The 5 Best Healthy Protein Bars to Buy
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 basically a candy bar. 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. Plus, if you don't need the protein boost, we share some snack bars we love.
How to Pick the Healthiest Protein Bars
Follow these guidelines when shopping for protein bars to find the healthiest option.
Check the protein
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.
Nutrition Quick Guide:
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
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
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
Snack Bars to Try
The above protein bars are great when you need a little more heft to your snack, but sometimes you're just looking for a bar to fill you up and don't need the protein boost. Making sure our picks had at least 10 grams of protein, eliminated some other snack bar contenders (keep in mind, one large egg only has 6 grams of protein).
KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt: With only 5 grams of added sugar and 6 grams of protein, these nut-based bars make a delicious and healthy snack.
LÄRABAR Peanut Butter Cookie: There's only 3 ingredients—dates, peanuts and sea salt—in this flavor of LÄRABAR and zero grams of added sugar. The peanuts deliver 6 grams of plant-based protein.
Health Warrior Chia Bars: These chia seed bars are on the smaller side, with only 100 calories per bar, so they make a nice light snack. In addition to chia seeds, they're made with nut butter, oats and fruit.
October 2019 EatingWell