July 17, 2024

People often use protein bars to increase their intake of protein, an important nutrient involved in processes such as immune function, growth, and tissue repair (1).

Protein is also essential for building muscle, especially for athletes and people who are physically active (2).

Protein bars are a great way to help round out your diet, particularly if you have increased protein needs or might have trouble getting enough protein in your diet, which might be the case if you’re vegan or vegetarian.

They’re also a convenient and portable snack option that you can bring almost anywhere, whether you’re traveling, hiking, or simply short on time when you leave the house in the morning.

We considered the following factors when choosing the protein bars on this list:

  • Nutritional content: We looked for bars with at least 10 grams (g) of protein, 3 g of fiber, and 12 g or less of added sugar per serving. Because calorie needs vary, we included bars with 180–270 calories.
  • Ingredients: We paid close attention to ingredient lists, prioritizing bars with minimal amounts of artificial additives such as flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives.
  • Availability: All the bars below are available throughout the United States and can regularly be found in at least one nationwide grocery store.
  • Taste test: We tested multiple flavors from 25 brands over the course of 2 weeks. During testing, we considered whether the overall taste and texture made a bar satisfying to eat. We also noted whether the bar kept us full for more than an hour.
  • Price: We included products to suit a range of budgets.
  • Vetting: The products on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being.

Best overall

RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: rich dark chocolate flavor with a hint of salt; not overly sweet
  • Texture: very chewy with a bit of texture from pieces of nuts and chocolate

RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt is our pick as the best overall because it checks every box: high in fiber, more than 10 g of protein, free of added sugar, and made with whole food ingredients.

Featuring gooey chocolate chips, a rich dark chocolate base, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top, this bar is a true chocolate lover’s dream.

RXBAR offers 11 other regular flavors plus a few seasonal varieties, so there’s sure to be a bar to suit your taste buds.

Nutrition stats for RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt (3):

  • Calories: 210
  • Total fat: 9 g
  • Total carbs: 23 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Other available flavors: Blueberry, Mixed Berry, Mint Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Banana Chocolate Walnut, Maple Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Coconut, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Almond

Best plant-based

Aloha Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: sweet cookie dough flavor without any artificial aftertaste
  • Texture: chewy but not dense; not at all powdery or chalky

If you’re looking for a way to boost your protein intake while following a plant-based diet, Aloha protein bars are worth considering. Available in multiple flavors, the bars are all certified vegan and made with organic ingredients.

What’s more, Aloha bars are free of artificial additives, gluten, stevia, dairy, and soy. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re pretty tasty.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough was our favorite during testing, though the Lemon Cashew came in a close second. In particular, we loved the chewy texture and spot-on cookie dough flavor. Keep in mind that many of the other flavors feature a chocolate coating and have a slightly different texture.

Nutrition stats for Aloha Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bar (4):

  • Calories: 230
  • Total fat: 10 g
  • Total carbs: 25 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Added sugar: 5 g
  • Protein: 14 g

Other available flavors: Chocolate Espresso, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Mint, Coconut Chocolate Almond, Lemon Cashew, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Peppermint White Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, and Vanilla Almond Crunch

Best soft

TRUBAR Smother Fudger Peanut Butter

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: very much like a not-too-sweet peanut butter cup; no artificial aftertaste
  • Texture: soft, smooth, and melts in your mouth

If you dislike traditional protein bars, which often have a dense, powdery texture, then you’ll love TRUBAR.

Owned by TRUWOMEN — a woman-founded and -owned business — TRUBARS are made with just a handful of 100% plant-based ingredients and come in five dessert-inspired flavors.

The Smother Fudger Peanut Butter bar features a rich chocolate coating and a sweet peanut butter middle that melts in your mouth. The texture is definitely on the softer side, which we liked, but it may not be ideal if you prefer a bar with more chew.

Compared with those of other bars we tested, the price of these varied quite a bit. Purchasing directly from the company’s website was the most cost-effective option.

Nutrition stats for TRUBAR Smother Fudger Peanut Butter (5):

  • Calories: 190
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Total carbs: 23 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Added sugar: 6 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Other available flavors: Saltylicious Almond Love; Oh Oh Cookie Dough; Daydreaming About Donuts; and Get in My Belly, Peanut Butter & Jelly

Best crunchy

KIND Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bar

  • Price: $
  • Taste: nutty with a rich chocolate flavor
  • Texture: hard and crunchy

While protein bars are notoriously dense and a little chalky, the KIND Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bar is the exact opposite. Featuring crunchy whole nuts and a drizzle of chocolate, this bar will definitely put your jaw to work.

This flavor, in particular, was recommended by Healthline writer Rachael Link, MS, RD. It features nutrient-dense ingredients, and she noted that it’s her go-to afternoon pick-me-up thanks to its rich chocolaty flavor.

Like most other KIND snack bars, the Dark Chocolate Nut bar is made from mostly whole food ingredients. It’s also low in added sugar, high in fiber, and rich in healthy fats.

Nutrition stats for Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bar (6):

  • Calories: 240
  • Total fat: 17 g
  • Total carbs: 18 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Added sugar: 6 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Other available flavors: Crunchy Peanut Butter, Caramel Nut, and Almond Butter Dark Chocolate

Best for sensitive stomachs

GoMacro Sunflower Butter + Chocolate

  • Price: $$$
  • Taste: subtle chocolate and sunflower flavors; not overly sweet
  • Texture: chewy with bits of puffed brown rice for texture

If you follow a low FODMAP diet, then you know how difficult it can be to find suitable packaged snacks. Enter GoMacro.

GoMacro offers several low FODMAP-friendly products, including the Sunflower Butter + Chocolate bar. This flavor is also nut-free, non-GMO verified, and certified vegan, organic, and gluten-free.

