Nutrition info: 250 cal, 12g protein, 18g fat, 17g total carb
Most protein bars resemble a large eraser made up of thick, uniform paste. Gluten-free Kind Protein Bars, on the other hand, have actual texture and crunch. They’re quite similar to the original Kind bars in taste and appearance—they’re packed full of almonds and peanuts, but they have double the amount of protein and keep you full longer thanks to 5 grams of fiber from chicory roots. The main source of protein here is soy protein isolate, so if you have any soy sensitivities, these should be avoided.
The Bar With a Sustainable Protein Source: Exo
Protein source: Cricket
Nutrition info: 160 cal, 14g protein, 7g fat, 22g total carb
The foundation of Exo’s bars is acheta, otherwise known as cricket, a good-for-you and good-for-the-planet source of protein. According to the brand’s website, acheta powder has 40% more potassium than whey protein, the protein source found in many a bar, as well as three times the amount of iron as spinach. Exo’s bars have a soft and chewy texture, and though the chocolate fudge brownie flavor gives off some faux dessert vibes, with only two grams added sugar (and no sugar alcohols!) they don’t taste overly sweet.
The Best Vegan Protein Bar: Aloha
Protein source: Brown rice, pumpkin seed
Nutrition info: 230 cal, 14g protein, 10g fat, 26g total carb
Truthfully, it’d be hard to pick an unwrapped peanut butter dark chocolate chip Aloha Bar from a lineup of other similarly flavored protein snack bars: It has a thick and chewy texture and smells faintly artificial. But it is the sole bar on our list that gets its protein source from pumpkin seeds, which are packed full of healthy fats and minerals like magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. It’s also organic, non-GMO, and low sugar, sweetened with tapioca syrup and monk fruit instead of stevia or erythritol. If you like RxBars for their natural ingredients but are trying to stick to a vegan diet, Aloha Bars are a solid alternative (and have a few more grams of protein).
The Best Low-Carb Protein Bar: IQBar
Protein source: Pea
Nutrition info: 180 cal, 12g protein, 15g fat, 10g total carb
If you’re looking for the best low-carb (dare we say, keto) protein bar, IQBars are worth trying. Made with pea protein, these bars are vegan and paleo-friendly. They have a slight crumble to them—a much more appetizing consistency than the stereotypical protein bar—and the matcha chai flavor has strong almond, coconut, and cinnamon flavors that might trick you into thinking you’re eating cookie dough. Very not sweet cookie dough—this bar only has one gram of sugar, and it’s noticeable when you bite into it. If you’re a sucker for power foods, you’ll appreciate that curcumin (of turmeric fame) and brain-boosting lion’s mane mushroom are on the ingredient list.
Protein source: Brown rice, pea