If you’re planning to use protein bars in your bodybuilding routine, then you’re going to have to do some research. The sheer number of bars available is staggering. Which ones are the best? Which ones taste like cardboard? What do the nutritional stats look like? Shelling out for an entire box of protein bars only to discover that they’re disgusting, or that they don’t fit your macros, is not something anyone wants to go through.
Things can get even more complicated if you’re vegan, paleo, keto, or diabetic.
So we’ve done the research for the best protein bars for bodybuilding, and here it is for you to see. All of the details we could dig up, all the stats we could find, and everything you need to determine which ones are right for you. So here they are, in no particular order
Quest Nutrition Protein Bar
|Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, 21g Protein, 4g Net Carbs, 190 Cals, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free, 2.12oz Bar||$2.49||5.0|
Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, 21g Protein, 4g Net Carbs, 190 Cals, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free, 2.12oz Bar
Quest bars are pretty popular in the fitness world, and it’s easy to see why. A wide variety of flavors, a proven track record, and plenty of glowing reviews make them a natural choice for most people.
While there are some variations to the nutritional data across the different flavors, they’re also highly consistent. Every Quest Bar we looked at had 20g of Protein, less than 10g of Fat, and were 200 calories or less. While most bars had less than 1g of Sugars (not counting Erythritol), some had 3g or more. The carbohydrate count and the type of carbs experienced an even greater variation between flavors. However, the Quest recipes consistently opt for high amounts of fiber which makes the number of net carbs less than 5g in most cases.
Depending on your bodybuilding regimen, the Quest Protein Bars can be an excellent way to work some extra protein into your diet.
Amazon user Honest review seems perfectly happy with his purchase: “These Quest Nutrition Blueberry Muffin Bars are a game changer in the protein bar category. Believe me; I’ve tried every possible brand and flavor before finally arriving at this conclusion.”
|Kind Nuts -Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, Gluten Free Bars 12 Count 1.4 Oz||$29.84||5.0|
Kind bars are a great option if you’re gluten free or vegan. They contain no grains or animal products whatsoever. There are also seven great flavors for you to choose from!
However, if you’re seeking out a high protein bar to supplement your bodybuilding routine, then these might not be the best option for you. The majority of the bars contain less than 5g of protein each. The highest protein bar is the Almond Walnut Macadamia flavor, and it only had 10g. The flavors did manage to consistently stay at 200 calories or fewer, but the number of carbs and sugar varied wildly between each. Net carbs are consistently at 10g or higher.
Despite these drawbacks, KIND bars are popular as a quick meal replacement when you’re on the run. The sugar, even though it’s higher than the Quest bars, usually stays in the realm of 10g or less (one flavor is roughly 14g). That makes these bars a decent option for people with diabetes or anyone else looking for a low sugar protein bar.
RXBAR Protein Bar
|RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bar, Coffee Chocolate, 1.83 Ounce (Pack of 12||$36.99||4.2|
While not quite as popular as the previous two entries, these protein bars still boast over 1600 reviews on Amazon. They’re also unique in that they tell you exactly what’s inside them on the outside of the package. I’m not talking about the nutritional ingredients list on the back where everything is broken down into unpronounceable scientific names. On the very front of the package, they tell you exactly what their recipe is for each bar; 3 Egg Whites, 6 Almonds, 4 Cashews, and 2 Dates.
There is some minor variation for each of the 17 different flavors, but the base recipe remains the same. Every flavor contains no added sugar, no soy, and no dairy. Every bar has 12g of protein, 4g of fiber, and clocks in at roughly 200 calories. Despite this, if you’re watching your carbs and sugars then you’ll want to look at it with these particular bars. Of the nutrition information I could find; carbs clocked in around 20g for each bar with over half of those coming from sugars.
A consistent comment from reviewers is that if you don’t like dates, then you won’t like these bars. The texture and the flavor are both influenced by them.
Zachary Robbins, an Amazon reviewer, and regular weightlifter, says that; “These bars taste better than any protein bar I’ve ever had, and with none of the artificial ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
ThinkThin High Protein Bars
|ThinkThin High Protein Bars, Brownie Crunch (2.1 oz Bar, 10 Count)||$15.79||4.0|
If you’re looking for a bar that is high in protein and is certified gluten free then you should consider these.
Across their 13 flavors, the thinkThin protein bars consistently clocked in at 20g of protein. Every flavor I checked was somewhere in the realm of 240 calories and around 20g of carbs.
The majority of those carbs, however, appear to come from sugar alcohols and the recipe itself is sugar-free. If sugar alcohols don’t bother you and you need a sugar-free protein bar, then these should be on your list of things to try.
As far as high protein energy bars, these are one of the few rivals to Quest Bars that I’ve managed to come across. If your aim is to increase your protein to fuel your bodybuilding efforts, then I would seriously consider the thinkThin bars.
Amazon user, Scott, calls these bars the “Best all-around protein bar for bodybuilding.”
|LUNA PROTEIN – Gluten Free Protein Bar – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – (1.59 Ounce Snack Bar, 12 Count)||$11.49||4.2|
LUNA PROTEIN – Gluten Free Protein Bar – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – (1.59 Ounce Snack Bar, 12 Count)
If you’re a woman looking for the best protein bar for your fitness and bodybuilding needs, then you should seriously consider these. Luna Protein bars are formulated specifically for women and their unique needs when it comes to health and fitness.
Each bar clocks in at roughly 170-190 calories and contains about 12g of protein. The number of carbohydrates per bar hovers right around 20g with over half of that coming from sugar. However, despite that, they’re considered low on the Glycemic index which is good for anyone trying to avoid blood sugar spikes.
