2021 Best Protein Bars | For Weight Loss; Purists; Meal Replacement; Keto Friendly; Athletes


Protein bars are an effective way to hit your daily protein goals or as a lifestyle choice to eat healthier. Some protein bars are meant to be eaten as snacks, while others are intended as meal replacements or post-workout fuel. Be sure to choose the right option — with the right amount of protein, carbs, sugar, calories, and fiber — for your needs.

Best for weight loss: Built Bar

Built Bar | many flavors available | high In whey protein & fiber
Protein: 17g | Calories: 130 | Fat: 2.5g | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 6g | Net Weight: 49g
861 Reviews
N/A at Amazon (price is for 18 count)
Also available at Built.com
  • Available in 14 different flavors.
  • Has 17-19g of protein of protein, 6g fiber and only 130 calories per serving.
  • Use whey protein isolate as main source of protein.
  • All flavors are free of gluten, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and fillers.

I have tried several of the fruit bars. Cherry is by far my favorite and they are also soft chewy and taste fresh. I can tell it’s a really popular product. If you seriously enjoy dark chocolate covered cherries. This tastes the same plus it has protein!

Best for purists: RXBar

RXBar | High Protein Snack, Gluten Free | many flavors available
Protein: 12g | Calories: 210 | Fat: 10g | Sugar: 13-15g | Fiber: 3-5g | Net Weight: 52g
25,664 Reviews
$38.88 at Amazon (price is for 24 count)
Also at iHerb.com | Walmart.com
  • No added sugar. No cholesterol. No dairy. No soy. No gluten. No GMOs (genetically modified organism). No preservatives.
  • The sugar in RXBar is on the higher than some other protein bars. However, they are all natural.
  • Uses egg whites instead of whey to jack up the protein quotient, making these suitable for the lactose intolerant. Vegans are out of luck, though.
  • They aren’t organic, but they are Kosher.

They’re perfect for that late afternoon slump, when I need to fend off hanger until dinner but don’t have time to prep a healthy snack. An Rx Bar will get me through a few hours and a workout, no problem. I find them more filling and substantial than Lara bars, which isn’t surprising since they have 2-3 times as much protein.

Best for meal replacement: NuGo Slim

NuGo Slim protein bars | many flavors available
Protein: 16-17g | Calories: 270 | Fat: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 6g | Net Weight: 45g
2,594 Reviews
$24.99 $23.79 at Amazon (price is for 12 count)
Also at LuckyVitamin.com | FreshDirect
  • No artificial ingredients, no maltitol, and is gluten free and GMO free.
  • Instead of artificial sweeteners, it uses all-natural chicory root for sweetness and just a touch of chocolate to add sweet flavors. Overall sugar content is low. With a total of 2-3 grams of sugar per serving, the glycemic impact is exceptionally low, with a lab-tested glycemic index of 24.
  • With 16-18 grams of protein per bar, they’re a great addition to your healthy nutrition plan.
  • Offers 4 vegan flavors: Espresso, Chocolate Mint, Toasted Coconut and Crunchy Peanut Butter.

I love this bar as a replacement for meals. Most bars are too sweet, have too much fat or sugar. This one is great and it’s coated in real dark chocolate, not some waxy off-tasting coating. Bar is firm, but not hard, slightly chewy and textured, not a whole grain cereal type bar or a taffy textured bar. Good price for what it has to offer – meal replacement, low sugar, high protein, moderate fat.

Best for post-workout recovery: ONE Protein Bar

ONE Protein Bars | Gluten-Free | Snacking for High Protein Diets
Protein: 20g | Calories: 210-240 | Fat: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 3-9 g| Net Weight: 60g
Many flavors available
15,612 Reviews
$27.99 $24.99 at Amazon (price is for 12 count)
Also at iHerb.com | Walmart.com | Kroger.com
  • Each serving has 20 grams of protein — far more than most on the market.
  • Offers a variety of flavors.
  • It is heavy on saturated fat and uses 10 grams of sugar alcohols to improve the taste. Depending on what you are looking for in your protein bar, these may or may not be a problem.

My dad, who is following an Ideal Protein diet, recommended these to me. The birthday cake bars come out to 5g net carbs (24g total – 9g fiber – 10g sugar alcohol), which is amazing for someone who would rather use the extra carbs in eating pasta, not a tiny little snack. Protein count is exactly what I look for in a PROTEIN bar, at 21g, unlike others where they boast 14-15g. Lastly, there’s 7g of fat, which helps with my satiety after eating the bars. I actually feel full for a couple of hours after eating them.

Best for Keto-friendly: Atlas Protein Bar

Atlas Protein Bar | Meal Replacement, Keto Snack
Protein: 15g | Calories: 210-230 | Fat: 11g | Sugar: 2-3g | Fiber: 12g | Net Weight: 54g
Many flavors available
1,998 Reviews
$24.95 at Amazon (price is for 10 pack) Also at Walmart.com

  • Keto-friendly: the protein content is solid, at 16 grams, but the sugar content is very low, at only 3 grams. There is a moderate amount of total carbs, but they are offset by an excellent fiber content (13 grams). It’s a favorite among people who is on a keto diet.
  • Non-GMO ingredients, artificial sugar-free, Gluten-free

A fantastic protein bar with natural and minimally processed ingredients and a not-too-sweet dark chocolate flavor. The texture is consistent unlike many other bars that are gritty. A great meal replacement or healthy snack.

I have used them as a breakfast or lunch replacement also in my weight loss program as they are quite filling and only 210 calories. All in all, an excellent natural snack for those on low carb or keto diets and you won’t feel guilty eating them.

Best for serious athletes: Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Quest Nutrition | High Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Keto Friendly
Many flavors available
Protein: 21g | Calories: 190-200 | Fat: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 17g | Net Weight: 60g
58,090 Reviews
$29.99 $20.49 at Amazon (price is for 12 count)
Also at QuestNutrition.com | iHerb.com
  • Each serving contains 4g Net Carbs, <1 g Sugars, 14g Dietary Fiber, 8g Fat and 200 Calories, along with Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Almonds and Natural Flavors.
  • Gluten-free; soy-free; no added sugar and sweetened with Erythritol, Sucralose and Stevia to keep the calorie count down.
  • All ingredients used are metabolically sound, and the bars are made with a clean protein source which is a blend of milk and whey protein isolates. Unfortunately, this is no good for anyone with dairy intolerance.
  • There are about a hundred different flavor options and they all sound like straight up dessert – chocolate chip cookie dough, mocha chocolate, and blueberry muffin just to name a few.

The biggest thing for me is that you’ll notice that the different varieties of quest bars have varying amounts of sugar alcohols. I stick with the choc chip cookie dough because it’s one of the lowest. High fiber is great for the diet, but make sure to keep up your water intake all the time if you’re a high fiber eater like me. Last, very low actual sugar. Protein types do not include any of the peasant-like protein ‘concentrates,’ only ‘isolates’ here, which is a huge plus because it indicates you are getting a more high quality protein.

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Last update on 2022-02-12. Affiliate links and images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
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