The 8 Best Natural Energy Bars, According to a Dietitian

Rx Bars top our list with a short, nutrient-packed ingredient list

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Consuming healthy, balanced snacks between meals can be an effective way to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. While it may be tempting to grab a coffee or an artificial energy drink to get through an afternoon slump, you don't want to end up with the subsequent "crash". Instead, reaching for your water bottle and a nourishing snack, like a natural energy bar, may help to provide more sustained energy.

Reviewed & Approved

Rx Bars tops our list with a short, nutrient-packed ingredient list, that provide protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. Bearded Brothers Energy Bars are a great vegan option with nutrient dense raw ingredients.

The FDA has not established a formal definition for “natural,” but its policy states: “The FDA has considered the term 'natural' to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.” It's important to know that the term 'natural' is not synonymous with "USDA Certified Organic," a regulated label with established criteria.

Our selection of natural energy bars contain real, whole foods providing carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to help keep you fueled between meals. When selecting our top choices, we considered overall nutritional content, ingredients and taste.

Here, the best natural energy bars.

Best Overall

RXBAR Protein Bars, Best Seller Variety Pack

4.8
RXBAR Protein Bars, Best Seller Variety Pack

Courtesy of RXBAR

Pros
  • Wide variety of flavors, including seasonal

  • Conveniently available in most stores

  • Simple ingredients

  • Good source of protein

Cons
  • Dense texture may not be suitable for all

RX bars take the best overall spot with a short, nutrient-packed ingredient list, including egg whites, almonds, cashews, and dates. Depending on the flavor, bars contain around 12 grams of protein (from egg whites and nuts), 7-9 grams of healthy fats (from almonds and cashews), and 3-5 grams of fiber to keep you feeling fuller longer. The natural flavors listed in the ingredients are not from artificial flavorings but rather from oils and extracts sourced from spices, fruits, and plants. These bars have a dense texture, so if you prefer a softer, less chewy bar, they might not be your best choice.

RX Bars come in various flavors to satisfy a range of taste buds, including Chocolate Sea Salt, Blueberry, Peanut Butter, Coconut Chocolate, and Mixed Berry. They also offer seasonal flavors, so you can skip the pumpkin spice latte filled with added sugars and fuel up on a Pumpkin Spice RX Bar. 

Price at time of publication: $28 for 12 count ($1.27 per ounce) 

Calories: 220 Carbohydrate: 23 g | Protein: 12 g | Fat: 8 g | Fiber: 4 g | Flavors: Chocolate sea salt, banana chocolate walnut, blueberry, chocolate raspberry, maple sea salt, peanut butter chocolate, vanilla almond and many more

Best Budget

Earnest Eats Chewy Breakfast Bars 12 Pack

Earnest Eats Baked Whole Food Bar

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids

  • Wheat-free

  • Donate a portion of sales

Cons
  • Limited flavor options

  • Includes 9 grams added sugar

Filled with whole rolled oats, almond butter, seeds, and nuts, Earnest Eats bars make for a great breakfast or snack on-the-go that's also budget-friendly. They are soft and less dense in texture than other energy bars on the market. Each bar contains 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

Thanks to the walnuts they contain, these bars boast 190 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and support brain health. They also contain whole grains, providing fiber-filled carbohydrates to give you a steady source of energy.

Skipping breakfast can often lead to overeating later in the day, so make sure to stash some of these in your bag for the mornings when you don’t have time to make a meal before heading out the door. This product gives back too—a portion of the sales are donated to the International Rescue Committee, a refugee relief fund.

Price at time of publication: $22 for 12 count ($0.99 per ounce) 

Calories: 230 | Carbohydrate: 30 g | Protein: 6 g | Fat: 11 g | Fiber: 4 g | Flavors: Chocolate peanut butter, cran lemon zest, almond trail mix and apple ginger

Best Gluten-Free

Rise The Simplest Protein Bars 12 Pack

Rise Whey Protein Bars Almond Honey

Amazon

Pros
  • Good source of protein

  • 3 simple ingredients

  • Non-GMO

Cons
  • Dense texture may not be suitable for all

  • Includes 13 grams added sugar

Rise Almond Honey Bars contain just three ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate is an easily digestible, complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids—amino acids that we need to get from our diet because our body doesn’t make them. Compared to whey concentrate, whey isolate has less lactose, fat, and carbohydrates and more protein per serving.

With 280 calories, 16 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein per serving, these bars are a post-workout powerhouse. The ample protein is perfect for repairing muscle and refueling your body. Think of it as a healthy protein shake in a bar—without the unwanted additives found in many pre-packed shakes. Put this one in your gym bag for a satisfying post-calorie burn boost.

