What's The Best Vegan Protein Bar? Reviews Of The Healthiest & Best Tasting Dairy-Free Options

If you are looking for a fast, easy and (not to mention) delicious way to boost your daily protein intake, then vegan protein bars are the answer for you.

Today we will be looking at the healthiest and best tasting vegan protein bars on the market.

These non-dairy, plant-based alternatives are the secret weapons as a quick snack and energy boost during your day.

As a vegan, you would be familiar with the question “but where do you get your protein?”. Now you can bring out one of these nutritionally packed bars as your answer.

Top 5 Healthy Vegan Protein Bars Reviewed

1. Clif Builder Chocolate Peanut Butter

Our Verdict: Most Protein

The Clif Builder bar has earned the first spot on this review list for its quality ingredients, delicious taste and exceptional nutritional value. 

It is a protein-packed bar coated in chocolate adorned with crunchy peanuts. It is made of 33% organic ingredients and comes in a variety of flavors.

If you are not a fan of extremely sweet bars, this is the bar for you.

Nutritional Info:

  • Fat 10g, Carbohydrates 29g, Fiber 2g, Protein 20g

Flavors:

  • Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Nut Swirl, Cookies N Cream, Vanilla Almond, Lemon, Coconut Almond Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Almond, Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

Pros:

  • ​The Clif bar is created with 33% certified organic ingredients.
  • The not too sweet taste makes it a great snack to curb hunger cravings.
  • One of these plant-based protein bars contains 20 grams of protein, making it a great fast treat during your busy day.

Cons:

  • Unlike many other bars, the Clif bar does possess a distinctive protein after taste.

2. GoMacro Organic Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Protein Bar

Our Verdict: Best Value

If you are looking for the vegan protein bar with the best value, then GoMacro is the one for you. This protein bar is 100% organic, soy free, non-GMO and high in Omega-3s. 

It is produced by a family owned natural food company proud of its USDA certified organic ingredients.

They are cold pressed, nut butter-based bars creating the ideal combination of high plant protein content and non-GMO ingredients.

Nutritional Info:

  • Fat 11g, Carbohydrates 37g, Fiber 2g, Protein 11g

Flavors:

  • Blueberry and Cashew Butter, Breakfast Variety, Cashew Butter, Cashew Caramel, Cherries and Berries, Coconut and Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate and Almond, Mocha Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip, Sunflower Butter and Chocolate.

Pros:

  • ​There are no artificial sweeteners or refined sugars in this bar.
  • The nut butter combined with rice protein has created a bar rich in Omega-3s.
  • The bar contains chocolate chips and nuts to break up the chewy texture of the bar.
  • It has an extremely tootsie-roll or taffy like texture

Cons:

  • If you are watching your blood sugar, this bar might not be ideal for you. The brown rice sweetener is almost 100% glucose and can cause spikes in your blood sugar.
  • The vegan protein bar has 14 grams of sugar and only 2 grams of natural fibre.

3. The GFB Coconut Crunch

Our Verdict: Healthiest Ingredients

This gluten free, Non-GMO, vegan and kosher protein bar is created from simple organic ingredients to provide a delicious protein boost.

It is soy free, dairy free, trans fat free and cholesterol free along with being made in small batches in Michigan.

If you are interested in supporting a sustainable and certified gluten free facility, then this coconut cashew crunch bar might be the perfect options for you.

Nutrition Breakdown:

  • Fat 11g, Carbohydrates 29g, Fiber 3g, Protein 11g

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Cashew Crunch, Cranberry Toasted Almond, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter

Pros:

  • ​This Gluten Free coconut cashew bar has an incredible taste along with a chewy, not overly dense texture.
  • If you are a fan of natural ingredients you will love the minimal organic components mixed together.
  • The coconut cashew bar contains 11 grams of protein in it’s 58 gram serving size.
  • It is made in a sustainable and gluten-free certified facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Cons:

  • For some people the combination of ingredients provides an unexpected and almost unpleasant flavor.

