Protein bars are seen by some as a luxury, and by others as a necessity, they’re a great source of protein when you are on the go or when needing to satisfy that sweet tooth, making them perfect for people trying to build muscle or to protect muscle while in a calorie deficit. They can also be used as a high-protein replacement for unhealthy snacks that you would usually eat.
There are many protein bars on the market, and even some regular chocolate bars have been given some added protein as long-established companies look to branch out into “healthy” foods. Obviously, there is a huge range in quality out there, and this article will attempt to showcase ten of the best protein bars on the market today.
Oh Yeah! Nutrition has been around since 2004 and used to own this space until our no. 2 company here, Quest Nutrition stormed the market with their low carb protein bar. Oh Yeah came back with a vengeance when they introduced the ONE bar. There are 13 flavors of protein bar to choose from and some seriously exciting flavors: Birthday cake, maple glazed doughnut, and peanut butter pie in particular.
From a nutritional standpoint, they are 230 calories each, with 22g of protein. The calories are made up from 96 calories of carbohydrates, 70 calories from fat, and 84-88 calories from protein (depending on the bar). This makes the bar suitable for mass gaining rather than dieting, although the amount of fiber per bar (10g) will really help keep you full between meals. So depending what your daily calorie total is you may be able to fit them into a cut.
For years, Quest Nutrition has been known as the provider of the tastiest low carb protein bars on the market. Recently they’ve had some stiff competition (mostly from the bars on this list), but their consistently delicious bars are still the preferred choice for fitness enthusiasts.
There are so many flavors available that it would be pointless to name them all, so we will focus on the ones we think are the best: S’mores, Cookies & Cream and Chocolate chunk cookies. They also sell variety packs, which is a genius idea and will eventually will become commonplace with supplement companies.
Each bar is different nutritionally so we’ll pick one out of the bunch to assess. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar is 190 calories and contains 21g of protein, 9g of fat, and 20g of carbohydrates (14g of fiber). They claim that this means that it is only 4g of “net carbs” but let’s be real here. With 81 calories coming from fat, 80 calories coming from carbohydrates, and 84 calories coming from protein, this bar has a slightly better ratio than the Oh Yeah! Bar we looked at, but the difference is minimal.
We’ve looked at Muscle Tech products before and they’re always high in quality. The Nitro-Tech bar is no exception. The flavor choices may not be as exciting as the previous two bars but they do the regular bars very well. The birthday cake bar is particularly good. The bar contains 240 calories, made up of 60 calories of fat (7g), 96 calories of carbohydrates (24g), and 88 calories of protein (22g).
Syntha-6 protein Crisp Bars by BSN are a great tasting protein bar that is low in sugar, low in fat, and have a decent amount of protein too! They come in four flavors: Vanilla, Toffee Pretzel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate and are made from milk protein and some soya protein too. Each bar is 240 calories with 60-63 calories coming from fat, 80 calories from protein (20g), and 96 calories coming from carbohydrates (24g).
These bars will really help keep you from snacking by increasing satiety (how full you feel after a meal), they also taste delicious, and the lack of choice in flavors can actually be a benefit. As it cuts down on decision time so you can spend more time in the gym!
10 years ago nobody had heard of a Red Velvet Cake, and now it’s one of the most popular cakes out there, and loads of supplement companies have woken up to this. As you’ve probably noticed Birthday cake flavor is huge right now too! Optimum Nutrition have taken this a step further though, and instead of trying to imitate the flavor, they have actually made small high-protein cakes!
There are three flavors: Red Velvet cake, Birthday cake, and Chocolate dipped Cherry. Each cake bite is 20g of protein and under 250 calories, so from a nutritional point of view they are very similar to protein bars. But as food they’re something unique and exciting.
Many supplement companies focus on taste when it comes to making their bars that they end up neglecting texture, this is a shame because trying to eat a rock-hard protein bar can put a lot of people off. That’s why Muscle Pharm’s Combat Crunch Bars are so good, they’re designed to feel like a “soft-batch” cookie.
At 210 calories they are slightly lighter than the other bars on this list, they have 20g of protein, 7g of fat, and 25g of carbohydrates making them more suitable to mass-gaining than dieting due to the higher carb-to-protein ratio. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough seems to be the most popular flavor out of the ten available.
Remember in the intro where we mentioned that protein bars are not just aimed at people who are looking to build muscle, but can also be used to replace higher calorie junk food. That is what Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie is designed to do.
If you are constantly eating bad foods such as cookies, then one way to easily improve your diet is to find higher-protein, lower-sugar replacement foods. This is where the Complete Cookie comes in. Each cookie is only 180 calories and contains over 8g of protein. This may seem low compared to the protein bars that we’ve looked at, but compared to a regular cookie … It’s huge!
MyProtein is a company that is perceived as a value for money supplement company because their products are almost always a lot cheaper than the competition. But this does them a disservice, their products are always of a high standard and are incredible value for money. Their protein cookies may also be one of the best protein bars out there.
Each cookie is 320 calories, but only 81 calories come from fat (9g), 80 calories come from carbohydrates (20g), and a massive 152 calories come from protein. There are 38g of protein in each 75g cookie! They also taste great, and offer 6 different flavors, with Double Chocolate being particularly popular for its great taste.
A fairly new company (the same mother company as Cellucor) that specializes in protein bars, FitJoy have clearly worked out that the tastier the bar, the more popular it is. Each bar contains 20g of protein and there are a huge variety of flavors to choose from. Of particular note would be pumpkin pie flavor, raspberry chocolate truffle flavor, and frosted cinnamon roll flavor. There are 7g of fat and 25g of carbohydrates in each bar for a total of 220 calories.
The company definitely seems to be aimed at women, with a lot of talk about Yoga in the park and some very manicured hands holding their bars in photos. But they would be perfect for anyone who enjoys tasty protein bars really.
A great tasting bar that contains less carbohydrates than most with only 17g per bar, but is also slightly higher in fat (90 calories from 10g). There are 20g of protein per bar. One feature that makes this bar stand out is its complete lack of soy protein. It’s also gluten-free for all you Celiacs out there. There isn’t much wrong with Soy protein, but getting all of the protein from milk makes it slightly better suited to men who want to keep Estrogen as low as possible.