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The Best Protein Bar

Last updated on March 15, 2024

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Protein Bars

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

NEOH Keto Friendly Snacking Protein Bars, 12-Count

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

NEOH

Keto Friendly Snacking Protein Bars, 12-Count

You can't go wrong with this protein bar, which has just 1 gram of sugar and 3 grams of net carbs. The set includes a total of 12 bars, each of which has a delicious raspberry flavor. The bars also have a satisfying crunch.

Overall Take

Tasty and NutritiousThis protein bar has just 110 calories.

 Runner Up

Rise Whey Handmade Protein Bars, 12-Count

Rise

Whey Handmade Protein Bars, 12-Count

This protein bar for breakfast keeps your meal simple with just honey, almonds and whey protein powder as its ingredients. With each bar, you'll be powered with 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Not only will you feel fuller in between meals, but you also won't have to deal with a growling tummy before lunch.

Overall Take

Simple and EffectiveThis protein bar for breakfast also doubles as a healthy snack on the go.

 We Also Like

Quest Nutrition Dairy-Free Protein Bars, 12-Count

Quest Nutrition

Dairy-Free Protein Bars, 12-Count

Health-conscious consumers will love this protein bar, which is made almost exclusively with natural ingredients. It does contain erythritol and sucralose in some flavors, so you may want to pay close attention to the ingredients of the bar you choose if you're concerned about those. You'll get 21 grams of protein with this bar, making it one of th...

Overall Take

Natural IngredientsTons of protein and natural ingredients make this protein bar a winner, especially for health-conscious eaters.

 Strong Contender

RXBAR Workout Real Food Protein Bars, 12-Count

RXBAR

Workout Real Food Protein Bars, 12-Count

This protein bar works with several popular diets, including gluten-free, Paleo and Whole30. Only real food ingredients, like egg whites, cashews and dates are included, so you know you're getting a healthy breakfast bar. Each bar also comes individually wrapped, so you can take it on the go.

Overall Take

Real Food IngredientsStart your day off with this protein bar, which is both a great breakfast bar and an excellent pre-workout fuel source.

Buying Guide

Sometimes you just need a little something to sustain you until the next meal. Few things can fill that need as well as a protein bar. Tucking discreetly into a laptop bag or purse, protein bars are not only filling, but they can also ensure you get the extra protein you need as you head to the gym to build muscle. Some prefer a protein boost after a workout to enhance muscle recovery.

Whatever your use, there are certain factors to look for in a protein bar. Perhaps the first of those features is taste. While this can be subjective, there are some bars that specialize in giving you plenty of dessert-like options. If your mouth waters at the thought of a cookies-and-cream protein bar, consider looking for an option that offers those rather than the standard flavors like peanut butter or dark chocolate.

There have been multiple studies showing the benefits of protein before hitting the gym. One study found that 20 grams of whey protein before a workout improved anabolic response. If you’re looking for that type of benefit, you’ll find few protein bars have quite that level of protein. If you just want to stay full between meals, though, a bar with a lesser amount could do it.

As you’re looking at ingredients, it can be tempting to go for a bar that has the most nutrients. Aside from needing protein for your workout, though, you may not need an excessive amount of fiber or vitamins. Keep in mind you’re probably getting plenty of these nutrients in the other food you’re eating throughout the day.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Natural ingredients are a top priority for many consumers. It’s hard to find a protein bar that is completely natural, but you’ll find many that prioritize organic ingredients. If you have food aversions or allergies, there are bars that leave out gluten and soy. You’ll also find some protein bar manufacturers steer clear of GMOs in their ingredients.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

What to Look For

  • If you’re interested in protein bars, chances are health is a top priority. Look for a bar that is made from all-natural ingredients, like almonds, water, unsweetened chocolate and sea salt. However, you may find these bars have erythritol, a low-calorie sweetener that is a sugar alcohol, and sucralose, also known as Splenda, whose health effects have been questioned.
  • Consider a plant-based vegan bar that is both tasty and healthy. However, you’ll find some isolates, extracts and synthetic ingredients in these bars, so read the nutrition label carefully before buying.
  • If you’re concerned about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in your food, consider a protein bar made with no GMO ingredients. Some of these energy bars are made with rolled oats, chocolate and rich grains.
  • If you have food allergens or aversions, you’ll be glad to know that many of the bars are gluten-free. Some are also soy-free.
  • Of course, the top reason for choosing a protein bar is the protein itself. There are bars that have as much protein as 21 grams each. Others have just 8 or 9 grams of protein.
  • Fiber can also help with your overall health, especially when it comes to keeping you regular. If this is important to you, look for bars with as much as 14 grams of fiber.
  • Although taste can be subjective, some generally excel more than others. If you like dessert-like flavors, you may want to choose a brand that has plenty of decadent-sounding options like birthday cake, blueberry muffin and chocolate chip cookie dough.  Some energy bars can be on the dry side, so you’ll want to keep a bottle of water nearby while you’re downing it.
  • Hunger satisfaction is always an issue. Bars that are on the small side may not fill you up. However, these bars try to compensate for this by being low glycemic, which means the bars take longer to digest, keeping you full longer.

More to Explore

You can get plenty of benefits from protein bars, including keeping cravings at bay and preventing snacking between meals. Studies have connected protein bar consumption with an increase in lean muscle mass creation, as well as a boost in strength and power. A protein bar after an intense workout can also help speed up the healing process required after you’ve strained your muscles. Protein bars can reduce body fat by boosting your metabolism and increasing thermogenesis. Lastly, a protein bar can help keep your blood sugar in check, which both prevents overeating and improves concentration and overall well-being. In order to get the biggest benefits of these bars, though, you’ll need a bar with enough protein to make a difference.

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