Healthy protein bars that actually taste good


Caroline McKay

The diverse protein bar selection at Whole Foods in Beverly


As a student athlete, I have had to learn how to be efficient with my time, and that includes my time eating. My go-to snack throughout highschool has been protein bars. They are easy to eat whether you’re in the car, in class, at a sporting event, or need a pick-me-up while doing homework. Pre-Covid times I would bring multiple bars to school each day to eat throughout my classes. As a swimmer, bars also benefit me as they don’t really get soggy on the pool deck. 

I would describe myself as a picky eater, and although I can be persuaded to try new things I know what I like. Here is my review of the seven most popular bars. 

Original: Power Crunch

Top on my list with no competition is the Power Crunch bar. When I discovered these bars they instantly became my favorite and are going on 3 years of being my bar of choice. These wafer style bars combine sweet and protein. It definitely has a whey protein taste but in my opinion it’s not overwhelming. The outside has a sort of frosted outside with wafers in the middle. The only downsides for me is that this bar can be crumbly and really early in the morning it is sometimes too sweet.

Protein: 12-14g 

Calories: 220

Fat: 13g

Carb.: 11gNo sugar alcohol

Aloha Plant-Based Protein Bars

The Aloha bars could never replace Power Crunch for me, but this bar does not crumble and is definitely less sweet and more natural which were my only two complaints for Power Crunch. If you are looking for a sweet bar without the whey protein taste this is a great choice. This bar is not crunchy and relatively thin. My complaint for this bar would be its lack of texture.

Favorite Flavor: Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Protein: 14g

Calories: 240

Fat: 12g

Carb.: 24g

Soy, Gluten, Stevia, Sugar Alcohols, and Dairy Free

Vegan, Organic


Sweet and Salty: Clif Bar

Our pantry is always stocked with these bars. This came very close to the Aloha bar and the only reason its 3rd is because it has less protein. Clif Bars are a good snack that combine the chewy granola bar with the stickier common protein bar. Just like the Power Crunch bars these can be too sweet for me some mornings.

Peanut Butter Honey with Seasalt

Protein: 10g

Calories: 260

Fat: 8g

Carbs: 41g

No GMO’s


This bar at first glance was intimidating as it in bold letters on the front of the bar advertised the use of egg whites. As a picky eater I wanted nothing to do with this bar. But when I tried it, it quickly became a favorite. Until I found the top three bars Rx was definitely my go to during my freshman year. It is a very sticky bar and some people cant get past how much the bar can stick to your teeth. If you can get past the packaging and the stickiness I highly recommend this bar.

Chocolate Sea Salt

Protein: 12g

Calories: 210

Fat: 9g

Carb.: 23g

Gluten Free

No GMO’s

Nut Bar: KIND

At number 5,  is my go to bar from around middle school. This bar has a good crunch as it is mostly made up of nuts. They also can satisfy your sweet tooth as the bottom of the bar is dipped in a sugary chocolate, caramel or peanut glaze depending on the bar flavor. This definitely has a great sweet and salty taste going on. I think this is a fun and easy snack.

Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

Protein: 6g

Calories: 180

Fat: 15g

Carb.: 16g




Another old favorite of mine is the LARABAR and it very narrowly places at 6th. This bar is softer with occasional small crunches from the crushed nuts or chocolate bits included. There are a very wide range of flavors. These definitely can be considered a sweet bar.

Original Fruit & Nut Bar: LARABAR

Favorite Flavor: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Protein: 5g

Calories: 210

Fat: 12g

Carb.: 23g

Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free

Certified Kosher or Kosher Dairy



Builders: Clif Bar

Coming in last is the Builders: Clif Bar. I personally felt the 20g of protein was too much. The whey flavoring is overwhelming while eating the bar and there is not much texture to it. The times I have tried to eat it to get extra protein in, I have had to stop halfway through the bar as it becomes too dense to finish.

Peanut butter chocolate

Protein: 20g

Calories: 290

Fat: 11g

Carb.: 29g

Gluten Free

Rainforest Alliance Certified

No GMO’s