By Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis, MS, RD,CDN

protein-barsProtein bars can be a healthy and convenient option as a meal replacement or snack, depending on the nutrition quality of the bar. Protein bars can provide your body with nutrients, boost your energy, and help you meet your protein needs for the day. With so many choices on the market today, picking the right bar can be challenging! There are many protein bars that are high in sugar, calories, and are made with processed ingredients.  When choosing a protein bar, you want one that is made with higher quality whey protein blends, has fiber, is made with heart-healthy fats (almond butter, chia seeds, flax seeds), and has less than 35% of the calories from fat.

When reading labels, always look for products with the least amount of ingredients listed on the label. If it has sugar (syrup, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose) and/or hydrogenated oils (soybean oil, canola oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, safflower oil, sunflower oil, shortening, margarine, to name a few…) than you just ate a glorified candy bar!

Use the following criteria to choose the right protein bar for your needs:

Meal Replacement

Less than 350 calories

Less than 8 grams fat

Less than 4 grams saturated fat

Less than 30 grams carbohydrate

Less than 15 grams sugar

25-30 grams protein



Less than 200 calories

Less than 6  grams fat

Less than 3 grams saturated fat

Less than 20 grams carbohydrate

Less than 15 grams sugar

15-20 grams protein


                                                         Calories                   Protein             Carbohydrates

Premier Protein Bars 280 30 8
Pure Protein Revolution 280 20 2
Think Thin Bars 230 20 0
Myoplex Lite Bars by EAS 190 15 11
Quest Bars 170 20 2
Detour Bars 170 15 6
Pure Protein Bars 180 20 2
Premier Protein CRISP Bars 190 15 7
Oh Yeah Good Grab Bars 180 15 5


Nicole is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 15 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management.