The 9 Best Tasting Protein Bars 2021

Are you constantly on the go? Are you missing meals? A protein bar can be a lifesaver.

This is especially true for bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter how busy you are.

You need protein!

A protein bar is quick, easy, and delicious. Protein bars come in all kinds of flavors.

How’s Apple Pie, Blueberry Cobbler, or Almond Bliss sound?

Not to mention Maple Glazed Donut or Peanut Butter Pie. Sounds tantalizing, right?

This guide will review the best tasting protein bars on the market. Let’s get going!

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:

Quick answer – best tasting protein bars

  1. ONE Protein Bar – Best Overall
  2. Quest Protein Bars – Best Dessert Flavors
  3. Aloha Protein Bars – Best Tasting Plant-Based Protein Bar
  4. Optimum Nutrition Protein Wafers – Best  Tasting Wafer-Style Protein Bar
  5. Think! High Protein Bars – Best Peanut Butter Flavor
  6. BSN Protein Crisp Bars – Best Tasting Crisp Rice Protein Bar
  7. RX Bars – Best For Simple Ingredients
  8. Atkins Protein Meal Bars – Best Tasting Low Carb Protein Bar
  9. FitCrunch Protein Bars – Best Tasting Layered Protein Bar

Reviews – The Best Tasting Protein Bars

ONE Protein Bar – Best Overall

Here’s a protein bar with only 1g of sugar (there’s 6g of sugar alcohol). ONE Protein Bars “Best Sellers Variety Pack” gives you four of their best tasting flavors. These include Birthday Cake, Maple Glazed Doughnut, Peanut Butter Pie, and Almond Bliss.

Have you ever had an Almond Joy candy bar? Then you will love the Almond Bliss. Other popular flavors include Blueberry Cobbler and Cookie Dough. ONE Bar provides 20g of milk & whey isolate protein. There’s also 23g total carb with 3g of fiber. Plus, there’s 8g of fat (6g saturated) and 140mg sodium.

You can use a ONE Bar for bulking or cutting. At 220 or more calories, this is a muscle building bar. Yet, with only 1g of sugar, they fit a low-carb diet. Standout flavor: Almond Bliss.

PROS

  • Only 1g Of Sugar Per Bar
  • 20g Milk And Whey Protein
  • Great Flavor Selection

CONS

  • Some Users Did Not Like The Sugar Alcohol Or Sodium Content. 

Quest Protein Bars – Best Dessert Flavors

Quest Protein Bars was one of the first great tasting protein bars. They redefined how good a protein bar could taste. Even now, they are one of the most popular protein bars.

They have a wide range of flavors, but their Dessert Heaven Variety Pack stands out as a great option. Included are Smores, Cookies & Cream, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Other popular flavors include Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie. These Quest Bars contain 1g of sugar with 4g net carbs. They supply 20-21g milk isolate and whey isolate protein.

These bars are low in saturated fat, and around 200 calories. They may be a little high in sodium (240mg depending on flavor). Still, they’re a great-tasting popular protein bar. Use them for cutting or bulking. Standout flavor: Apple Pie.

PROS

  • Wide Variety Of Flavors – Including Dessert Flavors
  • 20-21g Milk And Whey Isolate Protein
  • Low Net Carbs

CONS

  • May Be Too High In Sodium For Some Users

Aloha Protein Bars – Best Tasting Plant-Based Protein Bar

Aloha is a plant-based protein bar that tastes as good as any other bar out there. The 6-flavor Variety Pack is especially good. These bars are a little lower in protein than many others.

They have 14g brown rice and pumpkin seed protein. Aloha Bars are higher in healthy fat (9-13g). They’re low in sugar with 5g fiber and about 25g total carbs. Finally, they are very low in sodium. They’re well over 200 calories, so they’re great for a muscle building cycle.

You could use them to replace a meal if you’re on a diet. The Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Coconut Chocolate Almond are the best flavors. Finally, there’s no sugar alcohol, and they are Paleo-friendly.

PROS

  • Good Flavor Variety
  • 14g Plant Protein Per Bar
  • Very Low Sodium

CONS

  • Low In Protein

Optimum Nutrition Protein Wafers – Best  Tasting Wafer-Style Protein Bar

Many users may remember the wafer cookies from back when they were a kid. Optimum Nutrition Protein Wafers capture that popular flavor. They are available in either Vanilla or Chocolate.

