As a college student constantly on the go, protein bars are my favorite portable snacks. I prefer those made with all-natural ingredients, but not all bars are created equal when it comes to flavor and nutrition. Here’s what I think of bars that you can find at nearby grocery store.
Builder’s Bar is the Clif Bar company’s answer to the high-protein bar craze. The bars come in several flavors like Cookies n’ Cream, Chocolate and Crunchy Peanut Butter, and they are extremely dense and chewy. The metallic protein powder flavor is very apparent, giving the bar an unpleasant aftertaste that overshadows the otherwise yummy, indulgent flavors. On the plus side, these bars are full of protein and will keep you full for a long time, so if you can handle the taste of protein powder, give these a try.
270 calories per bar
8 grams of fat
2 grams of fiber
22 grams of sugar
20 grams of protein
High protein content, but poor flavor and texture
Clif Bar is the original natural protein bar, and for a good reason. The bars come in every flavor imaginable, including seasonal varieties like Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Clif bars are dense, filling and calorie-rich. The flavors are true-to-life in that the bars actually resemble what they are supposed to taste like. After a tough workout or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, Clif bars hit the spot.
230 calories per bar
3.5 grams of fat
5 grams of fiber
24 grams of sugar
9 grams of protein
Yummy flavors, hearty texture and good nutritional stats, but high sugar content
Clif Z-Bar is designed for children, but that didn’t stop me from trying them. These soft, chewy bars have a rich, oaty texture and come in several sweet, kid-friendly flavors like Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Iced Oatmeal Cookie. They are low in protein but fortified with vitamins and minerals. Z-bars are delicious and satisfying crumbled into yogurt for breakfast or as a healthy dessert.
130 calories per bar
4 grams of fat
3 grams of fiber
11 grams of sugar
3 grams of protein
Yummy flavors, but low protein and high sugar content
Larabar is available in many flavors, from fruity Apple Pie to nutty Cashew Cookie to indulgent Chocolate Chip Brownie. They contain nothing but dates, nuts and natural ingredients that vary by flavor. Larabars are high in healthy unsaturated fats and fiber, but also high in sugar due to the dates. The small size of each bar is a bit unsatisfying, but nevertheless they’re a delicious treat best savored as a snack or a healthier dessert.
190 calories per bar
10 grams of fat
5 grams of fiber
18 grams of sugar
4 grams of protein
Simple ingredients, but high sugar content and small size
KIND Bar comes in many varieties, but for comparison purposes, I tested the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein bar. KIND bars are packed with whole nuts and fruit, giving them a granola bar-like texture. This bar tasted more like peanuts than creamy peanut butter, but the dark chocolate added light sweetness and richness. It’s high in protein and low in sugar, making it a great choice for a filling component of an on-the-go meal.
200 calories per bar
13 grams of fat, 9.5 unsaturated
3 grams of fiber
10 grams of sugar
7 grams of protein
Try your hand at homemade granola bars with this recipe.