The 10 Best Protein Bars

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in January of 2017. Getting plenty of protein in your diet can require a substantial meal, but those are time-consuming to prepare, high in calories, and can weigh you down. Protein bars are a great way to fill up fast while on the go without becoming too bloated. We've included snacks that are tasty, nutritious, and easy to stash in your gym bag for post-workout pick-me-ups. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Bionutritional Power Crunch Original

2. Clif Bar Builders

3. Kind Breakfast Maple Cinnamon

Editor's Notes

September 26, 2019:

Because it offers plenty of protein, a relatively low amount of sugar, and a creamy wafer consistency, we still like the Bionutritional Power Crunch Original as the choice that's hard to beat. There are several flavors available, including peanut butter fudge and wild berry creme, so there's an option for everyone. The Clif Builder's remains a strong choice, as well, especially since it offers a total of 20 grams of protein. We decided to omit the ThinkThin Brownie Crunch, however. Although it boasts no added sugars, it has a high amount of sugar alcohol and can lead to extreme gas and bloating.

Finally, we opted to add a vegan choice, the Square Organics Crispy. You won't find any hidden unnatural ingredients or animal products, making it a good high-protein snack for when you tire of vegan jerky, edamame, and hummus.

Special Honors

BroteinBox You can get out of a protein rut with the BroteinBox, a monthly snack subscription that delivers everything from bars to jerky and beyond. You'll receive different treats in each box, so there's always plenty of new stuff to try.

Custom Made Gourmet Bars from The Bar Shack They're a little more expensive than typical choices, but that's because these Custom Made Gourmet Bars from The Bar Shack are tailored to your taste and nutritional needs. You'll get plenty of bang for your buck, since there are tons of available ingredient choices, and once you find the perfect combination, reordering is a cinch.

4. Square Organics Crispy

5. PowerBar Protein Plus

6. Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Caramel

7. Nature Valley XL

8. Gatorade Whey Fuel

9. RxBar Whole Food Chocolate Sea Salt

10. FitJoy Nutrition

Who Should Eat Protein Bars

Having a protein bar can fill the nutritional gaps left by a busy lifestyle and poor quality meals.

Protein bars aren't just for bodybuilders. They're highly nutritious and convenient — just about anyone can benefit from those features. Many individuals might even discover that protein bars could solve some issues in their life, or just make their days a bit easier. Anyone who is incredibly busy, for starters, should keep protein bars on hand. It can be difficult to ensure you meet your nutritional needs every day when you barely have time to cook a meal. Meanwhile, food from vending machines or drive-throughs may leave your body lacking the nutrients it craves. Having a protein bar can fill the nutritional gaps left by a busy lifestyle and poor quality meals.

If you're a vegetarian — a surprisingly controversial diet — there is a good chance that your diet is lacking in protein. Though there are quality protein sources out there that don't come from animal products, vegetarians often need to eat massive portions of these to get the nutrients they need, and can fall short. There are plenty of protein bars that are entirely plant-based. Keeping these around means you can keep up your meat-less lifestyle and not waver as many vegans and vegetarians do just to meet your protein needs.

Those trying to lose weight can certainly benefit from keeping protein bars on hand, as well. Being low on protein can quickly lead to cravings for sugar and carbohydrates — a dieter's worst enemy. Meanwhile, a diet that is high in protein can often make one feel satisfied on fewer calories. If snacking is the main hindrance to your weight goals, protein bars can help. It's much better to grab one of these than a bag of chips or a muffin when the afternoon snack attack hits. Finally, high-intensity athletes need protein bars because they offer them sustained energy throughout their routines. As you can see, people from all walks of life and with various dietary demands can find protein bars helpful.

Things To Consider When Choosing Your Protein Bar

The type of protein bar you eat will vary, depending on your needs. Luckily, there is truly a bar to suit every lifestyle and diet. If you are trying to cut back on sweets (as many Americans should) or if you're a diabetic who needs to watch your glucose levels, then you should look for a low-sugar option. Remember that the sugar to protein ratio is especially important, since even a bar relatively low in sugar, if also lower on the protein scale, can still cause a blood sugar spike. A low sugar/high protein bar is a safe bet for this group.

Luckily, there is truly a bar to suit every lifestyle and diet.

Those looking to add some healthy omega-3 fatty acids to their diet should find a bar that gets its protein from nuts and seeds. Walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all high in this important nutrient. Those just looking for a snack should find a bar that contains 200 calories or less, so that it doesn't accidentally tip the scales on your calorie consumption for the day.

If you're hoping for your protein bar to serve as a complete meal replacement, then you can get away with one that has higher calories — it's just important that it offers a full nutritional profile including complex carbs, healthy fats, and, of course, protein. If your bar is just meant to replace the dessert portion of your meal and help you reach for fewer cookies, there are options for you, too. Many taste like brownies and other treats, but because they're high in protein, they curb your sugar cravings effectively after just one bar.

Interesting Facts About Protein

Protein is a powerful thing. It can reduce your appetite, help you build muscle, and so much more. It's no wonder people are so curious about it, and so many diets revolve around high levels of the stuff. You know it can be found in meat, and that when you're low on it, you can wind up feeling tired. However, there are some facts about protein that may surprise you. For starters, if you're trying to cut back on red meat, your protein intake doesn't have to take a hit — lean chicken actually has more protein than steak. A four-ounce chicken breast will yield 35 grams of protein, while the same portion of steak only contains 28 grams. Perhaps this fact can encourage Americans to change some of their eating trends, since, at the moment, we tend to eat too many fats (often found in red meat).

However, it should be known that adolescent and elderly women are two groups who tend to be low on protein.

While an emphasis on protein is usually a good thing, it's important to know exactly how much of the stuff you should be consuming. Typically, of the food on your plate at any given meal, 10 to 35 percent of it should be protein. It will fall on the higher end for athletes, breastfeeding mothers, and others in need of a nutrient boost. With that in mind, your meals should not (as they often do at restaurants) consist of mostly meat or even half meat. In fact, when you consume too much protein, your body winds up storing it as fat, and it can lead to weight gain. However, it should be known that adolescent and elderly women are two groups who tend to be low on protein. If you're part of this demographic, it may be time to up your protein game.

There is some bad news for vegetarians: our bodies do best on animal protein. Because meat contains proteins most like our own, our bodies know how to make the most of it. Vegetarians willing to go pescetarian can rejoice though, because yellowfin tuna is one of the highest sources of protein out there, boasting a generous 40 grams of protein in a little six-ounce can. There's a lot to learn about this important nutrient group, but with the right information, you can create a complete and healthy diet.

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.