These crispy wafers are thick with chocolate drizzled across the top. They have 15g of milk and whey isolate protein. At 200calories per 2-wafer serving, they are low in carbs (14g), fat (9g), and sugar (6g). They are great tasting but light. That means if you depend on a bar as an in-between-meal snack, these won’t do it.

You might need a protein shake to go with it. Still, these are one of the best tasting protein bars in this guide. Standout flavor: Either one!

PROS

  • Crunchy Wafer-Style Bar
  • Available In Chocolate Or Vanilla
  • 15g Isolate Protein Per Two Wafer Squares

CONS

  • May Be Too Light Of A Snack For Some Users

Think! High Protein Bars – Best Peanut Butter Flavor

Think! High Protein Bars used to be Think Thin. These great-tasting bars come in a variety of flavors. In fact, the Variety Sampler Pack contains 10 flavors.

These include two types of peanut butter flavors, Creamy and Chunky. If you love peanut butter, you can’t go wrong with these. Also, there’s Lemon Delight, Smores, White Chocolate, and Brownie Crunch. These bars provide 20g of protein from soy, milk, and whey. They’re zero sugar but have 23-24 total carbs with low fiber. They are 230-240 calories with 190-260mg sodium.

The downside is they are not ideal for dieters or anyone watching their sodium intake. Still, they taste great and have good texture. Standout flavor: Creamy Peanut Butter.

PROS

  • Two Types Of Peanut Butter Flavors
  • 20g Soy, Milk And Whey Protein
  • Good Selection Of Flavors

CONS

  • May Be Too High In Sodium And Carbs For Some Users

BSN Protein Crisp Bars – Best Tasting Crisp Rice Protein Bar

BSN Protein Crisp Bars use the old crispy rice bar concept. Their Vanilla Marshmallow is a high protein version of the famous Crispy Rice Marshmallow snack.

Other flavors include Smores, Salted Toffee Pretzel, and Peanut Butter. Protein Crisp Bars are crunchy and chewy. Each bar has 20g of whey isolate, whey concentrate, and milk concentrate protein. There’s 2g of sugar but there is 6g of sugar alcohol. They have 23-24g total carbs with low fiber.

Finally, Protein Crisp Bars have 200 or more calories. Also, there’s around 200mg sodium depending per bar. The amount varies by flavor. Standout flavor: Salted Toffee Pretzel.

PROS

  • Good Flavor Selection – These Bars Have A Crisp Rice Base
  • 20g Whey And Milk Protein
  • Low Sugar

CONS

  • May Be Too High In Carbs For Some Users

RX Bars – Best For Simple Ingredients

RX Bars only contain 3-4 ingredients. They’re listed right on the front of the package. They all contain 3 egg whites, nuts, and dates. Some flavors contain berries. They are gooey with a lot of flavor.

Every RX Bar has 210 calories, and they have 12g of protein from the egg whites. There is 13-15g sugar, but this is fructose. That’s a fruit sugar that absorbs a little slower than regular sugar. The RX Bar Variety Pack features Blueberry, Mixed Berry, Coconut Chocolate, and Chocolate Sea Salt.

These bars may not have enough protein for some users. Still, they are clean, all-natural, and simple. Standout flavor: Coconut Chocolate.

PROS

  • Contains Only 3-4 Ingredients
  • All-Natural
  • Good Flavor Variety

CONS

  • May Be Too Low In Protein For Some Users

Atkins Protein Meal Bars – Best Tasting Low Carb Protein Bar

Here’s a very good protein bar that will work with Keto, Paleo, and other low-carb diets. The Atkins Protein Meal Bars offer quite a few flavors. Examples include Peanut Butter Granola, Vanilla Pecan Crisp, and Birthday Cake.

These bars have 15-16g of whey, soy, and milk proteins. Atkins Bars have very low sugar, and low total carbs (4g net carbs). They are also high in fiber with 10g.

Also, they are high fat, which is one feature of the Atkins Diet. The fiber provides a feeling of fullness. Plus, they have good texture and outstanding taste. Standout flavor: Vanilla Pecan Crisp.

