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It may come as a surprise that just because a product is marketed for women, doesn’t mean it is the most healthy option.
The truth of the matter is you shouldn’t focus solely on “women’s only” products, simply because you are a woman. The world of health and fitness is dominated by men, which means many of the supplements, especially protein, is marketed towards a male audience. Thankfully this is slowly starting to change and more female friendly products are being sold.
The average woman requires about 50 to 60 grams of protein a day, and more for those that lead an active lifestyle. Not all women have the type to mix protein powder during the day. Protein bars are a great way of getting an extra boost of protein post-workout, a genuine meal replacement, or just as a pick me up throughout the day.
Unfortunately, not all protein bars are worth eating. They may include suspect ingredients or a ton of sugar, rendering them nothing but a glorified candy bar.
Save yourself the hassle of scouring your local supermarket or health store shelves and try these instead.
Luna Protein Bars
One of the most popular protein bars made for women is the Luna bar. The Luna bar is the female version of the Clif bar, one of the most popular nutritional bars out there. There is the original Luna and Luna Protein – the latter having higher protein and added nutrition for active women.
Luna Protein is available in 7 flavors:
- Berry Greek Yogurt
- Lemon Vanilla
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Chocolate Coconut Almond
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Salted Caramel
Every Luna Protein bar is:
- Low glycemic
- Provides additional iron and vitamin D
Iron and vitamin D are very important for women’s health, which explains why Luna added these two important nutrients in.
Exact nutritional information differs between each flavor but every bar provides:
- 12 grams of protein (whey protein concentrate & soy protein)
- 3 grams of fiber
- 170 to 190 calories
- 15 grams of sugar
With every bar providing a good helping of protein, some soluble and insoluble fiber, natural sugar sources (not high-fructose corn syrup) and still being under 200 calories, the Luna Protein is a winner. These bars are well known for tasting amazing, with a minimal “protein” aftertaste that some women find to be strong.
Another benefit of the Luna and Luna Protein line is that it is fairly easy to find, even at grocery stores. Typically where the sell Clif bars, you’ll find these as well.
Larabar Alt Protein Bars
The second most common protein bar you’ll be able to find in stores is Larabar. Similarly to Clif bars, this brand also has a few different product lines. While they don’t have a women’s only bar, the Larabar Alt Protein is still a favorite. If you have dietary restrictions that prevent you from eating other bars, you might find this one to be appropriate.
Alt Protein has 4 flavors:
- Lemon Pound Cake
- Chocolate Chip Macaroon
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Peanut Butter Cookie
All Alt Protein bars are based on a mixture of fruits and nuts, making them completely vegan and gluten-free. Rather than whey or soy protein, Alt Protein uses pea protein. These bars have zero animal products, including dairy, and are Kosher.
Each bar provides:
- 10 grams of protein
- 210 to 270 calories
- 9 to 13 grams of healthy fats
- 3 to 4 grams of fiber
- Less than 10 ingredients
You read that right – each Alt Protein bars uses less than 10 ingredients, even as low as 6. For example, the Peanut Butter Cookie bar only uses:
- Sunflower Oil
- Brown Rice Flour
- Brown Rice Syrup (not corn syrup)
- Pea Protein
If you strive to eat as minimally processed foods as possible, the Alt Protein bar is the right one for you. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more natural protein bar on store shelves, especially without breaking the bank.
Strong and Kind Bars
Everyone has a bit of a sweet tooth, but the idea that all women crave chocolate just isn’t true! If you’re one of those that prefers a kick of something savory or even spicy, look no further than Strong and Kind bars.
Strong and Kind bars are a product within the Kind bars line. They have added protein and also only come in savory flavors. There are 5 flavors total:
- Hickory Smoked
- Honey Smoked BBQ
- Thai Sweet Chili
- Honey Mustard
- Roasted Jalapeno
Each bar is almond based and uses pea protein rather than whey. These bars are all:
- Made from non-GMO ingredients
- Gluten- and soy-free
- Low glycemic (good for blood sugar management)
- Contains no dairy or whey
These bars would be vegan, except they do use honey. Some vegans do still consume honey, but typically it’s agreed that it is an animal product and therefore should be avoided. If you are vegetarian and consume honey, these bars will still work for your diet.
Strong and Kind bars offer:
- 10 grams of protein
- 6 grams of sugar (from honey & glucose syrup)
- 230 calories
- 3 grams of fiber
If you’re interested in these bars, be sure to check the snack protein or granola bar section of your grocery store. The Kind brand is often sold there rather than in the health aisle with other protein bars.
FucoProtein bars are made by Garden of Life, the number 1 brand in the natural products industry. You probably won’t find these bars in most stores but you will find them online and possibly in speciality stores than carry the Garden of Life brand.
These bars only come in two flavors:
- Peanut Butter Crunch
- Chocolate Macadamia Nuts
Both flavors are well liked but the reason for FucoProtein’s praise is one special ingredient – fucoxanthin.
Fucoxanthin is actually a seaweed extract and is similar to a vitamin in structure. However, rather than acting like a typical vitamin, this extract is thermogenic in nature. It works as a fat burner by heating up your body and improving your metabolism. Similar to how eating a hot pepper boosts your body with heat, fucoxanthin does the same thing – minus the spiciness.
These bars also contain:
- 14 or 15 grams of protein (milk, brown rice and whey proteins + fucoxanthin)
- 7 or 9 grams of fiber
- 9 or 11 grams of sugar
- Made of 77% organic ingredients
If your reason for looking for protein bars is to fuel a new active lifestyle for weight loss, you’ll really enjoy these bars. Rather than just providing protein, the added benefit of a metabolism booster and fat burner is really beneficial.
GreensPlus Natural Protein Bars
GreensPlus has a huge range of different health products, with a heavy focus on going the most natural route possible. All of their products are organic and GMO-free, using wild-crafted ingredients whenever possible. The brand has a couple different bars but their Natural Protein Bars are what you’ll want to try out.
The Natural bars come in three flavors:
- Whey Crisp
Unlike other protein bars that contain heavily processed ingredients, these bars use actual whole foods. Read the label and you’ll find recognizable, healthy ingredients. Every bar is:
- Contains Green+ Advanced Multi-formula (AlgaeCal, Organic B Complex and Vitamin D3)
- Designed for post workout consumption
The GreenPlus Natural Protein bars really offer whole nutrition rather than just protein. If protein alone isn’t your main concern but overall health is, these are perfect. Each bar offers:
- 15 to 18 grams of protein
- 200 to 270 calories
- 8 to 13 grams of fats
- 15 to 19 grams of sugar
- Loaded with additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
GreensPlus is more likely to be found in speciality health food stores than your local grocery store. The extra effort to find these is well worth it considering how much nutrition is packed in a simple bar.
Protein is such an important part of overall health. You should focus on getting more protein from your diet in the form of vegetables, lean meats and legumes. Powdered protein shakes are also a great way of getting higher levels of protein. These options aside, you really can’t beat a healthy yet delicious protein bar for when you’re on the go.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.