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In a perfect world, everyone would have the time and headspace to make a well-balanced breakfast, a nourishing lunch, and a healthy dinner. All would be within the calorie requirements that a person needs to meet their health goals, made with fresh ingredients, and of course, it would be absolutely delicious. But because we can't live in a perfect world all the time, we often need to rely on meal replacement bars.
Most people are busy and don't have the time to make all of their meals. Others don't have the nutrition knowledge to know what is considered "healthy" or which foods fall into their specific nutrition needs.
To solve both problems at once, we asked registered dietitian nutritionists for their picks of the 9 best meal replacement bars.
Why do people choose meal replacement bars?
"Meal replacement bars have become popular over the years because of their convenience," says Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN, owner of Melissa Rifkin Nutrition, LLC. "For those who are on a tight schedule, eat on the road or maybe aren't confident in the kitchen, a grab-and-go bar that covers many nutrient needs is an easy option. Outside of convenience, meal replacement bars can provide a good combination of protein, carb and fat, and additional essential nutrients, like fiber, vitamins, and minerals."
Most dietitians do not promote the use of meal replacement bars on the regular. However, they can fit into a healthy diet in a pinch.
"Some days, a bar is the best that some of us can do, and that's OK", says Brittany Scanniello, RD. "Sometimes we need that bar so we can eat it while we drink our coffee in the school drop-off line or on a conference call."
Most dietitians recommend balancing a meal replacement bar with some other healthy food options to ensure the intake of adequate nutrients, as some bars may not have enough calories, protein, or fat to keep you going.
How to choose the best meal replacement bars.
A "best" meal replacement bar for one person may be a "worst" bar for another, because individuals have different nutrition needs and goals. The same bar would not meet the needs of a 300-pound body building man as it would for a 100-pound sedentary woman.
Carly Fenimore of Fertility-RD in Charlotte, NC provides specific guidelines she uses in her practice when evaluating which bars are best:
- a combination of adequate macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat).
- healthy fats should come from poly and monounsaturated sources such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, and oils like olive and flaxseed.
- contain a source of fiber to help keep you fuller for a longer period of time
- whole-food-based ingredient list to maximize nutritional benefit.
- 300 or more calories to meet meal requirements
Some meal replacement bars that are lower in sugar and calories are made with artificial sweeteners. If you are trying to avoid these ingredients, you should carefully evaluate the ingredient list to make sure you are not loading your body up with these additions.
How to make meal replacement bars more of a balanced meal.
"All bars are different so be sure to read the labels and most importantly, listen to your body", says Kayla Fitzgerald, RDN, LD of Nutrition Rites in Charleston, SC.
If a bar contains fewer than 300 calories and it is meant to be a meal replacement, it should be paired with other food. "If you eat a bar that's supposed to be a 'meal replacement' but you find yourself still hungry when you're finished it means that your body needs more fuel!"
She suggests pairing the bar with some Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit if hunger tends to strike shortly after enjoying your bar-of-choice.
What are the best meal replacement bars to buy according to dietitians?
When dietitians were asked what the best meal replacement bars are, they tended to stay away from most bars that market themselves as true meal replacements and stuck with bars that are more versatile.
The 9 best meal replacement bars can be used as a small meal, a hearty snack, or a component of a larger meal.
1. Best Minimally Processed Bar:Go Raw Dark Chocolate Protein Bars
Go Raw Dark Chocolate Protein Bars are made with just 7 ingredients, including one unique seed: sprouted watermelon seeds. The seeds are carefully sprouted to mimic the natural germination process and "activate" them. This makes the seeds easy to digest, gives them a delicious crunchy texture, and allows your body to enjoy their many nutritional benefits.
The ingredients in these bars are nearly 100 percent organic, and there is nothing artificial on the ingredient list. Since watermelon seeds are a natural source of iron, these bars provide 15 percent of the estimated daily value of this important mineral.
2. Best Paleo-Friendly Bar:Paleo Pro Primal Protein Bars
Paleo Pro Primal Protein Bars are a dream come true if you are following the paleo diet and depend on bars when you are on-the-go. Each variety is loaded with quality grass-fed protein, healthy nuts, non-GMO prebiotic fiber, and are dairy, soy, and whey-free. They are made with quality "paleo-friendly" ingredients like chia seeds and cacao (depending on the variety) and taste great!
At 250 calories, it does not quite provide enough energy to count as a full meal for most active people, but it is a great addition to a quick on-the-go lunch or an easy portable breakfast.
3. Best Bar for Brain Health:IQ Bars
IQ Bars are a great choice for people trying to take care of their brain health through food (which should honestly be everybody). With nutrients like omega 3s, choline, flavonoids, and other brain-boosting nutrients, these bars are a great addition to a meal for those trying to support their brain health.
These bars are lower on the calorie and protein range, so pairing one with a piece of fruit and some Greek yogurt would make for more of a meal.
