The Best-Tasting Protein Bars—a Dietitian’s Top Picks

Elemental Superfood Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter Seed Bar is our top pick

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When it comes to protein bars, flavor preference is highly individual—whether you prefer a nut-butter, chocolate, or fruit-flavored bar, there’s an option for everyone. Some bars come in inventive and enticing flavors like birthday cake and s'mores; however, be sure to check the nutrition label as many bars on the market contain high amounts of added sugar or artificial sweeteners. You might want to look for protein bars that contain simple, whole ingredients and are sweetened with natural sources like dried fruit. Looking for fiber and healthy fats help ensure a balanced snack providing a steady release of energy.

Reviewed & Approved

Elemental Superfood Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter Seed Bar tops our list with simple whole ingredients and a delicious balanced flavor combining chocolate and almond butter. If you're looking for a savory option, try EPIC's top-quality, tasty beef jerky bars.

Lauren Bloch, MS, RD says, "Bars can make for an easy and delicious snack on the go, especially on days when you’re craving something sweet but want to avoid the blood sugar crash that can come with other sweet snacks and treats. In terms of flavor and nutrient composition, not all bars are created equal. I always recommend choosing options with short ingredient lists that you can recognize, less than 10 grams [of] sugar, and ideally, contain some fiber and protein to keep you full and satisfied."

When selecting our top list of best tasting protein bars, we considered taste, texture, grams of protein, ingredient list and overall nutritional content. We prioritized bars flavored with natural sources like cocoa, vanilla extract, spices, and nut butters and sweetened with ingredients like dried fruit.

Here, the best-tasting bars.

Best Overall: Elemental Superfood Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter Seed Bar

4.8
Elemental Superfood Seedbar

Amazon

What do buyers say? 84% of 100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Elemntal Superfood Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter Seed Bars top our list with an indulgent texture that makes you think you're eating a bakery treat rather than a protein-packed nutrition bar. With a cookie-like texture and tons of inventive flavors—including Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter, Currant Cacao + Hemp Seed, and Mulberry Cacao + Spirulina—Elemental Superfoods bars will keep your taste buds excited and your body fueled with energy-boosting protein and nutrient-rich superfoods. With 230 calories, 8 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein, the Dark Chocolate + Almond Butter bar is an indulgent and incredibly nutritious snack.

These bars are also incredibly allergy friendly and were created out of the founder’s need for on-the-go snacks that would fit her daughter’s dietary restrictions. Free of soy, egg, gluten, and dairy, these bars are great for anyone following an allergen-free or anti-inflammatory 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. Note that these bars do require refrigeration.

Best Budget: KIND Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

KIND Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

Courtesy of Amazon

Finding a bar that tastes great, is made from quality ingredients, and is budget friendly can be quite a challenge. Luckily, KIND makes a deliciously indulgent Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar that is low in sugar but tastes outrageously good. The satisfying crunch of peanuts and almonds is a welcome alternative to typical soft and chewy bars. Plus, the bars are widely available and aren’t as expensive as comparable products on the market. The hint of sea salt provides a savory twist to the nutty and chocolate-flavored bar.

The Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar contains 180 calories, 5 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, KIND also makes other varieties with 5 grams of sugar or less, including Madagascar Vanilla Almond (4 grams) and Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt (5 grams).

Best Gluten-Free: Raw Crunch Bars

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

Amazon

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 (or chocolate, depending on the flavor). Every ingredient except the chocolate is raw. The 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, you'll be reassured to know that 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. One Raw Crunch bar contains 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 Chocolate: The YES Bar Dark Chocolate Chip

The YES Bar Dark Chocolate Chip

Courtesy of Amazon

It can be challenging to find a chocolate-flavored bar that checks all the nutrition boxes and still tastes great. Many chocolate protein bars have a chalky taste or use artificial flavors and sweeteners to achieve a rich, velvety taste. With whole food ingredients and delicious cookie-like taste, the Yes Bar is the best chocolate-flavored bar. The Dark Chocolate Chip flavor tastes like a chewy chocolate chip cookie and contains 5 grams of plant-based protein. It's made from ingredients that you can read, including almonds, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews.

Each bar contains 220 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of sugar from natural ingredients such as maple syrup and coconut nectar. While the bar is primarily made from nuts and seeds, it is free of gluten, grains, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, eggs, and refined sugars. It's vegan and paleo friendly. The tasty, convenient bar comes in other delicious flavors such as Salted Maple Pecan and is the perfect quick snack any time of day.

