Looking for a protein fix? We tried more than 100 bars to find out which deliver on taste and nutrition.

Joyce Hendley, M.S.
September 17, 2019

With so many options out on the market, it's overwhelming trying to find a healthy protein bar that actually tastes good and isn't candy. We sampled more than 100 bars to find our favorites to share with you and came up with some helpful tips on how to find the healthiest protein bar at the store.

The Brands We Love

Of all the protein bars we tried, here are our favorites:

Epic Performance Bar Peanut Butter

Dates, nuts and egg whites combine for satisfying chew.

Protein per bar: 12 grams

Related: RXBar Just Launched a Line of High-Protein Oatmeal Cups and They Sound Amazing

Lärabar Protein Lemon Blueberry Muffin

Lärabar's new bars have double the protein of the original and mimic flavors of favorite treats, like muffins.

Protein per bar: 11 grams

RXBar Peanut Butter & Berries

Sweetened with dates (hello, fiber), this bar has no added sugar and tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Protein per bar: 12 grams

PowerBar ProteinPlus Chocolate Peanut Butter

This classic flavor combo tastes like candy, without the sugar crash.

Protein per bar: 20 grams

Clif Whey Protein Bar Coconut Almond Chocolate

One of Clif's lowest-sugar options still has all the chocolaty, nutty goodness we love.

Protein per bar: 14 grams

See More: Packaged Foods You Can Feel Good About Eating

How to Pick the Healthiest Protein Bars

Follow these guidelines when shopping for protein bars to find the healthiest option.

Check the protein

Aim for at least 10 grams of protein (that's more than an egg!) to satisfy hunger longer and, post-workout, help muscles rebuild and recover.

Decode calories

There's a wide range among bars—from 100 to 400 calories or more. For snacking, stick with bars that have 200 or less, but if you're replacing a meal, going up to 350 calories makes sense.

Scan the Sugars

With flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough and salted caramel, many protein bars straddle dessert territory. Most only list total sugar, so check the ingredient list for added sweeteners like sugar and honey (ones like dates are fine). If you see them, opt for a bar with less than 18 grams. If there are no added sweeteners in there, then you don't need to sweat it.

Read more: How to Identify Natural Sugar and Added Sugar on Nutrition Labels

Nutrition Quick Guide:

Calories:

200 or less for a snack;

350 or less for a mini meal

Total sugar: 18g or less

Protein: > 10g

Fiber: > 3g

See More: Healthy Snacks to Stash In Your Desk

October 2019 EatingWell
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