This review from H. Rozner contains some pretty high praise, “They are gluten-free and high in protein, so they make a great snack for endurance athletes (I do triathlon).”
KatieG states that: “They have a great texture no discernible aftertaste and satisfy a chocolate craving without a lot of calories.”
Paleo Protein Bar
|Paleo Protein Bar® (Organic Sunflower Butter) 12 Bars (150 Cal, 20g Egg White Protein 5 Net Carbs)||$24.99||3.8|
These protein bars boast an amazing 4 ingredient recipe with no added sugars. They contain egg whites (sourced from Cage Free Chickens raised in the USA), organic sunflower butter, natural prebiotic tapioca fiber, and monk fruit.
If you’re following a Paleo or Ketogenic diet, then you’re going to be happy with the following nutritional information.
Each bar is roughly 150 calories and boasts 20g of protein. Total carbohydrates are 28g, but 23g of that comes from fiber. That makes each bar a mere 5g of net carbs. The 1g of sugar comes from the monk fruit and is not from processed sugar or sugar alcohols.
Some people complain about the texture and consistency of these particular bars. They are rather chewy and somewhat greasy due to the sunflower butter. Most of the fans of this product seem to agree that consistency is only a minor drawback compared to the superior nutritional qualities. If you’re a fan of peanut butter, then chances are that you’ll love these bars.
TonyB on Amazon left a 5-star review where he says; “These bars are literally my favorite food, and they fit in with the nutrition plan I am on in conjunction with CrossFit.”
With nearly 70% of reviews at 4 stars are more, I think these Paleo Protein Bars are definitely worth a try.
Oh Yeah! One Bar
|Oh Yeah! One Bar, Birthday Cake, 12 Count (2.12 oz. Per Bar / 25.44 oz. Per Box)||$23.71||4.1|
Craving birthday cake, cookie dough or blueberry cobbler? These protein bars come in 11 mouthwatering flavors that can help you satisfy your cravings without indulging in unhealthy junk food. Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. If you want something that’s low carb, high protein, gluten free, and delicious, then these protein bars might be the best answer.
Each bar is about 220 calories and contains around 20 (up to 22) grams of protein. They also boast only 1g of sugar and about 9g of fiber. The rest of the roughly 20g of carbs comes from sugar alcohols which, if those don’t bother you, reduces the net carbs to 2-3g per bar. They’re also certified gluten free.
A Niles, on Amazon, titled his review “You can have your cake and eat it, too!” In that review, he states: “As someone who counts macros, these bars have a good carb, protein, fat ratio. They really help me feel sustained during long days while helping me meet my fitness goals.”
Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bars
|Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bars, Chocolate Chip, 2.8 ounce bars (12 Count)||$17.10||4.3|
If you’re not worried about counting your carbs, then these whey protein bars might be just the thing for you. If you’re highly active, focused on bulking up and dedicated to your bodybuilding routine then a significant amount of protein and carbs in these bars can only help. The Gatorade brand has a proven track record of high quality, and these bars are used by professional athletes in football, baseball, basketball, and hockey.
There are seven different flavors to choose from and they all clock in at over 300 calories. Over 10g of fat in every bar, as well as roughly 40g of carbs and a solid 20g of protein. Unlike most of the other bars on this list, the protein here comes from whey and milk specifically.
Everything about this bars is formulated for use by athletes and bodybuilders trying to put on muscle mass. Use them to power through tough workouts, or to aid your recovery after the fact.
Reviewers seem happy with the taste, with many of them frequently claiming that these are the best tasting protein bars on the market right now.
Amazon reviewer Monski has this to say, “Great tasting bars…I use before hard workouts.”
Vega Protein+ Snack Bars
|Vega Protein+ Snack Bars Gluten Free, Chocolate Peanut Butter, 1.7oz, 12 Count||$18.99||4.4|
These bars are Non-GMO, gluten free, and certified vegan. If these things are important to you then you need to stop and take a look. If you’re a vegan that’s looking for a protein bar that tastes great and still provides you with a natural source of energy for your active lifestyle then look no further. The taste, texture, and satisfaction from these protein bars are all off the charts.
Each bar contains 11g of plant-based proteins and 4g of fiber. They also boast at least 25% of the recommended daily values for 11 different vitamins. They clock in at 200 calories a piece and contain roughly 24g of carbs with half of that coming from sugars.
If you’re trying to switch to the vegan lifestyle or know someone that is, then some reviewers have suggested these as a way to help adjust.
Kathy Goltry, an Amazon user, says that; “These bars are excellent – honestly, I don’t think you can tell they are gluten free and vegan.”
CLIF BUILDER’S Protein Bar
|CLIF BUILDER’S – Protein Bar – Cookies and Cream – (2.4 Ounce Bar, 12 Count)||$17.10||4.3|
In the same vein as the Gatorade bars listed above, these CLIF protein bars are formulated to help you build and repair your muscles. They’re designed for active individuals and athletes that want to build their bodies to be the very best.
These bars come in 8 flavors, and each one delivers 20g of protein, 30g of carbs, and 270 calories. All of which is meant to sustain you through long, or intense, workouts while helping you achieve your bodybuilding goals.
When combined with the proper exercise and meal plan, these bars can be used for an efficient weight loss program as well. Amazon user Kasia shares their success in their 5-star review; “I consume 1 to 2 bars a day in my 1700 calories intake + light exercise 2 hours a day, lost 13 lb in a month and two weeks so around 2lb a week.”