Best Overall: RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt
High in fiber, over 10 grams of protein, no added sugar, and made with whole food ingredients.
It's also free of palm oil, which some people may prefer to avoid due to its high saturated fat content and environmental concerns associated with its production.
This chewy bar has a base of gooey chocolate chips, rich dark chocolate, and is topped with sea salt.
RXBAR offers 11 other regular flavors as well as some seasonal varieties, so there's sure to be something for your taste buds.
Best Plant-Based: Aloha Chocolate Cookie Dough
If you're looking for a way to increase your protein intake while following a plant-based diet, Aloha protein bars are worth considering. Available in a variety of flavors, the bars are all certified vegan and made with organic ingredients.
Additionally, Aloha energy bars are free of artificial additives, gluten, stevia, dairy, palm oil, and soy. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re delicious.
Although lemon cashew is a close second. It has a chewy texture and just the right amount of cookie dough flavor.
Best Soft Bar: TRUBAR Smother Gummy Peanut Butter
If you're not a fan of traditional protein bars, you'll love TRUBAR.
Owned by TRUWOMEN, a women-founded and owned business, TRUBARS is made with only a handful of 100% plant-based ingredients and comes in six dessert flavors.
Smother Fudgeger Peanut Butter Bars feature a rich chocolate coating and a melt-in-your-mouth sweet peanut butter center. The texture is definitely on the soft side, which may not be ideal if you prefer a chewier bar.
The Best Crunch: KIND Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bars
While protein bars are very dense and a bit chalky, KIND Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bars are quite the opposite. Featuring crunchy whole nuts and a dash of chocolate, this bar is sure to pop your jaw.
It contains nutritious ingredients and thanks to its rich chocolate flavor, it's a great afternoon pick-me-up.
Like most other KIND snack bars, Dark Chocolate Nut Bars are made primarily from whole food ingredients. It's also low in added sugar, high in fiber, and rich in healthy fats.
Best for sensitive stomachs: GoMacro Sunflower Oil + Chocolate
GoMacro offers a variety of low-FODMAP-friendly products, including Sunflower Butter + Chocolate Bars. This flavor is also nut-free, Verified Non-GMO, Vegan, Organic, and Certified Gluten-Free.
The GoMacro Sunflower Butter + Chocolate Bar is a little higher in calories and carbs than other products, so it's a good option to throw in your hiking bag or take with you on your next ride.
Best for Weight Loss: No Cow Chunky Peanut Butter
Want to lose weight? Choosing a protein bar that's relatively low in calories but high in fiber and protein may help you achieve your goals.
Providing 17 grams of fiber, 21 grams of protein, 0 grams of added sugar and under 200 calories, No Cow Chunky Peanut Butter Bars are a great choice if you're watching your weight.
To keep the bars free of added sugar, No Cow uses a variety of sugar substitutes, including stevia, monk fruit and sugar alcohols, all of which can leave a noticeable aftertaste.
The chunky peanut butter flavor has a less pronounced finish. Likewise, while the chocolate bar is a bit chalky, the peanut chips in this flavor add texture.
Best for Building Muscle: PROBAR Protein Chocolate Brownies
Whether you're trying to build muscle or are regularly out and about exercising, PROBAR protein bars are a great choice. In addition to being high in protein, it also provides plenty of carbohydrates to support muscle growth.
While all PROBAR protein bars are very dense, the Chocolate Brownie has a smooth consistency that's not too dry. There's also a rich chocolate flavor that will quickly satisfy any chocolate craving.
PROBAR Chocolate Brownies are certified gluten-free, certified non-GMO, and vegetarian-friendly.
Best Keto-Friendly: think! Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Keto Protein Bars
There is no shortage of keto-friendly protein bar options for the ketogenic diet. This one has the best flavor without an unpleasant, lingering aftertaste.
Best Dessert: Good! Lemon Snack
Available in eight dessert flavors, Good! Snack Protein Bars are designed for those with a sweet tooth.
One of the sweetest bars. Some flavors, like Birthday and Snickerdoodle, start to cross into cloying territory.
The lemon provides bright acidity that helps round out the sweetness.
Like the other flavors, Lemon has a classic protein bar texture: dense and a little chalky. While it may be off-putting to some, the texture definitely makes the bar feel extra filling.
Best Protein Breakfast Bar: Over Easy Peanut Butter
Over Easy Peanut Butter is a breakfast bar packed with protein and fiber to help you stay fuller longer.
Made with eight simple ingredients and lightly sweetened with honey. Plus, it’s palm oil, gluten, dairy and soy-free and comes in six different flavours.
Are protein bars good for you?
People often use protein bars to increase their intake of protein, an important nutrient involved in processes such as immune function, growth and tissue repair.
Protein is also crucial for building muscle, especially for athletes and people who work out.
Protein bars are a great way to help round out your diet, especially if you have increased protein needs or may have trouble getting enough protein in your diet.
They're also a portable snack option that you can take almost anywhere, whether you're traveling, hiking, or just short on time to get out of the house in the morning.
How to choose a protein bar
There are several factors you may want to consider when purchasing a protein bar, including:
Ingredients: Check labels carefully and look for protein bars that are free of artificial ingredients, fillers, and preservatives whenever possible. Some people may also want to avoid certain ingredients, such as sugar alcohols, which may cause digestive issues such as gas and bloating.
Protein source: Ideally, choose a protein bar made from a high-quality protein source, such as whey or protein derived from whole foods like nuts, seeds, or egg whites.
Dietary Needs: Whether you follow a vegan, gluten-free, ketogenic, or low-carb diet, it's important to find protein bars that meet any dietary restrictions or food allergies you have.
Flavors: Protein bars are available in a variety of flavors, so be sure to consider your taste and personal preferences.
Budget: Since protein bars vary greatly in price, consider your budget before you start shopping.
In addition to the criteria listed above, it's important to carefully check the nutrition labels on your protein bars.
Pay particularly close attention to the amount of calories, protein, added sugars, and fiber in each serving.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
Calories: For high-protein snacks, you may want to choose 250 calories or less per serving, although individual calorie needs vary. For meal replacements, look for energy bars with 300 calories or more.
Protein: Most protein bars contain 10-20 grams of protein per serving. Some people, such as athletes and bodybuilders, may have higher protein needs and may want to choose a protein bar with a higher protein content. For others, a protein bar containing 10-15 grams of protein is enough as a healthy snack.
Added sugar: If possible, look for energy bars with less than 12 grams of added sugar per serving. To help control the amount of added sugar, choose energy bars with natural sweeteners like dates, fruit, dark chocolate, and stevia.
Fiber: Look for protein bars with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. In addition to supporting gut health and regularity, high-fiber foods can help you stay full between meals.
Nutritional needs may vary based on many factors, including age, gender, activity level and health status.
When looking for a protein bar, be sure to consider these factors, or consult a registered dietitian for more detailed guidance on your nutritional needs.