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Whether you’re fueling up for a workout, breakfast-ing on the go, or just battling some midafternoon hunger pains, protein bars can be a lifesaver for the health-savvy snacker.

But if we’re being honest, they’re not always the most appealing option. Either overly gelatinous or as dry and dense as a brick of old Play-Doh, many bars have a synthetic sweetness and an ingredient list longer than the last book you read. It’s enough to drive you back into the arms of a trusty Snickers.

Thankfully for you and your fitness goals, we scoured the internet for the best protein bars on the market — made with high quality protein (at least 7 grams per package), natural sweeteners, and wholesome ingredients.

Here are our fave protein bars to stash in your pantry, car, or office.

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Pricing guide

  • $ = under $2 per bar
  • $$ = $2–$3.50 per bar
  • $$$ = over $3.50 per bar
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Here’s a closer look at our picks for the top protein bars that are as good to your taste buds as they are to the rest of your bod.

Best overall protein bar:

RXBAR Maple Sea Salt

  • Price: $
  • Available flavors: maple sea salt, blueberry, chocolate chip, chocolate raspberry, coconut chocolate, mint chocolate, mixed berry, peanut butter, peanut butter and berries
  • Protein source: egg whites, cashews, pecans
  • Sweetener: dates
  • Calories: 220
  • Fat: 9 grams (g)
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Carbs: 22 g
  • Fiber: 4 g

The only thing more satisfying than RXBAR’s sleek, streamlined package design is the heavenly bar you’ll find inside that pretty wrapper. The maple sea salt variety has all that earthy, burnt-sugar-esque maple goodness with the perfect amount of sea salt sprinkled on top.

The pliable texture is pleasantly interrupted by pecan and cashew pieces. And with 12 g of protein, this bar is a no-brainer, especially if you’re tired of chocolate- or fruit-flavored bars.

Best paleo protein bar:

EPIC Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: N/A
  • Protein source: bison, bacon
  • Sweetener: dried cranberries
  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Carbs: 8 g
  • Fiber: 2 g

Nothing says “protein” quite like meat, and this protein bar has got it in spades. It’s made simply from grass-fed bison, bacon, dried cranberries, and spices.

It’s got the whole salty-sweet thing down, too, and provides 7 g of protein per serving. Thanks to its simple, whole ingredients, it’s also paleo-friendly.

Best keto protein bar:

CORE KETO Peanut Butter Chocolate Plant Based Keto Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: chocolate chip peanut butter, dark chocolate sea salt
  • Protein source: peanuts, pea protein, sunflower seeds
  • Sweetener: allulose, dates, cane sugar, monk fruit
  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Carbs: 17 g total (but fewer once you subtract the sugar alcohols, allulose, and fiber)
  • Fiber: 7 g

If you’re following a keto diet, you know how difficult it can be find something keto-friendly that really satisfies that “sweet” craving. But you’re in luck, because this delish bar can do just that while providing a little extra protein (with only 3 g of net carbs).

Note: These bars do need to be refrigerated to stay fresh (but one should be fine stashed in your gym bag for an hour or so).

Best protein bar for a meal replacement or dessert

Mid-Day Squares Peanut Butta

  • Price: $$$
  • Available flavors: Fudge Yah, Almond Crunch, Peanut Butta
  • Protein source: peanuts, hazelnut butter
  • Sweetener: coconut sugar, yacon syrup, maple syrup, prune juice, date syrup
  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Carbs: 24 g
  • Fiber: 8 g

Mid-Day Squares pride themselves on being the best of both worlds: candy bar and protein bar. (And TBH, they do a pretty good job.) Their Peanut Butta squares are grown-up peanut butter cups that taste just as good as a Reese’s (with waaaaay less sugar).

Each package contains two squares, so you could have both for a meal on the go or one for a really delectable (but still nutritious) dessert.

Best vegan protein bar

Rise Sunflower Cinnamon Protein Bars

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: carob coconut, lemon cashew, sunflower cinnamon
  • Protein source: pea protein, sunflower butter
  • Sweetener: coconut nectar
  • Calories: 280
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Carbs: 21 g
  • Fiber: 2 g

This plant-based, nut-free option definitely stands out from the overwhelmingly chocolaty and nutty energy bar crowd. Organic sunflower butter, organic coconut nectar, pea protein, organic cinnamon, and organic vanilla extract come together in this chewy, easily crushable 280-calorie nosher, which also manages to pack in 15 g of protein.

For the nonvegans out there, Rise also has a line of whey-based bars in a variety of flavors with very simple ingredients.

Sugars are on the higher end in this particular bar, but if you’re looking for something that doesn’t taste like just another protein bar and will take the edge off between meals or before a workout, look no further.

Best protein bite protein bar

Elavi Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Collagen Protein Bar

  • Price: $$$
  • Available flavors: chocolate goji berry, chocolate chip cookie dough, blueberry vanilla crisp
  • Protein source: collagen, pea protein, almond protein, cashew butter
  • Sweetener: honey, dates
  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Carbs: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1 g

Need a perfect post-workout pick-me-up? Try one of these mini bars packed with 8 g of protein from collagen, pea protein, and almonds. They also contain antioxidant-rich 100 percent cacao chocolate chips, so they’re ideal for recovery.

Vegans, take note: These bites contain bovine and marine collagen, so they’re not a good fit for those following a vegan diet.

Best flavored protein bar

IQBar Almond Butter Chip Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: chocolate sea salt, peanut butter chip, almond butter chip, banana nut, lemon blueberry, matcha chai, wild blueberry
  • Protein source: almond, pea protein
  • Sweetener: stevia
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Carbs: 11 g (11 g carbs – 8 g fiber = 3 g net carbs)
  • Fiber: 8 g

This bar is plant-based and vegan-friendly. IQBars come in a whole bunch of delicious-sounding flavors, but our fave is the almond butter chip. It’s chewy and sweet (but sweetened with stevia instead of sugar, which makes it keto-friendly).

It gets its “IQ” moniker from brain-boosting ingredients like lion’s mane mushroom, omega-3s (found in flax), MCTs (found in coconut), and phytophenols (found in cocoa).

It’s also loaded with protein — each snack-size bar contains a hefty 12 g.

Wanna protein up like a pro (on the go)? A protein bar is the most convenient way to get a little extra in. Some protein bars are loaded with iffy ingredients, but the bars above are made with natural sweeteners and wholesome ingredients, and many contain at least 12 g of protein per serving, which is the recommended amount for a good snack.

Time to start your career as an amateur (un)wrapper!