In an ideal world, we would be eating only whole foods that we prepare ourselves. However, that is not always realistic! We live busy lives and are often on the go. It’s helpful to have several options for clean protein bars to keep on hand for those days you find you are out the door before breakfast or empty handed at 3 pm when the vending machine is calling your name. With an aisle at the grocery store solely dedicated to granola, protein and breakfast bars it can be hard to know which to choose! Read on for our top 4 picks for protein bars that won’t sabotage your health.
Many protein bars are advertised as being low carb, no added sugars, high protein, etc. The savvy consumer should be on the lookout for things like artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, and acesuflame K), soy lecithin, gluten/wheat, corn or maltodextrin and added sugars. Additionally, many bars boast no added sugars and may have clean ingredients (i.e Lara bars), but are made with dates that are naturally high in sugar, making their sugar content close to a candy bar with little to no protein. One tip is to really read the nutrition label and the ingredients; make sure you can easily pronounce and recognize them. The options below are some of my favorites to recommend, but I always advise choosing a bar with at least 10 grams of protein and low to no added sugars, as well as free of the ingredients listed above.
- Epic Chicken Sriracha Bar – 100 calories, 15 g/protein, 1 g/CHO, 0 g/sugar
Ingredients: Natural* chicken, sea salt, red pepper flake, lactic acid**, organic chia seeds, garlic, papikra, onion, celery powder, red pepper, black pepper, cumin, oregano.
- Garden of Life Organic Fit Sea Salt Caramel – 200 calories, 15 g/protein, 13g/fiber, 0 g/sugar
Ingredients: Organic soluble tapioca fiber, organic almonds, organic vegetable glycerin, organic pea protein, organic pea crisps (organic pea protein, organic tapioca starch), organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic acacia fiber, organic flavor, organic svetol green coffee bean extract, organic ashwagandha, sea salt, organic cinnamon. Contains: Almonds.
- Primal Kitchen Coconut Cashew Collagen Fuel Bar – 210 calories, 13 g/protein, 3 g/sugar
Ingredients: Cashews, prebiotic tapioca fiber, bovine collagen peptides, pumpkin seeds, egg whites, coconut, honey, coconut flour, water, eggs, natural flavors, sea salt, vanilla extract, sunflower lecithin, rosemary extract, monk fruit extract. Contains: Egg, tree nuts (cashew, coconut).
- IQ Bar Chocolate Sea Salt – 160 calories, 11 g/protein, <1 g/sugar
Ingredients: Almonds, Soluble Tapioca Fiber, Allulose, Protein Crisps (Pea Protein Isolate, Pea Starch, Rice Flour), Pea Protein, Gum Acacia, Chocolate Chips (Chocolate, Allulose, Cocoa Butter), Cocoa, Water, Flax Seed, Cocoa Extract, Coconut Oil, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Stevia, Lion’s Mane Extract, Natural Vitamin E
Higher quality sometimes means higher price. If the above options don’t fit into your budget, we have included some alternative options below! A word of caution: they do contain some ingredients like soy, milk and corn that can be problematic for some. Additionally, sugar alcohols like erythritol (while not artificial) can sometimes cause bloating and gas when consumed in large amounts.
- Quest Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter – 210 calories, 20 g/protein, 1g/ sugar
Ingredients: Protein blend (milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate), peanuts, soluble corn fiber, water, erythritol, unsweetened chocolate, natural flavors, cocoa butter. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sodium caseinate, sea salt, steviol glycosides (stevia), sunflower lecithin. Contains: Milk, peanuts.
** Some Quest bars contain artificial sweeteners, so make sure to check your labels
- Kind Protein Bars Double Dark Chocolate Nut – 250 calories, 12 g/protein, 8 g/sugar
Ingredients: Peanuts, almonds, glucose syrup, soy protein isolate, honey, palm kernel oil, sugar, chicory root fiber, unsweetened chocolate, alkalized cocoa, vanilla extract, soy lecithin, salt, natural flavor, cocoa butter. Contains: Almonds, peanuts and soy.