PROS

  • Low Carb, High Protein, High Fat & High Fiber
  • Several Good Flavor Options
  • 15-16 Protein

CONS

  • May Be Too High In Fiber & Fat For Some Users

FitCrunch Protein Bars – Best Tasting Layered Protein Bar

FitCrunch is a little bit of an old-style bar. They’re layered like many candy bars are. In this case, they have 6 layers. There are also two sizes. The “snack bar” size has 190 calories and 16g whey and soy protein. The “full” size bar has 380 calories and 30g of protein.

These larger bars are great mass-gainer bars. They also have an exceptional PB&J flavored bar. The smaller bars are more manageable. They are crunchy and have flavors such as Peanut Butter, Milk and Cookies, and Mint Chocolate Chip. These bars are Chef-designed and are low sugar. On the downside, they’re a little high in saturated fat, sodium, and total carbs.

Yet, they’re great as an occasional high protein snack with lots of flavor. Or, if you’re bulking, have one every day. Standout flavor: PB&J.

PROS

  • 6-Layer Bar Available In Snack Size & Full Size
  • Features Whey And Soy Protein
  • They Have A Great PB&J Flavor

CONS

  • May Be Too High In Fat & Carbs For Some Users

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Protein Bar?

Protein Vs Sugar

One of the most important things you should consider in a protein bar is taste. The last thing you want is a bar that’s like eating a brick. Bars that are like eating glue are no fun either. A protein bar should taste good and be easy to eat. 

Besides taste, a protein bar should have more protein than sugar. There are many bars out there that have 5-20g more sugar than they do protein. You won’t find a bar like that on this list. A quality protein bar should taste great and be lower in sugar. 

Benefits Of Protein Bars

For any bodybuilder or athlete, getting enough protein is critical. Even for non-athletes, adequate protein intake is essential. It’s true you should depend on whole food meals first. Still, sitting down to a meal may not always be possible. In those instances, a protein bar is a quick and easy solution. With that in mind, here are the primary advantages of using protein bars.

Nutrition

A protein bar provides complete nutrition. You’re getting good amounts of all the macronutrients. These are protein, carbs, and fats. There will also be naturally occurring micronutrients as well. These are vitamins and minerals. Do you find yourself on the go a lot? Don’t grab a donut or other processed food. Grabbing a protein bar makes a lot more nutritional sense.

Provides Quality Protein 

It’s important to ingest high quality protein. Sources like whey, milk, and egg are among the best choices. Some bars, such as ONE Bar, use isolate protein. This is a prime quality protein. Good plant-based sources include brown rice and pumpkin seed protein. Aloha Bars contains a blend of these two sources. 

Ease Of Use

Eating a protein bar couldn’t be easier. You can eat one while you’re driving or riding to your destination. You can eat one anywhere. Compare that to the needs of a whole food meal. There’s prep time and possible cook time.

Texture

Ease of use leads to the texture of the bar. As noted, you’ll want to avoid the brick or glue-like texture some bars have. Every bar in this guide has an easy to eat texture. Bars such as Think! High Protein Bars and Aloha Protein Bars are soft. That makes them easy to chew. Another factor to consider is that when bars get cold, they get hard. If your protein bar is cold, try to let it warm up to room temperature before eating. This is not essential, it’s only if you have time. Yet it will make the bar easier to eat. 

Good Selection Of Flavors

Nowadays protein bars have a wide range of flavors. For example, Quest Protein Bars are available in 28 different flavors. Companies introduce new flavors all the time. What’s more, they are all delicious. There’s certainly a flavor for everybody. 

Protein Bars Are Satisfying

A good protein bar satisfies both your taste buds and your hunger. Do you think you’ll need to depend on a protein bar regularly? Make sure you choose one that has some substance to it. Some bars are tiny. Other bars, such as the full-size FitCrunch Protein Bars, are a meal unto themselves.

What You Should Consider When Looking For A Protein Bar

After the taste, what’s the most important thing you need to consider before choosing a protein bar? The nutritional breakdown. Take the time to read the nutrient panel. Here’s a look at each of the major nutrient categories: 

Protein Content And Quality

As noted, make sure you choose a bar with quality protein. Most bars are a blend of several protein sources. Also, if you’re a bodybuilder or athlete, you want 20g of protein per bar. Are you a fitness enthusiast or weekend warrior? Bars such as the RX Bar, with 12g protein, are fine. Do not choose a bar with less than 12g of protein. 

