Best Protein Bars For Women – 3 Top Picks Worth Buying

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By Alexa DaFonte

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

Best Protein Bars For Women

Protein bars have gained a lot of traction over the years as dietary staples for people on-the-go. However, not all protein bars are created equal and many of them contain a lot of added sugars and preservatives. Many protein bars are formulated for certain demographics as well. There are protein bars specifically marketed for women, but they can usually be consumed by anyone really. Let’s take a closer look at women’s protein bars and see how they stack up. We’ll also go over our picks for the best protein bars for women. Let’s get started!

Best Protein Bars

The Different Types Of Protein Bars For Women

Many protein bars targeted towards women contain relatively clean ingredients, a nut/seed mix, and low sugar quantities. Oftentimes with women’s protein bars, the company will market the product as a weight loss product and even claim their products help you slim down. These claims are very misinformed and you should always be skeptical of protein bars that promote weight loss through the consumption of their product. These products typically have a lot of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

When choosing a protein bar for women, always look at the ingredients, the amount of sugar, and the type/amount of protein. Some protein bars for women contain a lot of protein, which is not always necessary if you do not work out a lot and/or you get sufficient dietary protein in your everyday life. Other women’s protein bars are basically just snacks as they do not have a lot of protein and definitely should not be used as a meal replacement.

Benefits Of Protein Bars For Women

Protein bars can prove beneficial for women’s health for many reasons. They can help boost energy levels, provide essential vitamins and nutrients, and contribute protein levels needed for everyday life. They can be especially beneficial for those who workout often and thus are looking to get more protein in their diets. They also come in handy for those who do not get sufficient protein through dietary sources, which is often the case for vegetarians and vegans.

woman running

Why Should Women Eat Protein Bars?

Protein bars are pretty healthy snacks to have on hand for any demographic. For women, protein bars can come in handy when you’re on-the-go or for when you need extra fuel based on work needs or an exercise regimen. Many protein bars these days are including less sugar and more high-quality ingredients and protein sources. Many are now plant-based as well, which is an added health benefit.

Protein bars are not required for a healthy diet, but should you need the added protein or an on-the-go snack, protein bars can be useful (just be cautious of the sugar content).

Are Protein Bars For Women Really Healthy?

Women’s protein bars can be a healthy snack option to have on hand. However, always read the ingredient label as there are often many unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients like added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols (erythritol is a big one), top allergens (dairy/ whey protein isolate), and preservatives.

Also important to note is that protein bars are usually not intended to be a meal replacement option. Most protein bars formulated for women are low in calories and protein, and therefore should not be used to replace a healthy, balanced, and unprocessed meal.

Best Protein Bars For Women

Built Bars

Built Bar

Built bars are very popular protein bars among men and women. They are often very low in calorie (averaging only about 110 calories) and contain an average of 15 grams of protein, which is pretty significant given its low-calorie content. However, the protein source is whey protein, which is dairy, and they also include milk fat in their formulas. They contain added sugar in the form of sugar alcohols, which are controversial. This is a decent low-calorie, high-protein option for those needing a quick protein fix.


Primal Kitchen Protein Bars

Primal Kitchen Protein Bars

Primal Kitchen is a healthy and ethical food company that created delicious and diet-friendly products. Their Primal Kitchen protein bars average around 200 calories per bar is gluten and dairy-free, paleo-friendly, and low in carbohydrates. They only contain an average of 2 grams of sugar per bar and are mostly made of nut butter and use eggs as the protein source. They contain about 9 grams of protein per bar, and definitely can provide a low-sugar, diet-friendly snack option. These are not intended to be a meal replacement bar.


RXBAR Protein Bars

RX Bars

These protein bars have swept the health and wellness communities. They come in many different tasty flavors and are free of added sugars and any artificial preservatives. They often contain between 5 and 6 ingredients, with the main ingredients being dates, egg whites, and nuts. They usually contain about 12 grams of protein and 200 calories per bar, and are thus a great, added sugar-free snack option.


Alternatives To Protein Bars For Women

Protein bars for women are usually pretty low in calories, and thus pretty low in protein. As a result, they really should not be used as a meal replacement, and rather as a snack option. If you don’t want to spend the money on protein bars, you can get sufficient protein from dietary sources. If you’re looking for more protein, the following foods can be beneficial:

  • Beans
  • Meat (go for lean meat like chicken)
  • Fish 
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy-based products
  • Edamame
  • Eggs

You can also get supplemental protein from protein powders, like FitMiss Delight Protein Powder or Orgain Protein, as well. There are many on the market these days, just watch out for top allergens (like the dairy in whey protein isolate) as well as added sugars.

As A Woman, Do I Really Need A Protein Bar?

Protein bars are definitely not required for good health. They can sometimes provide a balanced and healthy snack option, but they often boast a high sugar content and a hefty ingredient list. Always check the label for protein content, sugar content, and the ingredients the product includes. Aim for protein bars with at least 10 grams of protein and preferably no added sugars. Protein bars with nuts and seeds are also healthy options. 

Although protein bars can be helpful for your on-the-go days, it is not necessary to have one every day, or even at all. Again, do your research before purchasing a protein bar and try to not use it as a meal replacement.

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Alexa DaFonte

With a degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Alexa brings a vast knowledge of nutritional sciences, especially as it intersects with modern health and wellness. Due to her passion for a healthy lifestyle, she enjoys spreading awareness of the science behind many of her nutrition practices.