True protein bar lovers will know that a wide variety of factors go into making the perfect protein bar.
First, one must consider the macros: how many calories, carbs, proteins and fats are in the bar? Will it keep your blood sugar stable for hours, or will it send you crashing and burning straight into a pile of donuts an hour later?
Then, taste is obviously a huge factor—no one wants to snack on something that tastes like chalk. Not only is flavour important, though—texture is equally key when it comes to protein bars.
And finally, the ingredients list should always be a consideration when picking a protein bar. The more natural and close to the earth you can get with your snacks, the better.
With all these variables at play, here’s a comprehensive list of some of the major protein bars on the market and a breakdown of their qualities to make your next trip to the grocery store a little smoother:
SlimFast’s Bake Shop chocolate-coated bars come in chocolatey crispy cookie dough and chocolatey peanut butter pie, and admittedly, they taste pretty close to the real thing. Along with their great taste, they offer 15 grams of protein and five grams of fibre, which means they will help you feel fuller for longer. However, the name “SlimFast” carries with it some not-so-positive connotations about body positivity and food, and their ingredients list isn’t super clean or natural, to say the least (hello, high maltose corn syrup).
With mouthwatering (and creative!) flavours like maple glazed donut, salted caramel and white chocolate truffle, One Bars are some of the tastiest protein bars money can buy. However, the taste comes at a cost—many of the ingredients in One Bars are somewhat questionable (read: totally unpronounceable). Who really wants to be eating something containing isomalto-oligosaccharides for breakfast anyway, no matter how delicious?
With 15-20 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein and around 200 calories per bar, Pure Protein bars offer a pretty solid macro profile for anyone looking to build muscle and stay fuller for longer. Pure Protein bars come in some pretty unique flavours like strawberry waffle, peppermint bark and red velvet, and they don’t taste chalky or over-processed. While the ingredients list is pretty clean, the bars do contain sucralose and a few other items that are tough to pronounce, so they may not be as natural and organic as some of the other bars on the market.
Ah, the Quest Bar—so loved, so hated, so polarizing. With only five to 10 grams of carbohydrates per bar and 20 grams of protein, protein bar aficionados love these bars for their awesome macro profile and the wide range of flavours available (white chocolate raspberry, chocolate chip cookie dough and birthday cake are some highlights, to name a few). However, many real food advocates have criticized the bars for their not-so-natural ingredients list, and some will argue they taste like concrete.
With a pretty natural (and organic!) ingredients list and a variety of delicious flavours (hello, chocolate nut butter filled delight!), it’s not hard to see why health nuts love these satisfying bars. However, Clif Bars are a little higher in carbs and calories and lower in protein than many other protein bars on the market, so depending on the kind of macro breakdown you’re looking for, they may or may not be the right choice for you.
Vega protein bars are a safe and easy option for vegans or vegetarians looking to snack on something that’s totally free of animal products but still high in protein. With 10-15 grams of protein per bar and 20-30 grams of carbohydrates, Vega bars are a great choice for a mid-afternoon snack or as a pre-workout fuel-up.
At only 150 calories a pop, Simply Protein bars are a great way to keep hunger pangs at bay between meals. Plus, these bars are full of natural, satisfying ingredients, and their protein content is often higher than their carb content (meaning your blood sugar will stay more stable throughout the day). With flavours like banana butterscotch, chocolate peanut butter and lemon coconut (and a satisfyingly crunchy texture), Simply Protein bars are simply a great snack choice.