Jump to

Farrinstitute is reader-supported. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.

12 Best Protein Bars: Are Protein Bars a Good Snack?

12 Best Protein Bars: Are Protein Bars a Good Snack?

By Kire Stojkovski M.D
Editor Jonathan Hoarau Published 12 April 2023
Time to read 11 min

First look:

  • Best protein bars
  • Grams of protein
  • How to choose a healthy bar
  • Homemade bars

A protein bar can provide a nutritious boost post-workout but not all bars are considered equal. Their benefits will differ, depending on the protein count, fiber content, and calories within each bar.

We delve into some of the best flavors on the market, to help you determine which protein pack might be best after you hit the gym.

Best Protein Bars

What are protein bars used for exactly? These make for a popular fuel option among athletes and gym enthusiasts. People also use them for weight loss, so they’re not only for bulking up.

You may be able to rely on a protein bar for a variety of reasons, but it all boils down to what the bars contain. The ingredient list for each bar provides insight into their purpose. Whether you need a gluten-free option, something without added sugar or a plant-based bar, you’ll find something suitable for your needs.

Grams of Protein

The grams of protein within each bar is a major marker to watch for when you’re deciding which protein pack is best for you.

A bar with approximately 20 grams of protein versus 12 grams of protein is what you want to aim for if you’re looking for nutritional support post-workout. However, if you’re looking for a bar that functions as a snack or as a weight-loss tool for appetite suppression, you may be able to get away with a lower amount of protein.

For athletes and those physically active, it’s recommended to consume 1.2 to 2g of protein per kg of body weight

1. RXBAR Protein Bars—Best Gluten Free Option

RXBAR makes for a modern company that caters to adults and children alike. If you have any young athletes in your family, you could score a protein bar for them as well.

Most of these bars contain 12 grams of protein and they’re gluten free to boot. Instead, they feature ingredients like oats, which are suitable for those with gluten intolerance. The protein comes from nuts and egg whites.

These bars make for a clean, simple option including three to five ingredients at maximum.


  • Lemon
  • Peanut butter chocolate
  • Chocolate sea salt
  • Blueberry
  • Peanut butter and berries
  • Mint chocolate
  • Vanilla almond
  • Maple sea salt
  • Chocolate cherry
  • Banana chocolate walnut

Real Customer Reviews of RXBAR

Customers rave about the natural ingredients in these 12 grams of protein products, simplicity and flavors with RXBAR.

2. EPIC Bars—Best Animal Based Bars

These meaty snacks feature animal protein which isn’t your standard inclusion in a protein bar. This will satisfy meat lovers who prefer the “real deal.”

Most of these bars have around 13 grams of protein each and 1 gram net carbs only.

Other ingredients with this brand include spices like garlic powder, celery spice, and others which makes the bar a savory choice.


  • Beef sea salt and pepper
  • Beef jalapeno
  • Chicken sriracha
  • Venison sea salt pepper
  • Bison bacon cranberry
  • Beef apple bacon
  • Smoked maple bacon
  • Turkey sweet potato and egg yolk
  • Wild boar with bacon and cranberry
  • Chicken sesame bbq

Real Customer Reviews of EPIC Bars

One user seemed quite satisfied with these bars but does note the shorter shelf life. If you intend to buy large packs at once, be aware of this.

3. Bulletproof Protein Bars—Best for Collagen

Bulletproof brings us a unique option that contains the protein collagen, a beneficial supplement for your skin, teeth, and joints. It comes from grass-fed sources which may earn you other benefits, too.

Each bar is keto-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and contains no GMOs. You’ll receive 7 to 12 protein grams per product. There are 7 grams of fiber in these bars, too, which is beneficial for satiation and digestion.


  • Mint chocolate chip
  • Lemon cookie
  • Cafe latte
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough
  • Fudge brownie
  • Coconut
  • Vanilla shortbread
  • Double chocolate
  • Vanilla cookie

Real Customer Reviews of Bulletproof Protein Bars

Bulletproof comes with a variety of reviews. One customer mentions receiving a bad batch to which the customer service team responded promptly and corrected their mishap.

4. EXO Protein Bars—Most Unique Protein Source

All EXO protein bars are dairy-free and gluten-free and feature 14 grams of protein per bar. Even though they’re sweet, the bars are low in sugar and carbs, as well.

The most unique feature about this product, and possibly on the entire list, is that the protein comes from crickets. Yes, that’s right. EXO uses cricket powder for a complete protein, hopping on board the “bug-eating revolution” as they say.


