Best Healthy Protein Bars

by Nicole
Healthy Protein Bars

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Healthy Protein Bars

There are an overwhelming amount of protein bars on the market now but not all bars are created equal. There is one thing all these bars do have in common though and that is convenience. Finding healthy protein bars can be a challenge but I’ve done the taste testing and ingredient check for you and have rated 11 bars which are advertised as “protein bars”. 

All marketing aside, it is important to understand why you choose a protein bar over whole foods. Some reasons might include

1. I’m vegan and needed to fulfil my macros

2. I am on the go and missed lunch today so this is an easy meal replacement

3. I am a runner who needs a lot of carbs for energy 

4. I need more protein because I am strength training and don’t want my workouts going to waste

5. I just want to have a protein bar as a mid afternoon snack 

The Contestants

1. Perfect Bar “Coconut Peanut Butter”

  • Macros: 340 calories, 21 g fat, 25 g carbs, 16 g protein
  • Good: Certified organic, sweetened naturally with honey and fruit, low on the glycemic index, gluten free
  • Bad: Not allergy friendly as it contains nuts and dairy, for the amount of calories this bar might be considered a meal replacement, 6 grams of saturated fat, must be refrigerated.
  • All things considered, I would argue this is my favorite type of healthy protein bars! Although this bar needs to be refrigerated, you can still keep it in your bag as long as you know you’ll be eating it within a couple days. It is higher in calories but I often eat this bar as an afternoon snack if I packed a lighter lunch. I wish it has just a little more protein in it but overall, it’s a really high quality bar. 
  • Taste Rating: 9/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 10/10

Purchase the Perfect Bar here

2. Quest Bar “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough”

  • Macros: 200 calories, 9 g fat, 21 g carbs, 21 g protein
  • Good: No added sugar, 14g of fiber, first ingredient is protein blend
  • Bad: Contains stevia and sucralose, not vegan approved, also avoid if you have a nut allergy
  • All things considered, I would say this is a great protein bar to have in your bag for any occasion. It is low enough in calories where it can easy serve as a snack and high enough in both protein and carbs where it may be helpful for post workout. The high fiber content will keep you full for a longer period of time. 
  • Taste Rating: 8/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 8/10 

Purchase the Quest Bar here

3. Rx Bar “Maple Sea Salt”

  • Macros: 220 calories, 9 g fat, 22g carbs, 12g protein
  • Good: Very transparent ingredients (there’s only about 5 ingredients). Sweetened naturally with dates. Low in saturated fat (only 1g) which is great for people trying to watch their cholesterol
  • Bad: if you are particular about texture or consistency you likely will not like this bar because its super chewy, I wouldn’t consider this a protein bar as it only contains 12 g
  • All things considered, this is still one of my highly rated healthy protein bars. Although the taste isn’t great it is probably the best in terms of quality. I usually eat one of these a couple hours before a run for an energy burst as the carb content is great. I wouldn’t personally eat this bar after lifting because the protein content is weak. I’d consider this more of an energy or snack bar. 
  • Taste Rating: 5/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 9/10

Purchase the Rx bar here

4. Kind Protein Bar "Double Dark Chocolate"

  • Macros: 250 calories, 17 g fat, 18 g carbs, 12 g protein
  • Good: peanuts and almonds are the first ingredients and you can see these delicious nuts in the bar, has a great nutty and crunch taste, won’t spike your blood sugar since the bars are low on the glycemic index
  • Bad: shouldn’t be called a protein bar with a mere 12 g of protein, contains a glucose syrup which is less than ideal with 6g of added sugars, if you are a strict vegan this bar is not for you considering it does contain honey
  • All things considered, I love this bar because it tastes great which just a bit of chocolatey goodness but with relatively quality ingredients. This is another bar that should not be considered a protein bar as the protein content is just not enough. That being said, I eat these as a snack because the calories and carbs are low. 
  • Taste Rating: 8/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 7/10 

Purchase the KIND bar here

5. ONE Bar

  • Macros: 220 calories, 8 g fat, 23 g carbs, 20 g protein
  • Good: Sweet tasting if you have a sweet tooth, high in protein and can actually be considered a protein bar for those counting macros, first ingredient is a protein blend and prebiotic fiber from vegetable sources, high in fiber (10g)
  • Bad: Contains sugar alcohol and other ingredients that are not considered all natural (example: maltodextrin, tapioca starch, monoglycerides), not for vegans
  • All things considered, I like this bar a lot but eat it in moderation due to the sugar alcohols. I have tried most of the flavors and they are all really good but it certainly does not taste natural. You can tell the bar contains fake sugary ingredients. 
  • Taste Rating: 8/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 6/10 

Purchase the ONE bar here

6. Go Macro “Banana Almond Butter”

  • Macros: 280 calories, 12 g fat, 35 g carbs, 11 g protein
  • Good: Gluten-free, vegan, non GMO, organic with no preservatives
  • Bad: most expensive bar, first ingredient is brown rice syrup and that is probably why this bar has 9 g of ADDED sugar, contains nuts, not enough protein to consider this a protein bar
  • All things considered, I think this bar is over marketed as a trendy bar. In terms of vegan bars, this is one of the best but I don’t eat them often at all because of the steep cost. The cost to quality ratio is really bad. 
  • Taste Rating: 8/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 3/10 