Best Savory: Wild Zora Meat & Veggie Bars

Wild Zora Meat and Veggie Bars

Courtesy of Amazon

A savory bar is a great alternative to typical sweet, chocolatey protein bars, especially if you prefer salty, meat, and veggie flavors. Wild Zora’s paleo and Whole30 diet-approved meat and veggie bars are the perfect satisfying snack for savory snackers. Unlike many comparable, jerky-like products, Wild Zora bars contain the highest quality ingredients without extra sugar, MSG, or other additives. They’re minimally processed, and the meat is free of antibiotics and hormones.

With tons of mouth-watering flavors including Apple Pork, BBQ Beef, Curry Turkey, and Mediterranean Lamb, there are tons of options to satisfy every savory craving.

Best Salty: EPIC Provisions Sea Salt and Pepper Bar

Epic Provisions Sea Salt and Pepper Bar

Courtesy of Epic

If you're a fan of spicy, salty snacks, reach for EPIC's top-quality, tasty beef jerky bars. The spice comes from a blend of onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and cultured celery powder. EPIC uses 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised sources from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The brand is committed to transparency and offers consumers information about the sourcing and standards of its beef.

Each gluten-free and keto-friendly bar contains 11 grams of protein, zero grams of sugar, 130 calories, and 590 milligrams of sodium, making this an excellent choice for any salt lover. While you may love the delicious salt and pepper taste, note that one bar does contain 25 percent of the recommended daily value of sodium, so you may want to plan your meals—and water intake—accordingly.

Final Verdict

Taste is a highly individual preference, so if you want a bar with a ton of different flavors to choose from, try Health Warrior Chia Bar (view on Amazon). For a delicious bar that has a cookie-like consistency and great taste, try Elemental Superfood Seed Bars (view on Amazon).

What to Look for in a Great-Tasting Bar

Ingredients

The fewer ingredients, the better. Aim to select a bar with fewer than 10 ingredients. When possible, choose bars made from whole food ingredients that you can recognize like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dried fruit.

Protein

When searching for a protein bar, look for a bar with more grams of protein than grams of sugar. Also, consider the source of the protein. If you prefer plant-based or vegan products, a nut or seed-based bar is likely best for you. If you want a higher-protein bar, choose one that includes a protein powder such as whey, hemp, pea, or brown-rice protein.

Sugar

Avoid bars that use artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, as these can cause stomach upset. Choose a bar that uses natural sweeteners like fruit, maple syrup, or honey. Aim to select a bar with 10 to 15 grams of total sugar at most to stay below the recommended 50 gram limit per day or 10% of total daily calories.

Fiber

Try to choose a bar with 3 or more grams of dietary fiber to help meet your recommended 25-34 grams per day.

Calories

Protein bars range in calories from approximately 100 to 250 calories. Consider your needs when selecting a bar. If you're choosing a bar as a small snack, you may want a lower-calorie option, whereas if you are using a bar as a meal replacement, you may want a bit more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best-tasting protein bar?

    Taste is highly individual, so what tastes great to one person may taste terrible to the next. When looking for a great-tasting bar, it’s important to consider the overall nutrition components and ingredients before choosing a flavor. Look for a bar with high-quality ingredients and a balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates that suits your individual needs and activity levels. Once you find a bar that meets your criteria, select a flavor that appeals to you. When possible, avoid artificial flavors and sweeteners.

  • What is the best-tasting paleo bar?

    People following a paleo diet avoid gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, artificial sweeteners, and most forms of sugar. If you're looking for a great tasting bar that's compliant with the paleo diet rules, you may opt for something like EPIC Provision's Sea Salt and Pepper Bar, as it's a paleo-friendly product made with 100 percent grass-fed beef and no sugar.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am frequently asked about the best bars—in terms of nutrition and taste. 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 roundup are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients. I would recommend the above products to friends, family, and clients, and I have personally tried all of the products. You can currently find EPIC, Yes, and Health Warrior bars in my pantry.Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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1 Source
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  1. Makinen KK. Gastrointestinal disturbances associated with the consumption of sugar alcohols with special consideration of xylitol: scientific review and instructions for dentists and other health-care professionals. Int J Dent. 2016;2016:5967907. doi:10.1155/2016/5967907