4. NuGo Dark Chocolate Chip Bar

Our Verdict: Most Chocolatey

If you are a chocolate lover like me, then look no further than the Nugo Dark Chocolate chip bar.

The company has created 6 different chocolate protein bars which are all gluten and dairy free.

They are well nutritional balanced and the perfect afternoon or pre-workout snacks. The company wanted to move away from chocolate flavored palm kernel oil, instead choosing natural cocoa butter!

Nutrition Per Bar:

  • Fat 7g, Carbohydrates 25g, Fiber 2g, Protein 12g

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Pretzel and Sea Salt, Coconut, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha, Peanut Butter Cup.

Pros:

  • ​The ideal option for chocolate lovers with six individual dark chocolate flavors to choose from.
  • Comes with an impressive 12 grams of protein in a 50-gram serving size.
  • All NuGo bars are certified vegan, kosher, gluten free and non-GMO.
  • Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties which helps improve health and protect against free radicals.
  • There is no artificial chocolate or a sweetener flavor in these chocolates.

Cons:

  • The sugar content of these chocolate protein bars is very high, at 14 grams.
  • The flavors in the protein bars are quite simple, leaving you maybe craving more interesting notes.

5. ProBar Peanut Butter Chocolate

Our Verdict: Most Nutritious

The ProBar is an absolute beast in terms of the 20 grams of protein found in its 70-gram serving size. 

It is therefore the ideal option for a meal replacement if you do not have enough time for a full breakfast or lunch.

One of the flavors, Coffee Crunch, even comes with a boost of caffeine.

All the flavors are 100% gluten free, certified non-GMO, and packed with 5 grams of fiber.

Nutrion Breakdown:

  • Fat 10g, Carbohydrates 32g, Fiber 4g, Protein 20g

Flavors:

  • Cookie Dough, Frosted Coconut, Frosted Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate.

Pros:

  • ​The first pro of this pro bar is the monstrous amount of amino acids inside, almost double of any other protein bars on the market.
  • The 5 grams of fiber also allow you to feel fuller for longer.
  • Chia and flax seeds have been included as a plant-based source for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • All the different flavors are gluten-free and sustainable sourced.

Cons:

  • The taste of the bar has been described as artificial.

Buying Guide & FAQ

Watch Out For Sugar

On the one hand, protein powders will typically be purely protein, while protein bars often use artificial sweeteners including brown rice syrup, cane sugar or corn syrups.

These sweeteners add calories without any nutritional value. Certain bars can contain up to four times as much sugar as protein, causing your body to gain fat rather than muscle.

sugar cubes in bowl

Nutritional Balance

Protein bars, unlike protein powders, come with additional components such as fats and carbohydrates. This makes them a healthier balanced meal substitute.

Weight Loss

Some people opt for protein bars instead of full meals to aid their weightless efforts. Weight loss is achieved when your total calorie intake is lower than your output.

Protein bars can aid in this because they fill you for longer, protein helps control your blood sugar levels and eliminate sugar cravings.

What Ingredients To Look Out For & Avoid?

There are many vegan protein options available on the market, ranging from nut, pea protein, brown rice or soy sourced.

A quick peek at the ingredients will let you know whether the protein bar is plant based and fully animal free, and you'll want to pay careful attention to review the label for the below components:

Dairy

Milk is the most likely sneaky ingredient hiding in protein bars but can typically be identified by the phrase “contains milk”.

Avoid any products that contain whey or whey isolate which are both derived from milk.

Gelatin & Animal Byproducts

Other ingredients that might be hidden away is gelatin which is created from connective issues of animal bodies and K-carmine created from insect bodies.

Typically, vegan friendly protein bars will have a clearly marked “V” on the front or other vegan symbols.

“May contain traces of eggs or milk”

Quite often, even plant-based protein bars will have “May contain traces of eggs or milk” on their packaging.

This warning does NOT mean there are non-vegan ingredients in the bar. It is included on the packaging for people with severe food allergies.

