top of page

How To Pick a Protein Bar

In a world where protein bars now take up an entire aisle at the grocery store, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?

At REAL FITNESS TRAINING, we have three guidelines for protein bars:

1. They must contain quality ingredients.

2. They have to fit The Label Rule.

3. They have to taste great!

While cooking and eating real food is always best for fat loss and overall health, it's not always practical. In the real world, most of us can't always have home-cooked meals for every single meal, 7 days a week.

Enter: convenience foods like protein bars.

We use The Label Rule to decipher which bars have a positive impact on blood sugar and fat loss - and which ones are really just candy bars with a fancy, misleading label.

Save this image to your smart phone so you can pull it out the next time you're standing in front of a wall of protein bars:

Should We Eat Protein Bars Every Day?

You'll feel your best and get the best results from eating real food - not packaged convenience foods (which is what protein bars are.)

“Real food” means: the fresh food you buy at the grocery store in the meat and produce departments. Another way to think of it is, “single ingredient foods” - like chicken, eggs, turkey, kale, peppers, cucumbers, salmon, blueberries, oats, nuts, potatoes, etc.

BUT, within the last couple years, more companies are meeting the high consumer demand for better quality food with - you guessed it - better quality food, and that includes protein bars.

Real food is always best, but if one of these protein bars works for your busy lifestyle and helps you stay on track, then grab a protein bar and go.


Try them all. Find the ones YOU love and then stock up! Place them in your pantry, gym bag, desk drawer, brief case, diaper bag - anywhere you're likely to get caught in a hangry situation and make less-than-great choices.

REMEMBER: It's better to eat a 200-calorie protein bar NOW than to not eat and destroy the entire contents of your pantry or hotel mini bar later.

1. Built Bars

Allergens: Gluten-free

Favorite Flavors: All of them? There are SO many flavors of to choose from, and while I haven’t tried them all, I have yet to try one that isn’t good! My personal go-tos are the Banana Chocolate Creme, Coconut Chocolate Creme, Vanilla Chocolate Creme, and the Double Chocolate Mousse (which just straight up tastes like your fave candy bar). I prefer the original flavors vs. the ones with added nuts.

The Label Rule: 13 g. carbs - 6 g. fiber - 15 g. protein = -8

Why We Love Them: These bars are coated in real, high quality dark chocolate and as a result, taste like an actual candy bar or dessert. These are a far cry from chalky, powdery protein bars coated in fake chocolate! They are around 100 calories each and, due to the high protein and fiber content, work really well for killing cravings.

Buy Built Bars HERE. Note: This is an affiliate link and you get a discount on your order when using it.

2. Epic Bars

Allergens: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free

Favorite Flavors: Bison Bacon Cranberry and Chicken Sriracha, Lemon Performance Bar

Label Rule: 2 g. carbs - 2 g. fiber - 13 g. protein = -9 (This is the Chicken Sriracha)

Why we like them: If you follow a lower carb diet, you may have a hard time finding bars that don't contain grains, dried fruit, or other higher carb ingredients. These savory bars are pure protein and lower in carbs/sugar than a lot of protein bars. (Note: some Epic bars contained dried cranberries or cherries but many do not!) We've seen Epic Bars popping up in airport convenience shops, Sheetz gas stations, and other places you don't expect to find high-quality protein sources.

There is also a new line of Epic bars called “Performance Bars” that are higher in carbs, primarily from dates. I love that like RX bars, they contain minimal ingredients and it’s all real food. I’ve tried the Lemon one and I love it!

Buy Epic Bars HERE.

3. LEGION ATHLETICS Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bars

Allergens: Gluten-free

Favorite Flavors: This is currently the only flavor - and it’s amazing!

The Label Rule: 24 g. carbs - 20 g. protein - 9 g. fiber = -5

Why we like them: As a Legion-sponsored Athlete, I got to try these bars as soon as they came out. Initially I was underwhelmed because when eaten at room temperature, yeah - okay. They’re a good protein bar. But… put one in the microwave for ~15 seconds? MAGIC. It transforms into ooey, gooey, chocolate chip cookie dough goodness. The good people at Legion used real chocolate chips here, so these are GREAT for killing a sweet tooth/sugar craving! I love mine with a glass of ice cold almond milk or a decaf coffee. :)

Buy Legion Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bars now. Use our code RFT for 20% off your first order and double rewards points for returning customers!!

4. NICK'S Protein Bars

Allergens: Gluten-free

Favorite Flavors: Choklad Peanot, Krispi Nougat

The Label Rule: 23 g. carbs - 15 g. protein - 8 g. fiber = 0

Why we like them: These are similar to Built Bars in that they taste like straight-up candy bars. The Choklad Peanot is a dead-ringer for a snickers, and the Krispi Nougat is reminiscent of a Nestle Crunch bar. While these are billed as "Keto" protein bars, they don't pack the heavy hit of fat content typically found in most Keto products.

Buy Nick's online HERE, or find them locally at retailers like Sprouts Farmer's Market and Harris Teeter.


Did this post help you cut through all the confusion and online nutrition noise? Share it with your friends on social media, and if you try one of these bars and find one you love, snap a pic and tag us on Instagram @RealFitnessTraining!!

754 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page