How exactly are you supposed to choose from the best protein bars when there are hundreds, if not thousands, available at every grocery store and nutrition center?
We've done all of the work for you!
We've tried numerous different protein bars and have gone through mounds of nutritional information, all with one goal - providing you with a list of the best protein bars on the market and the nutritional information to back them up!
Thankfully, these protein packed nutrition bars don't taste like chalk or cardboard anymore, and in a pinch, can serve you well when nutritious calories and protein are needed.
Most of these protein bars taste downright amazing!
What to look for in a good protein bar
Unfortunately, there isn't a generic "one size fits all" when it comes to protein bars.
If there was, selecting the best protein packed bar that fits your needs would be an easy task.
Your nutritional and dietary needs needs may be different than the next person reading this list.
But don't worry, there's a protein bar out there for everyone!
I know, some people would say the idea of protein bars goes against popular recommendations to eat only naturally occurring food.
But remember – we like to be realistic.
And while eating nothing but unprocessed, whole foods everyday, for each meal sounds great on paper, it’s not always possible.
In those situations, having a healthy protein bar in your pocket can be a lifesaver.
So here’s our list of what we believe to be the best protein bars available – in no particular order:
Tried and True - Best Protein Bars and Their Nutritional Breakdown
ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars
ZonePerfect Calorie Breakdown
I remember when these first came out...
They were and still are a hit!
Based on the 40-30-30 ration of the Zone Diet, these all-natural treats come in a wide variety of flavors from dark chocolate, to fruit flavors, and even amazing cookie dough!
I just love the texture, as they are soft and a little crunchy.
Each bar has around 210 calories, 16 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat.
MET-Rx Protein Plus Calorie Breakdown
I use two of the Met-RX brand bars.
First up is the 300-calorie Protein Plus, which as the name implies is a high protein, moderate carbohydrate fat bar used as a meal, or prior to a workout.
It’s a bit chewy, tricking you a bit into thinking it’s a candy bar.
MET-Rx Colossal Bar Calorie Breakdown
Then there’s the COLOSSAL bar.
I use this bar as a post workout meal due to the higher calorie content.
It has about 400 calories with 30 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of fat.
Both bars have Met-Rx patented Metamyosyn protein, are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and taste great.
My favorite the Colossal Super Cookie Crunch!
Pure Protein Calorie Breakdown
These are one of the original protein bars and have evolved over the years.
Now they taste real good and come in great flavors too – although the taste and texture are still a bit chalky compared to some others.
Each bar has about 300 calories, 32 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fat.
Detour Calorie Breakdown
These came on the scene a few years ago tasting almost too good.
It really was like eating a Snickers bar.
Now the company has added many lines to expand the range including original, low sugar, and lean muscle varieties.
They all taste great and pack a protein punch upward of 30+grams.
The lower carb versions obviously have less sugar, and some varieties have fewer calories. This is one detour you’ll be happy you took.
Clif Builder's Bar Calorie Breakdown
Made by the same company that produces Clif bars, these follow suit with minimal ingredients, great taste and jacked up protein levels.
I like them because they’re a little smaller and have fewer calories than many options on the market – about 270.
They still have more carbs (30 grams) than protein (20 grams) like their cousin does, but they taste great and fit right in with a Zone type diet.
Cinnamon Swirl of course!
Muscle Milk Protein Bar
Muscle Milk Calorie Breakdown
These bars have a good nutrition profile, each bar is 300 calories and is about equal parts protein, carbohydrates and fat.
It’s similar to the Zone, just with a few less carbohydrates.
The protein comes by way of several different sources to ensure you get great muscle building ingredients, and the flavors are also terrific.
Chocolate Peanut Caramel is my favorite.
Clif Bar Calorie Breakdown
I love these bars, especially the Carrot Cake flavor.
They’re super chewy, have awesome taste and are good and cheap!
They’re classified as an “energy” bar because they have higher amounts of carbs (42 grams) and lower amounts of protein (9 grams).
Either way, you could still use it a snack or a meal replacement.
Half the carbohydrates are complex and they also have 5 grams of fiber.
All in all, with 260 calories, it’s a very healthy, less processed and refined bar that’s great as a pick me up. Go for it!
OhYeah! Original Protein Bar
OhYeah! Calorie Breakdown
Okay, I can’t lie...
These are loaded with fat!
I know, I know, but they taste so good!
I buy them and eat half at a time as a snack.
Here’s the breakdown – 380 calories, 26 grams of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber.
But what about the fat you say?
How about 19 grams, or 171 calories!
That makes these bars a little over 40% fat, but they’re loaded with real peanuts, have low saturated fat and they just taste great!
I consider them a fitness version of a Snickers bar – and they do really satisfy!
Balance Calorie Breakdown
These are extremely similar to the Zone bars nutritionally, just with a few more calories - about 30 more.
Otherwise, everything else is virtually the same.
However the texture is very different, with the Balance protein bar being denser and having more substance with each bite.
Plus the flavors are slightly different so it just becomes a matter of preference.
So there you have my picks – but what do you think of my list?
Do you have other bars to add?
Let me know!