Protein Bars: What’s The Best One?

What is the best protein bar to eat? With so many options available in an estimate $8 billion market, there’s a lot of options for swimmers when choosing the protein they will eat during and/or after practice. Protein bars have the purpose of filling that hunger when whole foods cannot be implemented, like during practice or immediately after. Opinions will differ of “what’s best”, but science tells us what is of high quality, and what is not.

The one thing you should pay attention to when searching for a protein bar, is sugar. You want to find a bar that has the lowest amount of sugar, to avoid filling your body with unnecessary artificial sugar. Some sugars, like the natural sugar from fruits, are better than others, like candy, but pick the wrong one and you have a gastrointestinal disaster waiting to happen.

The reason why you should be too concerned with the amount of protein is because most protein bars have enough protein. It’s not common that you will find a protein bar that has less then 20 grams per bar. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the grams, but it’s not on the top of your concerns.

Below are the top 10 protein bars that will help you closer to your goals, keep your blood sugar levels steady, sugar cravings at bay, and help keep your hunger satisfied during a hard practice as well as after:

Note: Neither SwimSwam, nor any of its staff, have been compensated for these rankings.

10. Quest Bar: These protein bars are one of the best tasting, most protein dense bars on the market. But, these bars are not made with grass-fed whey and a majority of the bars are filled with artificial sweeteners. An advantage to Quest Bars is the low carbohydrate and high fiber content that will keep you full for hours. These bars can be purchased pretty much everywhere now, even your local gas station.

9. B-UP Bars: UP bars are like Quest Bars, but only use natural sweetener’s like Xylitol, Stevia, and Monk Fruit Extract. The texture of these bars are more of a Laffy Taffy consistency, which can be  perfect for those who do not like Quest Bars. UP bars are also high in fiber and lower in carbohydrates, which is great for those who do not want their insulin to spike or have a blood sugar crash after eating.

8. Jay Robb Protein Bars: Jay Robb only uses natural sweetener’s in his products which makes these bars higher quality in terms of ingredients. This bar is perfect for pre or post work out since it contains a sufficient amount of carbohydrates for energy. The carbs from the Jay Robb bars are derived from organic agave syrup, whey isolate crisps, and tapioca starch.

7. Manbake Protein Bars: This is another high fiber, lower carb protein bar packed with taste. These bars are only currently available online, but will soon be available at local stores. They are 100% paleo friendly and will keep you satisfied. They also carry beefcakes which are perfect for a post workout meal.

6. Oatmega Grass-Fed Whey Bars: Grass-fed whey is hormone and antibiotic free, which is the highest quality protein on the market. They are low in carbs and calories and are perfect for a snack. The only downside to these bars is the small amount of oats included in the ingredients. However, a plus is that the “mega” in Oatmega refers to Omega 3 fatty acids that were added to these bars as an extra anti-inflammatory kick.

5. Julian Bakery Paleo Protein Bars: Julian Bakery has found a way to incorporate egg white protein into protein bars. These bars are 100% Paleo, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Grain-free, High-fiber, Dairy-free, Whey-free, No Sugar Alcohols, and High-protein (if any of those things are important to you). The prebiotic fiber used is made with tapioca, which is another grain-free ingredient.

4. Tanka Bars: These bars are the healthiest and best tasting beef jerky you have ever had. The meat used in these bars are made from Buffalo meat , and are hormone, MSG, gluten, and nitrate free. They also have a sweet kick because they contain small amounts of raspberries.

3. Epic Bars: With the same high quality ingredients as Tanka Bars, Epic offers chicken, turkey, bison, and bacon options. These bars are as close to a complete meal as they contain a perfect amount of fats, protein, and carbs. The grass-fed meat in these bars contain high levels of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which promote the development of lean muscle tissue. They can be purchased at Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, or Online at

2. Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars: Made with MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil and collagen, these bars support the health of your skin, tissues, brain function, and overall health of your body. These are another great low carb option for those who want to enjoy high quality protein without adding too many calories. These can only be purchased at

1. Make Your Own Protien Bars: The most cost efficient and healthiest way to eat a protein bar is to make them yourself. Using any kind of whey powdered protein will guarantee you receiving the highest quality protein possible. You are also able to incorporate other super foods into your homemade bars such as chia seeds, maca, cacoa, and other nutrients that you enjoy. Here is a great recipe to make your own protein bars:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
    • ½ cup chocolate whey protein
    • ½ cup raw almonds
    • ½ cup sunflower seeds
    • ¼ cup pepitas
    • ½ cup cashews
    • ½ cup walnuts
    • ½ cup dried cherries
    • ½ cup dried blueberries
    • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
    • ⅔ cups peanut butter
    • ⅓ cup honey
    • 2 eggs
  • Directions: Serves 12
    • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    • Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly greasing with spray oil.
    • Mix together the dry ingredients from oats to chocolate chips.
    • Mix together, in a separate bowl, last three ingredients of PB, honey, and eggs.
    • Mix the dry and wet ingredients.
    • Bake for 15 minutes.
    • Let cool.
    • Cut.
  • Macros:
    • Calories 468
    • Protein 11g
    • Fat 26g


  1. Morelli, Michael, Jr. “Top 10 Protein Bars.” N.p., 4 Oct. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.
  2. “Bulletproof – Official Store for Bulletproof Products.” Bulletproof. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  3. “EPIC Bar|Protein|Gluten Free|Paleo|Grass Fed Protein Bars.” EPIC Bar|Protein|Gluten Free|Paleo|Grass Fed Protein Bars. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  4. “SUMMERTIME SPECIALS ON SELECT TANKA PRODUCTS!” Tanka Bar. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  5. “Julian Bakery – Low Carb, Gluten Free, Paleo Products.” Julian Bakery RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  6. Manbake – All Natural High Protein Products. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.
  7. “Yup Brands. Be Healthy. Be Better.” Yup Brands LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  8. “Quest.” Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
  9. Hoffman, Jay R., and Michael J. Falvo. “Protein – Which Is Best?” Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. Asist Group, 1 Sept. 2004. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.

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Coach Dave
5 years ago

#10 should be #1, not even close. Homemade means you can control every negative and turn it into a positive. But good article, I will share it for sure.

Nick B
5 years ago

I used to believe in something. Now I don’t believe in nothin’.

The Screaming Viking!
5 years ago

ummm, my favorite protein bars are those whole rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. How did that not even make the top 10?

Reply to  The Screaming Viking!
5 years ago

I like to take a bite out of a cow on the drive home from the pool.

The Screaming Viking!
Reply to  Sprintdude9000
5 years ago

yeah. my team practices cow tackling in the early season. good skill to have. some of them cows are surprisingly hard to pin down.

Reply to  The Screaming Viking!
5 years ago

😀 In all seriousness I’m all for the meat thing post workout. Beef, chicken, cans of fish, whatever. Unprocessed meat is the future of post-workout refuelling.

About Emilee White

Emilee White

My name is Emilee White and I grew up in Canyon Lake, California. I began swimming at the age of 13 in age group, but with my background of dance, swimming came naturally to me and I excelled in the sport. I swam all four years on my high school …

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