  • Chocolate chip cookie dough
  • Fudge brownie
  • Peanut butter chocolate

Real Customer Reviews of EXO Protein Bars

Reviews are mixed with EXO. Some users state these bars aren’t filling, while others have a different opinion. A few individuals did state that they don’t taste “buggy” in case you’re worried about that.

5. Detour Protein Boosts—Best Choice for Clean Eating

Detour promotes their bars as being a great option for clean eating and aside from the few bars that feature M&M’s, that’s true.

The protein selection at Detour all feature gluten-free, non-GMO products that contain 15

grams of protein per bar. Whey protein is the protein ingredient, so while it’s a clean option, it’s not suitable for vegans.

Whey protein bars showed to have the greatest effect on lean body mass


  • Chocolate chip caramel
  • Caramel peanut
  • Salted caramel cookie dough

Real Customer Reviews of Detour Protein Boosts

Most people seem satisfied with Detour, especially the fact that the bars are low sugar. However, we did see a few comments about the disappointing size of the product, they’re smaller than your average bar on the market.

6. Zing Bars—Best in Flavors

Zing presents an impressive array of flavors, all featuring the labels that many appreciate including gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, soy-free, high protein, high fiber, and vegan friendly.

Each protein bar contains around 10 protein grams and approximately 5 to 7 grams of fiber to boot. You also have a few options for the Keto diet, too.


  • Mint chocolate (dark)
  • Peanut butter chocolate chip
  • Dark chocolate coconut
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter (whey)
  • Oatmeal chocolate chip
  • Coconut cashew crisp
  • Chocolate (dark) cherry almond
  • Dark chocolate mocha
  • Macadamia Snickerdoodle Keto
  • Peanut butter cookie dough Keto

Real Customer Reviews of Zing Bars

Customers online sing praises for the Zoom bar selection, especially those with allergies and sensitivities. It seems more like a snack option, though, given these products only contain 10 grams of protein each.

7. Premier Protein Bars—Best for High Protein

With 20 protein grams per bar, Premier Protein is the brand to choose if you’re looking for a boost in workout recovery and support in building lean muscle.

Overall, the company is less gimmicky than some of the others, with basic packaging and facts. There’s nothing to lure you in, indicating they’re made to get the job done. They contain little sugar at around 1 to 4 grams each, with a healthy dose of fiber, too.


  • Chocolate brownie
  • Chocolate caramel
  • Chocolate peanut butter

Real Customer Reviews of Premier Protein Bars

One user backs up the reason these bars are made, functioning as a top-up for energy and recovery after you hit the gym. There was other positive feedback around the taste of these products, too.

8. Quest Protein Bars—Best Option for Athletes

Quest Nutrition brings us a protein bar that’s low in sugar, fat and contains 20 grams of protein each. Some might be lower than that, but the fiber content is high as well, up to 16 grams of fiber per product.

They’re geared towards serious athletes who need muscular and energetic support alongside their intense workouts. These Quest bars could provide a fair amount of satisfaction to tide you over until your next proper meal.


  • Maple waffle
  • Cookies and cream
  • Lemon cake
  • Double chocolate chunk
  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Cinnamon roll
  • Chocolate sprinkled donut
  • Birthday cake
  • Blueberry muffin
  • Chocolate hazelnut

Real Customer Reviews of Quest Protein Bars

Customer reviews for Quest are mixed, mainly regarding flavor. Some users commented that a few of the bars were inedible and lacking in quality control overall. Others found that a few flavors were much better than others.

9. Bob’s Bars—Best Wholesome Choice

Bob’s company is known for providing wholesome products from oatmeal to other tasty edibles. Each product is non-GMO and gluten-free and comes with whole grains.

They pack only 6 grams of protein per bar, so they’re not a suitable option for muscle recovery but could work as a nutritious snack.


  • Peanut butter banana and oats
  • Peanut butter chocolate and oats
  • Peanut butter and jelly with oats
  • Honey and oats with peanut butter
  • Coconut and oats with peanut butter

Real Customer Reviews of Bob’s Bars

Most users are quite satisfied with Bob’s selection, praising the flavors and texture overall.

10. FitJoy Protein Bars—Best for Fiber

FitJoy promotes the branded protein bar as one of the best grain-free options. You’ll receive 20 grams of protein with each one and no artificial sweeteners or flavors are included.

The 13 grams of fiber found in these products is beneficial for digestion and satiation, too.


