Protein Bars are a beneficial nutritional aid that is often supplemented to meet protein and caloric requirements.
Now, there are endless choices out there and it can be confusing to find the right one. There are cheap (Lower quality) bars packed with sugar and junk, but some companies make some really high-quality protein bars.
But protein bars are an amazing nutritional tool in your diet arsenal…
“Protein makes you feel full, and it also helps regulate your blood sugars, whether you’re a diabetic or not. So, grabbing a protein bar instead of a granola bar is a good choice” said Dr. Annie Moore, MD, MBA,
a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and medical director of patient coordinated services at UCHealth University of Colorado.
Check out these delicious protein bars and the benefits of protein bars on the go…
Here Are Our Top 13 Best Tasting Protein Bar Picks for 2019!
Quest Nutrition Maple Waffle Protein Bar – Maple Waffle
Sounds delicious right? Maple waffle Quest protein bars are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and 20g of protein is very attractive when your aim is to build muscle. Now, there are 190 calories per bar so if you’re looking to bulk then look no further.
There are no added sugars and each bar is made with high-quality protein isolates. Plus, you can’t beat the awesome amount of fiber that is necessary for good digestive health.
Erythritol is used as a sweetener and most people will be pleased to know that it has 6% of the calories of sugar, is natural and safe. Evidence shows it to not have a negative effect on blood sugar either. (4, 5)
Nutrition information: 190 calories, 20g of protein, 24g of carbs, 6g of fat, 5mg cholesterol, 16g of fiber, and 1g of sugar.
Read also: Best Tasting Protein Powder Reviews
Nature Valley Protein Bar – Salted Caramel Nut
Nature Valley makes some darn tasty protein bars for relatively cheap. Now, the quality and amount of healthy ingredients might not be up to Quest bar standards. But on a budget, these will do.
Each bar consists of soy protein isolate and whey concentrate to make up the main protein content. And then the bars are loaded with peanuts and almonds for a healthy fat and protein source. 190 calories also make it a good bulking snack like the Quest bar.
But, these bars have just 10g of protein which is decent for an on-the-go bite.
Nutrition information: 190 calories, 10g of protein, 14g of carbs, 12g of fat, 0 cholesterol, 5g of fiber, and 6g of sugar
Kind Breakfast Protein Bar – Almond Butter
Kind bars are ultra-popular and every protein bar fanatic is likely familiar with their delicious options.
But the breakfast bars are more than just protein. They are made with oats, almond butter, and a soy protein isolate. A bar has 220 calories which may be a bit much for certain people but this bar could replace a meal due to the nutritional content.
And 8g of protein is also a nice touch, plus there’s honey to add a natural sweetness and cinnamon to top it off. Each bar is gluten-free.
Nutrition information: 220 calories, 8g of protein, 26g of carbs, 10g of fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 4g of fiber and 8g of added sugars.
‘Think’ High Protein Bar – Brownie Crunch
ThinkThin changed the packaging to ‘Think’ but that doesn’t mean the great tasting bars changed.
Each bar contains soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, whey protein isolate and almond butter for quality protein sources.
There are no artificial ingredients and Think bars are gluten-free… and who doesn’t like a chocolate brownie with some crunch to it…
But the really cool thing (Pun intended) about ordering these protein bars is that each package is shipped with cool packs to keep the bars fresh and unmelted.
Nutrition information: 230 calories, 20g of protein, 23g of carbs, 8g of fat, 0 cholesterol, 1g of fiber, and 0 total sugars (11g sugar alcohols).
Detour Lower Sugar Whey Protein Bar – Caramel Peanut
If you like sending your taste buds to heaven while fulfilling your protein requirements then stop right here…
Caramel peanut is the delectable protein bar you’ve been searching for… but with only 170 calories, 15g of whey protein, and 3g of sugar, you don’t have to feel guilty!
