The 8 Best Protein Bars for Women of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your workout by choosing the right amount of fiber, protein, and sugar

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Whether you're looking to up your protein intake or want a smarter snack, protein bars are an excellent way for women to meet their protein needs and make healthy choices on the go. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adult women consume the equivalent of approximately 5 ounces of protein per day. A protein bar makes it easy to meet this goal, providing you with a boost that will keep you satisfied and fueled for hours. Selecting a bar made with high-quality ingredients is just as important as finding a bar that appeals to your taste buds. The bars below taste great, have impressive nutritional stats, and are made with top-quality ingredients.

What to Look for in a Protein Bar for Women

Sugar:

Choose a bar that contains very little added sugar. 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. The American Heart Association recommends that women ingest no more than 100 calories (or 25 grams) of added sugar daily. Look for a bar with no more than 5 to 10 grams of sugar. If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, you may consider zero sugar bars or artificial sweeteners—ideal if you like a sweet taste but have to watch your carbohydrate intake.

Protein:

While the ideal combination amount of protein in a bar will vary from person to person, typically a bar with at least 7 to 10 grams of protein is best. Keep in mind, bars with higher amounts of protein and fiber will be more satiating than a bar that is high in carbohydrates and sugar.

Fiber:

Dietary fiber can help to keep you fuller longer. It can also help to improve digestion and keep you regular. Look for a bar that has at least a few grams of dietary fiber. The best bars will have both high fiber and high protein for longer-lasting fullness.

Ingredients:

The fewer ingredients, the better. In general, any bar with over 10 ingredients should stay on the shelf. For carbohydrates, look for whole fruits. For higher protein bars, make sure it is listed as one of the first ingredients.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

Here, the best protein bars for women:

Best Overall: Go Raw Pumpkin Seed Bars

Go Raw Pumpkin Seed Bars

Finding a bar that tastes great, is minimally processed, and is free of funky additives can certainly be a challenge. If you're looking for a bar that checks all these boxes and is specifically a good option for women, Go Raw's Pumpkin Seed bar is the best choice. The bar keeps it simple with five organic ingredients that you can pronounce and identify, as well as a solid 11 grams of protein and zero grams of added sugar.

Plus, it's allergy-friendly. Go Raw has its own dedicated production plant in Northern California that is entirely nut-free, gluten-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 Budget: KIND Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond Bars

For a budget-friendly bar that's also a protein-packed pick for women, there's KIND's 5 grams of sugar option. These bars are affordable and available almost everywhere, which is incredibly convenient for women who are constantly on the go. From drug stores to gas stations, these bars are fabulous for those moments when you need a snack and are stuck with limited options. 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. 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 in women.

Best Vegan: Naturally Clean Eats Vegan Protein Bars

Naturally Clean Eats Vegan Protein Bars

For women, choosing a bar that is satisfying, delicious, and balanced helps keep your hormones in check. hormone-balancing is key. Hormones affect everything from mood to hunger, so keeping them regulated with healthy fats along with protein and carbohydrates is helpful to boost energy and general well-being.

In addition to healthy fats, each plant-based bar contains sustaining protein to power women through an action-packed day. The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie flavor packs 6 grams of protein, 220 calories, and 7 grams of natural sugar from dates. It also contains 9 grams of fiber, partially from chicory root, a known prebiotic that supports gut health by feeding the good bacteria in the body.

The easily digestible protein comes from nutrient-dense ingredients such as quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, making this non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free bar an excellent choice for women on the go. Plus, the bars don't require refrigeration, so you can stash them in your bag for a healthy snack anytime and anywhere.

Best Gluten-Free: Raw Crunch Bars

Raw Crunch Bars - Organic Dark Chocolate - Box of 12 Bars

If the ideal gluten-free snack existed in a package, Raw Crunch Bars would take a gold medal. These delicious handmade bars are full of wholesome nuts, seeds, honey, and fruit. These raw ingredients are soaked and dehydrated in small batches—rather than being cooked—to maintain the nutrients and enzymes. If allergens such as gluten are a concern, Raw Crunch's facility is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and peanut-free.

The organic bars are full of plant-based protein and fiber from a variety of nuts and seeds. They also contain a critical ingredient that many Americans do not consume enough of—Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant in the prevention of cognitive decline, coronary artery disease, and cancer. One Raw Crunch bar contains 15% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E, plus 5 grams of easily digestible plant protein, 5 grams of natural sugar, and only 150 calories.

The bars come in a variety of flavors, including Blueberry Lemon, Cranberry Orange, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Cherry, and Goji Berry.

Best High Protein: Raw Rev Glo Protein Bars Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt

Raw Rev Glo Protein Bars Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea

Most protein bars have approximately 10 grams of protein, but some women may want a bit more, especially if their diet is low in protein or they need to replenish post-workout. Raw Rev’s Peanut Butter Glo Bars have 15 grams of plant-based protein, 14 grams of fiber, and only 2 grams of sugar. These vegan bars pack the extra protein from peanuts, pea protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein, chia, and flax seeds.

