The 9 Best Protein Bars for Men of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Boost protein intake on-the-go with these tasty options

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Our Top Picks
"Contains 12 grams of protein, only 2 grams of sugar, and a blend of high-quality fats."
"A sweet, satiating snack without the extra sugar or large price tag."
"It checks all boxes: more protein than sugar, less than ten ingredients, and digestion-promoting fiber."
"Zero sugar, 10 grams of protein, and no artificial sweeteners."
"An excellent on-the-go mini-meal or a satisfying post-workout snack."
"Made with a few simple ingredients including egg whites, nuts, and dates."
"A paleo-friendly, grain-free bar that tastes great and packs a protein punch."
"A savory meat bar that's high in protein and light on grains."
"A great-tasting granola bar that contains nutrient-dense ingredients like amaranth, quinoa, and chia."

If you're on the hunt for a protein-packed bar, it can be challenging to select the best option as the number of products seems endless. Particularly for men—who may require more protein than women—protein bars can be tricky territory.  Many bars on the market contain poor-quality proteins, artificial sugars, or additives that will slow you down rather than power you up. Carefully reading the packaging can be helpful to decipher what bar will help you to meet your protein goals and what's comparable to a candy bar.

Protein bars are a convenient way to boost nutrition when you're on-the-go and don't have adequate time for a well-balanced meal. It's essential to look closely at the protein content, protein type, and sugar levels of each bar. If you have a particular dietary restriction, there are bars for every dietary need, including keto, paleo, nut-free.

Here, the best protein bars for men.

Best Overall: Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar

With 12 grams of protein, only 2 grams of sugar, and a blend of high-quality fats, Bulletproof's Collagen Protein bars take the top spot among protein bars for men. The decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-flavored bars contain collagen from grass-fed cows, organic nut butter, and Bulletproof's exclusive Brain Octane Oil. With only nine net carbs and 220 calories per bar, Bulletproof's Collagen Protein bars are a fantastic choice to keep men fueled and satiated throughout the day.

Unlike many protein bars on the market that are filled with artificial sweeteners or other subpar ingredients, Bulletproof bars contain only ingredients you can read, including whole foods like cashews, coconut oil, cashew butter, and cacao nibs. They're also gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO.

Best Budget: KIND Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond

Thank goodness for KIND Bar’s 5 grams of sugar option. These bars are affordable and available almost everywhere. From drug stores to gas stations, these bars are perfect for those moments where you need a snack and are stuck with limited options, which may be a frequent occurrence for men who are constantly on-the-go. The crunchy bars are made without genetically modified ingredients and are also gluten-free.

Try this bar if you want a sweet, satiating snack without the extra sugar or large price tag. One Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond bar packs 5 grams of protein, 170 calories, and 7 grams of fiber. The number one ingredient in the delicious bar is heart-healthy almonds, which have been shown to improve cholesterol levels.

Best Vegan: Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars

Many protein bars and packaged snacks targeted at men contain highly processed ingredients such as sweeteners, protein powders, and preservatives that may do more harm than good. Even when a bar contains real, whole food ingredients and is classified as vegan, it's common that you can hardly recognize the healthy components in bar form. Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed bars are as close to whole foods as you can get. Plus, you can see the full pumpkin seeds, which are the number one ingredient of the bar. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of stress-reducing magnesium as well as mood and immune-boosting zinc.

Each Dark Chocolate flavor bar contains 170 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 6 grams of sugar. It checks all boxes: more protein than sugar, less than ten ingredients, and digestion-promoting fiber. If you prefer other tastes, the bar also comes in Honey Sea Salt, Maple Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate Peanut.

Best Keto-Friendly: DNX Grass Fed Bison Jamaican Style Bar

Great tasting bars that are keto-friendly are hard to come by, especially if you're looking for a bar with clean ingredients. With zero sugar, 10 grams of protein, and no artificial sweeteners, DNX Bars are a top choice for keto fans. This high protein, keto-compliant bar contains only 2 grams of carbohydrates and packs a ton of flavor.

Unlike most meat bars that may contain upwards of 400 milligrams of sodium, this bar only has 250 milligrams making it a healthy choice for most individuals. It's also very low in carbohydrates and contains only 50 calories. Due to its low-calorie count, this bar may be more of a protein pick-me-up rather than a full snack. If you're looking for a bar with a bit more protein and calories, DNX also makes a Grass-Fed Beef bar that packs 14 grams of protein, 140 calories, and only 1 gram of carbs.

Best Post-Workout: Papa Steve's Raw Foods No Junk Raw Protein Bars

Looking for a bar with some extra oomph after a tough workout? Papa Steve’s No Junk Raw Protein Bars can be consumed as an on-the-go mini-meal or as a satisfying post-workout snack. Depending on the flavor, these bars contain anywhere from 13 to 20 grams of protein from raw whey or vegan protein sources, over 50 percent of the recommended daily intake for fiber, and less than 10 grams of sugar. In fact, the sugar in each bar comes from raw dates and fruit.

Each bar is handmade in Southern California from non-GMO, wheat-free, and soy-free ingredients. They last for 45 days at room temperature, two to three months in the refrigerator, or up to six months in the freezer.

Papa Steve’s offers a variety of products to satisfy a wide array for consumers, including those who eat a vegan diet, follow a paleo lifestyle, or are highly active.