Each bar is loaded with muscle-building amino acids and it’s also great for really active people. Detour caramel peanut bars consist of peanuts coated in a low sugar caramel coating, which are covered in a low sugar chocolate coating.
So it’s like your favorite candy bar… but healthier!
Nutrition facts: 170 calories, 15g of protein, 17g carbs (3g net), 5g of fat, 5mg cholesterol, 2g of fiber, and 3g of sugar (12g sugar alcohols).
Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar – Mint Chocolate
You probably won’t find a flavor from Power Crunch that is less than delicious but we wanted to throw the mint chocolate in there because it tasted like a thin mint cookie. And if you like your thin mint cookies in the freezer, then you’ll be in for a real treat.
Each protein bar also has a wafer core (Cookies) which is a welcome texture and an exciting layer of deliciousness. And with 13g of protein and 10g of carbs, this is the perfect, healthy snack with a good nutritional ratio.
Nutrition facts: 205 calories, 13g of protein, 10g of carbs, 13g of fat, 10mg cholesterol, 1g of fiber, and 5g of sugar.
Luna Bar – Caramel Walnut Brownie
Luna bars are a quality, plant-based protein bar with soy protein isolate, roasted soybeans, soy flour, and as a protein grain blend. Rolled oats and a blend of sugars make up the carbohydrates.
There are no artificial flavors or high-fructose corn syrup and you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors. But, caramel walnut brownie is a definite favorite!
Nutrition facts: 200 calories, 8g of protein, 26g of carbs, 8g of fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 3g of fiber, and 10g of sugar (Added) which may be a bit much for some people.
Protein Puck Bar – Dark Chocolate Almond
What’s cooler than a protein shaped like a puck?… Nothing!
Each nutrition-packed puck has quality sources of almond butter, agave (Natural Sweetener), flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, and gluten-free oats.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa which is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols. The flavanols show potential for improving heart health, nitric oxide, and insulin sensitivity. (7)
Try this tasty protein puck and satisfy your protein needs.
Nutrition facts: 230 calories, 6g of protein, 20g of carbs, 14g of fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 4g of fiber, and 9g of natural sugar.
Pure Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter
Pure Protein bars are not the best when it comes to quality ingredients but they sure taste good.
Each one contains 20g of protein from Milk protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate. And Sucralose is used as a sweetener if this is a concern for you.
But, if you want a tasty bar with good quality protein and low sugar then this is a relatively cheap way to go.
Nutrition facts: 190 calories, 20g of protein, 17g of carbs, 6g of fat, 15mg of cholesterol, <1 of fiber, and 2g of sugar (8g of sugar alcohol).
BSN Protein Crisp (Cold Stone Creamery) – Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Yes… the flavor is really called ‘mint mint chocolate chocolate’.
BSN makes amazing tasting protein powders and their bars are no different. Each bar has 20g of protein made from whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and milk protein concentrate.
And 230 calories might be a bit for some people but it’s a filling snack option for people who need extra protein.
You’ll love this one!!
Nutrition facts: 230 calories, 20g of protein, 24g of carbs, 6g of fat, 10mg cholesterol, 4g of sugar (2g added and 6g sugar alcohol).
ALOHA Plant-Based Protein Bar – Coconut Chocolate Almond
Aloha is a Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy… if you didn’t know before. But this brand makes nothing but natural, organic, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and stevia-free products. They’ve become a go-to choice for plant-basic supplements and we like them.
Their coconut chocolate almond needed to have a spot on this list due to many raving about its Almond Joy-like taste. It’s made from a protein blend of brown rice and pumpkin seed; two very quality protein sources.
It also has almonds, chocolate chips, chocolate, chocolate liquor, cocoa (expect it to taste like chocolate), evaporated coconut milk, monk fruit, and more.
Note: The product is manufactured in the same facility where egg, milk, peanuts, and soy are processed.
Nutrition information: 260 calories, 14g of protein, 22g of carbs, 13g of fat, 0mg cholesterol, 6g of fiber, and 4g (3g added) sugar.