The chewy bar is perfect for peanut butter lovers. It has a creamy texture and rich peanut taste with hints of sea salt. Plus, it's only 180 calories, so it's an excellent satisfying snack for women who are watching their weight. Unlike other low-calorie, high-protein bars, Raw Rev Glo is free of soy protein isolates, whey, grains, sugar alcohols, and preservatives.

Best Allergy-Friendly: 88 Acres Cinnamon & Oats Granola Bar

88-acres-cinnamon-oats-seed-bar

For women with nut allergies—or those who have to keep a nut-free house for their kids— finding a bar that's safe to enjoy and delicious can be a challenge. 88 Acres Seed Bars are a nutritious solution. Made in a dedicated bakery that's free of peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and sesame, 88 Acres bars offer a wholesome, allergy-friendly snack that's great for women and the whole family.

The chewy Oats & Cinnamon Seed bar from 88 Acres satisfies any sweet craving and is packed with nutrition. Each bar contains 190 calories, 10% of the RDA of iron, and 6 grams of protein from a blend of organic pumpkin, organic sunflower, and flax seeds. The bars come in a variety of other flavors, including Apple Ginger, Double Chocolate Mocha, Triple Berry, and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt.

Best Tasting: Elemental Superfood Seedbar Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Elemental Superfood Seedbar Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter

The inventive flavors of Elemental Superfoods bars—including Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter, Currant Cacao + Hemp Seed, and Mulberry Cacao + Spirulina—will keep your taste buds excited and body fueled with energy-boosting protein and nutrient-rich superfoods. The crumbly, soft texture of the Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter bar makes you feel like you're eating a deliciously indulgent cookie, but with 7 grams of protein, it's an incredibly nutritious snack.

Free of soy, egg, gluten, and dairy, these bars are great for anyone following an allergen-free diet or merely looking for snacks that support a whole food, plant-based style of eating. The non-GMO Project Verified, raw ingredients are easy for the body to digest and absorb. The superfood snack contains 230 calories and 8 grams of sugar from organic honey. Note that these bars do require refrigeration.

Best 100-Calorie: Health Warrior Chia Bars Best Seller Variety Pack

Health Warrior Chia Bars Best Seller Variety Pack

When you want a small protein snack, but don't want a bar with a ton of calories, Health Warrior Chia Bars are an excellent choice. With only 100 calories and 3 grams of sugar, Health Warrior's Chia Bars are the perfect small snack for an active lifestyle. The tasty, convenient bar is ideal for taking with you on the go or for grabbing before a workout when you want something light.

Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based protein source that also contains fiber and heart-healthy ALA omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that chia seeds absorb amounts of liquid equal to 12 times their own size. Each bar provides at least half of the recommended daily value of ALA—a plant form of omega-3 fatty acids.

The gluten-free, non-GMO Project Verified bars are filling, delicious, and an excellent choice for kids. With a variety of flavors—including Acai Berry, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Vanilla Almond, Apple Cinnamon, Mango, and Banana Nut—there's something for everyone.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a delicious, protein-packed bar made with clean ingredients, Go Raw's Pumpkin Seed bar (view at Amazon) is the top choice for women. For a smaller snack that's budget-friendly and comes in a variety of flavors, try Health Warrior's Chia Bars (view at Amazon).

FAQs

What is the best time to eat a protein bar?

You can eat a protein bar at any time of the day, but they are especially helpful for when you need a protein and energy boost on-the-go. They make a great snack and help to bridge the gap until you eat your next meal. Protein bars may be used as a meal substitute when you don't have access to a nutritious, well-balanced meal; however, consider your individual energy and nutrition needs, as you may need to pair the bar with something to ensure you're getting enough.

What is the best protein bar to lose weight?

If your goal is to lose weight, consider how the protein bar will fit your daily energy needs. If you're using the protein bar as a snack in a reduced-calorie diet, you may want to make sure that you select a bar with approximately 100 to 200 calories and at least 3 grams of protein and fiber. A protein bar should be used as a tool when you don't have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, or whole grains.

What Experts Say

"Women typically require fewer calories per day than men, so choosing a bar at—or under—200 calories is a good rule of thumb, especially if the bar is meant as a snack. While keeping an eye on calories, women should look for bars with at least 10 grams of protein, and because women are more prone to iron deficiency, they should choose bars that provide at least 20% of their daily need for iron."—Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am cautious to recommend protein bars, as many options on the market contain lots of added sugar and questionable ingredients. That said, there are many great products available for women, such as the products above. In writing this article, I also looked at multiple products and brands and consulted with trusted peers in dietetics.

I believe the products in the round-up are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients that are beneficial for women (and men as well). I would recommend the above products to friends, family, and clients, and I have personally tried the majority of the products. You can currently find Health Warrior Chia Bars and Elemental Superfood Bars in my pantry. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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8 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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