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14 of the best protein bars

Introducing the best protein bars

09 Aug 2023 • 24 min read

Protein is a vital component of any diet – it serves numerous essential functions within the human body including muscle mass building supporting muscle development.1

The recommended daily intake of protein varies based on factors such as age, gender, activity level, and overall health goals.

Whether you're an athlete looking to enhance performance, someone trying to control weight while preserving muscle mass, or simply aiming to improve your overall nutrition, upping your protein intake can have its benefits!

Protein is found in many different foods, from both animal and plant sources. In this guide, we will be looking at various ways you could start to add more protein into your diet and some of our favourite high-protein snacks.

Skip to: What is a high protein diet? | How to add more protein to your diet | 10 of the best snacks & bars | Low sugar & low calorie bars | High protein, low carb snacks | Best protein bars for energy | Vegan high protein snacks | High protein, low-fat snacks

What is a high-protein diet?

A high-protein diet is one in which you consume a significant portion of your daily caloric intake from protein-rich foods.

While there's no one-size-fits-all definition, a high-protein diet typically involves obtaining a higher percentage of your total daily calories from protein sources than the recommended Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI).

This is around 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight per day.2 On average, this works out to around 56g per day for men and 45g/day for women.2

High-protein diets are often popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals seeking to build or maintain muscle mass or support weight management.

Some well-known high-protein diets include:3

  1. Atkins Diet
  2. Stillman Diet
  3. Paleo Diet 
  4. Zone Diet 
  5. Dukan Diet
  6. Ketogenic Diet

These diets generally encourage the consumption of lean protein, while limiting fat and carbohydrates.

If you're thinking of taking supplements, protein powder or trying out a high-protein diet, it's advised to contact a health professional for help to ensure that the diets and foods are right for you.

How to add more protein to your diet

Luckily, a high-protein diet doesn’t mean you’ll have to eat turkey and rice for every meal! There are tons of super tasty tweaks you can make to start meeting your new protein goals:

  1. Variation is key: opt for foods that are naturally high in protein and keep switching it up! Lean meats, tofu, poultry, fish, eggs, tempeh, dairy products, and seeds are all versatile and packed with protein.
  2. Start your day right: enjoy eggs, Greek yoghurt or a protein smoothie with fruits and nut butter for a protein kick first thing!
  3. Say hello to legumes: beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein and can be added to soups, salads or used as meat substitutes.
  4. Choose whole grains: whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats, contain more protein than refined grains.4
  5. Use protein-rich dairy alternatives: if you follow a plant-based diet, choose fortified plant-based milk like almond, soy, or oat milk, which are higher in protein than some other options.5
  6. High-protein snacking: convenient and nutrient-rich, there are so many different protein-rich snacking options available today. From protein bars and balls to crisps and hummus, they're a great way to keep you feeling satiated all day.
  7. Protein drinks: available in many different flavours, shakes can be a tasty, convenient and effective way to supplement your diet with extra protein.

Low-sugar protein bars & lower-calorie protein bars

Low sugar protein bars can make a great replacement for your typical ‘lighter’ snack, which can sometimes be lacking in nutrition.

At least with protein bars, you can enjoy a ‘guilt free’ snack that can also help you hit your protein goals.

10 of the best protein snacks & bars

There are so many innovative, protein-packed, and downright delicious protein bars on the market now, so you can find the one (or a few!) that works for you.

Here are some of our tried and tested favourites!

  1. Optimum Nutrition Crisp Protein Bar – Chocolate Brownie

A deliciously crunchy way to get your protein fix – each of these bars contain 20g of high-quality protein, with a tiny 1.8g of sugar.

Try them in Peanut Butter and Marshmallow flavours, too.

  1. PhD Smart Bar Caramel Crunch

PhD protein bars: the intelligent way to get your daily protein fix, low in sugar.

Each triple-layered bar packs 20g of protein, with 2g of sugar.

You can also enjoy the following flavours: Dark Chocolate & Raspberry, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Chocolate, White Chocolate Blondie, Salted Fudge Brownie or Birthday Cake.

  1. Grenade Carb Killa Bar – Peanut Butter

Perhaps the most famous low-carb and high-protein bars on the market, Grenade’s Carb Killa protein bars really do live up to the hype.

With around 20g of protein per bar (depending on flavour) and 1.7g of sugar, you really can’t go wrong with Grenade protein bars.

High-protein, lower carb snacks

If you're following a lower-carb diet like Keto or Atkins, finding tasty snacks can sometimes be a challenge.

Eating a protein bar while following a keto diet may provide a convenient and portable source of protein without significantly impacting your carbohydrate intake. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Boostball Keto Choc – Hazelnut

These all natural, boost balls contain 6.5g of protein per serving(4 x 10g balls) with 4.4g of carbs, 1.9g of which are natural sugars.

