Best Low Calorie Protein Bars Taste Test Party Results

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Protein bars can be great tools for craving control, but do they always taste good? I hosted a taste test party with 15 friends to find out which bar is the favorite! This is the results and pro’s and con’s for 7 of my favorite protein bars

Results of our taste test in order of favorites!

  2. Pure Protein – Biggest surprise for price and taste
  3. Quest– Most Accessible- easy to find in any store or gas station
  4. Prolon Fasting Bar – Cleanest ingredients
  5. Power Crunch – Delicious but highest in calories and very messy!
  6. Barebell – Currently trending
  7. Built Bar – Best for lowest calories

Choosing a protein bar that works for you can be a daunting task! Walking down the grocery aisle, you will find shelves of bars claiming that they will help you “lose weight”, “feel full”, “boost your energy”, and so much more. Just looking at all those headlines is enough to make one’s head spin!

The good news, you are not alone! I too have been on the hunt to find the best protein bar. From the cheapest to the best tasting to the lowest calorie, there are just so many factors to consider.

It wasn’t that long ago that even protein brands themselves seemed confused. Either they produced bars that were gritty, and unsatisfying OR they branded sugar-pumped candy bars as “healthy”. Thankfully, the protein bar industry is leaps and bounds ahead of where they were just a few years ago, leaving us with a great deal of decent options to choose from.

In this post I will provide the pros and cons to many of the most popular protein bar brands. That way, you can find which low calorie protein bar best fits your lifestyle needs and goals.

Note: For the sake of this post, I am only reviewing brands that offer a protein bar that is 200 calories or fewer. This is the measurement I felt best fit with the generally understood meaning of the term “low calorie”. Additionally, I have chosen not to include specific price points, since that is subject to change at any point.

Factors to Consider when Picking a Low-Calorie Protein Bar

  • Protein amount and type – Let’s face it. If you are eating a protein bar, it is because you are wanting a convenient way to include more protein in your diet. Because of that, you will want to consider how many calories it has per gram of protein. You can also consider if the protein comes from animal products (milk and eggs) or is plant based.
  • Total calories – A great way to judge a protein bar is by taking the number of calories and dividing it by the total number of grams of protein. The lower the calories to protein ratio is, the better protein source it is. I generally try to choose protein bars that are 200 calories or fewer.
  • Added sugar – Sugar will spike your energy but then cause it to crash later. We don’t want that! In order to have a more steady stream of energy, look for bars that contain fewer added sugars.
  • Ingredients – The ingredients list can say a LOT about the quality of a protein bar. Try to look for ingredient lists that contain whole foods. If it has a lot of ingredients that you’ve never heard of or that look like a jumble of letters, you probably want to stay away.
  • Price – I would venture to say that most people are price conscious. It may not be the most important factor in their buying decision, but it is still a relevant factor. Find products that support your goals, both health goals and financial goals. Living healthy doesn’t have to mean overspending on food.
  • Flavor/texture – In order to see real results when it comes to weight loss or weight maintenance, you need to hit your stride with a lifestyle that is sustainable. This means that finding a low-calorie protein bar that you can eat without dreading is worth it!

The Protein Bar Taste Test Results

It was too difficult to standardize the flavor of protein bars, because I couldn’t find the same flavor in all the bars. So, for this taste test, I bought a few flavors of each bar and instructed the taste testers to pick what they thought would be their favorite bar and base their preference. For example, if they love chocolate mint, they would choose the chocolate mint Fit Crunch.

I had the testers give three scores. 1-10 for taste, 1-10 for texture, and a yes or no if they would buy it. Then, I totaled all the number scores, and divided by the number of testers.

Here were there results!

reviewing protein bars- taste test party

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1) Fit Crunch

190 calories, 16 g protein, 14 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 8 g fat

Hands down, Fit Crunch was the FAVORITE for our taste testers. I started buying these at Costco a few years ago, and now I can find them everywhere. (here they are on Amazon)

fit crunch protein bar review

Pro’s of Fit Crunch

  • Under 200 calories for the standard size bar. (46g size)
  • Variety of flavors, including: Chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel peanut, chocolate coconut almond, cinnamon twist, milk and cookies, lemon cake and apple pie.
  • When it’s on sale at costco, you can get these for $1 per bar!
  • 7.5 out of 10 for taste and texture.
  • Gluten free if that matters to you.
  • Main source of protein: WHEY

Con’s of Fit Crunch

  • They are covered in Chocolate, so a hike on a hot day isn’t ideal.
  • If calories matter to you, make sure you aren’t buying the “full size” or you’ll get 300 calories per bar!
  • Contains sugar and sugar alcohols.

2) Pure Protein

180 calories, 19 grams protein, 20 g carb, <1 g fiber, 2 grams sugar, 4.5 g fat

This one surprised me the most, because I’ve seen them at Walmart AND Costco. I had never tried them until this taste test, and I was blown away! (Amazon link for Pure protein bar variety here). I only bought the Chocolate mint cookie for this taste test, and it tasted like a thin mint Girl Scout cookie! FOR REAL!