People who are celiac or severely allergic to tree nuts must avoid equipment which may have been shared with gluten or nuts.

Overall this means the product is still vegan unless the label explicitly reads “Contains Milk/Eggs”.

Daily Recommended Protein Intake

The official recommendation for an adult man is somewhere around 56 grams per day, while for women it is a 46 grams per day.

These numbers do fluctuate dramatically depending on your fitness and activity levels.

bodybuilder in gym doing bicep curls

If you are unsure about the requirement for your body and activity level, consider consulting with a medical professional or personal trainer.

There is also an online protein calculator you can check out here.

When is the best time to eat protein bars?

Before your workout

Consuming a protein bar before your training session can benefit your body.

One recommendation is to consume 20-40 grams of protein 30 minutes before the start of your workout to boost your performance. 

As a pre-workout supplement, protein bars can have the downside of sitting heavy inside your stomach.

As A Snack

The fantastic thing about many of these protein bars are the natural, healthy ingredients which create a nutritionally balanced food source.

The combination of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in a protein bar can easily replace a small meal or big snack if you are in a hurry.

If you are looking for a protein bar to snack on and keep hunger at pay, choose one of the vegan protein bars which have high amounts of fiber.

Keep a look out for chia and flax seed additions, as those help with digestion and provide essential fatty acids.

homemade protein snack bars

For That Extra Boost

Sedentary adults require around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes and active people can require up to twice as much to fuel their muscles. 

If you are looking to build muscles without having to significantly bulk up your food intake, then protein bars are the perfect option for you.

They will help you reach your daily target of protein needs.

What Are The Benefits of Protein Bars vs Protein Powders?

The biggest benefit of a protein bar in comparison to any other protein supplement is convenience.

They take no time to prepare, come in a variety of flavors, can travel with you anywhere and be a fast replacement for a meal or to curb hunger.

You might even be tempted to replace your protein shakes completely.

Another benefit of protein bars is since they are solid and require chewing, they appear more filling than liquid shakes. The brain detects solid and liquid calories differently and would allow you to feel fuller for longer periods than a protein powder.

Protein powders also have minimal (if any) dietary fiber, which is vital in keeping the body full for longer.

The Healthiest Plant-Based Protein Bars

While protein bars have sometimes gained the reputation of being candy bars, there are many healthy protein bars. Vegan options are often made from entirely whole food, plant-based ingredients and can fit into any lifestyles. 

Common ingredients include fruits, seeds and nut butters. Whether you are looking for a keto or organic option, there is a company which makes them.

Not impressed by the current selection? Well, you can always just make your own: 

New and updated versions of protein bars are easier on your digestive system in comparison to synthetic ingredients of the past.

Whether vegan protein bars are healthy depends on which protein bar you choose and how frequently you eat them. Every brand has varied nutrition ingredients but even the best ones made of natural ingredients should be eaten in moderation.

While high in protein, most do not include many vitamins or nutrients that are found in whole foods. 

SUMMARY

Protein bars can therefore be a good supplement to your daily nutrient intake but should not be considered a main source of nutrients or meal replacements.

Which One Is Right For You?

Protein bars are a great option as a supplement to your healthy, balanced meals during the day, especially when you are in a hurry or on the move. Their compact, transportable packaging means you can throw them in your backpack and have a balanced snack available to curb hunger, boost energy and satiate you.

The number one vegan protein bar available is the Clif Bar, which has many delicious flavors and an astonishing 20 grams of protein per serving. Just one of these bars will help you reach half of your daily recommended intake.

It is created with quality ingredients that will allow to keep you full and energetic after your workout. It also has less sugar than many competitors making it less likely to spike your blood sugar levels.

If you are on a budget, the Macrobars should be your pick since each bar costs $2.5 in comparison to other bars at $5. Macrobar bars are excellent because of their organic vegan proteins, low cost, and the company’s give back philosophy. 

This mother-daughter run company has a strong community ethos and is proudly gluten free, organic and kosher. Not only are the bars good for you, but they are also good for the world.

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