugar and made with minimal whole-food ingredients, they can be a healthy addition to your diet.

When should you eat protein bars?

There’s no right or wrong answer as to when you should eat a protein bar. Eating a high-quality protein bar can be a quick and easy source of fuel before or after a workout. You can also eat protein bars as a meal replacement or snack if you’re on the go and don’t have time for a whole meal. Eating protein before bed can assist with muscle growth and building strength, so if muscle gain is your goal, you may want to eat a protein bar after a dinner low in protein. Just be sure your pre-sleep protein bar is low in sugar, since eating sugar before bed can affect sleep quality.

Is protein powder or a protein bar better?

Protein bars are often fortified with more nutrients, fiber and carbohydrates than protein powder, so they’re better as meal replacements or snacks. Protein powders can be used in a meal replacement shake if they’re blended with foods high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, but they’re more typically used to increase protein intake before or after workouts with the goal of muscle gain.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

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