Price at time of publication: $28 for 12 count ($1.11 per ounce) 

Calories: 280 | Carbohydrate: 21 g | Protein: 20 g | Fat: 16 g | Fiber: 4 g | Flavors: Almond honey, mocha almond, snicker doodle, chocolatey coconut, mint chip, chocolatey almond, lemon cashew and more

Best with No Added Sugar

Thunderbird Real Food Bar

Thunderbird Real Food Bar

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Unique flavor combinations

  • Non-GMO

  • Family and employee-owned company

Cons
  • Gooey texture may not be suitable for all

  • Slightly more expensive

Thunderbird bars check all the boxes—they are certified paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and contain no added sugar. They are made with fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, and extra virgin coconut oil—simple, wholesome ingredients. These real food ingredients work together to provide consistent energy to get you through tough workouts or power you through those afternoons when you need an extra dose of energy.

The Almond Pecan Crunch flavor provides 230 calories, 16 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein. Try their Coffee Maca flavor as an afternoon snack and skip the cup of coffee. This bar contains 5 milligrams of caffeine per serving compared to the 95 milligrams in an 8-ounce cup of coffee, so you won’t feel a caffeine crash later in the day. Calories vary by flavor (170-240).

Price at time of publication: $19 for 6 count ($1.86 per ounce) 

Calories: 230 | Carbohydrate: 16 g | Protein: 7 g | Fat: 16 g | Fiber: 4 g | Flavors: Chocolate almond butter sea salt, chocolate coconut cashew, cashew fig carrot, hazelnut coffee vaca, pecan goji pistachio, Texas maple pecan, almond pecan crunch and cherry hemp turmeric

Best Vegan

Bearded Brothers Vegan Organic Food Bars 12 Pack

Bearded Brothers Energy Bars

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Organic and non-GMO

  • Simple ingredients

  • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids

Cons
  • Small portion size

Bearded Brothers Energy Bars are a great vegan option with minimal, raw ingredients. Each Blueberry Vanilla-flavored bar contains 180 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein, making it the perfect snack.

The stellar ingredients include dates, almonds, dried blueberries, chia seeds, vanilla, and sea salt. Chia seeds are a nutrition powerhouse ingredient, as they contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and important micronutrients. Also, blueberries offer some of the highest amounts of antioxidants of any fruit, neutralizing free-radicals and protecting DNA.

Try one of their unique flavors like the Ginger Peach to mix things up. The convenient variety pack also includes Raspberry Lemon, Vanilla Pecan, Almond Butter Chocolate, Coconut Mango, and Maca Chocolate.

Price at time of publication: $28 for 12 count ($1.53 per ounce) 

Calories: 180 g | Carbohydrate: 22 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 10 g | Fiber: 5 g | Flavors: Blueberry vanilla, raspberry lemon, vanilla pecan, almond butter chocolate, coconut mango and maca chocolate

Best Organic

GoMacro MacroBar Organic Vegan Protein Bars 12 Pack

GoMacro MacroBar Organic Vegan Protein Bars

Courtesy of GoMacro

Pros
  • Conveniently available in most stores

  • Some flavors are Low FODMAP friendly

  • Organic and non-GMO

  • Good source of protein

Cons
  • Includes 12 grams added sugar

  • Lower in fiber

The GoMacro protein bars offer wholesome, organic, vegan ingredients, including seeds, nuts, nut butters, puffed rice, dried fruits, pea protein, and brown rice protein. With 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein (peanut butter flavor), these bars can sustain you for longer periods of time between meals.

One thing to note on this bar is that organic brown rice syrup is first on the ingredient list. Brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener and binder made from breaking down the starches in cooked rice. While it is natural, it is still considered an added sugar and should be consumed in moderation. 

GoMacro makes it easy to select a bar that meets your individual needs. Their website offers a tool where you can select any dietary restriction you might have. It will direct you to the bars that fit your specifications, including nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and fodmap friendly options.

Price at time of publication: $34 for 12 count ($1.24 per ounce) 

Calories: 280 | Carbohydrate: 36 g | Protein: 11 g | Fat: 11 g | Fiber: 2 g | Flavors: cashew caramel, double chocolate + peanut butter chips, banana + almond butter, lemon + lemon, oatmeal chocolate chip, coconut + almond butter + chocolate chips, sunflower butter + chocolate and more

Best Tasting

Larabar Gluten-Free Snack Bar Variety Pack 16 Pack

Lara Bar Pack

Amazon

Pros
  • Wide variety of flavors, including seasonal

  • No more than 9 ingredients per flavor

  • Conveniently available in most stores

Cons
  • Includes 10 grams added sugar

LARABARs contain just two to eight ingredients depending on the bar—all of which are whole, real foods. Ingredients include dates, almonds, fruit, cocoa powder, coconut, vanilla extract, and sea salt. All of the bars are sweetened with dates, which provide a natural source of sugars plus the added benefit of fiber. When natural sugars are digested with fiber, they are absorbed into your bloodstream more slowly, so they won’t cause the same spike (and subsequent drop) in blood sugar like processed, concentrated sweets would.

