Protein bars are incredibly convenient when you are on the run and don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal or snack. You can throw a protein bar and fresh fruit in a bag when you don’t have time to prepare a lunch or you know that you will need to eat lunch or dinner in the car while traveling. Your life is busy, and you need those occasional quick meal options if you are to stick with your healthy lifestyle long term.

If your fitness goals include gaining weight or developing lean muscle mass, then the best protein bars for men will help you meet those tough protein intake goals without overdosing on chicken, steak and other high-protein foods. Bars don’t require mixing or blending like protein shakes, so they are great backups for situations that do not make shakes accessible.

protein bars for men

The catch is selecting a protein bar that meets your nutritional needs. Some bars include low-quality proteins, and others contain to much fat and carbohydrates to suit a healthy lifestyle. You don’t want to select a bar that is a glorified candy bar, and you don’t want to consume too many bars. Look at the bottom of this page to learn about some of the best protein bars for men currently on the market.

Protein, Energy and Meal Replacement Bars – Are They All the Same?

Once you start shopping for protein bars, you will come across energy bars and meal replacement bars as well. These bars sometimes look the same, especially when they are lined side-by-side on a store shelf. The labels will typically say “protein bar,” “energy bar,” or “meal replacement bar,” but some protein bars do not contain very little protein and should actually be considered energy or candy bars.

Here are the main distinctions, so you can analyze labels efficiently:

Protein Bars: A true protein bar should contain at least 15 grams of protein, preferably high-quality protein such as hydrolyzed whey or whey isolates. The protein should be a primary focus of the ingredients list.

Energy Bars: These bars typically have less protein and more carbohydrates. The protein included may come from soy concentrates or gelatin rather than higher-quality proteins. These bars may give you an energy boost so that you can work harder during exercise, but they are not good protein supplements.

Meal Replacement Bars: These bars offer a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein and fats. They are usually higher in calories than a standard protein bar, and they may not have 15 grams of protein. If you can find one that is high in protein, you may want to keep them on hand for convenience sake if you can’t get in a healthy meal.

You will find bars with all of these labels in the recommended best protein bars for men listed below. As you learn what each of them can offer you nutritionally, you will see that the label matters much less than the nutritional content of the bar inside the wrapper.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

In general, the best protein bars for men contain at least 15 grams of protein per serving. How much protein you need in a bar depends on your fitness goals. Think about the circumstances under which you may use a protein bar and what you need your bar to do for you.

For example, if you need a protein bar to supplement your daily protein intake as a snack you may require more protein than a bar kept for occasional last-minute snacks or meals during emergencies. Just make sure that the protein included is worth the number of calories, fat and carbohydrate grams included in the bar. It has to be nutritionally worth your time.

Recommended Protein Bars for Men

If you are overwhelmed by your protein bar choices, this guide will show you some of the best options for men. You will need to read labels and compare these bars to determine which ones are the best for your specific fitness goals.

Quest Protein Bars

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If there were one protein bar that suited every man’s nutritional needs, Quest bars would probably be that bar. You can get 20 or more grams of high-quality protein and more than 15 grams of fiber from each bar. These bars do not include added sugar or sugar alcohol, and they are gluten free.

With less than 200 calories per bar, these are perfect for snacks or after-workout protein supplements. You can select from a variety of delicious flavors.  If you are trying to lose or control your weight, this is a great protein bar to consider. The fiber content also makes it a good option for snacks or emergency meal replacements.

Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar

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This bar offers 14 grams of protein, which is very close to the general 15 grams minimum rule. It is marketed as a combination energy and protein bar, and it does contain more protein than fat or calories. It is nutritionally sound for most men’s goals, and it may give you a jolt of energy to help get you through a difficult day or intense workout. Most of the protein is derived from hydrolyzed whey, so you can consider it a healthy protein supplement for your diet.

This bar is perfect for a snack or after-workout supplement, but it does not contain enough calories for a complete meal replacement. Each bar contains 205 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of fat. Note that the fat does include 5 grams of saturated fat, and that may conflict with your goals if you are trying to lose weight.

Clif Builder’s Protein Bar

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Many Clif bars fit the energy bar category, but the Builder’s bars are labeled as protein bars. There are many delicious flavors such as chocolate mint and s’mores, but it is important to note that this is a higher-calorie and carbohydrate bar that will not suit every man’s nutritional needs. Each bar contains 270 calories, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat. That is much less fat than you will find in many other protein bars, but keep the carb content in mind when comparing to other bars.

This is a good bar for a meal replacement, since it contains close to 300 calories. You may also use it after workouts for a protein spike, since it contains more than 15 grams of protein.

MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar

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This is labelled as a meal replacement bar, but many men use it as a protein bar because it offers 32 grams of protein. It also offers 410 calories and 41 grams of carbohydrates, so it is not a good snack or emergency backup for most men. This is a good bar to keep on hand for those days when you cannot get to a healthy meal and want to fight off hunger without falling behind on your protein intake goals.

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