The GoMacro Sunflower Butter + Chocolate bar is a bit higher in calories and carbs than many of the other products on our list, so it’s a good option for throwing in your hiking bag or bringing on your next ride.

Nutrition stats for GoMacro Sunflower Butter + Chocolate bar (7):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total fat: 9 g
  • Total carbs: 38 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Other available flavors: Salted Caramel + Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips, Banana + Almond Butter, Lemon + Lemon, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter, Blueberry + Cashew Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Mocha Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate + Almonds, and Cashew Caramel (Note: Only some flavors are FODMAP-friendly.)

Best for weight loss

No Cow Chunky Peanut Butter

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: sweet peanut butter flavor with a noticeable alternative sweetener aftertaste
  • Texture: chewy and chalky, with some texture from peanut pieces

If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, choosing a protein bar that’s relatively low in calories but high in fiber and protein may help you reach your goal (8, 9).

Providing 17 g of fiber, 21 g of protein, 0 g of added sugar, and fewer than 200 calories, the No Cow Chunky Peanut Butter bar is a good option if you’re watching your weight.

To keep the bars free of added sugar, No Cow uses several sugar alternatives, including stevia, monk fruit, and sugar alcohols, all of which impart a noticeable aftertaste.

However, during testing, we found the aftertaste to be less pronounced in the Chunky Peanut Butter flavor. Similarly, while the bars are a bit chalky, the peanut pieces in this flavor add a nice boost of texture.

Nutrition stats for No Cow Chunky Peanut Butter (10):

  • Calories: 190
  • Total fat: 4 g
  • Total carbs: 26 g
  • Fiber: 17 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 21 g

Other available flavors: S’mores, Cookies ‘N Cream, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Cobbler, Raspberry Truffle, Pumpkin Pie, and Maple

Best for muscle building (or outdoor adventures)

PROBAR Protein Chocolate Brownie

  • Price: $$$
  • Taste: rich chocolate flavor
  • Texture: very dense but relatively smooth; can get a little dry

Whether you’re trying to build muscle or frequently spending your days out on the trail, PROBAR protein bars are a great option. In addition to being high in protein, they provide a good amount of carbs, which are key for supporting muscle gains (11).

While all PROBAR protein bars are pretty dense, the Chocolate Brownie was our favorite, as it has a smooth consistency that isn’t too dry. It also has a rich chocolate flavor that will quickly satisfy any chocolate craving.

PROBAR Chocolate Brownie is certified gluten-free, non-GMO verified, and vegan-friendly.

Nutrition stats for PROBAR Protein Chocolate Brownie (12):

  • Calories: 260
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Total carbs: 34 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Added sugar: 12 g
  • Protein: 20 g

Other available flavors: Sea Salt Caramel, Coffee Crunch, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Cookie Dough

Best keto-friendly

think! Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Keto Protein Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: rich milk chocolate and peanut butter flavor
  • Texture: very soft, melt-in-your mouth consistency; a bit chalky

If you’re following a keto diet, there’s no shortage of keto-friendly protein bars to choose from. And while each bar had its pros and cons, this bar by far had the best flavor.

Unlike other keto-friendly bars we tried, the think! Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Keto Protein Bar didn’t have an unpleasant, lingering aftertaste.

Instead, it reminded us of a Reese’s Fast Break candy bar, with a rich peanut butter center, a milk chocolate coating, and a soft, slightly chalky, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

All think! keto protein bars are gluten-free, keto certified, and free of artificial sweeteners.

Nutrition stats for think! Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Keto Protein Bar (13):

  • Calories: 180
  • Total fat: 14 g
  • Total carbs: 14 g
  • Net carbs: 4 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Sugar alcohol: 7 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Other available flavors: Chocolate Mousse Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Best for dessert-inspired flavors

Good! Snacks Lemon

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: very sweet with a nice — though slightly artificial-tasting — lemon flavor
  • Texture: dense and a bit chalky

Available in seven dessert-inspired flavors, Good! Snacks protein bars are designed for people with a serious sweet tooth.

In fact, these bars were some of the sweetest we tried. Some flavors, such as Birthday and Snickerdoodle, started to cross into cloying territory.

Good! Snacks Lemon, however, offers a bright acidity that helps round out the sweetness.

Like the other flavors, the Lemon has a classic protein bar texture: dense and a bit chalky. While it might be off-putting to some, the texture definitely makes the bar feel extra filling.

Good! Snacks protein bars are vegan-friendly and free of soy, gluten, and GMOs.

Nutrition stats for Good! Snacks Lemon protein bar (14):

  • Calories: 230
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Total carbs: 28 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Added sugar: 9 g
  • Protein: 15 g

Other available flavors: Birthday, Blueberry, Choc. Mint, Choc. P.B., Cookie, P.B., and Snickerdoodle

Best protein breakfast bar

Over Easy Peanut Butter

  • Price: $$
  • Taste: not overly sweet, with subtle flavors of peanut butter and honey
  • Texture: great chewy texture with bits of peanuts

Miss the days of chewy bars growing up? Then you’ll like these breakfast bars from Over Easy.

Over Easy Peanut Butter is a breakfast bar that’s high in protein and fiber to help keep you full longer. We particularly loved that the bar is made with just eight simple ingredients and lightly sweetened with honey.

Over Easy bars are made with organic oats and free from gluten, soy, dairy, palm oil, and preservatives.

Nutrition stats for Over Easy Peanut Butter (15):

  • Calories: 230
  • Total fat: 11 g
  • Total carbs: 24 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Added sugar: 8 g
  • Protein: 11 g

Other available flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut, Toasted Coconut, and Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate

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