Protein bars have become synonymous with on-the-go, muscle-building snacking. Whether it’s to fuel up before or after your workout or to get you through that afternoon slump, there are entire aisles at the grocery store now filled with countless options. When sorting through them all to find the healthiest protein bars, there are certain ingredients to look for to help up your protein count in a balanced and healthy way that doesn’t taste like you’re gnawing on a dog treat.
Start with the ingredient list, where less is usually more, and whole-food ingredients outperform anything that looks overly complicated. The optimal protein bar will also depend on your specific goals. Are you using them to fuel up on the go, bridge the gap between meals, or support weight loss or muscle growth? The best choice will vary accordingly, but here are some good general criteria to aim for:
- Energy: at least 100 calories per serving from real-food ingredients
- Protein: at least 10 g
- Fiber: at least 3 g
Now that we’ve got the basic fuel specs out of the way, unwrap the healthiest protein bars to nutritiously amp your next workout, adventure, or afternoon pick-me-up.
Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.
Healthiest Protein Bars That Pack Clean, Whole-Food Ingredients
1. Kize Bars
Kize bars are clean and simple. Made with premium, healthy ingredients for nutritional quality and sustainable energy, they offer a combination of energy and protein, and make the perfect snack anytime, anywhere. These bars likely offer the cleanest ingredient label you’ll find, and since they’re nut butter-based, they have a perfectly soft, chewy texture.
Cocoa Bar: 200 calories, 10 grams protein, 3 grams fiber.
[$29.99, box of 10 bars; kizeconcepts.com]
2. Rise Bar
Every offering from Rise Bar has fewer than five ingredients. The base of each protein bar is nut butter, natural sweetener, and protein powder to give you that timely, reliable boost. They’re delicious and have a great texture no matter what flavor you choose. These are suitable as a light breakfast since they’re a bit more robust when it comes to macros.
Almond Honey Protein Bar: 280 calories, 20 grams protein, 4 grams fiber.
[$27.99, box of 12 bars; risebar.com]