They’re vegan too!

  1. Pulsin Keto Bar – Choc Fudge & Peanut

With ketone boosting MCT, crunchy peanuts and no added sugar chocolate chips, this tasty bar delivers 12.6g plant-based protein in a bite!

Best protein bars for energy

Although high-protein and lower-carb protein bars are the norm, some protein bars are purposefully high in natural carbohydrates – for good reason.

Our bodies use carbs to fuel our workouts, especially when it comes to endurance and cardio exercises like running, swimming, hiking and bike riding.

Here are some of our favourite high-protein and higher-carb protein bars to help you perform at your best.

  1. Grenade Reload Protein Oat – Chocolate Chunk

This tasty bar is made with wholegrain oats, all-natural nut butters and added protein for slow energy release to help you get through even the most jam-packed of days.

 Although it’s packed with healthy carbs and 17g of protein and 3.4g of sugar – all of the good and (very) little of the bad!

Plant-based high protein snacks

If you follow a plant-based, it's entirely possible to meet your protein requirements through plant-based food sources, but you may need to be mindful of your choices to ensure adequate intake.

Including a variety of protein-rich vegan foods such as legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and fortified plant-based drink is a great way to ensure you are meeting your daily protein targets.

If you're looking to prepare a few high-protein vegan snacks at home, here are a couple of fun ideas:

  • Roasted edamame: toss frozen edamame beans with olive oil, salt, and your favourite seasonings. Roast in the oven until crispy for a crunchy and protein-packed snack. 
  • Tofu bites: cut firm tofu into bite-sized pieces, marinate them in a tasty sauce (e.g. soy sauce, teriyaki, or BBQ), and bake or air fry until lightly crispy.
  • Energy balls: mix oats, nut butter, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, and a sweetener like maple syrup or dates. Form into small balls and refrigerate for a protein-rich and energizing snack. 
  • Nut butter on rice cakes: spread almond, peanut, or cashew butter on whole-grain rice cakes for a satisfying and protein-packed snack.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, here are some of our favourite ready-made plant-based protein bars:

  1. PhD Smart Bar Plant – Peanut Butter & Jelly

Whether you’re vegan, flexitarian, plant-based or simply looking for a great tasting, high protein snack, the Smart Bar Plant by PhD delivers 20g plant protein and less than 1g of sugar, without compromising on taste.

  1. PE Nutrition THE BAR Plant – Chocolate & Sea Salt

With 20g protein per bar, THE BAR makes the perfect snack to complement a healthy plant based lifestyle. Each of the 3 delicious flavours are coated in dark chocolate and crispies for the ultimate crunch!

  1. Bounce Dipped Protein Ball – Chocolate Hazlenut Praline

A plant protein packed, chocolate coated, hazelnut flavoured ball filled with a deliciously squidgy nut butter centre. Each ball is bursting with 10g protein.

  1. Trek Power Protein Bar – Peanut Butter Crunch

A delicious source of plant-based protein enrobed in a sumptuous chocolate alternative. Gluten free, each power bar packs in 15g of plant protein!

Or for an extra on-the-go protein top up, explore our favourite vegan protein powders here.

High protein, low fat snacks

High-protein, low-fat snacks are great options for those looking to increase protein intake while minimising fat consumption.

Remember to pay attention to portion sizes and incorporate a variety of snacks to ensure a well-rounded diet.

Here are some delicious and nutritious high protein low fat snack ideas:

  • Greek yogurt with berries: greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, and when paired with fresh berries, it becomes a delicious low-fat snack.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: hard-boiled eggs are a portable and protein-rich snack with minimal fat.
  • Turkey or chicken jerky: lean turkey or chicken jerky provides a high-protein, low-fat option for snacking on the go.
  • Edamame: boiled or steamed edamame is a delicious and protein-rich snack that's low in fat.
  • Roasted chickpeas: toss canned chickpeas with a little olive oil and seasonings, then roast them in the oven for a crunchy, high-protein snack.
  • Protein smoothies: blend together plant-based protein powder, fruits, and low-fat dairy alternative drinks for a creamy and protein-rich smoothie.
The final say…
  • Protein is a key component of any diet. It plays an important role in a number or bodily functions including  muscle development.
  • Whether you're looking to increase your protein intake to improve muscle mass, improve your general nutrition or help you meet your weight goals, high protein snacks can be a convenient way to get that extra protein boost.
  • Adding more protein to your diet can be achieved through a variety of delicious and easy-to-prepare snacks, including protein bars and shakes, legumes, whole grains, and more.
  • Protein is found in both animal and plant sources, meaning you can meet your protein goals regardless of your dietary preference.
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