Most protein bars are just candy bars in disguise. Here are the ones that have the ingredients you need to help you build muscle and lose weight. Bonus: They actually taste good.
You're healthy. Protein bars are healthy. Healthy people eat protein bars. Right?
Protein bars can be the most perfect snack on earth or a sneaky body destroyer out to sabotage your hard work. It depends on which ones you eat.
Some are little more than candy bars dressed up to look healthy, with way more sugar and empty calories than protein. But others have legit macro profiles and are made from clean ingredients
If you want to use your protein bar in place of a post-workout shake, snack, or small meal, make sure it has a decent amount of protein. The protein bars on our list range from 16-30 grams of protein, so they give you muscle-building support, not just quick energy. Some bars also add fiber, which teams up with the protein to help you stay full without adding a bunch of calories.
What you don't want in a bar is a ton of sugar. A little bit of sugar can give you energy and help you metabolize the protein, but too much will lead to a quick spike of energy followed by a crash. It also adds unnecessary calories to your diet, which can really add up when you're throwing back a bar every day.
The flipside is when you get a bar with ingredients that look great on paper—high protein, high fiber, low sugar, decent amount of calories—it ends up tasting like cardboard. It can seem like the better a bar is for you, the worse it tastes. But it doesn't have to be that way. We've rounded up the best protein bars that perform well in both flavor and nutrition, so your diet doesn't have to suck.
This triple layer bar with a baked center meets your macros and satisfies your sweet tooth, all while being gluten-free. It tastes like dessert, but with 20 grams of whey protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of sugar, it makes for a convenient breakfast, too.
With a variety of flavor options, this is a good choice for protein on the go. And with a texture like a soft-baked cookie (even though it's gluten-free), it'll give you something to look forward to in your diet—at only 210 calories per bar.
This protein bar has an appealing texture that's a throwback to everyone's favorite childhood snack, crispy rice treats—but with a lot more protein and a lot less sugar. In addition to classic vanilla marshmallow, it comes in fun flavors like peanut butter crunch and salted toffee pretzel.
Quest is the original macro-friendly protein bar with low net carbs and the right amount of texture per bite. Its high fiber content and substantial, chewy texture make it extra satisfying. Even better, some flavors clock in at a lean 190 calories. From vanilla almond crunch to blueberry muffin, they're all gluten-free.
Yes, you can have cookies without undermining your nutrition plan. MuscleTech's protein cookie delivers an easy, fun way to consume your protein while meeting your cookie cravings.
Satisfy your chocolate craving with the good stuff. This protein bar's ingredients include European chocolate for a uniquely indulgent taste profile. As you might imagine, it's also low-carb, with only 2 grams of 'net' carbs; that is, carbs excluding those from fiber and sugar alcohols.
Change up your protein bar routine with a chocolate protein brownie. Not only is this choice super snackable, it's also free of artificial colors and flavors.
In flavors like chocolate frosted donut and fruity cereal, these bite-sized treats are heaven-sent for anyone who's said a tearful goodbye to baked goodies. In addition to their 20 grams of protein, they also give you a good dose of calcium.
You can't go wrong with protein bars from celebrity-chef-turned-fitness-expert Robert Irvine. These bars have great texture, tasty flavors, and pack 30 grams of protein.
The original protein cookie is a fan favorite. While these sweet treats have less protein than our other picks (16 grams per cookie), their taste can't be beat, and they're still a great substitute for a regular chocolate chip cookie stuffed with empty calories. Plus, they're vegan, with pea and rice protein in place of whey.
This protein bar is called a meal replacement for a reason—it includes real food ingredients like sweet potatoes, goji berries, and beef, salmon, and chicken protein. Try the banana nut bread.
Made by the same company that produces Cellucor sports nutrition products, these protein bars are gluten-free, GMO-free, and have no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. As a bonus, they come in habit-forming flavors like Grandma's lemon square and chocolate peanut butter.