4. Best Balanced Bar:Go Macro
"One of my favorite bars is GoMacro," says Rifkin. "While they do contain some added sugar, I enjoy the taste, the balance of other nutrients works well for me and I'm willing to limit sugar elsewhere in my diet to account for the reasonable amount coming from these bars. Life is about balance! I also enjoy that these bars are vegan, organic, a good source of protein and are low FODMAP."
5. Best Plant-Based Protein Bar:Zing Bars
"Zing bars are a great option," says Meghan McMillin MS, RDN, CSP, IBCLC of Mama and Sweet Pea Nutrition. "Available in a wide variety of flavors, Zing bars offer some that have plant-based proteins as well. Additionally, they contain prebiotics and healthy fats."
6. Best Breakfast Bar:Core Bars
For people who love the idea of overnight oats but can't get their act together to actually make it, Core bars are a perfect solution for busy mornings. These bars are overnight oat bars and are made with similar ingredients as traditional overnight oats. Many varieties contain pre and probiotics to support gut health and are sold refrigerated to keep the live bacteria fresh.
7. Best Bar for Breastfeeding Moms: RX Bar Peanut Butter
"Rx bars make a great meal replacement bar that I often recommend to my dairy-free breastfeeding moms," says McMillin. "With most flavors having less than 5 ingredients, these are some of the "cleanest" bars on the market."
8. Best Probiotic-Rich Bar: Pro Bar Live Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Fenimore describes Pro-Bars as a "plant-based bar with high quality ingredients".
This live probiotic nutrition bar with 10g plant-based protein and NO added sugar is a simple way to get in healthy live bacteria without a production. This bar is a delicious blend of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips. With 4 grams of fiber, over 300 calories, and 10 grams of protein, this bar can be a solution to hold you over if you just can't squeeze a meal into your day.
9. Best Bar That Tastes Homemade:Big Spoon Roaster Bars
Handcrafted, palm oil-free nut butter bars are made to order with ingredients sourced directly from local producers. Made with wholesome ingredients like quinoa and wildflower honey, these bars are as close to homemade as you can get. Top your bar with a tablespoon of Big Spoon Roaster nut butter, a piece of fruit on the side, and perhaps a glass of milk to round out the bar for a satisfying light meal that you can feel good about.
The worst meal replacement bars
Dietitians have different criteria for what they consider a "worst" bar, but they all seem to agree that high sugar content is a common culprit.
Also, if a meal replacement bar is marketed as such, it should provide adequate calories and protein to sustain an average person.
If a meal replacement bar provides fewer than 300 calories, that would often result in that bar landing on a dietitian's worst list. Low-quality ingredients tend to contribute to a bar landing on the worst list as well.
1. Clif Bars
"Many bars are advertised as healthy options for life on the go, but I think the definition of 'life on the go' is a bit different depending on the individual," says Jeannie Boyer RD, LD of East Cooper Bariatric Surgery. "A Clif Bar is great if you're climbing a mountain or biking for hours, but not if you're typing at your desk for hours or filtering through a mountain of e-mails."
Kristin Brown, RD, owner of Grounded Health Nutrition agrees, and says that she is "really not a huge fan of Cliff bars. They market themselves well, but they aren't the best option out there. One bar contains only 9 grams of protein and 21 grams of added sugar. Sugar is the first, third, and sixth ingredient if you look at the nutrition facts label but they try to convince you it is a healthier sugar by labeling it 'brown rice syrup' and 'cane syrup' and 'dried cane syrup.'"
2. Atkins Bars
This bar is marketed as a meal replacement bar but provides fewer than 200 calories-certainly not enough to qualify as a meal for an average person. According to Scanniello, Atkins bars are made with low-quality ingredients and don't provide much in the healthy fat department.
3. Luna Bars
Luna bars are a popular choice when it comes to a snack or a sugar craving, but they are sometimes used as a meal replacement.
Luna bars do not provide enough calories to be a sustainable solution. Whats more, they contain way too much sugar for the average person's needs, and many varieties are made with processed soy ingredients.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more
Whether you're heading out for a hike or outdoor workout, or are an essential worker trying to make it through your shift, you're going to need some grab-and-go snacks to fuel your day.
Enter the energy bar. Note: They're not the same thing as a protein bar, explains Acacia Wright, RD, CD. Energy bars are designed for athletes to replenish calories they've burned, she says, and are typically higher in carbs. "Carbohydrates are absorbed faster than protein and fats, making them an ideal energy source for fueling endurance activities," Wright says. Protein bars usually have a lower carb count and pack more (you guessed it) protein.
Aja Gyimah, MHSc, RD, owner of Compete Nutrition, recommends reaching for an energy bar if you don't have a whole food snack handy, like berries or nuts. Choose energy bars made with nuts, oats, dried fruits, and whey protein isolate to keep you full. Protein crushes hunger, so look for a bar that contains at least 5 grams of protein for around 100 to 200 calories. Avoid hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats) and bars with more than 10 grams of added sugar—otherwise, you might as well be eating a candy bar. Make sure you check the caffeine content before you bite: "Many energy bars contain caffeine, and it’s important to know that before you grab an energy bar to eat with your morning coffee," adds Gyimah.
