How to Pick the Best Protein Bars


healthy protein bars

There are so many different protein bars to choose from! Most grocery stores have an entire aisle dedicated to protein bars. It can be overwhelming roaming this aisle trying to decide on one. And that’s why I want to give you a few of my nutritionist-approved protein bars. 

In a perfect world, we’d all be able to meal prep our snacks and have everything ready to go. But life happens and it’s not always easy to do that.

Protein bars make eating something quick and healthy easy for busy moms.

There are certain times when protein bars are a good idea, but I don’t recommend eating them every day or because we’re being lazy (I’m talking to myself here too!). Too often we rely heavily on protein bars.

Think of protein bars as a solution when you can’t eat a good meal.

Keep one on hand to save you from fast food while you’re out shopping. I like to keep a bar in my purse for those “emergency” times. But I don’t make it a habit to eat one every day.

As a nutritionist, there are some key things I look for before buying protein bars.

Two Things to Always Look for in Protein Bars


Ingredients matter. Period. Too many protein bars are disguised as nothing more than a candy bar. Many are high in sugar and fake ingredients. That is why reading labels of protein bars (and everything for that matter) is so important. But I’m not just talking about the fat, calorie, or carb content. I’m mostly concerned with what the food is actually made of.

When I first grab a protein bar, the first thing I look at the ingredients. I’m not worried about calories in my food because I believe it’s more important to be eating more whole foods that may have more calories than chemically created foods that wreak havoc on my health.

So first things first. Look at the ingredients. Can you recognize the ingredients? If you can’t or there’s too much sugar grab another bar. There are too many options to be eating an unhealthy protein bar.

Sugar Content

The second thing I look at is the sugar content. How much sugar is in this bar? I used to eat Luna Bars (I’m totally cringing right now) in college. But it’s basically a candy bar with a little extra protein. It’s doing nothing for my health and it never really kept me fuller for more than an hour.

Choose a bar that is lower in sugar. Sugar is what turns to fat and unfortunately, it’s in almost everything now.

And please, PLEASE, stay away from artificial sugars. Our bodies cannot process them properly and they cause so many unwanted symptoms. Sure, you may be saving a few calories but at what cost? Hint: Your health.

My Favorite Protein Bars


RX Bar

This is one of the cleanest bars out there. It has few ingredients and I know exactly what is in my bar. I love that’s it’s sweetened with dates and has zero added sugars. They taste yummy and are easy to find. You can find RX bars at Target, Costco, Fresh Thyme, and many other stores.

Square Organics

Square Organics

I’m currently 15 weeks pregnant and Square Organics Crispy bars were a lifesaver in the first trimester when I could barely stomach anything. I love that they are organic, use quality ingredients, and taste like a rice crispy treat. I think Whole Foods carries Square bars but I typically just order online.

Perfect Bar

Perfect Bar

This bar is higher in calories (which doesn’t bother me one bit) and has a little more sugar than I typically like in a bar but the ingredients they use are amazing. This bar is nutrient dense, packed with tons of superfoods, and low-glycemic so it will keep you feeling fuller longer. I usually spit one with my girls, who love them too. You can find Perfect Bars in the refrigerator section at Target, Whole Foods, Costco, or Trader Joes.

Primal Kitchen Collagen Nut & Seed Bar

Primal Kitchen

This bar checks all the boxes, low in sugar (just 4 grams!), quality ingredients and tastes yummy! Plus, it has collagen which supports digestion and has skin and joint benefits. You can find Primal Kitchen bars at HyVee and Whole Foods.

Bottom Line

Choose your protein bars wisely by checking what ingredients are in them and how much sugar is added. And use protein bars for “emergencies” instead of an everyday habit.

What’s your favorite protein bar? 

*Contains affiliate links

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