The 7 Best Protein Bars for Women of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your workout with these energy packed snacks

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Naturally Clean Eats at Amazon

"This bar is also filled with 10 grams of fiber from chicory root, a known prebiotic that supports gut health."

Best Organic: Shanti at Amazon

"Contain 10 grams of plant-based organic protein from pumpkin and sunflower seeds, it also is high in fiber, iron, and vitamin A."

Best Vegan: Purely Elizabeth Grain Free Coconut Cashew at Thrive Market

"These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly."

Best for People With Diabetes: Raw Rev at Amazon

"One bar contains almost half of the recommended daily intake of fiber per day and there are only 2 grams of sugar."

Best Gluten-Free: Raw Crunch at Amazon

"Full of healthy fats from organic nuts and seeds."

Best Allergy-Friendly: Go Raw at Amazon

"Five organic ingredients that you can pronounce and identify."

Best Keto Protein Bar: Epic Chicken Sirracha at Thrive Market

"For snacks, look for a bar that has less than 5 grams of net carbohydrates."

Dietary guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest that women should consume at least 46 grams of protein per day or 10% to 35% of daily calories. When recommending protein bars to female clients we suggest looking for products that fit specific criteria.

First, choose a bar that contains very little added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women ingest no more than 100 calories (or 25 grams) of added sugar daily. Added sugars are those that are included during manufacturing. These are different than naturally-occurring sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit or milk.

Choose a bar that contains protein and minimal amounts of added sugar. While the ideal combination will vary from person to person, typically a bar with at least 7–10 grams of protein and no more than 5–10 grams of added sugar will work. Keep in mind, bars with higher amounts of protein and fiber will be more satiating, and bars with more added sugar can lead to sugar cravings later on.

Next, look for fiber. Americans, in general, are lacking in fiber consumption. Look for a bar that has at least 5% of the daily value for fiber (but the more the better).

Lastly, the fewer ingredients, the better. Any bar with over 10 ingredients should stay on the shelf. There are also some bars out there that offer women added bonuses of hormone nourishing, mood-boosting and skin brightening ingredients. Find out more below. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Naturally Clean Eats

Naturally Clean Eats was founded by Jessica Lunego, a professional Pilates instructor, cookbook author, and mother of two. Inspired by nutrition-less protein bars that could not keep up with her busy lifestyle, Jessica created bars with simple, nutrient-dense ingredients.

Packed with ingredients such as quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds these bars are as nutritious as they are delicious and many of women note they can eat half of the bar and feel completely satisfied. The variety of nuts and seeds provide a nice dose of healthy fats that are both hormone supporting and incredibly satiating. This bar is also filled with 10 grams of fiber from chicory root, a known prebiotic that supports gut health by feeding the good bacteria in the body. It also has 7 grams of protein and 0 grams of added sugar.

Best Organic: Shanti

Not only does this bar contain 10 grams of plant-based organic protein from pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but it is also high in fiber, iron, and vitamin A. It does have 9 grams of sugar, which is on the higher side, but this sugar comes from natural sources like dates, and coconut syrup.

Adequate iron consumption is critical for women to support energy levels, focus and memory and this bar offers 10% of the recommended daily intake. We know vitamin A plays a role in healthy vision but for women. Vitamin A has also been shown to regulate thyroid hormone metabolism and inhibit the thyroid-stimulating hormone.

Good to Know

It is important to check the total grams of sugar on a nutrition label, however, it is equally as important to check the source of the sugar and its position on the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed by the amount contained in the product. We recommend looking for bars that keep sugar out of the first three ingredients.

Best Vegan: Purely Elizabeth Grain Free Coconut Cashew


Courtesy of Thrive Market

Purely Elizabeth’s grain-free nut and seed bar only has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of added sugar, but it is both salty and sweet although organic coconut sugar is the fourth ingredient. These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly. For an added bonus, they feature an extract from Reishi mushrooms. Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that has purported benefits of supporting immunity. 

Best for People With Diabetes: Raw Rev

The key to a successful diabetes meal plan varies from person to person and should be individualized. However, a healthy meal plan keeps added sugars low, fiber high, and overall intake of carbohydrates throughout the day as consistent as possible. Most of the time, choosing a snack that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates is beneficial.

Raw Rev’s Peanut Butter Glo Bars have 15 grams of plant-based protein and 17 grams of carbohydrate, but 14 grams of fiber and only 2 grams of sugar. These bars are vegan and the higher fat content from the nuts and seeds is extremely satiating. 

Best Gluten-Free: Raw Crunch

Antioxidants get a lot of airtime as being the cure-all for issues such as acne, brain fog, disease prevention, PMS symptoms, sleep—the list goes on and on. Most Americans do not consume enough Vitamin E, a major antioxidant and fat-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamins are not adequately absorbed by the body if they are not consumed with some dietary fat.

Luckily, Raw Crunch bars are full of healthy fats from organic nuts and seeds. These bars only contain 5 grams of protein but the healthy fats and fiber can aid in satiety. In addition, they're organic, gluten and dairy-free and do not contain funky gums or processed fibers that other gluten-free products contain. The sugar count only adds up to 5 grams.

Best Allergy-Friendly: Go Raw

Allergy-friendly bars that are free of processed syrups and funky additives are hard to find. Go Raw keeps it simple with five, organic ingredients that you can pronounce and identify, as well as a solid 11 grams of protein and 0 grams of added sugar. Go Raw has its own dedicated production plant in Northern California that is completely gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and kosher.

In addition to being free of common allergens and irritants, the seeds used to make these bars are “sprouted”, a technique that mimics the seed’s natural germination process. Sprouting may improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. 

Best Keto Protein Bar: Epic Chicken Sirracha


Courtesy of Thrive Market 

If you are a keto diet advocate and are looking for a bar that contains a very small amount of carbohydrates, Epic Provision’s Chicken Sriracha Bar is an excellent protein forward bar that will keep consumers full until mealtime. One bar contains only 1 gram of carbohydrate, 100 calories, 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugars.

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

  2. American Heart Association. Added Sugars. Updated April 17, 2018.

  3. Farhangi MA, Keshavarz SA, Eshraghian M, Ostadrahimi A, Saboor-yaraghi AA. The effect of vitamin A supplementation on thyroid function in premenopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012;31(4):268-74. doi:10.1080/07315724.2012.10720431

  4. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin E. Fact Sheet for Consumers. Updated February 28, 2020.