Here are the best energy bar brands that should be on your radar, and in your gym bag.
1RXBAR Chocolate Raspberry Protein Bar
All the ingredients in an RX Bar are listed right on its front wrapper, so you don't have to wonder what's in it (or worry about allergens, if you can't eat gluten, for example).
"Most contain five or fewer ingredients and have 'No B.S' aka 'No Bad Stuff'—referring to added sugars and fiber fillers—as part of their brand, which is why I love it," Gyimah says.
Per serving: 210 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g sat), 23 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein
2GoMacro MacroBar Sunflower Butter + Chocolate Organic Vegan Protein Bars
For people with dietary restrictions, GoMacro is a great option. The bars are vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.
"They even have low FODMAP snacks for those with digestive issues like IBS," Gyimah says. "Their bars are made from mainly whole ingredients that are sustainably and ethically sourced."
Per serving: 270 calories, 9 g fat (1 g sat), 38 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 25 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein
3Orgain Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bar
With this plant-based protein bar, you can sneak in a filling snack between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, or before a workout.
"These delicious Orgain bars are organic, vegan, non-GMO and made without gluten, soy and dairy ingredients," Wright says.
Per serving: 140 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g sat), 20 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 125 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein
4Larabar Protein Lemon Blueberry Bars
Don't be alarmed when you see 19 grams of sugar on the label. For this particular Larabar, the sugar comes from dates alone, and there's no added sugar.
"I love that they're vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and have 8 or less ingredients from mainly whole sources," Gyimah says.
Per serving: 220 calories, 8 g fat (0.5 g sat), 25 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 11 g protein
5Kodiak Cakes Protein Packed Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bars
These bars have a crunchy, granola-like texture, but are more like a protein bar in composition: They pack 10 grams of protein. They're made mostly with healthy, unsaturated fats, says Alayna Horvath, RD, CPT.
"The bars are made from a whole food of whole grain rolled oats, providing a nutritious source of carbohydrates in addition to being high in protein. It'll definitely keep you full and energized," Horvath says.
Per serving: 220 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat), 23 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein
6Wild Zora Curry Turkey Meat and Veggie Bars
Not all energy bars have to be sweet! "This savory bar features free-range turkey along with organic vegetables and fruits," Wright says.
More pluses: It’s also paleo-friendly, gluten-free, nut-free and soy free, Wright adds. It's low in carbs and in calories, too, but high in protein.
Per serving: 100 calories, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 10 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 210 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 8 g protein
788 Acres Banana Bread Protein Bar
Because it's made with mostly organic pumpkin seeds (the first ingredient), 88 Acres bars are high in unsaturated fats, making it uber-filling, Horvath says.
It's also a healthier option because it only has 7 grams of sugar, only 4 of which are added sugars.
Per serving: 260 calories, 19 g fat (3.5 g sat), 15 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 140 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 12 g protein
8IQBAR Almond Butter Chip Brain + Body Protein Bars
This bar is packed with fiber and almost no sugar. It's also high in protein and unsaturated fat, all of which will help you make it from one meal to the next.
"When choosing a bar, a serving of at least 3g fiber is optimal," Horvath says. "Fiber also aids in keeping us feeling full and balancing our blood sugars," she adds.
Per serving: 150 calories, 12 g fat (2 g sat), 17 g carbs, <1 g sugar, 210 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein
9Primal Kitchen Almond Spice Protein Bars
Primal Kitchen bars are sweetened with monkfruit extract and are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly.
These are high in healthy fats, too, from almonds and flaxseeds. "Healthy fats are unsaturated fats, which typically come from foods such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and fish. It is okay to include some saturated fats in your diet, but focusing on the unsaturated fats is the priority," Horvath says.
Per serving: 200 calories, 16 g fat (8 g sat), 9 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 8 g protein
10Rise Almond Honey Whey Protein Bars
These bars are the real deal. "Made with only 3 ingredients (whey, almonds, and honey), this bar is as simple as it gets," Wright says.
It also has 20 gram of protein from whey protein isolate, and given its higher calorie profile, it can be enjoyed as a large snack or mini-meal, Wright adds.
Per serving: 280 calories, 20 g fat (1.5 g sat), 20 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 20 g protein
11ALOHA Chocolate Mint Organic Plant Based Protein Bars
Aloha Bars are naturally sweetened, without sugar alcohols, and have only 5 grams of added sugars. They're also high in fiber, and free from dairy, gluten, soy, and stevia.
"It is fairly common for energy bar companies to use sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol) and artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame) to add sweetness to the bar without adding grams of sugar. Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners can have a negative impact on the bacteria in your gut, so it's best to avoid them," Horvath says.