Pro’s of Pure Protein bars

  • Affordable- About $2 per bar on Amazon here.
  • Easy to find- if a bar can make it’s way into Walmart and Costco, I’d say these are pretty easy to find. However, those were the only stores I found them in. My regular locally owned grocery store did not have them.
  • Variety of flavors- Although I only tried the chocolate mint, they also have: Cookies and cream, strawberry, birthday cake, galactic brownie, chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel and more! *here’s a variety box to see all the flavors

Con’s of Pure Protein

  • smallish
  • Possible melting in the heat.
  • Got a 6.4 out of 10 for taste and texture.
pure protein bar review

3) Quest Bar

190 calories, 21 grams of protein, 22 grams carbs, 13 grams fiber, 8 grams fat, 1 grams of sugar

I’ve been a long time fan of the Quest bar, which surprises me because I can’t STAND their protein powder! (see my Protein powder taste test here)


  • Accessibility: These bars are easy to find. They are in all major grocery stores, health food stores, and even gas stations.
  • I actually like the texture of these, and I’m glad they are not covered in chocolate. Makes it easier to take places, especially in the summer so you don’t have to worry about melting.
  • More protein than the other bars.
  • More fiber than the other bars.


  • Pretty pricey! In my store, and on their website, they are going for almost $3 per bar. That’s kind of ridiculous if you ask me. But, I do pay this sometimes when I’m traveling and at a gas station. LOL

4) Prolon Fasting Bar

190 calories, 6 g protein, 17 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 14 g fat

In full disclosure, the only reason these were added Prolon fasting bars to my taste test was because the company sent me a free box and a coupon code. And I thought they were SUPER delicious! They reminded me of Larabar, which I forgot how much I loved in the past.

Fasting bar protein bar review


  • The ingredients are super clean! The one from the Oats and Honey bar (my favorite) is Pecans, macadamia nuts, vegetable fiber inulin, almonds, almond butter, honey, flaxseed, coconut flour, natural flavor, sea salt, rosemary extract.
  • The flavor options are oats and honey, coconut macadamia, and chocolate chip
  • The carbs are from low glycemic sources
  • Good source of good fat


  • The total protein is low, so I don’t even know if I could consider this a “protein bar.”
  • Price is a bit high, but I do have a coupon code for 10% off! (code is HEALTHBEET)

5) Power Crunch

220 calories, 13 g protein, 10 g carbs, 15 g fat, sugars 5 g, fiber >1g

This one broke my rules of being under 200. To be fair, I thought they were! So, that’s a bummer, and will likely be the reason I am not purchasing them again. But man these are good!! The Peanut butter fudge bar tastes like a Little Debbie’s Nutty Buddy bars. Not kidding!

power crunch bar review


  • SO delicious to me, but got 5th place among my taste testers. I think you have to enjoy wafer cookies to like these.
  • Great flavors like chocolate mint, vanilla, lemon meringue, peanut butter creme, peanut butter fudge, and triple chocolate.
  • Affordable: Under $2 on Amazon here.


  • Low in fiber (under 1 gram)
  • Higher in sugar than the others (5 grams)
  • So messy!! Seriously, there is no way to eat this in the car without getting it all over yourself.

6) Barebells Bars

200 calories, 20 g protein, 18 g carbs, 8 g fat, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugar

Everyone’s been telling me this is their new favorite bar, and I see them everywhere. Maybe I need to find out what flavor everyone’s loving, because we didn’t think they were that special. And for 200 calories, I’m not sure that I’d buy them again.

barebell protein bar review 2


  • Yummy sounding flavor options: Salty Peanut, creamy crisp, hazelnut & nougat, caramel cashew, white chocolate almond.
  • I liked the texture- the crunchy, the nougaty, the crispy combo.
  • Price is good at $2/bar (amazon)


  • Not everyone thought they tastes good.

7) Built Bar Puffs

140 calories, 17 g protein, 13 g carbs, 3 g fat, 7 g sugar

I started out eating Built Bars, because they were a small, local company that I wanted to support. However, they have grown to become my go-to protein bar! In fact, the puffs are my FAVORITE bars.

Why I love Built Bars: They are one of the few protein bars you can find that is under 200 calories, which I happen to LOVE! And, I enjoy their variety of flavors. I even did a Built Bars rating review where I tried all their different flavors, so make sure to check that out!

Built Bar Protein bar review


  • Price- I think they are a great bar for the price. (and you can get 10% off with HEALTHBEET)
  • Accessibility- You can buy them at Amazon, Costco, and many grocery stores
  • Tasty flavors like mint chip, coconut, snickerdoodle, peanut butter chocolate. Plus, my favorite is when they have seasonal flavors or ANYTHING white chocolate!
  • The calories! I’ll reiterate, the reason this is my go to bar, besides I actually like them, is that I can eat one for 140 calories! That’s quite a bargain for a bar,


  • Texture- I really think this would have scored higher if people weren’t turned off by the texture. For the puffs, you should already kind of like marshmallow things. for the bars, they’re pretty sticky and a bit on the harder side.

And that’s my review!! Take it for what it’s worth, but I LOVE protein bars today. They taste a lot like candy bars!

But, if you want to make your own homemade protein bars, try these:

4 Ingredient chocolate peanut butter bar recipe
Peanut Butter Bars
Cookies and Cream No Bake Bars
Cookies and Cream Protein Bar Plain Thumb 1200x1200

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