If you want to increase your protein intake without sabotaging your fat loss or weight maintenance goals, low calorie protein bars are a great resource. The best bars on the market right now offer 20 grams of protein or more in a single bar, and many have 200 calories or less per bar. With calorie counts that low, it is easy to work these bars into your daily diet as snacks or after-workout protein supplements. You can also combine these bars with protein shakes, smoothies or fresh fruit and vegetables to create an on-the-go meal.

The key is selecting the right protein bar for your needs. What one person considers low calorie is still too high in calories for someone else. It all depends on your goals and how many calories you want to stay under on any given day. This guide will help you select low calorie protein bars that taste great while meeting your nutritional needs.

The Protein-Calorie Balance

There are many low calorie protein bars on the market right now, but some don’t offer enough protein to help you reach your fitness goals. It is important not to select the lowest-calorie bar you can find but the bar that offers the most protein for a reasonable calorie count.

As a general guideline, try to find a protein bar that offers at least 15 grams of protein for a maximum of 200 calories. A bar that offers less protein may not help you increase your protein intake enough to justify the consumption of a protein bar. This is especially true if you want to use your protein bar to help your muscles refuel after an intense workout.

For example, the chocolate peanut butter Luna Protein Bar is a popular protein bar right now, but each bar only offers 12 grams of protein. You may assume that this is a good choice if you are looking for a low calorie bar, since each bar contains less than 200 calories. What you may not realize is that you can find many other protein bars with 20 or more grams of protein for 200-210 calories.

In this example, the calorie difference is not significant, but the difference in protein content is significant. The higher-calorie protein bars will be the better option in this case. You can find many of these better options listed below when my top recommendations for low calorie protein bars are offered.

What If You Need Lots of Protein?

Most people who want to take in substantial amounts of protein in a single day are trying to gain muscle or bodyweight. In most cases, you will allow yourself a higher calorie diet in order to achieve those goals. Yet, you still need to watch your calorie consumption when taking in snacks and after-workout supplements in order to leave room for those large meals you will want to consume.

If you want to take in a lot of protein for a fitness or health goal but still need to maintain a reasonable calorie intake, you may place more emphasis on low calorie protein supplements. If you want a protein bar that offers more than 25 grams of protein, you will not find it with calorie content under 200. For you, a low calorie option is probably less than 300 calories instead. Remember, low calorie is a subjective issue depending on your goals, so this is a personal decision.

The Best Low Calorie Protein Bars – Top Recommendations

The bars featured here offer a high amount of protein for the number of calories contained within the bar. Some are higher than 200 calories, but you will see that they also offer significantly more protein which justifies the higher calorie intake. You have to think about your goals and the number of calories you can afford to invest in a protein bar when selecting between these leading bars.

Quest Apple Pie Protein Bar

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I have recommended Quest protein bars as the best protein bars for men and women, and there is a good reason for that. Each bar contains only 170 calories but delivers 20 grams of protein. Fat is kept to 5 grams per bar, and each apple pie bar contains 18 grams of fiber. Almost all of the carbohydrate content in this bar comes from fiber which will help you feel fuller until your next meal. Fiber has also been proven to help with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

You can find a variety of other QuestBar protein bars on the market, and they all have less than 200 calories and at least 20 grams of protein. Select the flavors you enjoy most and stock up.

Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

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These popular protein bars offer 20 grams of protein per 200-calorie bar. Each bar also contains 6 grams of fat and 16 grams of carbohydrates. One of those carb grams comes from fiber. This is a reasonable calorie and fat intake for those interested in losing or controlling body weight, and the amount of protein offered is reasonable for snacks or after-workout fuel ups.

There are other Pure Protein bars on the market with the same or a very similar nutritional profile. You can purchase them in a variety of flavors to ensure variety in your diet.

MET-Rx Chocolate Fudge Deluxe Protein Plus Bars

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If you need your protein bar to contain more than 20 grams of protein, this is one of the best protein bars currently on the market. Each bar contains 320 calories, but you get 32 grams of protein in exchange for those calories. Many competing protein bars with more than 30 grams of fat contain over 400 calories, so this is a good calorie-protein balance. Fat is kept to 10 grams per bar, which is quite good for a bar with this amount of protein.

You can find other protein bars by MET-Rx, but not all of them are under 350 calories per bar. Some are designed for muscle or weight gain, so they contain more than 400 calories per bar with a similar protein content. Read labels before making your final selection.

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