Per serving: 220 calories, 9 g fat (1 g sat), 26 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 12 g fiber, 14 g protein
12Bulletproof Vanilla Shortbread Collagen Protein Bars
The star of these Bulletproof bars is collagen protein, which can help nourish your hair, skin, nail, and bone health.
"Look for a protein content that has at least half the amount of the bar’s carbohydrates. For instance, if the bar contains 20g of carbohydrates, aim for at least 10g of protein," Wright says. These happen to be high in protein, with 12 grams, and have only 12 grams of carbs. The low-carb, high-fat nutrient profile also makes them keto-friendly.
Per serving: 220 calories, 14 g fat (6 g sat), 14 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 12 g protein
Mara SantilliMara is a freelance writer and editor specializing in culture, politics, wellness, and the intersection between them, whose print and digital work has appeared in Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Airbnb Mag, Prevention, and more.
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10 Keto Bars That Are Full of Flavor and Protein (Not Carbs)
You’ve totally nailed ketogenic breakfasts, lunches and dinners. But when hunger strikes in between meals, what’s someone on the keto diet to do? Sure, you could munch on a piece of cheese or a hardboiled egg, but that gets pretty old, pretty quick. (Also—carrying around a bag of boiled eggs in your purse is a little, erm, smelly.) The solution: A stash of ready-to-eat snacks on hand so that you can stay on track—and satisfied. Here, 10 of the best keto bars to buy that are packed with flavor and protein, not preservatives, artificial sweeteners and processed fats.
RELATED: 7 Things I Learned After Trying the Keto Diet for 30 Days
What Are Keto Protein Bars?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet. When your body's carb intake is low enough, you'll enter a state of ketosis, meaning your body will start burning through existing stores of fat for energy. (That's why keto eaters can chow down on cheese, bacon and eggs left and right and still lose weight.) So, keto protein bars are low in carbs and higher in fat, protein and fiber in order to keep you full and in ketosis. Here are a few ingredients that they commonly contain:
- Almonds, cashews or other nuts
- Coconut or coconut MCTs
- Egg whites
- Beef collagen
- Whey protein
- Pea protein
- Monk fruit, stevia extract or another natural sweetener
Some bars are filling enough to act as meal replacements, while others are better for a post-workout or afternoon snack.
Our Favorite Keto Protein Bars
1. Epic All Natural Chicken Sesame BBQ Meat Bar
Best for chicken lovers
Want a jerky bar that isn’t all beef and bacon? Give this savory chicken option a go. It's packed with protein and low in both sugar and carbs. Sesame gives this Asian-inspired bar its nuttiness, while ginger and red pepper give it a spicy kick.
Rave review: “These are freaking delicious!! I was originally a bit weirded out by the idea of a ‘meat bar’ but was curious enough that when a lightning deal came around, I had to buy a box. And I'm so glad I did, because these bars have a wonderful taste, and the ingredients list is full of REAL food and not big words that you have to Google. The flavor is something similar to the way beef jerky is seasoned, but the texture is a bit softer and more moist.”
Per serving: 120 calories, 6g fat, 13g protein, 3g net carbs, 3g sugar
$27/12-pack at Amazon
2. Almond Butter Chip IQBAR Brain Food Bar
Best for vegans
These keto- and Paleo-friendly bars are made with six “brain-boosting ingredients”—Lion's Mane (a type of mushroom), medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), omega-3s, flavonoids, vitamin E and choline. They're also free of sugar alcohols, as they're sweetened with stevia extract. Oh, and they taste like cookie dough. Need we say more?
Rave review: “Do you need a bar that will keep you on your keto diet and be easily portable? These bars don't melt in Texas heat and they satisfy you without having too much protein. I have ordered them twice and they are great for travel and not too sweet.”
Per serving: 150 calories, 12g fat, 12g protein, 3g net carbs, <1g sugar
$25/12-pack at Amazon
3. Pegan Thin Protein Bars (Variety Box)
Best for dessert lovers
Here’s a meat-free snack that boasts a ton of organic plant protein, as well as only 2 net carbs and just 1 gram of sugar per bar. Flavors include lava chocolate, sweet sunflower, vanilla cinnamon twist, cinnamon raisin roll and ginger snap cookie, all of which are lightly sweetened with monk fruit.
Rave review: “Love the taffy, chewy texture. Takes a bit of work to eat and I like that. Can’t gobble them down! They do tend to taste a lot alike, but the macros are excellent.”
Per serving: 150-190 calories, 6-11g fat, 20g protein, 2g net carbs, 1g sugar
$30/12-pack at Amazon
4. Atlas Keto Protein Bar
This Atlas protein bar is a fan favorite, thanks to its uniform texture (no grittiness) and not-too-sweet flavor. Not only are they GMO- and soy-free, they're also loaded with gut-healthy probiotics.
Rave review: “These bars are amazing. I was looking for a healthy, filling protein bar and my friend recommended these to me. I am hooked! They're now my go-to pre- or post-workout snack. They are fantastic protein bars with natural ingredients. It's not too sweet, but sweet enough and the texture is really nice, unlike other protein bars I've tried. Would highly recommend!”
