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9 Best Protein Bars in 2024: Price, Nutritional Content, and Flavor

Katrina Larsen, MS, RDN, CDCES

Published in Nutrition

10 min read

February 15, 2024
assorted protein bars
assorted protein bars

If you’re someone who is always on the go, having a quick protein source such as a protein bar on hand can be a great way to keep yourself satiated throughout the day. Protein bars can be beneficial for maintaining lean muscle mass and even satiating cravings for weight management—but not all protein bars necessarily reap the same benefits.

When searching for a healthy and nutrient-dense protein bar that meets your nutritional needs, it's essential to pay close attention to factors like sugar content, calorie content, and grams of protein per serving. 

To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the 10 best protein bars to look out for, including their nutritional profiles, price ranges, and other important considerations to keep in mind. Read on to discover our round up of the healthiest protein bars available in 2024!

1) Pure Protein Bar

pure protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $1.66 (sold in a 6-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 20 
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 16-18 grams (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 1-2 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 180 to 200 calories
  • Flavor Options: Chocolate peanut butter, chocolate salted caramel, chewy chocolate chip, birthday cake, peanut butter dark chocolate, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

Cons:

  • No vegan options available

Nutrisense nutritionist Patrick Scheel, RDN, LDN notes, “with 180 to 200 calories per bar and 20 grams of protein, Pure protein bars offer one of the best protein-to-calorie ratios on this list. Its chewy texture sets it apart from other protein snacks, almost making for a candy bar-like consistency."

These are a great choice for anyone needing a convenient source of whey protein throughout the day, whether that is on the go or after a workout.

2) Barebells

barebells protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.42 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 20 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 20 grams
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 0 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 200 to 210 calories (depending on the flavor)
  • Flavors: Cookies and cream, choco hazelnut, chocolate dough, caramel cashew, salty peanut, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

Cons:

  • Taste can vary depending on the flavor

Nutritionist Emma Simpkins, MS, RDN says,  "In my opinion, Barebells are some of the best tasting protein bars out there, and they also contain the most protein per bar of the options on this list. At only one gram of sugar per bar, they’re a great choice for a post-workout snack.”

Barebells also offers vegan protein bar options, as well as flavor variety packs on Amazon for anyone wanting to try a wide range of their flavor options.

3) KIND Protein Bar

kind protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $1.83 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 12 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 18 grams 
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 6 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 240 to 250 calories
  • Flavors: Crunchy peanut butter, dark chocolate nut, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

  • Gluten-free and kosher-friendly
  • Contains 5 to 6 grams of dietary fiber per bar
  • Low glycemic index, according to the company’s website

Cons:

  • Limited flavor variety for protein bar options
  • Higher calories for lower protein content

Nutrisense nutritionist Christie Borders, MS, CNS adds "KIND protein bars are gluten-free, kosher-friendly, and low in sodium, setting them apart from many other protein bars on the shelf. They're also a valuable source of dietary fiber, with up to six grams per serving. For anyone who is a fan of the original KIND bars, their protein version is 25 percent larger than the original size!"

4) Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Bar

aloha organic protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.75 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 14 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 24-26 grams (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 3-4  grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 220 to 230 calories
  • Flavors: Peanut butter cup, peanut butter chocolate chip, maple sea salt, chocolate chip cookie dough, lemon cashew, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

  • 100% vegan ingredients
  • Wide range of flavor options
  • Source of dietary fiber

Cons:

  • Pricier than other protein bars on this list

According to Christie Borders, MS, CNS, "coming in at 14 grams of protein per serving, the Aloha protein bars are made from 100% vegan ingredients with no artificial sweeteners or additives. They’re also a valuable source of dietary fiber, with around 10 grams per bar."

Aloha protein bars come in a wide variety of flavors and even offer mini versions for anyone needing a smaller but convenient source of protein throughout the day!

5) Orgain Protein Snack Bar

orgain protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.00 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 10 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 18-19 grams  (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 5-6 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 150 to 160 calories
  • Flavors: Smores, peanut butter chocolate chunk, chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter, chocolate brownie

Why We Chose It

Pros:

  • Gluten-free
  • 100% vegan ingredients
  • Convenient snack-sized option

Cons:

Nutrisense nutritionist Yvonne Mahl, RDN, LDN, IFNCP notes, "Orgain’s protein snack bars are naturally gluten-free and made from 100 percent plant-based ingredients using brown rice protein and pea protein—they’re the perfect bar option for anyone following a vegan lifestyle!

Orgain bars are a nice snack-sized option for anyone needing a quick boost of energy, with around 10 grams of protein per bar. 

6) think! High Protein Bar

think high protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.40 (10-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 20 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 24 grams
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 0 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 230 calories
  • Flavors: Brownie crunch, creamy peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, white chocolate, lemon delight, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than other options on this list

Kim Vair, MS, RDN, 200-RYT says "With 20 grams of protein per bar, the Think! high protein bars are a great option with zero grams of added sugars and no artificial sweeteners. They’re also gluten-free and have a low glycemic index. These are best suited to those who prefer a softer texture and consistency in their protein bars."