  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Cookies and cream
  • Grandma’s lemon square
  • Cookie dough browni

Real Customer Reviews of FitJoy Protein Bars

Users are happy with the FitJoy company. There are numerous positive comments about the taste, texture, and ease of digestion.

11. Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars—Best for Low Carbs

These high-protein, low sugar bars come with marketing geared towards gym rats. There’s 20 to 23 grams of protein in each protein bar and they might be a suitable option for those looking to lose weight, as well, given the minimal carbs included.


  • Caramel chaos
  • Dark chocolate mint
  • Birthday cake
  • White chocolate cookie
  • Chocolate chip salted caramel
  • Dark chocolate raspberry
  • White chocolate salted peanut
  • Fudge brownie
  • Cookie dough with chocolate
  • Cookies and cream

Real Customer Reviews of Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars

While most consumers seem relatively satisfied with the Carb Killa products, some note that the caramel flavors melt to the packaging and others mention false advertising around the carbs content. It can’t be verified but it’s worth keeping in mind.

12. Think! Protein Bars—Best Vegan Protein Bars

These high protein options come with non-vegan and vegan-friendly choices, we’ve focused on the latter for this review.

For the vegan line, you’ll get 13 grams of protein per bar and 5 grams of sugar at maximum. Each product is non-GMO, free from artificial sweeteners, gluten-free, and without soy, as well.


  • Peanut butter chocolate chip
  • Chocolate mint
  • Sea salt almond chocolate

Real Customer Reviews of Think! Protein Bars

Unfortunately, many of the reviews we found for Think! are mediocre at best. Most individuals found the flavors and textures unbearable, while a few found them to be just okay.

Worst Protein Bars

These whole food products have a lot to offer, from help with weight management to recovery after a hardcore workout. They’re not all created equal per bar though, from the protein content to whether they include nasty ingredients or not.

Where that’s concerned, you want to avoid the following when shopping for a pack:

  • Added sugar (sugar alcohols, too)
  • GMOs
  • Preservatives
  • Oils (opt for healthier versions versus hydrogenated)
  • Empty calories


Along with our research, we’ve gathered up some of the most frequently asked questions about protein bars from individuals on the internet.

Are Protein Bars Good for You?

A whole food protein bar is only as good as the ingredients inside of it, from added sugar to fiber. Would a registered dietitian approve the product? It’s something to think about while many options are likened to a candy bar.

Here are a few other things to make note of when choosing the best option for you:

  • Grams of fiber: The more there is, the fuller you’ll be after consuming it.
  • Grams of sugar: Choose a low amount to keep your blood sugar in check.
  • Protein: Using it post-workout? Go for the highest gram content available.

Who Should Eat Protein Bars?

This depends on the individual and what your needs are, whether you want one for a small snack or something to actually provide fuel and or act as a meal replacement.

With this in mind, choose a bar that meets your specific requirements. Read the ingredient list carefully and check out the company before purchasing.

Are Homemade Protein Bars Better?

Homemade protein bars might be better, simply because you’re in charge of the ingredient list. You have more control over the high-quality protein content and fiber, by using things like nut butter and pea protein, for example.

You can even include special ingredients, such as brown rice, almond butter, pumpkin seed, coconut shavings, and other things you’re unlikely to find in your standard store bought option.

What Makes a Healthy Protein Bar?

A protein bar contains a variety of components that could make it a healthy choice, from the grams of fiber (2 grams to 9 grams on average) to grams of sugar, what types of added sugar are used, and more. Not all of them are healthy and you need to use discretion because of it.

Search for plant-based protein, grass-fed, whole foods options, and vegan-friendly ones for health concerns. Stick to something with 200 calories or less per serving with low sugar if you want a low-calorie option.

Best Protein Bars in Conclusion

The best protein bars and bar packs will feature foods like egg whites, nut butter, whey protein isolate, grass-fed dairy, plant-based protein, and pumpkin seeds, for some examples.

They’ll feature whole foods that are heart-healthy and with high-quality ingredients all around. You’ll even find chocolate almond vegan protein bars that are low in sugar but high in protein, 4 grams won’t cut it.

For satiation post-workout, watch for the included grams of fiber and for weight loss, grams of carbs. Avoid added sugar alcohols and keep the grams of sugar low overall.

Do check where the bar is made for added safety and check with a registered dietitian if you’re unsure of the ingredients per bar. Depending on your protein intake needs, a registered dietitian may have some recommendations as well.