Best Gluten-Free: RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt Protien Bar

With 12 grams of protein per bar, RXBAR is the top protein bar option for men that avoid gluten. They're made with a few simple ingredients including egg whites, nuts, and dates, and are always free of added sugar and nutrient-void fillers. The brand is devoted to transparency, even printing "No B.S" on the wrapper.

Now available at convenience and drug stores across the country, RXBARS are the perfect on-the-go product for those who follow a gluten-free diet. They're great for the office, post-workout, or in a situation where there are no gluten-free offerings. There are tons of flavors to satisfy every craving and suit every taste preference, including favorites such as Chocolate Sea Salt, Blueberry, Maple Sea Salt, and Peanut Butter.

Best Grain-Free: Primal Kitchen Collagen Protein Bars

If you're looking for a paleo-friendly, grain-free bar that tastes great and packs a protein punch, Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Bars are an optimal choice. Each satisfying bar is made without gluten, dairy, or soy. Primal Kitchen uses nuts, seeds, egg whites, and grass-fed collagen as protein sources to provide 15 grams of protein per bar. Many paleo-friendly bars skimp on fiber; however, these fuel bars contain between 6 and 9 grams of dietary fiber (depending on the flavor) to help keep you fuller longer.

Collagen may be associated with women for its role in strengthening nails and hair, but it's also great for men. If hair and nails aren't your top concern, it's an excellent source of animal protein, especially for men who have trouble digesting whey or other animal proteins. These chewy 230-calorie bars contain only 3 grams of sugar and come in a variety of flavors, including Chocolate Hazelnut, Coconut Cashew, Dark Chocolate Almond, and Macadamia Sea Salt.

Best Nut-Free: Epic Provisions Chicken Sriracha Protein Bar

High-quality nut-free bars can be hard to find especially if you're looking for a bar that's high in protein and light on grains. Choosing a savory meat bar such as EPIC's Chicken Sriracha is an excellent choice, especially for men with dietary restrictions or those who avoid nuts. They're also keto-friendly, gluten-free, and paleo.

This spicy, wholesome bar contains 130 calories and 15 grams of protein from natural chicken. It's Non-GMO Project Verified and contains no sugar. If you watch your sodium intake, it's important to note that one bar contains 750 milligrams of sodium— or 23 percent of the recommended daily value.

Best Granola Bar: purely elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola Bars

Many granola-based bars on the market contain minimal nutrients and are more like cleverly marketed candy bars rather than nutrition boosters. If you're looking for a great-tasting granola bar that contains nutrient-dense ingredients, Purely Elizabeth's Original Ancient Grain Granola Bar is the best choice. Each bar is sweetened using unrefined coconut sugar, a low-glycemic sweetener that won't cause your blood sugar to spike as drastically as white cane sugar. The satisfying, crunchy bars are made using USDA Organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free ingredients.

Purely Elizabeth Granola bars come in four flavors, including Blueberry Hemp, Chocolate Sea Salt, Vanilla Almond Butter, and Original. The Original flavor bar packs 140 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 6 grams of sugar. The bar is an ideal snack for men and the whole family, especially when you're looking for a light bite with better-for-you ingredients like amaranth, quinoa, and chia.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a bar that contains clean ingredients, is high in protein, and is suitable for various dietary restrictions, Bulletproof’s Collagen Protein Bar is the top choice. For a more affordable, vegan option, consider Health Warrior's Pumpkin Seed Bar.

What to Look for in a Protein Bar for Men

How much protein: It is suggested that the average male who is moderately active and healthy consume anywhere from 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For those who are very active or looking to build muscle, the factor increases to about 1.0 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Once the body absorbs all the protein it can in one sitting, the excess is then stored away as fat, so it's best to have small portions of protein throughout the day rather than a large amount at one time. Considering that a protein bar only accounts for a small portion of your daily protein intake, you should look for a bar that contains anywhere from 10 to 20 grams of protein, depending on your needs.

What kind of protein: When selecting a protein bar for a snack or mini-meal, you should look for a bar that contains protein from real food sources (meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes) rather than highly processed ingredients that promise mega high amounts of protein. 

Sugar, fiber, and other ingredients: It is also important to choose a bar with more grams of protein than grams of sugar, less than 10 ingredients, and at least 2 grams of fiber.

Calories: If you're eating a protein bar as a snack, stick with a bar that's about 200 to 250 calories. When you're unable to get in a balanced meal, consider skipping the meal replacement bar and combining your snack-sized protein bar with a quick source of whole, real foods like a smoothie, salad, or sandwich to give you a bit more sustaining nutrition—or about 300 to 500 calories.

What Experts Say

"Men tend to have more pounds of muscle than females, and to support that, typically have a higher need for protein. For men, I recommend choosing a protein bar that has at least15 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and no more than 3 grams of saturated fat. If using a protein bar as a post-workout recovery snack, a bar in the 200-300 calories range is sufficient for most men."—Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am frequently asked about the best bars, especially for men. In writing this article, I spent time looking at multiple products and brands and consulted with my peers in dietetics.

I believe the products in the round-up are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients. I would recommend the above products to friends, family, and clients, and have personally tried all of the products. You can currently find EPIC, RX, and Health Warrior bars in my pantry. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
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.
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  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.