“What’s the best protein bar to eat?”
This is undoubtedly one of the most common questions I am asked. Protein bars serve one purpose of filling the gap in nutrition when whole foods cannot be implemented. Opinions will differ of “what’s best”, but science tells us what is of high quality, and what is not.
The number one thing I pay attention to when searching for a protein bar, is sugar. You want to get as LOW as possible on the sugar chart without loading your body with unneeded artificial sweeteners. Some sweeteners are better than others, but pick the wrong one and you have a gastrointestinal disaster waiting to happen.
The number two most important ingredient to look for in protein bars, is the carbohydrates. Where are they sourced from? Are they from wheat? Corn? Oats? Ideally you should be looking for a source that is 100% gluten free and preferably paleo. Many individuals are allergic to gluten without knowing it, which will cause inflammation in your gut and lead to a whole host of issues mental and physical issues. A majority of wheat and corn are also genetically modified, which may be harmful if ingested regularly.
Why am I not mentioning to look at protein as a buying point? Because most protein bars are equipped with enough protein. It isn’t too common you will find a protein bar with less than 20grams per bar. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t check the grams, but it’s the LEAST of your concerns.
“But the guy at the vitamin store told me I should only look at calories.” Well the vitamin guy doesn’t know your goals, and unfortunately doesn’t have the education needed to have your best interest at heart.
But I do;)
Below are my top 10 protein bars which will lead you closer to your goals, as well as keep your blood sugar levels steady, and sugar cravings at bay.
#10 Quest Bars
You have to be living under a rock to not know what a quest bar is in the fitness world. As far as quality goes, these bars are NOT made with grass-fed whey and a majority of the bars are filled with artificial sweeteners other than stevia. A large advantage to Quest Bars is the low carbohydrate and high fiber content which will keep you full for hours. Is this bar better than 90% of the bars at the grocery store? Yes. But I still rank it higher on the list. These bars can be purchased pretty much everywhere now, even your local 711. www.questnutrition.com
#9 B-UP Bars
UP bars took a spin on Quest Bars, but only use natural sweetener’s such as Xylitol, Stevia, and Monk Fruit Extract. The texture of these bars have more of a Laffy Taffy consistency, which is perfect for those who do not like the Quest Bar texture. UP bars are also high in fiber and lower in carbohydrates, which is great for those who do not want an insulin spike or a blood sugar crash after eating. www.yupbrands.com
#8 Jay Robb Protein Bars
Jay Robb uses all natural sweetener’s in his products which makes these bars higher quality in terms of ingredients. This bar is perfect for pre or post work out since it contains a sufficient amount of carbohydrates for energy. The carbs from the Jay Robb bars are derived from organic agave syrup, whey isolate crisps, and tapioca starch. When choosing protein bars, it’s best to opt for the bars closest to the paleo lifestyle. This would mean opting for bars that do not contain gluten (wheat), oats, rice, or other grains. www.jayrobb.com
#7 Manbake Protein Bars
Another high fiber, lower carb protein bar packed with taste. These bars are only currently available online, but will soon be available at local stores. They are 100% paleo friendly, and will kill any type of sugar craving you have. They also carry beefcakes which are perfect for a post workout meal. Once you try Manbake, you may never go back. www.manbake.us
#6 Oatmega Grass-Fed Whey Bars
The appeal to these bars are they are derived from grass-fed whey. Grass-fed whey is hormone and antibiotic free, which is the highest quality protein on the market. They are relatively low in carbs and calories, which are perfect for a snack or eaten as a dessert. The downside to these bars is the small amount of oats included in the ingredients. However, a plus is that the “mega” in Oatmega refers to Omega 3 fatty acids that were added to these bars as an extra anti-inflammatory kick. With only 5 grams of sugar per bar, you can eat these free of guilt.
#5 Julian Bakery Paleo Protein Bars
The name Paleo Protein Bars says it all. Julian Bakery somehow found a way to incorporate egg white protein into protein bars and actually taste GOOD. These bars are 100% Paleo, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Grain-free, High-fiber, Dairy-free, Whey-free, No Sugar Alcohols, and High-protein. The prebiotic fiber used is made with tapioca, which is another grain-free ingredient. www.julianbakery.com
#4 Tanka Bars
Sweet tasting protein bars are fun, but what about when you crave Chipotle but don’t have time for lunch? This is where Tanka Bars come into play. Think healthiest and best tasting beef jerky you have ever had. The meat used in these bars are made from Buffalo meat , and are hormone, MSG, gluten, and nitrate free. They also have a sweet kick as they contain small amounts of raspberries. www.tankabar.com
#3 Epic Bars
Buffalo meat doesn’t sound appealing to you? Queue Epic Bars. With the same high quality ingredients as Tanka Bars, but Epic offers chicken, turkey, bison, and bacon options. These bars are as close to a complete meal as they contain a perfect amount of fats, protein, and carbs. The grass-fed meat in these bars contain high levels of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which promote the development of lean muscle tissue. They can be purchased at Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, or Online at www.epicbar.com
#2 Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars
The holy grail of protein bars. Dave Asprey has done it again with these Paleo approved collagen protein bars. Made with MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil and collagen, these bars support the health of your skin, tissues, brain function, and overall health of your body. These are another great low carb option for those who want to enjoy high quality protein without adding too many calories. These can currently only be purchased at www.upgradedself.com
#1 Make your own bars with Pea Protein
This is by far the healthiest and cleanest way to ensure you are eating healthy ingredients, because you've made them yourself. There are many protein bar videos on YouTube to show how this is done. Also check out my Instagram of different recipes I make using protein powder:)
Happy protein bar hunting!