The Situation:

Many college students struggle to wake up for their morning classes and end up skipping breakfast. This is problematic because after a night's sleep, your body needs to refuel for the day ahead. A protein bar could be the answer to achieving that on-the-go fuel.

The Solution:

If you do not have time to go to the dining hall or make breakfast, make sure you have a protein bar to give you some energy for the day. It is important to carry a protein bar in your bag, so you do not have to worry about ever being hungry during class or studying, or if you just can't get to the dining hall.

Not all of the solutions are good; we are here to help differentiate between the good and the bad.

There are so many protein and granola bars out on the market that it can be hard to know which ones will provide you with sustained energy and not break the calorie, sugar or fat bank for your daily intake. I am here to give you my input on my favorite protein bars to eat when I can't get to the dining hall.

Let's check it out!

*The following rankings are based on the ingredient list of the bars.

Clif Bar- 1 Star 


Clif bars come in many different flavors, ranging from caramel toffee with sea salt to carrot cake. With Clif bars, there are so many options to choose from for your taste buds. I recently tried a Clif bar (the flavor was coconut chocolate chip).

Why such a low rating?

I turned the package over and was shocked by the nutrition label. Clif bars have over twenty ingredients and the first one is brown rice syrup...A SUGAR! How are they advertising this as a wholesome and nutritious protein bar when it has over 20g of sugar in it (4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon?!) That's 5 TEASPOONS of artificial sugar!! I also did not feel good after eating a Clif bar because of all the sugar and I did not feel like I got sustained energy for my day from the bar.

Another Spoonie from Hamilton college also wrote an article about why Clif bars are unhealthy (if you want to check it out)!

Luna Bar- 2 Stars 


Luna bars are actually owned by the same company that owns Clif bars. Luna bar flavors range from chocolate peppermint stick to s'mores; you have so many options to choose from. 

The Problem:

Luna bars have around 20 ingredients, and they also contain palm kernel oil, which is bad for our health and environment. Palm oil is destroying rainforests because it is being harvested and put into food. This rainforest destruction has caused orangutans to become critically endangered. Palm oil is also high in saturated fats. Palm oil sneaks into our food as a substitute for vegetable oil.

Why is it better than a Clif Bar?

Luna bars do contain fewer calories and grams of sugar than Clif bars, but they are still not wholesome ingredients that provide sustained energy.

Luna bars are better than Clif bars, but just might not be your best choice.

Rx Bar- 4 Stars 


Rx bars are fairly new on the market. They have very simple packaging to depict the simple ingredients in their bars (No B.S. stands for "no bad stuff"). All of the bars contain egg whites, dates, some kind of nut and then spices and other ingredients to give the flavor to the bar.

What I love:

I love that Rx bars contain natural sugar, (dates,) so even though there is sugar in the bar, it is natural sugar and better for your body. I also love the simple ingredient list of Rx bars. It is this list, along with taste, that got them 4 stars!

I want to try more flavors of Rx bars because I have only tried the chocolate sea salt flavor. They have flavors ranging from mint chocolate to seasonal favorites such as pumpkin pie and gingerbread...YUM!

The only downside is that our vegan friends can't enjoy Rx bars because of the egg whites, but besides that, they are a great choice for a protein bar on-the-go.

But what is the best protein bar??

Larabar- 5 stars 

AND...Larabars (fruit and nut bars) take the cake and got 5 stars in our protein bar rating!

These are my absolute favorite bars!


They have such a clean and simple ingredient list, usually dates and some kind of nut (cashew, almond, etc.) Even with such a short ingredient list, they pack so much flavor and an awesome texture. My favorite flavors are cherry pie, peanut butter chocolate chip and banana bread. But honestly? All of them are good. I'm also very excited to try their seasonal flavors (pecan pie, snickerdoodle and pumpkin pie.)

The Date Situation

Similar to Rx bars, Larabars also have dates as the source of sugar, which is awesome, being a natural source of sugar and also containing high amounts of fiber and a lot of other nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Even though in both Rx bars and Larabars the sugar amount is higher, it is better than a Clif or Luna bar because the sugar comes from a natural source (dates.)


We should not be relying on protein bars for fuel every day. I want to stress that protein bars should not be a daily food choice, because we want to opt for fresh foods and not too many processed foods in our diet. But sometimes we don't have access to fresh foods, so it is fine to have a protein bar to provide your body with energy, especially on-the-go.

Bottom line: Always go for fresh foods if you can! But if you need a protein bar, choose Larabar!!