Nutrition bars are a bit of a tricky topic in certain circles. I mean, on the one hand, we’re busy people.
So, having a snack that provides us with nutrition and can be stashed in a purse, gym bag, car or desk drawer is super helpful. Maybe even necessary in some cases. And that makes options that use real ingredients and give us the good stuff we need super awesome.
(And below, we’ve rounded up a bunch of nutrition bars that do exactly that. Just you wait.)
But! It’s also important to keep in mind that, clean and nutritious as a bar might be, it’s not the same as eating, like, a fresh salad. And — you know this — you should be eating things like fresh salads more often than packaged nutrition bars … even though it takes a little more effort.
We all good on that? Great. Now let’s talk about some of the cool bars that’ve crossed our desks recently! We’ll note some of the highlights of each, but we’re including the nutrition labels as well so you can make your own decision on which ones might be right for you, because if you’re looking for something to replace a meal, that bar will obviously look rather different than a light snack!
When a bar calls itself “the plant-based nutrition bar,” you know we’re gonna check it out. Color bars are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and raw. They pack considerable fiber and a decent (but not huge) amount of protein, with no added sugar or artificial flavors. But the real star? The super short ingredient list.
As far as flavor goes, one word comes to mind: Tasty. These are available in Kale Blueberry Cashew and Carrot Ginger Coconut, and I couldn’t be forced to pick a favorite — I really enjoyed both.
PHIVEbars utilize the PHI ratio — a unique ratio found in nature, to blend organic, non-gmo fruits, nuts and seeds in a way that helps fuel your body on the go. They’re also gluten-free with no artificial ingredients.
Each of the three flavors (Original, Blueberry and Peanut) pack a lot of goodness in there — like, seriously, this is a substantial bar — and I’m happy to say that the taste doesn’t suffer for it. I didn’t find these to be as sweet as some other bars out there — but that’s not a complaint. Definitely not a complaint.
You know how we feel about short, recognizable ingredient lists, and RXBAR totally delivers on that front. These bars are free of gluten, dairy, soy and added sugar (although there’s a decent amount of sugar in there naturally), and the protein is impressive.
Short on ingredients … but big on flavor. Both the consistency and taste were a hit here — a bit sweet, nice and filling. A nice option for the ol’ gym bag.
Zing Nutrition Bar
Different flavors of Zing Nutrition Bars offer different nutritional profiles, but they’re all gluten- and soy-free, have no artificial flavors, colors or additives — and some are vegan and non-GMO. The bars are specifically designed to avoid spiking blood sugar (which, of course, leads to a crash), so there’s monounsaturated nut and seed butter as well as prebiotic fiber in there.
There are lots of flavors here — Dark Chocolate Coconut, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Mocha, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Cashew Crisp, Double Nut Brownie, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Cashew Cranberry Orange, Almond Blueberry and Lemon Cashew. And many of those flavors are also available in mini 100-calorie bars, which I really loved because that’s just enough to tide you over without spoiling your next meal. These were pretty sweet, so they could also work well as a dessert substitute … although I wouldn’t judge ya for eating one for breakfast.
Clif Whey Protein Bar
Love Clif Bars but wish they had more protein in them? They have heard your call! And the new Clif Whey Protein Bar boasts 14 grams of protein with only 5 grams of sugar. Rainforest Alliance Certified for its cocoa and using non-GMO ingredients, gobble up these protein-rich bars in flavors like Salted Caramel Cashew, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Coconut Almond Chocolate. They’re not technically gluten-free, although they don’t contain any gluten ingredients (so, eat at your discretion, g-free peeps!).
These are very sweet but have a chocolate coating on the bottom that’s pretty darn irresistible. If you like Clif Bars, you’ll probably dig these.
There are a lot of really good Paleo bars out there these days, but DNX Bars are probably the most exotic and foodie of them. We mean, just look at those flavor combos above! Paleo, organic and made with grass-fed bison plus egg whites (no whey or dairy) and various fruits, vegetables and spices, these are slightly sweet (most flavors the coconut really comes through) and very chewy (a little dry too) with lots of bold flavor.
If you like to eat like a caveman and a chef (and don’t mind coconut), this very well might be your protein bar.
FitJoy Protein Bars
Although they have a longer ingredient list, FitJoy Protein Bars are gluten-free, GMO-free and free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and added preservatives. Offered in all kinds of yummy flavors (we’re looking at you, Birthday Cake and Roasted Cinnamon Roll) and the two new flavors of Cookies and Cream and Raspberry Chocolate Truffle, these all taste DELICIOUS. They’re soft without being chewy, seriously taste like a deliciously sweet treat and have 20 grams of whey protein.
If you like your protein bars to taste like dessert, this is your cookie … or truffle … or cinnamon roll … or birthday cake.
Go Raw Grow Protein Bars
Ever had sprouted watermelon seeds? Yeah, they’re a thing and not only are they delicious, but Go Raw has paired them with organic fruits and spices for an incredibly flavorful protein bar that’s organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, raw and Paleo. That’s right; these babies have 12 grams of pure raw plant protein.
And all of the flavors are delicious (Cinnamon Spice and the Zesty Lemon are probably our faves though if we HAD to pick), and you cannot get a cleaner bar. These are amazing. Sprouted watermelon seeds. Who knew?!
Endorsed by soccer star Hope Solo, these energy bars are organic, raw, Paleo, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, plant-based and made in an eco-friendly kitchen. There’s a variety of types of bars that SHANTI has — from immunity to detox to vitality to anti-inflammatory — and each of their nutritionals may vary a bit, but they’re all delicious.
Made with a variety of superfoods like hemp, maca and turmeric, these aren’t overly sweet and are a serious nutritional powerhouse.
Picky Bars Moroccan Your World
Like a little spice in your bar? Try Picky Bars Moroccan Your World. Sweet but also a little savory, these are gluten-free, dairy-, soy- and GMO-free. The cinnamon, turmeric and ginger in them gives them a taste that’s pretty darn addictive. (Think a ginger spice cookie that’s heavy on the spice … with 7 grams of rice protein in it.)
With a carb-to-protein ratio that is made for activity, these taste great when you’re out hiking or backpacking.
Pure Protein Plus Bar
Pure Protein is a company with bars and other protein products that we’ve been snacking on for years. But, its Pure Protein Plus Bars are DELICIOUS. Kind of like a Quest Nutrition Bar in taste and its soft, chewy consistency (but a touch more delicious), they’re high protein, low sugar, non-GMO, gluten-free and have no artificial sweeteners.
All flavors are good but the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is ridiculously addictive. You’ve been warned!
Like really, really chewy bars that take awhile to eat? Say hello to the Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bar that is practically like a workout for your jaw. But, don’t worry — the chewing is all worth it because a) it slows you down; b) it’s hella tasty; and c) it’s really good for you. Paleo approved (so gluten-, dairy- and soy-free) and made with grass-fed collagen (learn more about collagen here), it’s lightly sweetened with honey and monk fruit.
Chewy, chocolaty and sweet but not too sweet, this bar is a caveperson’s nutritional protein-rich dream.
Are you familiar with any of these? Or do you have a favorite we missed? Leave it in the comments, yo! —Kristen & Jenn