Per serving: 220 calories, 11g fat, 15g protein, 3g net carbs, 1g sugar
$30/10-pack at Amazon
5. DNX Grass-Fed Beef and Uncured Bacon Jalapeño Bar
Best for meat or jerky lovers
Free of supplements, protein powders and artificial sugars, each one boasts 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of healthy fats with barely any carbs at all. Meaty and just a little bit spicy, these DNX bars are also made with organic Medjool dates, organic liquid coconut aminos and grass-fed beef collagen.
Rave review: “I can't even explain how phenomenal this bacon bar is. I was worried it would be too spicy for me, but the jalapeño was just enough to add a little kick and not make it overly hot. The bacon flavor is prominent and absolutely mouth-watering. And you can detect just a bit of sweetness from the Medjool dates, too. This bar is addictive, and the ingredients are fantastic, too!”
Per serving: 140 calories, 9g fat, 14g protein, 1g net carbs, 1g sugar
$24/eight-pack at Amazon
6. Keto Bars Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Bar
Best to have as a snack
Yep, you can still eat chocolate on the keto diet. This dense and chewy pick is loaded with your favorite ingredients, including unsweetened baking chocolate, shredded coconut and creamy almond butter. With a modest amount of protein and 7 grams of fiber, these Keto Bars are great for keeping you full between meals. (Psst…they also come in chocolate peanut butter, chocolate-covered strawberry and mint chocolate.)
Rave review: “These Keto Bars are very tasty. When I got my package in the mail and opened it, the bars were seal wrapped. I thought they’d be hard. Rather they are moist and soft. They have a wonderful taste. I feel like I’m indulging in chocolate.”
Per serving: 230 calories, 20g fat, 6g protein, 3g net carbs, <1g sugar
$30/10-pack at Amazon
7. RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt
Best for keto beginners
You've definitely seen this low-ingredient bar on your Instagram feed or in your friend's lunchbox by now. And it's a crowd favorite for a reason. Every ingredient has a specific purpose (like egg whites for protein and dates for binding), so there's no unnecessary junk or weird add-ins. If you're strictly adhering to keto, the dates' natural sugar and carb content might rule these out for you. But they're a great starter bar if you're just getting your toes wet. They're also Paleo- and Whole30-friendly, as well as gluten-free.
Rave review: "What appeals to me most about these bars is that the ingredients are clear, clean, and straightforward. Ingredients on the back match the ingredients on the front. Regardless of the specific flavor you order, most of them will have a somewhat lightly sweetened, Fig Newton-like taste. I've found the chocolate sea salt flavor to be my favorite, so far."
Per serving: 210 calories, 9g fat, 12g protein, 18g net carbs, 13g sugar
$16/12-pack at Amazon
8. Keto Krisp Almond Butter Bar
Best for crunch lovers
If the biggest turnoff about protein bars for you is their mushy, chewy texture, look no further than Keto Krisp. This flavor stars creamy roasted almond butter and real chocolate, both free of gluten, soy, corn and peanuts. They contain coconut MCTs, which can be converted into ketones, and are naturally sweetened with chicory fiber.
Rave review: "I’m a repeat customer and the almond are the best, in my opinion. Great macros for keto and sugar free. These are a daily snack for me, and I’ve given away the competitor snacks I had purchased before these. Great flavor, not too ‘greasy’ like other keto snacks, no nasty aftertaste and just the right amount of crunch. They are very filling and great for in between meals."
Per serving: 220 calories, 18g fat, 10g protein, 8g net carbs, 2g sugar
$36/12-pack at Amazon
9. Dang Lemon Matcha Keto Bar
Best for those who don't like chocolate or nuts
There are a ton of keto bar brands out there, but unique flavors are few and far between. That's why we love this citrusy pick from Dang; it's just right for those who are sick of the usual suspects. It's vegan, gluten-free and has no added sugar.
Rave review: "These are so perfect for the Keto diet. I got one of the lemon matcha flavored bars in my keto subscription box and I was a little [wary] of the flavor...until I tried it. WOW. It has a mild lemon flavor but was so tasty. The texture is crumbly, not super chewy like other protein bars. They also have visible bits of sunflower seeds for extra crunch. I eat one a day now and will continue to purchase this brand as my go-to protein bar. So delicious!"
Per serving: 210 calories, 15g fat, 9g protein, 5g net carbs, 3g sugar
$30/12-pack at Amazon
10. Perfect Keto Birthday Cake Bar
Best for dessert
This buzzy brand is famous for its keto-friendly bars inspired by sweet treats. Each flavor (salted caramel, pumpkin spice and cinnamon roll, just to name a few) is sweetened with stevia and made with tapioca fiber instead of corn syrup. Whether you're treating yourself post-workout or craving something full of carbs and sugar before bedtime, consider yourself covered.
