If you are trying to eat healthier or fill your diet with more protein, protein bars can be great snack options. If you choose your bar wisely, you can find bars that are high in protein while remaining low in sugars, carbs, and calories. There are so many companies that make gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free bars that can fit the dietary needs of anyon, but finding a delicious, yet nutritious bar can seem like a tedious task.

With so many protein bars on the market, it can be hard to find one brand that fits all of your snack needs. Some might seem healthy, but when you look at the list of ingredients, you can't pronounce half of what is listed. Some of my favorite brands of bars have tons of artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that are probably not too great for my body. Sometimes, I wish I could just choose the ingredients that make up my protein bars. It would be so great to specifically choose each ingredient to tailor my snack to what I want. 

Luckily for us, a company called The Bar Shack allows you to do just that. On their website, you can pick from different options that allow you to customize every aspect of your bar from the base, to the mix-ins, and the packaging design. Here's how it works, and how I created my own bar.

Step 1: Choose Your Base

This step lets you determine what kind of texture you would like for your bar. You can choose Soft & Datey, Soft & Chewy, or Soft & Nutty/Seedy. I chose Soft & Chewy for a texture like many of my other favorite bars. With the base, you can also select your sweetener of choice. I used fiber syrup to limit the carbs and increase my fiber intake.

Step 2: Pick Your Nut/Seed Butters

If nut butters are your thing, this section might just be your favorite. You can choose from a wide variety of nut butters, ranging from classic peanut, to maple pecan butter. There is truly something for everyone here. As a peanut butter enthusiast, this selection was a no-brainer.

Step 3: Choose Your Protein

The Bar Shack has six different protein powder options to choose from, ranging from vegan pea protein to gluten-free coconut flour, and raw grass-fed whey protein. All of these protein sources are high quality and perfect to fit anyone's dietary restrictions. I chose a combination of grass-fed whey, and whey isolate for a perfect blend. 

Step 4: Choose Your Nuts and Seeds

nut, almond, peanut, pecan, meat
Julia Fuller

Here is where you can start to get really creative. Add crunchy nuts like almonds or peanuts, or think outside of the box and try something different like poppy seeds, or hazelnuts. With 14 options, you won't be disappointed. Again, as an avid PB lover, I chose peanuts for a great crunchy texture.

Step 5: Choose Your Dried Fruit

If you like fruity bars, or just want to add some extra vitamins and  antioxidants to your protein bar, go crazy with this category. You can stay classic with options like banana and blueberry, or go crazy with ingredients like goji berries and coconut. I held back on this catagory to make sure the peanut butter flavor was the star of the bar.

Step 6: Choose Your Flavor and Texture Enhancers

Here is the really fun part. Texture enhancers like sprinkles, oats, and cocoa nibs add such a fun aspect to your bar. Then come the flavor enhancers. There are so many options here, I had to really choose my ingredients wisely. Looking for something different? Try butter pecan or pumpkin pie flavor. Want to make something that tastes like a candy bar like I did? Add in chocolate peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, and white chocolate. These all make your bar taste like something that shouldn't be healthy at all.

Step 7: Choose Your Boosters

cinnamon, herb, relish, condiment, cloves
Natalie Rodriguez

This last option allows you to choose from ingredients like cinnamon, cocao, and bee pollen to add some extra good-for-you ingredients to your bar. If your feeling spicy, go crazy and add ginger to your bar for a boost of antioxidants. While I'm all about health, nothing fit with my PB bar.

Step 8: Name Your Bar and Choose Your Packaging

Julia Palace

Once you're finished making the protein bar of your dreams, you can choose a fun name for your bar, and even choose the color that it's packaged in. For my bar, I aptly named it after the flavor I created, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. I went with a pink and orange ombre because, let's face it, it was the prettiest one. If you want to get more creative, you can add a logo or business name.

If you are looking for a great tasting, good-for-you protein bar, The Bar Shack is a great place to start. You can order their bars directly from their website, where they make it so easy to design your bar to fit your needs. They even update the nutrition label with every option you choose. A box of 12 bars will cost around $42, and, while that might seem steep, it is worth it for the quality of ingredients and the amazing taste. As someone who has tried many different bars, I can assure you that these bars are out of this world.