Just grab these and go—all are packed with protein, fiber, and real ingredients you can feel good about.
Carrot sticks with hummus, apple slices with peanut butter, and Greek yogurt with fresh berries are all quick and easy healthy snacks. But they also require a refrigerator and foresight—two things that are often lacking when hunger strikes between meals.
Bars, on the other hand, are like the Swiss Army knife of snacks: small, portable, fridge-free eats that can handle a variety of situations. But not all bars are created equal. And with hundreds of options—including nutritional bars, meal replacement bars, and granola or cereal bars—it can be tricky to find one that will fuel you instead of weighing you down.
To pick a truly healthy bar that will satisfy your hunger in a pinch, follow this advice from Stephanie Clarke, R.D.N., a dietitian and co-owner of C&J Nutrition.
Step 1: Prioritize protein and fiber. This powerful pairing will keep you feeling fuller longer, so you don’t need another snack in an hour.
If you’re relying on the bar for a good portion of your meal, like breakfast, it should have at least nine grams of protein and five grams of fiber, Clarke says. As a snack, a bar should have at least three grams of protein and three grams of fiber.
The exception: “If the bar contains a higher amount of healthy fats—which usually come from nuts and seeds—having a bar on the lower end of the protein spectrum is okay,” Clarke says. “The healthy fats will help make the bar more filling.”
Step 2: Keep sugar in check. Aim to pick a bar with no more than six grams of sugar per 100 calories, Clarke says.
“For a bar with 150 calories, this would mean no more than nine grams of sugar,” she says. “For a 200-calorie bar, this would be no more than 12 grams.”
The exception are bars made primarily from real fruit. They may contain a little more natural sugar from the fruit instead of added sugars, Clarke says, and that’s fine.
Step 3: Look for familiar ingredients. Ideally, you should recognize all ingredients, and a good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients, the better.
“Find an ingredient list that starts with a whole food, such as nuts or nut butter, seeds, dried fruit, oats, or another whole grain instead of one that starts with a sweetener, such as brown rice syrup,” Clarke says. “And skip bars with high-intensity sweeteners: aspartame, sucralose, or monk fruit.”
Don’t want to do all this decoding on your own? Here are 10 bars you can safely grab and go. Most are considered snack bars—clocking in around 200 calories with at least three grams of protein and three grams of fiber—but there are also a few protein-packed picks that could replace a small meal if needed.
1. RXBAR Coconut Chocolate
RXBARs are all about transparency. That’s why each bar’s primary ingredients are listed in big font on the packaging. You’ll often see fruit, nuts, and egg whites, which are dehydrated and included for an added dose of protein.
RXBARs come in a variety of flavors—most with 12 grams of protein and five grams of fiber in under 220 calories—but this coconut chocolate option is Clarke’s favorite.
Nutrition per bar: 210 calories, 9 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 170 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar, 12 grams protein
2. Health Warrior Caramel Sea Salt Chia Bar
Health Warrior has a whole line of 100-calorie bars with good-for-you ingredients like chia seeds, nuts, and oats that are perfect when you need a quick pick-me-up, says Kath Younger, R.D. Plus, they’re dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Nutrition per bar: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 60 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 3 grams protein
3. Zing Dark Chocolate Mocha Vitality Bar
This high-protein, gluten-free bar is a great option if you know you won’t be able to eat for a few hours. It’s made with dark chocolate, bold coffee extract, and creamy sunflower butter, and packed with belly-filling fiber and healthy fats, Clarke says.
Nutrition per bar: 210 calories, 11 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 95 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 10 grams protein
4. Larabar Peanut Butter Cookie
Larabars are one of Younger’s go-to options. They’re all made with just a few recognizable ingredients like dates and nuts, and relatively high in fiber and healthy fats. This flavor in particular tastes like it came straight from a cookie sheet—but it has zero added sugars!
Nutrition per bar: 220 calories, 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 85 milligrams sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 17 grams sugar, 6 grams protein
5. Larabar Protein Apple Cobbler
If you’re more of a pie person, Larabar makes plenty of delicious fruit flavors. This one comes from their protein bar line and includes just six ingredients: almonds, dates, apples, cinnamon, sea salt, and pea protein. That’s it!
Nutrition per bar: 210 calories, 7 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 120 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 19 grams sugar, 11 grams protein
6. KIND Almond Butter Protein Bar
While all KIND bars are made with ingredients like whole grains and nuts, many of the brand’s offerings are pretty low in protein. But not this one, thanks to a bonus dose of soy protein mixed in. It’s great crumbled over yogurt or eaten straight up.
Nutrition per 2 bars: 220 calories, 10 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 120 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar, 8 grams protein
7. KIND Minis Caramel Almond and Sea Salt
“I’m really a fan of portion-controlled snack bars,” says Amy Gorin, R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.
“These 100-calorie bars are perfect for those times when you’re just a little hungry or want something small and sweet,” she says. “They offer protein and fiber to help keep you fuller for longer, with only a small amount of added sugar.”
Nutrition per bar: 100 calories, 8 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 60 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 3 grams protein
8. CLIF MOJO Finger Pickin’ BBQ Salty Sweet Bar
“This bar’s fun BBQ flavor sets it apart from other bars,” Gorin says. “It offers seven grams of plant-based protein and three grams of fiber to help tide you over in between meals. And it’s made with wholesome ingredients like peanuts, cashews, and almond butter.”
Nutrition per bar: 210 calories, 11 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 310 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 7 grams protein
9. Luna Bar Lemonzest Flavor
“This is a great bar to grab at the store and keep in your purse for those times when you get hangry on the go,” Gorin says. “It offers a nice combo of satisfying plant protein and fiber—with eight grams of protein and three grams of fiber for less than 200 calories per bar.”
Nutrition per bar: 190 calories, 6 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 85 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 8 grams protein
10. Perfect Bar Peanut Butter
If you need more than a snack and something closer to a meal, Clarke recommends this hearty pick. Made with fresh ingredients like organic nut butter, you need to store these bars in the refrigerator, but they’ll survive a day in your purse, gym bag, or glove compartment.
Nutrition per bar: 330 calories, 18 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 60 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 18 grams sugar, 17 grams protein
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