Sugar

ONE Protein Bars have 1g of sugar. There are popular protein bars that have double-digit sugar. Unless there’s a comparable amount of fiber to offset that, you’ll want to avoid these bars. You’ll also want to avoid protein bars with high sugar content. If the bar you’re considering has 20g or more of sugar, it’s not a protein bar! At that point, it’s just a candy bar. 

Where possible, choose bars that are sweetened with fruit or natural sweeteners. Many bars use artificial sweeteners. If that’s a problem, be sure to read the label. For example, RX Bars are sweetened naturally with dates. In comparison, a ONE Bar uses a small amount of sugar and sucralose. 

Sugar Alcohols

Many low sugar protein bars advertise a sugar alcohol content. What is sugar alcohol? These are ingredients such as maltitol, xylitol, or erythritol. High amounts may cause gastric discomfort. Look for bars with 10g or fewer sugar alcohols. 

Fiber Content

Fiber offsets the sugar and total carb content. It also helps curb hunger. Some bars, such as Atkins, go as high as 10g of fiber per bar. Other bars, such as BSN Protein Crisp, have 4g or less. If you’re following a low-carb diet, look for at least 5g of fiber. Otherwise, the more fiber, the more satisfying the bar will be.

Total Carbohydrate Content

When looking at the nutrient breakdown of a bar, you also have to consider total carbs. Remember, there’s simple, or sugary, carbs and there are also complex carbs. Sugar, of course, is part of the total carb content. For example, Aloha Chocolate Mint has 5g of sugar. This is part of the 26g carb total. That may seem like a lot of carbs. There’s also 6g fiber, also part of the carbohydrate total. The fiber content offsets the absorption of these carbohydrates. That means the fiber reduces absorbable carbs from 26g to 20g.

What Are Net Carbs?

The above calculation is part of how you find a bar’s net carbs. You’ll see many bars advertise this number. For example, Atkins Protein Meal Bars advertise 4g net carbs per bar. Net carbs are the digestible carbohydrates of a protein bar. Calculate by subtracting the fiber and half of any sugar alcohol. Then subtract these numbers from the total grams of carbohydrates.

Fat Content

Fats have a role in nutrient absorption and help you feel full. Even so, there are good fats and bad fats.  Let’s take a quick look at the kinds of fat you’ll find in protein bars.

Fat consists of fatty acids. These fall into three main categories: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.

Saturated

You’ll find these in animal and dairy products. You’ll also find it in oils, such as coconut, palm kernel, and vegetable shortening. The liver uses this fat to make cholesterol. The suggested daily intake is 13g. (1)

Polyunsaturated

This is in corn, soybeans, safflower, sunflower oil, and some fish oils. This is a good fat that helps lower cholesterol.  

Monounsaturated

You’ll find this in vegetable and nut oils, including peanut and canola. They help lower bad cholesterol without lowering good cholesterol.

Trans Fat

Avoid this type of fat. They increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. These fats occur when polyunsaturated oils are changed by the process of hydrogenation. This hardens liquid vegetable oils into margarine and shortening.

Sodium Content

Some bars will have high amounts of sodium. The daily suggested limit is 2300 mg. (2)

There are bars with 400mg of sodium. In this guide, ONE Bar, our best overall, has 140mg. This number may vary based on flavor. That 2300 number adds up quickly. That means it’s important to monitor how much sodium you’re taking in, from all sources. 

Conclusion

ONE Protein Bars are a delicious high protein bar with only 1g of sugar. Some of the most popular flavors are Almond Bliss, Maple Glazed Donut, Blueberry Cobbler, and Cookie Dough. These bars have a great texture and outstanding taste. They have a flavor for you.

If you want a vegan protein bar, Aloha Protein Bars are for you. Each bar has 14g of protein from brown rice and pumpkin seed. Plus, they have some great flavors. There’s Chocolate Mint, Coconut Chocolate Almond, and Peanut Chocolate Chip. 

Finally, are you a peanut butter fanatic? Then you’ll want to try Think! High Protein Bars. They have not one, but two delicious flavors for peanut butter fans. Chunky Peanut Butter and Creamy Peanut Butter. All their flavors taste great, but the Peanut Butter options are especially good.

There’s no doubt there are a lot of delectable protein bars. With all the flavor choices, it comes down to personal preferences. The best tasting protein bars are the ones you enjoy the most. Let’s go have a bar!

References:

  1. Saturated Fat | American Heart Association
  2. How Much Sodium Are You Supposed to Have Per Day? (sfgate.com)
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