Rave review: "I've looked into a bunch of different bars to have on hand but just wasn't crazy about the ingredients. I have an autoimmune disease, so I have to be super picky about what I am putting into my body. First of all, MINIMAL ingredients and nothing weird. DAIRY FREE, which is also amazing. I love that collagen protein is being used, because collagen is rich in proline and glycine, which are great for the gut!"
Per serving: 230 calories, 17g fat, 13g protein, 3g net carbs, 1g sugar
$100/36-pack at Amazon
RELATED: 25 Breakfast Bars to Try When You're Bored of Eggs and Oatmeal
Best Protein Bars | Weight Watchers
This list of over 20 of the Best Protein Bars for Weight Watchers following the Freestyle, Blue, Green or Purple plans, details the Smart Point values per protein bar.
It details the calorie and protein content of each of the bars and also some information of where to buy them!
If you are looking for a Weight Watchers treat, you can't go wrong with one of these WW friendly protein bars. They come in a variety of different flavours and sizes to fit any taste and Smart Point budget.
With the recent influx of new protein bars on to the market, it can be quite confusing to know what bars are Weight Watchers friendly and what bars will blow your Smart Points out the window!
Hopefully this list of 20 of the most popular protein bars on the market will help you make sensible decisions.
The bars listed here range from 2 Smart Points per bar up to 8 or 9 Smart Points per bar.
They also vary widely on the amount of protein they contain and of course on the size of the bar.
The Smart Point values have been worked out using the official Weight Watchers App and are correct at the time of posting.
As ingredients, flavours and sizes of bars may change in time, it is always best to check the Smart Point values by scanning or entering the nutritional information into your WW App before eating.
The role of Protein in Weight Watchers
First of all, protein is a great way to curb hunger pangs!
It fills you up quickly and keeps you satisfied for longer - result!
Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue and can also use it as a fuel source.
Best of all, it is suggested that your body finds it more difficult to break down protein than fats or carbohydrate and therefore you work off some calories from the protein whilst you are digesting it!
I remember hearing something similar about eating celery (possibly an urban myth 😀 )! But I know which I would rather snack on!
If you are interested in learning more about protein in your Weight Watchers journey, take a look at this useful information from Weightwatchers.com
If you like this list of Best Protein Bars, you may also like these Weight Watchers Shopping Essentials from Pointed Kitchen.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit this page to see what that means.
These popular protein & energy bars are only available (at present) to buy online. There are lots of different flavours including Mint Brownie Delite, Lemon Chocolate Creme, Salted Caramel Chocolate and Coconut Chocolate Creme. A typical bar contains 110 calories and 15g of Protein. They work out at 3 Smart Points per bar.
These popular protein bars are available to purchase online and from large supermarkets such as Target and Walmart. Quest Bars come in a variety of flavours including Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Mint Chocolate Chunk. Bars contain between 180 & 210 calories and around 20g of protein. Their Smart Point values vary, with the Birthday Cake bar being 4 Smart Points and the Choc Chip Cookie bar being 5 Smart Points.
These NuGo Slim Protein Bars are available to buy online & from stores such as Whole Foods Market and Target. The slim bars come in a variety of flavours such as Crunchy Peanut Butter, Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Mint. The bars contain around 180 to 190 calories each and contain between 16g and 18g of protein. They work out at 5 Smart Points per bar.
Fiber One Protein Bars are available to buy from most large supermarkets in the US. They come in a variety of different flavours including Caramel Nut, Peanut Butter and Cookies & Creme. They are 140 calories per bar and each bar contains 6g of fiber. Most bars work out at 5 Smart Points per bar except for the Coconut Almond bar which works out at 6 Smart Points.
One Protein Bars from Oh Yeah are available to buy online or from stores such as Walgreens & 7 Eleven. They come in a variety of different flavours including Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Brownie and Cinnamon Roll. They vary in the amount of calories per bar but most contain 20g of protein. Smart Points vary per bar, with the Birthday Cake flavour being 6 Smart Points and the Almond Bliss being 7 Smart Points.
These Protein One Bars by the makers of Fiber One are available to buy from most large supermarkets as well as online. Each bar is 90 calories and contains 10g of protein and 1g of sugar. They come in a few different flavours including Strawberries & Cream, Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Each bar is 2 Smart Points.
These bars, by the makers of the protein shakes seem to be very popular. They come in a variety of flavours including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Mint and Yogurt Peanut Crunch. Each bar contains 30g of protein but the calories & saturated fats vary between the bars. The bars are big (72g) so have higher Smart Points compared to other bars which are often smaller. Smart Points vary between 8 & 9 per bar. The bars are available to buy from large stores such as Costco & Walmart as well as online.
These Detour bars have recently changed their name from Detour Simple to Protein Boosts. They come in 3 flavours, Caramel Peanut, Chocolate Chip Caramel & Salted Caramel Cookie Dough. They come in snack size and full size bars. The snack size bars contain between 110 & 120 calories and 10g of protein. The snack size Caramel Peanut bar is 4 Smart Points and the other 2 flavours are 3 Smart Points per snack bar. The full size bars are 6 Smart Points each. They are available to purchase online and from some larger stores.
