When you walk down the nutrition bar aisle of any grocery store, your eyes immediately go to the bars that boast "20+ grams of protein, low-sugar, low-carb!" But, have you ever asked yourself, "How is this possible?" Dozens of protein bars pack in whey protein powders, sugar alcohols and isolated soy protein to bulk up their bars.

These whey and soy based products often lead to tummy troubles for people with sensitive digestive systems, gastrointestinal issues, or gluten, soy or lactose intolerance. I personally spent over a year trying to find the perfect whey and soy-free protein bar, and after many afternoons of indigestion and many dollars lost from my wallet, I finally found them. To save you some time, money (and sanity), here is my list of the best whey and soy-free protein bars available.

9. Aloha Bar

Aloha uses a blend of pumpkin seed and pea protein to pack 14g of of plant-based protein into each bar. With each bar comes 260 calories and 14g of fat. This is the only bar on the list that I have not personally tested, but the reviews describe the bar as "flavorful but dense." They also sell vegan, plant-based protein powder.

Pro: One of the higher ranking bars in terms of protein (14g), a portion of each purchase goes towards protecting island resources in Hawaii. 

Con: These bars are difficult to find in stores (I have only seen them at Target), and buying them through their website will cost you $6.99 for a four-pack.

8. Go Macro

This is the bar I have tried most recently, after seeing it all over Instagram and figuring I should see what all the hype was about. And I'll be honest, I was not super impressed. Each bar is cold-pressed and nut-butter (or sunflower butter) based, which gives these bars a nice, soft texture that isn't too dense. Where they fall short for me is in their flavor. There isn't much sweetness to these bars, and I find myself craving a glass of milk to help wash these down.

Pro: large bars, nut-allergy friendly option, best texture out of all the options

Con: expensive ($2.89/bar), not very sweet, some are low protein (4g)

7. Square Organics

These bars may look little, but they pack a lot of punch. 12g of protein, 9g of fat and 210 calories makes this bar a pretty standard protein bar, but what sets it apart is the taste. They have a ton of flavors, and every bar is free of gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugars, making this a great option for people with sensitive systems.

#SpoonTip: because these bars are so dense, I recommend chopping them up and adding them to your morning breakfast bowl, pancakes or yogurt.

Pro: widely available, sturdy (can sit in your backpack), no added "natural flavors"

Cons: expensive ($2.50/bar), smaller bar, very dense

6. Larabar

These would be #1 on my list if they had a higher protein count. These bars are chewy, flavorful, and made of 9 ingredients or less. Sadly, they round out at about 4-6g of protein per bar. However, they do have over 25 flavors, including three Superfood bars and three Nut & Seed crunch bars.

#SpoonTip: if you love Larabars but want more protein in your snacks, try making your own. You can add plant-based protein powder or more nuts/nut butters to up the protein content.

Pro: cheap ($1/bar), flavorful, very soft and chewy

Con: low protein count, not as filling, on the sweeter side 

5. KIND Bars

KIND Bars are possibly one of the most well-known Fruit & Nut bars on the market. They're a staple on most college campuses, and chances are you've gotten at least one free KIND Bar from a university event. KIND now has seven different varieties of their bars, ranging from original to Healthy Grains Bars, Pressed Bars and even Sweet & Spicy Bars. With so many varieties, they make it almost impossible for you to get tired of eating these.

Pro: extremely filling, widely available, large variety

Con: melt easily (the original bars), lower protein count (6g for original bars, 2g for grain bars)

4. RX Bar

I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan the first time I tried these. These bars are very dense, but that means they are extremely filling too. RXBar's motto is "egg whites for protein, dates to bind, nuts for texture, no B.S." They hit all the nails on the head with this one. At 210 calories, 9g of fat and 12g of protein, these bars sit in the normal range for plant-based bars, but are set apart by their amazing flavors, short ingredient list, and wide availability.

Pro: grain-free, reasonably priced ($2/bar), six ingredients or less, filling

Con: not vegan, very dense

3. Health Warrior

Health Warrior is best known for their chia bars, which are popular among runners, college kids and athletes. But did you  know they also have protein bars? The superfood protein bar comes in five flavors, and each will provide about 11g of protein. The bars are formed with an ancient grain blend of chia seeds, quinoa and oats, giving the bars a beautiful texture.

Pro: some nut-allergy friendly options, filling, affordable ($1.50/bar)

Con: chia seed-base makes the bar very seedy

2. RawRev Glo

These bars are grain-free, which gives them a competitive edge over the other bars on this list. RawRev is 100% vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher, and they pride themselves in using raw superfoods to build their bars. These chewy goodies taste more like a candy bar than a protein bar, and come in at 180 calories, 11g of fat, and 15g of protein.

Pro: grain-free, filling, high protein, amazing flavor

Con: very soft, natural oils coat the outside of the bar, difficult to find in stores

1. Zing Bar

Choose between chocolate covered, soft cookie or nut butter & fruit bars, and prepare to be WOWed no matter what you choose. These bars are what's up. These have the consistency of a candy bar, the flavor is rich, and they are free of gluten, soy, sugar alcohols and artificial flavors. You've gotta try them all. But start with the Mint Chocolate Chip, because it tastes like a York peppermint patty.

Pro: reasonable price ($2/bar), vegan, amazing flavors

Con: difficult to find in stores, less filling

These bars are perfect for that pick-me-up on game day, in-between class snack, or on-the-go breakfast. Choosing a whey and soy-free protein bar can be fun. Pick a new flavor every time. Try a new brand. Close your eyes and just let your heart (and happy, not irritated tummy) lead you to the perfect bar.