7) ONE Bar

one bar protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.00 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 20 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 23-24 grams (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 0 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 220 to 230 calories
  • Flavors: Peanut butter pie, peanut butter cup, peanut butter and jelly, cinnamon roll, chocolate chip cookie dough, blueberry cobbler, birthday cake, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

Cons:

  • Reviews indicate that some flavors miss the mark

Nutrisense nutritionist Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP says, "ONE bars contain 20 grams of protein and only one gram of sugar per serving—plus, they offer one of the widest ranges of flavor options on this list, making it easy for everyone to find the flavor they jive with best!"

These bars make for a convenient and nutritious snack for anyone needing an extra boost of protein–whether it be before a workout, after a workout, or as a midday snack.

8) Legion Protein Bar

legion protein bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $3.33 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 20 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 24-29 grams (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 3-4 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 240 to 250 calories
  • Flavors: Chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter and jelly, blueberry muffin, chocolate peanut butter

Why We Chose It

Pros:

  • Contains 6 to 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving
  • Gluten-free

Cons:

  • Most expensive option on this list
  • Limited flavor variety

Emma Simpkins, MS, RDN shares,  "Legion protein bars offer a significant source of protein with 20 grams per serving, and they're also gluten-free. Plus, they contain around 6 to 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving, which may play a role in improving digestion and gut health.

Although these do come in limited flavor options, the flavors they do offer are known for having a chewy texture and delicious overall consistency.

9) RX Bar

rx bar
  • Cost Per Bar: $2.33 (12-pack)
  • Grams of Protein Per Bar: 12 grams of protein
  • Grams of Carbs Per Bar: 22-26 grams of sugar (depending on the flavor)
  • Grams of Added Sugars Per Bar: 0 grams
  • Calories Per Bar: 190 to 210 calories
  • Flavors: Chocolate chip, chocolate sea salt, mint chocolate, peanut butter dark chocolate, and more

Why We Chose It

Pros:

  • Gluten-free and kosher-friendly
  • Uses minimal ingredients
  • Wide variety of flavors

Cons:

  • High sugar content per serving

Nutrisense nutritionist Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP loves that "RX bars are completely transparent about their ingredients list, incorporating only whole and simple ingredients into their high-quality protein bars. With 12 grams of protein per serving and no added sugars or artificial sweeteners, these make for a convenient snack.”

Who Are Protein Bars Good For?

Protein bars can be an excellent and healthy addition to most diets, depending on your unique nutritional needs, fitness goals, and lifestyle. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can particularly benefit from protein bars, as they are a convenient and portable source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth

If you’re not able to get adequate protein through whole food sources such as lean meats, eggs, or tofu, protein bars or protein powders can be an easy way to add an extra boost of protein to your diet and help support the recovery and growth of muscle tissue.

Protein bars can also be helpful for those with a weight loss goal, as they can provide a convenient and satisfying snack option that helps to control hunger, maintain muscle mass, and regulate metabolism throughout the day.

Are Protein Bars Healthy?

are protein bars healthy
Source: Pexels

Protein bars are designed to be a concentrated source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair, immune function, and overall health. A protein bar with high quality ingredients can be included as part of a balanced diet for the majority of people.

Many protein bars are formulated with excessive sugar content, which may contribute to blood sugar spikes. In general, the best protein bars contain 15-20 grams of protein per serving with minimal to no added sugars.

Depending on your health goal, you may also want to be mindful of the calorie content in each protein bar, as some options are much higher in calories than others. Importantly, while protein bars can be a convenient and beneficial addition to your diet, they should not be a meal replacement. Instead, aim to get an adequate protein intake from high quality, whole food protein sources, should still be a priority. 

Do Protein Bars Help With Weight Loss?

Generally speaking, protein bars can be a healthy snack and a beneficial addition to a weight-loss diet when paired with a balanced, healthy diet and adequate exercise. Since they are often pre-portioned, protein bars can provide a convenient way to control calorie intake, especially if you're someone who is frequently on the go.

A 2006 study compared the effects of a snack bar high in protein and fiber to that of a snack bar high in fat and sugar. The researchers found that the high protein, high fiber snack bar had a positive effect on glucose and insulin levels and also led to a decrease in calorie intake.

Protein is also known to be highly satiating, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Including protein bars in a balanced, healthy diet may help curb cravings and reduce overall calorie intake, which may support weight management or weight loss.

If you want to incorporate protein bars into your diet with the goal of weight loss, it's crucial to choose options with moderate calorie content, a good balance of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats), and minimal added sugars

As with any weight loss strategy, we always recommend consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian or nutritionist to create a personalized plan that aligns with your unique health needs and goals.

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Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Reviewed by: Victoria Eaton, RDN, LDN, IFNCP

Victoria began her career in the functional medicine space in 2015. She has extensive experience interpreting labs and supporting weight loss, gut imbalances, and chronic migraines. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from Missouri State University.