With flavors like Cashew Cookie, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Cherry Pie, make this bar your go-to for when you’re craving a sweet treat. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor contains 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.

Price at time of publication: $25 for 16 count ($1.09 per ounce) 

Calories: 210 | Carbohydrate: 25 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 11 g | Fiber: 2 g | Flavors: Apple pie, carrot cake, chocolate chip brownie, chocolate peanut caramel truffle, cinnamon roll, coconut cream pie, key lime pie and many more

Best Caffeinated

Quantum Organic Caffeinated Energy Square Caramel Almond Sea Salt 8 pack

Quantum Bar

Shelhealth.com

Pros
  • Good source of protein

  • Non-GMO

  • A pastry chef helped with the recipe

Cons
  • Not easily available in many stores

  • Additional caffeine may not be suitable for all

Quantum Caffeinated Energy Squares use green coffee beans to add 100 mg of caffeine to each bar. Instead of grabbing the equivalent one cup of coffee or using pre-workout drinks, this bar can be a great alternative as a steady energy source. Plus, you'd get 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber if you want to use this as a midday snack.

These bars also include MCT oil, or medium-chained-triglyceride oil. While research is inconclusive on the potential benefits, it is a popular source of energy among athletes.

Price at time of publication: $20 for 8 count ($1.48 per ounce) 

Calories: 200 | Carbohydrate: 20 g | Protein: 10 g | Fat: 10 g | Fiber: 4 g | Flavors: Caramel almond sea salt, salted peanut butter crunch, peanut butter dark chocolate, dark chocolate pink Himalayan salt, caffe mocha almond chip, coconut almond chocolate chip

How We Selected

When choosing the best natural energy bars, we looked at a variety of products with majority carbohydrates and fat, moderate protein and adequate fiber. In addition, we chose products with primarily simple ingredients, including fruits, nuts, seeds and natural sugars. Taste, price, and convenience were also considered when choosing the best natural energy bars.

What to Look for in Natural Energy Bars

Ingredients

When purchasing energy bars, make sure to check out both the nutrition label and the ingredient list. Look for simple ingredients like whole foods; these include nuts, seeds, fruits, and spices. Stick to short lists (10 ingredients or less), and remember that the order in which the ingredient list is written reflects the abundance of the ingredient in the product.

Sugar

Although natural bars may have higher amounts of sugar than others on the market, it's best to choose products sweetened with natural sugars from dried fruits, like dates. The recommendation for added sugar is to stay below 25 grams per day for women and less than 37 grams per day for men. Consider how much added sugar you consume through other foods and try to choose products with less than 15 grams of sugar.

Protein and Fiber

Select bars with at least 3 to 5 grams of protein and at least 5 grams of fiber to help you stay fuller longer.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day for adults. Many of us don't reach that goal, so looking for bars with a higher fiber content can help contribute to that goal.

Most people reach their protein goals through other sources, but an energy bar with some added protein can help you stay fuller for longer!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What makes an energy bar nutritious?

    The ingredients are what make an energy bar nutritious. Energy bars are a convenient way to fuel your busy life. When searching for a nutritious energy bar, check out the food label. Select a bar that contains a short list of familiar ingredients, like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dried fruit. 

    You also want to look at the sugar, fat, and fiber content of your energy bar. Choose a bar that’s low in added sugar and saturated fat and a good source of fiber.

  • What should you avoid in energy bars?

    In general, be cautious about consuming energy bars that contain high amounts of added sources of caffeine, which may cause adverse effects like headaches and anxiousness. Also, be mindful of sugar alcohols like xylitol, mannitol, or sorbitol in energy bars, used to add sweetness without extra calories. Though safe to consume, your body can’t completely break down sugar alcohols which may cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea if you eat too much. It is best to consume energy bars that contain whole, real foods that you personally tolerate well.

  • How do energy bars impact your body?

    It depends on the ingredients in the energy bar but typically, they provide the energy (from carbohydrates), protein and healthy fats to keep you fueled and satisfied between meals. Consider the context of your whole diet, and supplement meals with healthy snacks like natural energy bars to meet your individual nutritional needs.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a Registered Dietitian, Anne Carroll uses her clinical expertise to cut through marketing claims and get down to the science. These are all products that she has researched, vetted, and would recommend to her clients in private practice and incorporate into her own diet.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. US National Library of Medicine. Snacks for adults.