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When you walk into a grocery store, you are likely to find an impressive selection of energy bars. Energy bars are great for when you are on the go and need a quick snack! They are fantastic energy boosters before hitting the gym or right after, and some consume energy bars as a substitute for less healthy options like overly rich chocolate bars. There are also energy bars made to be meal replacers for someone on a diet, but here it’s important to understand that not all energy bars are the same, and that some are better than others.
Some bars on the market are packed with too much fat and sugar, which is something you want to avoid. We have tried to make it easier for you by providing this list of some of the best protein bars, along with a comprehensive guide for how to make your decision when you stand there in the shop.
View The Best Energy Bars Below
1. CLIF BAR
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The Clif bar is a delicious snack bar with a total of 70% organic ingredients, and there are no unhealthy trans-fats, (high-fructose) corn syrup or hydrogenated oils! Instead, you get delicious natural flavors like dark chocolate, oatmeal and raisin, peanut butter, and a total of twenty-three healthy vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system and keep you going all day. When you eat a Clif bar, you will benefit from ingredients like soy protein, almonds, rolled oats, egg whites, and sea salt, with a balanced level of sugar and protein.
+ 70% proven organic ingredients
+ 23 different vitamins and minerals
+ Product is QAI certified
Why We Like It – The delicious flavor is only one of the things that make these bars so irresistible, and the best thing about them is that 70% of the ingredients are organic.
2. ZonePerfect Protein Bars
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How do chocolate peanut butter and fudge graham sound? There is a perfect balance of protein, sugar, and carbs in these bars, and they are often used by those trying to lose weight or start living a healthier lifestyle. The ingredients list reveal a blend of vitamins, such as selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as balanced protein content, fiber, nutritious seeds, dried fruit, and more – all packed into a bar with an irresistibly chewy texture.
+ Peanut butter and dark chocolate flavors
+ 3mg of Omega fatty acids per bar
+ Available without gluten
Why We Like It – These bars are great as meal replacers, and the ingredients list shows several nutritious food items to help your body and mind become the best and strongest they can be.
3. KIND Gluten Free Bars
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These snack bar products are 100% free from Gluten, and they are both Kosher and GMO-free, with only five grams of sugar in each bar. The list of ingredients is short and easy to comprehend, with only items you know and recognize. The bars contain a mix of healthy nuts and seeds, bound together with egg whites and honey. You get a good source of protein, healthy carbs (proving that sugar isn’t always bad), and fiber. It’s a bar both children and adults can enjoy snacking on.
+ Sea salt and healthy protein
+ Gluten-free and Kosher
+ Only 5 grams of sugar
Why We Like It – A gluten and GMO-free product is always a welcome addition on the market, and the low sugar content makes these bars with quality ingredients a great pick for anyone who needs an energy boost.
4. Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar
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Looking and tasting just like a cream-filled wafer, these are so much more than that! Several grams of protein, low sugar content and ingredients like real vanilla makes this one of the most delicious protein bar products you can pick up at your local store, and they’re something young kids are likely to love!
These are suitable for diabetics and for those trying to eat healthily. There are multiple flavors to choose from, such as Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Mint, Red Velvet and Salted Caramel, for you to find your favorite or switch it up on occasion.
+ Great for satisfying hunger
+ Multiple flavors to choose from
+ Product is diabetic friendly
Why We Like It – Lightweight and great for taking with you in your bag when you go out or when you head to work, and the many flavor options make these an instant favorite.
5. Pure Protein Bars
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Once you try these protein and low-sugar bars, you won’t be able to forget about them, as they have that perfect mix of creamy and crunchy. They come in several flavors, each equally irresistible. There is no artificial flavoring or preservatives in any of these all rights reserved recipes, and the protein levels are enough to give you all the energy you need for your next workout. These bars also make a great snack for a child to have in their lunch box, and work wonders to fill you up between meals.
+ Packed with natural flavor
+ Healthy high-protein blend
+ Free from gluten and artificial preservatives
Why We Like It – Soy protein, chocolate, peanut butter, and cookie dough are only some of the ingredients in these irresistible bars, and they boost your energy levels almost instantly as you bite into them.
