All About Protein Bars

All About Protein Bars

Protein bars can be a quick and easy option for getting some extra protein into your diet.  There are many different bars out there and depending on the macronutrient contents they can serve different purposes.  Certain types of bars are good for snacks throughout the day or prior to a workout, while others are good for post work recovery and/or meal replacements.  This article will discuss what to look for in a protein bar for different situations and will also include links to some of our favorites for each category.  

Snack Bars:

When eating a protein bar as a snack between meals, look for a bar that has a decent amount of protein (15-20g) and fiber (5-10g) while being lower in calories (150-250 cal).  This will be a good snack for helping you feel full while not adding excessive calories to your normal diet.  

Become Better Picks:

  1. Quest Bar

2. Oh Yeah!

3. Combat Crunch

4. Fit Joy

Before Workout:

When eating a protein bar as a pre-workout snack, look for a bar that is low in fat and fiber (<3-4g each), high in carbohydrates (25-40g), and contains a moderate amount of protein (10-15g).  This will help stimulate protein synthesis going into your workout while also providing quick energy to get you through the workout.    

Become Better Picks:

  1. Nature Valley (A little higher in fat than preferred, but nice and light)

2. Big 100 Cookie Dough (I would only eat half at a time, or half before and half after)

3. Gatorade “Recovery” Bar: This bar is a little higher calorically and fat wise. We would suggest eating half of the bar an hour before a workout, or the whole thing about 2 hours before. The protein will get digested quickly. This bar is also a good one after the workout because of the fast protein and the extra fat that will help stay in your system longer.

4. Gatorade Fuel Bars: Good fast digested carbs with enough protein. Perfect right before a workout or during.

After Workout/Meal Replacement:

Look for something with about 20-30g of protein and 40-60g of carbohydrates.  This combination of carbohydrates and protein will be great for starting the recovery process post training.  Also while a protein bar is no replacement for a balanced diet, it can be a great option for a quick meal on the go.  If eating a bar post workout, look for something with a low fat content so that the protein and carbohydrates are digested quickly.  If you’re using it as a meal replacement, higher fat content is good to slow down digestion and keep you full.  

Become Better Picks:

  1. Fit Crunch

Gatorade Recovery and Big100 bars listed above are also good for after workouts too.


Different protein bars can serve different purposes.  Think about why you might need a protein bar, and use these recommendations to choose wisely.  The examples listed under each section are not the only bars to choose from, as there are plenty of bars that are of equal quality.  The bars listed are just some of the ones that we are familiar with and use regularly. If you have any questions or need further guidance don’t hesitate to reach out!