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Trust us, you’ll want to try these…
Want to increase your protein intake and looking for the best protein bars to reach your daily goal? Then you are in the right place, as Marie Claire UK the team has sampled the latest launches and rounded up our favourites.
What comes to mind when someone mentions protein bars – a tasteless, cereal-like texture? Not with these bars, all personally tried, tested and recommended by e-commerce writer Grace Lindsay and Health Editor Ally Head.
What is protein and why is it important? Good question – as it has become a bit of a buzz term in recent years. NHS guidelines share that protein is one of three macronutrients essential to your overall well-being, and the one responsible for muscle repair and satiety (bye, bye, DOMs). They also say women should aim for around 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day – that’s 45g for a 60kg woman – but a 2018 study published in Nutrients journal indicates that this may be a little low, and that people who are very active should aim to eat more.
Bars are an easy way to increase your protein intake throughout the day, regardless of your schedule, but be aware of the sugar in some options. Plus, note – they are never a meal replacement or substitute for whole foods and unprocessed protein sources.
For more information, don’t forget to check out our guides to the best protein powder and the best vegan protein sources to help you reach your fitness goals. Keep browsing for our top picks, ranked by taste, and don’t miss our guide to increasing your vegan protein intake while you’re here.
Consult a qualified nutritionist or dietitian if you need more information on how to meet your daily needs.
Best Protein Bars: 8 Best Tasting, According MC team
1. Misfits Mint Choc Chip
Misfits Mint Choc Chip Bar 12 x45g, £24 | Misfits
When we tried the new Misfits mint choc chip bar, we were pleasantly surprised that the vegan option had avoided the dreaded chalky aftertaste. We also liked the mint fondant center, rich dark chocolate coating, and that they offer 15g of protein and 1g of sugar per bar.
Editor’s Pick – Grace’s Favorite
2. RXBAR Vanilla Almond Protein
RXBAR Vanilla Almond Protein Bar 12 Pack, £31.49 | Amazon
Health Editor Ally Head loves these bars. Made from just four ingredients – egg whites, almonds, dates and cashews – they’re more of a raw texture and taste than the likes of Misfits and Grenade, so a good choice if you prefer a slightly less sweet option. They also contain 12g of protein.
Editor’s Choice – Ally’s go-to
3. Fill white chocolate & cookie dough
Fill white chocolate & cookie dough bar 15 x 55 g, £28 | Holland & Barrett
Another great option if you have a sweet tooth but want to up your protein too, the Fulfill bars taste more like chocolate chip cookies in our opinion. They are slightly smaller than the pomegranate bars, but taste less processed as well. We liked the white chocolate option and the salted caramel bars, and that they promise to fortify the bars with vitamins and minerals, along with 20g of protein.
4. Lean Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein
Low-fat chocolate peanut butter Protein bar 12-pack, £22 | Lean
These protein bars were created by fitness expert Lilly Sabri, founder of Lean in with Lilly. When we tested them, we found them to be crunchy, gooey, soft and chewy. We didn’t think you could tell they’re made from vegan protein – no chalky texture or aftertaste here – and offer 15.6g of protein too.
5. TRIBE Choc Coconut Triple Decker Plant Protein
TRIBE Choc Coconut Triple Decker Plant Protein Bar 12 x40g, £19.99 | Amazon
Another of the more natural, non-processed options are TRIBE Layered Protein Bars, which taste more like a homemade millionaire shortbread than a protein snack. Packed with natural ingredients – including 8g of pea protein – we loved the crunchy texture of the layers and the size of the bars.
6. MyProtein Brown Sugar Layered
MyProtein Brown Sugar Layered Protein Bar 12-pack, £27.99 | MyProtein
We’ve taste tested many MyProtein bars over the years and you can’t go wrong, in our opinion – they’re industry leaders for a reason. This special layered protein bar from MyProtein has over 20g of protein and tastes like a crunchy square. Our favorite piece? The fact that you get to enjoy six layers of flavor and texture.
7. Barebell’s Double Bite Chocolate Crisp
Barebells Double Bite Chocolate Crisp Bar 12 x 55 g, £22.99 | Barebells
Another of our top picks, Barebell’s double bite was really worn – and we mean it really – don’t taste like protein bars. Imagine two crunchy caramel truffles and you’re on the right track. We loved that the bar has a rich and crunchy cocoa core and a creamy layer of milk chocolate on top too. Plus, it offers over 16g of protein and no added sugar.
8. Pomegranate Carb Guy Birthday Cake
Granat Carb Killa Birthday Cake Bar 12 x 60g, £32 | Holland & Barrett
Reasons we loved the taste of this protein bar? It’s covered in sugar-free sprinkles, has no chalky aftertaste and is covered in white chocolate. Do they taste like birthday cake? Not really, but they is a nice high protein treat if you have a sweet tooth and packs a punch offering 20g of protein per bar.
How much protein should I eat?
“We live in an age of protein obsession where it seems some people are ‘proteinaholics,'” says Dr. Steven Gundry, founder of Gundry MD and author of Unlocks the Keto Code. That said, it’s one of the three most important macronutrients your body needs to function, so it’s worth keeping on your radar.
While a fairly serious amount of research has been done over the years on protein needs, many of the results are actually conflicting, the expert shares — so take it with a grain of salt. “Guidelines should be used as guidelines and not strict rules. Bottom line: requirements are highly individual, as what works for one person may not work for another in similar circumstances.”
You also likely won’t realize how much protein you’re eating in your day-to-day from things like nuts, seeds, legumes, and even oats.
Do you want to know if you should eat your protein in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening? Short answer: it should be spread evenly throughout the day, and each meal should be a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. “It’s more important to consider your intake over the day as a whole and consume good quality protein with each meal,” explains Dillon.
Are protein bars healthy?
This one shares the market. After all, they are a highly processed product, and it is always important to check the label and read exactly what is in the food you are eating. As nutritionist Jenna Hope regularly shares on Instagram, a general rule of thumb, if there’s something on the ingredient list you don’t recognize, it might be worth rethinking.
That said, protein bars promise to be an easy and convenient way to help boost your protein intake if you’re struggling to meet your daily target, and offer a more protein-packed treat if you have a sweet tooth.
Are you ready to start including protein bars in your daily diet? Our advice is always to check in with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian. That way, you know you’re getting sound advice from someone who has trained for at least three years for their expertise.