Optimum Nutrition Protein Wafer Bars – Vanilla Creme
Optimum Nutrition seems to have it all… literally. They are one of the largest supplement brands that carry essentially anything you need for your health and fitness goals. You may know them for their popular Gold Standard 100% whey and probably have a tub of it yourself.
But let’s focus on their new protein crisp bars that are, apparently, the bee’s knees much like those wafers you used to (or still do) eat as a kid.
The crisps have a blend of protein milk protein isolate, hydrolyzed gelatin, whey protein isolate, and pea protein isolate; a nice combo of fast-digesting, quality protein sources. The product also contains soy, artificial flavors, and the artificial sweetener sucralose.
Each bar gives a generous 15g of protein in a crispy, light, and airy wafer layered with rich and creamy creme filling.
Nutrition information: 200 calories, 15g of protein, 24g of carbs, 9g of fat, and 6g (2g added) of sugar.
Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Hybrid Series Protein Bars – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
Muscle Pharm is known for making things that taste good and there’s no debate about that. In fact, they’ve won awards for having the best-tasting protein bars. And who doesn’t love peanut butter cup?…
These multi-layered baked protein bars are super delicious with a soft and crunchy center. Each one has a substantial 20g of protein in a gluten-free, GMO-free, low-sugar and low-carb, high-fiber package. It’s also certified Informed-Choice.
Few are ever disappointed with Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch bars.
Nutrition information: 210 calories, 20g of protein, 25g of carbs, 9g of fat, 20mg cholesterol, 12g of fiber, and 5g of sugar.
Note: Muscle Pharm changed back to their original great-tasting formula but you might want to make sure of this before you order via our link.
Protein Bar Benefits
The most obvious benefit of a protein bar is, of course, the protein.
Protein is an essential macronutrient which is crucial for muscle growth! But, it’s pretty much needed for the growth of all body tissue. (1)
It’s made from amino acids (building blocks of protein) and so the latter is contained in pretty much all animal-based protein products.
Now, people who are looking to lose weight and/or build muscle need more protein. When we weight train, our muscles tear down and protein plays a big role in the re-growth. And protein is very important for muscle retention when losing weight.
But, protein is also filling and research shows this macro to help with weight control and satiety. (2)
Carbs supply energy as well as fats, so it’s important to consume these macronutrients in sufficient quantities. This is necessary for the protein to be utilized for muscle tissue repair and creation.
And studies show protein consumption to be the most beneficial when there’s a negative nitrogen or energy balance. (3)
Note: “Protein” bars, in general, are not meal replacement bars, although some may have more nutrition and may serve as a meal supplement. So, don’t rely on “protein only” bars as a complete nutrition source, but only to supply your protein needs.
Most bars do not provide a significant amount of vitamins and minerals so that’s something you’ll need to ensure you get through foods and supplements.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
How much protein you need depends on your goals and current activity level with your age, sex, height, and weight is also taken into consideration.
And we created a protein calculator to figure your daily recommended intake based off of these values.
But generally, the minimum recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, this is conservative and requirements are higher for active people, especially who weight train.
“There’s a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,”
explained Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian, and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
“People in general think we all eat too much protein.”
The takeaway here is that protein is very necessary for many reasons. Although, that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Make sure to have a balanced diet for overall good health and gains!
Protein bars aren’t a complete source of nutrition but they don’t have to be. The purpose of these tasty and healthy muscle-building treats is to help you meet your recommended daily intake (RDI).
The options are plentiful but we think you’d like any one of these protein bars.
Some are made with more quality ingredients than others. But, all are acceptable for supplying your muscles with good sources of protein. And the protein content also varies, which again, certain factors will determine how much protein you actually need.
And if you have a dairy, nut, or soy allergy, make sure to always read the nutrition labels on whichever protein bar you decide to go with (As you do with any other food options).
But protein bars are an effective nutritional aid that happens to be tasty (At least our picks) so, eat them accordingly!