6. ONE Protein Bars
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Bite into a bar with Birthday Cake flavor, Blueberry Cobbler, Cinnamon Roll, Peanut Butter Cup, and Salted Caramel (with sea salt), and experience an explosion of flavor that will almost make you feel bad! They taste just like the most delicious cheat meals you have ever had, yet they are good for you.
It’s almost too good to be true. These bars prove that you can eat healthy while still continuing to eat foods you like, and when you purchase this kind, bars like these take your new healthy lifestyle to a whole new level.
+ Unbeatable flavor options
+ Wheat and soy protein
+ Made with sea salt
Why We Like It – The flavor options when purchasing these bars are mind-blowing, and the sea salt brings out a little something extra that you will love from the very first bite.
7. Gatorade Protein Recover Bars
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When looking at these all rights reserved power bars, you can see right away that they were created for someone who enjoys physical activity, and for the professional athlete. They are great for eating both before and after a workout, and a fantastic help for workout recovery, thanks to the high protein content.
With 350 calories per bar, it might not be a great fit for someone who spends most of their time on the couch, but if you play sports or work out, these can become a lifesaver.
+ Made for athletes
+ 350 calories per bar
+ Great for workout recovery
Why We Like It – Boosts your energy level when you need it, and they will help you recover fast after a rewarding and intense workout session.
8. KIND Breakfast Probiotic Bars
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When it comes to our health, eating a good breakfast is an essential part of a sustainable daily routine, and these bars work great as meal replacement items for someone who might not usually have time for breakfast in the mornings.
These are packed with energy from whole grains, and there is an impressive amount of probiotic cultures to kickstart your digestion and metabolism in the morning, to leave you feeling energized and strong for the rest of the day.
+ Sustainable whole grain energy
+ No GMO or gluten content
+ Packed with probiotic cultures
Why We Like It – The probiotic content is great for someone with a sensitive stomach, and there are few better ways to start a day than with one of these whole-grain bars.
9. RXBAR Protein Breakfast Bar
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Start your day off right with a wholesome treat full of nutrients, where every bite feels like you are chewing on a yummy chocolate bar, and not a healthy treat. The high-protein content is held together with dates, a natural and delicious sweetener. There’s also no added sugar in these snack bars, and you won’t be able to get enough of them once you open a pack.
+ Dates used for binding content
+ Wholesome on-the-go snack
+ With no added sugars
Why We Like It – The natural sweetness of the dates is a fantastic way to avoid adding additional sugar, and it tastes just as good, if not much better!
10. PROBAR Base Protein Bar
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You have so many flavor options to choose from when you purchase one of these packs, and each one contains recommended levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and natural fiber. The plant protein and the fiber helps your body feel full longer. They are free from gluten so that also someone who is gluten intolerant can enjoy a delicious and healthy snack between meals.
+ Natural fiber and Omega-3
+ Non-GMO verified
+ Flaxseed and chia
Why We Like It – These bars provide a superior sense of fullness that lasts for hours so that you can easily make it through the day also when you’re running late for dinner, or when you need an extra boost of energy.
Energy Bars Buyer’s Guide
There is so much more to an energy bar than what meets the eye, and the secret to a good bar lies in the ingredients, which can be found listed on the package. Most people do want to be healthy. To work towards that, you need to make sure you pick the right kind of bars packed with the right nutrients, and that do something good for your body.
With so many products available on the market, full of ingredients you might have never even heard of, it can get overwhelming to choose, but we have tried to simplify the process by providing a list of healthy quality products. That, along with the following buyer’s guide, will make your next trip to the supermarket a lot easier.
The key is to learn to read through the ingredients when you are shopping for energy bars, as all the information you need is right there. The ingredients are listed in order. One bar will contain the most of what is listed first and the least of what’s listed last.
For example, if the first of the ingredients listed is sugar, that would mean that the bar contains a large amount of sugar, and if peanut butter is listed first – that’s what the bar contains the most. Millions of people buy products every day without ever flipping the package over to look through the ingredients, but it’s a healthy habit to have when you’re buying something that will go in your mouth and your body.
