Five popular protein bars and our very honest reviews

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      After following a reckless vegan diet for four years—we developed a severe protein deficiency. And since eating two cans of lentils or chickpeas at every meal proved to be rather unenjoyable, we turned to protein bars.

      While they aren’t always the tastiest of snacks, they sure keep you feeling full for longer than a slice of toast with jam. Plus, protein provides your body with much-needed energy and ensures you won’t look like you’ve got a recurring role on a zombie TV series.

      But if one thing is certain, it’s that the protein bar aisle at every grocery store was not created for those who have difficulty making decisions. Because of this, we’ve spent hours browsing Reddit threads in hopes to find the best tasting bar with the highest protein content.

      Now, as a well-researched protein bar critic with a decently refined palate, here’s how five of our choices performed:

      Lemon Coconut SimplyProtein Bar

      This bar is a superb option for folks following a plant-based diet as it’s packed with 12 grams of soy protein isolate. However, the protein content is on the lower side, making the 150-calorie bar suitable for a snack and not a meal replacement if you’re in a pinch. It’s similar in texture to a Rice Krispies square and has a sweet—but not too sweet—lemony coconut taste.

      If the bar’s wrapper didn’t have “SimplyProtein” written across it, we would have thought this was a standard granola bar.

      We give the Lemon Coconut bar a 7/10 as it doesn’t have an artificial aftertaste like a lot of the other bars. Nonetheless, it would be even better with more protein.

      Glazed Donut ONE Protein Bar

      In all honesty, would not eat this again unless we were stranded on an island with no belongings. While the flavour sounds delicious and there’s an image of a perfectly glazed donut on the wrapper, it did not survive the taste test. However, the bar boasts 20 grams of protein, 1-gram of sugar, and is only 220 calories, which makes it popular among fitness junkies and gym rats.

      After a few bites, we thought that the company should have gone with “Brown Sugar” over “Glazed Donut”. The texture is pleasantly chewy but the bar really falls apart when it comes to the aftertaste—it’s not for the faint of heart.

      This bar earned an underwhelming 4/10, but we would still recommend it for those who are trying to gain weight or muscle mass.

      Chef Robert Irvine's Baked Protein Bar

      Run—don’t walk—to the nearest Costco as this gluten-free protein bar tastes exactly like a Snickers bar. Chef Robert Irvine’s Baked Protein Bar came highly recommended from a friend and its chewy and crunchy texture did not disappoint.

      The 190-calorie bar has six layers, which was a breath of fresh air after eating a few of the other products on this list. Each baked protein bar features peanut butter, peanuts, a peanut butter coating, crunchy protein crisps, a chocolate layer, and is finished with a peanut butter drizzle.

      With 16 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar, and 190 calories, the renowned chef’s protein bar gets a perfect score—10/10. A box of 18 bars retails for a surprisingly affordable $25.99 at Costco.

      QUEST Birthday Cake Protein Bar

      Like a crow to shiny objects, we were drawn to the QUEST Birthday Cake bars—its packaging is hot pink and bright blue. Sweetened with Erythritol and Sucralose, the bar only has 1-gram of sugar, which is a huge deal for many health-conscious folks.

      In addition to 21 grams of protein, the Birthday Cake bar contains 14 grams of fibre and is only 180 calories. Each bar is covered in a sugary, icing-like coating and the inside is chewy with colourful sprinkles mixed into the batter.

      But despite once consuming 36 mini donuts at the PNE, the last few bites of the Birthday Cake Protein Bar were challenging to get down. Since the bar is simply too sweet for our liking, it gets a 6/10.

      White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF Bar

      With only 10 grams of protein, these bad boys fall under the “energy bar” category. Given that the White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF Bar tastes like an oatmeal cookie, we thought it deserved a spot on this list.

      Every bar is made with non-GMO, plant-based ingredients like rolled oats, dried fruits, and nuts. It contains plenty of complex carbohydrates, making the perfect snack for when you’re hiking, rock climbing, or drooling over Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick.  

      The energy bar is made with 70 percent organic ingredients and is 260 calories. We give the White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF Bar a 7/10—it tastes delicious but we wish there was a little more protein.