WW do a selection of very tasty Protein Bars. They come in three flavours, Snickerdoodle, Triple Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter. They contain approx 90 calories and 7g of protein per bar. They are 3 Smart Points per bar and are available to buy online or from your local WW workshop.
WW also do a selection of Protein Stix at 2 Smart Points per stick. They contain 70 calories and 7g of protein per bar and come in Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream and Chocolate flavours. They are available to buy online or from your local WW workshop.
These Pure Protein bars come in a couple of different sizes and a number of flavours including Birthday Cake, Chewy Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Peanut Caramel. They contain approx 200 calories and 20g of protein per 50g bar. The Birthday Cake, Chocolate Peanut Caramel, Chewy Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Peanut Butter bars are all 5 Smart Points per 50g bar. They are available to buy online & from some stores such as Kroger and target.
These Lean Bars come in packs of 5 and come in 13 flavours including Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Yogurt and Vanilla Birthday Cake. They differ in calorie content but most bars contain 15g of protein. The Chocolate Peanut Butter bars are 5 Smart Point per bar and the Strawberry Yogurt and Vanilla Birthday Cake bars are 6 Smart Points per bar. They are available to buy from GNC stores as well as online at Amazon.
These Luna Protein Minis are available in two flavours LemonZest and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The LemonZest bars (23g) contain 90 calories, 4g of protein per bar and work out as 3 Smart Points. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (30g) contain 120 calories and 8g of protein per bar and work out as 5 Smart Points. They are available to buy online.
These full size Luna bars (48g) come in a variety of flavours including LemonZest, Chocolate Peppermint Stick and Sea Salt Caramel. The bars contain approx 200 calories and contain 7g to 8g of protein per bar. Most of the bars, including Nutz over Chocolate, Chocolate Peppermint, S'mores and Blueberry Bliss are 7 Smart Points. They are available to buy from stores such as Walmart and Target and are also available to buy online.
These protein rich Mars Bars are available to buy online but are also widely available in stores in the UK. They contain 200 calories and 19g of protein and work out at 7 Smart Points per bar.
These protein rich Snickers bars are available to buy online but are also widely available in stores in the UK. They contain 199 calories and 18g of protein. The 48g bar is 6 Smart Points.
These Nut Butter Filled Clif bars have fewer Smart Points per bar than Clif Bars and Clif Builders Protein bars. They come in 7 flavours including Peanut Butter, Coconut Almond Butter and Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter. They vary in the amount of calories and protein that they contain but the Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter and Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter flavours are all 8 Smart Points per bar. They are available to buy in stores and also to buy online.
These protein and 150 calorie bars come in 6 flavours including Chocolate Almond Brownie, Cupcake Batter, Salted Caramel and S'mores. They contain 150 calories per bar, 10g of protein and are 5 Smart Point each. They are available to buy online as well as from stores such as 7 Eleven and Target.
These wafer creme protein energy bars come in a variety of flavours including Wild Berry Creme, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Mint and Peanut Butter Creme. They vary in calorie content and contain between 13 and 14g of protein per bar. The Smart Point values vary between bars with the Red Velvet flavour being 8 Smart Points and the Triple Chocolate flavour being 7 Smart Points per bar. They are available to buy from stores such as Walmart but can also be purchased online.
These Kind protein bars come in a variety of flavours including Crunchy Peanut Butter, Double Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Chocolate Cinnamon Almond. Each bar contains 250 calories and 12g of protein. They are 8 Smart Points per bar and are widely available in stores and also to buy online.
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Looking for a quick on-the-go munch or post-workout bite? Protein bars are a portable snack that are great when you're in a pinch and need something to eat quick. But the protein bar aisle has become saturated with countless choices and lofty nutrition claims that can be overwhelming to decipher. And just because something has the word "protein" in it does not make it automatically healthy.
So what makes a protein bar worthy of being on your grocery list? As a registered dietitian, ingredients are always at the forefront of any testing I do. After analyzing dozens of protein bars in our Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, our choices focused on protein bars with a readable list of ingredients and a whole grain or whole food (i.e. nuts, oats, legumes, etc) as the first ingredient.
We capped calories at 300 per bar, and looked for choices with no more than 10 grams of added sugar. In order to be considered a protein bar, we required at least 10 grams of protein per serving. We also feel that fiber is important to help keep you full and balance out the bar, which is why all choices on our list have at least 3 grams of fiber or more per serving. We also tried to keep sodium counts under 300mg per bar.
After careful consideration, we rounded up our top choices for the best protein bars of 2020:
1Organic Plant Based Protein Bars
This new-kid-on-the-block vegan protein bar is not to be missed. Packed with wholesome ingredients and no sugar alcohols or stevia, it's a vegan and low-carb option that's also USDA organic. Peanuts and pumpkin seed protein are the star of the show.