Amount of Calories
These types of bars are often small in size, but don’t let that fool you, as many contain quite a few calories. If you’re someone who tends to eat quite a few a day, it quickly builds up. Check the calories before you purchase a product, as a dark chocolate bar does not always contain more calories than a brown rice or wheat bar, and moderate your consumption so that you don’t overdo it. How many grams of protein or sugar a product contains will usually have a significant effect on the calorie content, and it should always be specified on the product packaging.
Nutritional Content & Vitamins
The best energy bars will have plenty of vitamins and minerals to help your body function properly. It’s a great way to combat fatigue and an overall lack of energy. Some of the vitamins that bars often contain are niacin, B6, B12 and thiamine (all B vitamins), known to help with all kinds of digestive problems and prevent sudden drops in your energy level.
Iron is also great for staying energized and motivated throughout the day, and it’s another thing you are likely to find in an energy bar. It’s the perfect thing to eat to make it through a long day at work. Still, you should not rely entirely on energy bars for vitamins and minerals, and you should perhaps consider taking a supplement as well if you think you could be suffering from a vitamin deficiency.
Sugar vs. Sweetener
There is an ongoing debate all over the world whether to use products with sweeteners like Stevia and Splenda or if to stick to regular sugar. This depends on many different things, as not everyone can eat real sugar. This is something you will have to decide on for yourself what you prefer in your bars.
You do want to check how many grams of sugar or sweetener your energy bars contain, though, as some may be packed with it to a higher level than what’s considered desirable in a healthy diet (preferably no more than 10 grams of sugar per bar). If you are a high-performing athlete, then up to 20 grams in a bar is not unusual, or necessarily bad, as you will likely need the energy boost.
What to Avoid
The first thing that comes to mind is trans-fat, which isn’t the same as natural sources of fat. When hydrogen is artificially injected into vegetable oils, it pushes the expiration date of the oil and the food items made with the oil back and gives the product a much longer shelf-life. This process and the outcome are called trans-fats, and it’s known to increase the risk of diabetes, heart problems such as cardiac arrest, and strokes. Doesn’t sound too great, does it? It isn’t, and it’s better to avoid trans-fats altogether.
Keep an eye out for a high content of artificial ingredients, as this is more or less the opposite of what you want an energy bar to contain. Most people will buy a healthy snack bar as a substitute for something unhealthy, and this means you want to make sure the ingredient list shows that the bars of your choice are as healthy as they claim. Stay away from artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors, as these won’t provide you with any nutrients.
Hidden sugars is another thing you don’t want in your energy bars, and this is usually listed as brown rice syrup, coconut sap, agave or corn syrup, which the untrained eye might not recognize as sugars, but are. With these in mind, the sugar content per bar might get concerningly high.
Are snack bars healthy?
As with everything, it’s best to eat energy bars in moderation, and not to overdo it. It’s also important to choose quality products. But yes, healthy bars in moderation is a great source of nutrients and vitamins.
What makes a good energy bar?
Natural ingredients, without artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and with no trans-fats, is a sign of a good and healthy energy bar.
What is the best energy bar for hiking?
When you are hiking or doing another type of physical activity, you usually want a bar that provides you with extra energy, but you don’t want it to fill you up so much that it’ll slow you down. Skip any artificial ingredients, but also look out for too much sugar per bar, as this will only result in a rapid spike in energy, with a steep drop.
Energy bars are delicious and easy to carry with you. They fill you up between meals, and they are packed with nutrients, so it’s not strange at all that they have become so popular in recent years. This will have hopefully given you a better idea of which ingredients to look for and what to avoid (such as brown rice syrup), to help you find the ideal energy bar for your needs. Nothing beats real food, especially healthy real food, but a delicious protein bar could be the solution when you are on the go or when you want a filling snack.
It’s not recommendable to eat only energy bars, as it is highly unlikely you will get all the daily nutrients you need, but it’s an excellent complement to a healthy and balanced diet.
Did You Know
A sign of a good and healthy energy bar can often be fewer items on the ingredient list, as this means less processing and fillers.