Purchase the Go Macro bar here

7. Think Bar "Brownie Crunch"

  • Macros: 230 calories, 8 g fat, 23 g carbs, 20 g protein
  • Good: No added sugars, no GMOs, no artificial sweeteners, gluten free
  • Bad: Has essentially no fiber (1g), contains sugar alcohols and syrups, glycerin, and oils, not vegan friendly
  • All things considered, I’d say this is a good bar to have handy as it is high in protein. Picky people or children would love this bar as it tastes similar to an actual brownie. There are a lot of healthier options out there though so be cautious as this bar does has 11g of sugar alcohols. 
  • Taste Rating: 8/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 5/10 

Purchase the Think Thin bar here

8. Lara Bar “Almond Cookie”

  • Macros: 230 calories, 14 g fat, 20g carbs, 6g protein
  • Good: Only 4 quality ingredients, vegan
  • Bad: has a similar consistency to the Rx bar, hardly any protein, smaller bar compared to the others at only 1.6 oz.
  • All things considered, this is definitely a healthy bar as all the ingredients are transparent and simple. Unfortunately I feel like we trade taste for quality in this bar. Part of the reason why I rated the taste so low was that I didn’t enjoy this flavor. I’ve linked to a variety pack on Amazon. I believe these flavors are better than the almond cookie which I tried. I personally don’t eat this bar often because there is hardly any protein with a fair amount of fat and carbs. For the taste, I don’t consider it worth a snack. 
  • Taste Rating: 4/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 8/10

Purchase the Lara bar here

9. Cliff Protein Builders Bar "Chocolate PB"

  • Macros: 290 calories, 11 g fat, 29 g carbs, 20 g protein
  • Good: outside of the bar is chocolate covered so naturally it tastes amazing, first ingredient is a plant based protein powder too which is where the 20 g of protein originates from.
  • Bad: Ingredients are crap! Not sure if we should call this a chocolate bar or protein bar with 17g of added sugar with brown rice syrup, cane syrup and sugar.
  • All things considered, I would not eat this bar again just because of how much sugar it contains. If you are craving a chocolate bar I suppose this is a better option than a Twix bar because at least you’re getting 20 g of protein. I would argue that you never need 17 g of added sugars in your protein bar though when there are plenty of healthier options that also taste good. 
  • Taste Rating: 9/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 3/10 

Purchase the Cliff bar here

10. Lenny & Larrys Complete "White Chocolate Macadamia Nut"

  • Macros: 460 calories, 17 g fat, 54 g carbs, 16 g protein
  • Good: if you want a “healthy” cookie, this is delicious and vegan. It tastes homemade like it could’ve came out of my oven. I think if we were comparing cookies, this would win but it’s not fair to consider this a protein bar review.
  • Bad: Let’s not fool ourselves, its a cookie, it is not healthy. Let’s also admit that we all crave cookies here and there. That being said, please do not eat this after a workout and think you are being healthy. A cookie is a cookie  and it has a lot of sugar. 
  • All things considered, this is marketed so well! I don’t agree that these are healthy protein bars BUT they are amazing protein filled cookies. I think everyone needs to try this simply because it is a really healthy COOKIE and it made me so happy. You won’t catch me eating these every might but I do have a stack in the house just in case the cravings roll around. 
  • Taste Rating: 10/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 5/10

Purchase the cookies here

11. Robert Irvines Fit Crunch Bar "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough"

  • Macros: 380 calories, 16 g fat, 27 g carbs, 30 g protein
  • Good: Great source of protein, tastes pretty good, gluten free, very large bar, has a lot of sodium if you need to replenish electrolytes (click here to be directed to my blog about hydration & electrolytes
  • Bad: has a lot of chemical and foreign ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, 5 g of added sugar and 16 g of sugar alcohol with only 2 g of fiber, 8 g of saturated fat
  • All things considered, I bought this bar for the sole purpose of completing this blog and protein review. I would not eat this bar again. It really tasted so fake. There are so many better options. 
  • Taste Rating: 7/10
  • Quality of Ingredients: 3/10

Purchase the Fit Crunch here

Watch Out for Clever Marketing

If you can take anything away from this blog I hope it’s that ingredients matter.  When shopping around for healthy protein bars, always take a look at the ingredients. Make sure you know what most of the ingredients are and can pronounce the words.

If all that goes well, then take a look at sugar content (try to choose a bar with no added sugar or sugar alcohol), fiber (which you want high), and saturated fat (which you want <5 g). 

Taste, price, and quality of ingredients should all be considered when shopping around. 

Please note that there are affiliate links throughout this post. While this will not affect you, by using my link I will receive a very small commission from Amazon which is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance & I hope you enjoy these products as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite healthy protein bar not listed here? Let me know in the comments below so I can be sure to pick them up to try.

 

XO,

Nicole

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