Nutrition Facts (1 Bar): 240 cal, 12g fat, 85mg sodium, 24g total carb, 13g fiber, 4g total sugar, 14g protein
2PROTEIN From Real Food Bars
Don't be fooled by its granola bar facade! This crunchy snack from KIND actually packs in 12 grams of plant-based protein and only has 6 grams of added sugar. We love the taste and texture on this nutty and chocolatey bar.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 250 cal, 17g fat, 125mg sodium, 17g carb, 5g fiber, 6g added sugar, 12g protein
3Organic Plant Based Protein Bar
Vegan protein bars can be hard to come by, and organic ones are even tougher to find. We love the chewy texture on this chocolate chip cookie dough flavored protein snack bar from Orgain that boasts 10 grams of plant-based protein and is both vegan and soy-free.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 140 calories, 5g fat, 125mg sodium, 20g carb, 3g dietary fiber, 5g total sugar, 4g added sugars, 10g protein
4Gluten-Free, Low-Sugar Protein Bars
With flavors like Birthday Cake and Pumpkin Pie, this bar will not only cure your sweet tooth but it'll also pack in a protein punch post-workout. These bars are super flavorful and have 20 grams of protein, which is far more than most on the market. They now also come in minis for a portion-controlled treat.
Nutrition Facts: 220 cal, 8g total fat, 140mg sodium, 24g carb, 8g fiber, 1g total sugar, 0g added sugar, 20g protein
5LAYERS Layered Protein Bar
RXBAR's newest innovation is chewy, gooey, and nutrient-dense. Packed with 14+ grams of protein, it boasts a wholesome ingredients list and is sweetened with dates and honey. It has that candy bar taste and texture, but only 4 grams of added sugar.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate): 250 cal, 14g total fat, 180mg sodium, 20g carb, 3g fiber, 13g total sugar, 4g added sugar, 15g protein
6Omega-3 and Grass-Fed Whey Protein Bars
The first ingredient in this protein-packed bar is grass-fed whey protein concentrate. It's packed with fiber (7 grams to be exact) and only 4 grams of added sugar. Plus, it has a great flavor and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 200 cal, 7g total fat, 120mg sodium, 22g total carb, 7g fiber, 5g total sugar, 4g added sugar, 14g protein
Of course we love the traditional RXBAR protein bar as well. Made with real ingredients that you can pronounce, these bars load up 12 grams of protein and are also gluten-free. Plus, they are free from added sugar and sweetened instead with dates.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 210 cal, 9g total fat, 260mg sodium, 23g total carb, 5g fiber, 13g total sugar, 0g added sugar, 12g protein
8Plant-Based Protein Bars
Designed by registered dietitians, these chewy bars are completely plant-based and boast a strong 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. The Dark Chocolate Coconut Vitality Bar features macaroon-style shaved coconut and tastes like an almond joy.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 210 cal, 11g total fat, 55mg sodium, 24g carb, 7g fiber, 9g total sugar, 10g protein
9Protein & Superfruit Bars
Not only does this yummy bar from thinkTHIN have 10 grams of protein and fiber, but it also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. This gluten-free and non-GMO choice is both sweet and tart from the combination of chocolate, pomegranate, and cherry.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 230 cal, 9g total fat, 140mg sodium, 30g carb, 10g fiber, 8g total sugar, 10g protein
10Performance Bar, Almond Butter Chocolate
These performance bars from EPIC are all made with six ingredients or less. They get their sweetness from dates and protein content from egg whites and nuts. This bar is also gluten-free and great for pre or post-workout snack.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 210 cal, 7g fat, 180mg sodium, 25g carb, 4g fiber, 19g total sugar, 0g added sugar, 12g protein
11Nut Butter Protein Bars
You may be familiar with Bobo's oat bars, but their new protein bars deliver great nutritionals and flavor. With a strong 11 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and only 7 grams of added sugar, it's perfect for an on-the-go snack.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 270 cal, 11g fat, 60mg sodium, 39g carb, 4g fiber, 7g added sugar, 11g protein
12Vegan Cookie Dough Protein Bar
This plant-based, low-sugar bar is top-rated on Amazon and comes in a variety of flavors. It's a gluten-free, plant-based, low-sugar option that's both soft and tasty. We like that the protein blend comes from fava beans and brown rice, and that is has a whopping 11 grams of fiber.
Nutrition Facts (1 bar): 220 cal, 7g fat, 210mg sodium, 29g carb, 11g fiber, 10g total sugar, 15g protein
13Plant Based Protein Bars
The first ingredient in this soft bar is almond butter, which helps to pack in 10 grams of plant-based protein per bar. You'll find actual dried blueberries throughout and a nice flavor, with no dairy or soy in the ingredient list.
Nutrition Facts: 260 cal, 13g fat, 50mg sodium, 23g total carb, 4g fiber, 11g total sugar, 10g protein
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