Let anyone know you’re vegan, and you can put your money on the fact that the first question you’ll be asked is – “but where do you get your protein?”
If you read our guide to vegan protein sources, you’ll find out why I feel the obsession with protein is unnecessary.
But sometimes you just want a quick, easy, and tasty way to ensure you’re meeting your protein requirements for the day – vegan or otherwise.
In addition to a healthy vegan diet based on a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, protein bars can be a tasty and convenient snack for long car trips, or a quick bite to eat at your desk during the workday.
But how do you navigate protein bars, especially as a vegan?
With entire aisles at the convenience store alone dedicated to the things, how do you choose a cruelty-free bar that isn’t just a glorified candy bar?
The options – and ingredient lists – can often be overwhelming.
To keep things simple, I’ve narrowed down the wealth of options to the five best vegan bars that have the highest protein content and have an average user rating of at least four stars.
Let’s dive in!
Article NavigationList of Vegan Protein BarsOrganic Food Bar – ProteinProBar Base BarCLIF BUILDER’S – Protein BarVega Sport BarSimply Protein BarImportant Ingredient to Look For When Buying Vegan Protein BarsWhat If My Protein Bar Says “May Contain Traces of Eggs/Milk”? Is It Still Vegan?Raising the Bar for Protein Supplements
List of Vegan Protein Bars
Please not that the data in the chart below will be slightly different depending on the flavor for each brand.
Organic Food Bar - Protein
The ingredient list on the Organic Food Bar is a thing of beauty – six ingredients long, all recognizable, all easy to pronounce. Brown rice protein, agave nectar, dates, almond butter, raisins, and seeds. That’s it!
The incredible 22 grams of plant-based protein aside, this is an ingredient list to feel good about.
In addition to a squeaky-clean ingredient list, people go bananas for these bars – the taste, the texture, how good their bodies feel after eating it, it all gets rave reviews.
Most people say the Organic Food Bar is “literally the best vegan protein bar I’ve ever had” – and that’s a bold statement for something that’s literally six natural ingredients!
Some people do note that this vegan bar can be very sweet – containing a combination of agave, dates, and raisins, you may find this on the sweeter side if you’re very sensitive to sugar. However, if you’re like me and have a huge sweet tooth, this could be a perfect, healthy way to satisfy it (and a huge chunk of your daily protein intake).
ProBar Base Bar
The BASE bar from Probar is my go-to bar for long plane and car rides when I need the staying power of a meal but can’t bring along a traditional meal of cooked food.
The Base Bar sits like a brick in my stomach, keeping me full throughout the day for low cost and zero effort. This is not a mid-afternoon snack; it’s a hefty, high-performing bar when you’re on the go or don’t have time for a full breakfast or lunch.
It comes in some satisfying flavors like Cookie Dough or Coffee Crunch, for a shot of protein with an extra boost of caffeine.
Vegans who cannot consume gluten can also enjoy the taste of cookie dough again! The entire line of decadent flavors of this bar is 100% gluten free.
Some people note that the bar tastes somewhat artificial. I happen to think their delicious, but give them a try and see how you like them – your mileage may vary.
CLIF BUILDER'S - Protein Bar
I’ll come clean – I have a whole drawer of Chocolate Peanut Butter Builders in my desk at work. I find it to be the absolute perfect balance between a healthy source of protein and delicious, chocolatey treat – each bar is coated with chocolate and studded with crunchy peanuts.
Builder Bars are about 33% organic, and like the Organic Food Bar, get insanely high reviews and lavish praise on Amazon.
The Builder Bar isn’t quite as sweet as some other protein bars, so if you’re into a more subtle bar, this might be a good choice.
It also comes in a variety of flavors, including Chocolate Mint (another A+ flavor) and S’mores, to Vanilla Almond or Crunchy Peanut, for those who aren’t into chocolate.
Some people note that the Builder Bars have a slight aftertaste common with protein supplement products, but overall, these are a solid, well-liked bar, and worth a try.
Vega Sport Bar
Vegan athletes looking for a post-workout snack should turn to Vega Sport Protein Bars.
Developed by vegan Ironman triathlete and author Brendan Brazier, Vega Sport Bars are chock full of other nutrients that recovering muscles need.
Vega Sport Bars come in tasty flavors like chocolate coconut, and users note that there is no strange “plant” aftertaste that can sometimes happen in vegan protein supplements.
If you’re looking for a protein bar that’s very high in protein, Vega Sport clocks in a little lower at 15g. The chocolate peanut butter bars get rave reviews, with a smooth texture and perfect peanut butter flavor!
Simply Protein Bar
The Simply Bar is one of those elusive products that is both vegan and lower in carbohydrates. For people who are following a lower carb diet, the Simply Bar, with only 9g effective carbohydrates, can be a perfect high-protein snack that fits such a lifestyle.
With only 190 calories and 1g of sugar, it is a healthy, lower-calorie choice as well.
While the taste of the Simply Bar is quite good, the texture is not like a traditional soft, “candy-bar-like” texture – it is much drier and crispier and is much better suited to be a snack rather than a replacement for an entire meal.
Because it is also gluten free, it is a good choice for those with Celiac disease, or who are simply limiting their gluten intake.
At a great protein-per-calorie ratio, the Simply Bar is a smarter choice for a snack than many other snack foods, and it’s widely available in many convenience stores.
Important Ingredient to Look For When Buying Vegan Protein Bars
This is by no means an exhaustive list of vegan protein bars – as dairy-free and vegan eating becomes more and more mainstream, there are more vegan options in “regular” grocery and convenience stores!
A quick scan of the ingredients list will let you know if the protein bar you’re considering is vegan-friendly.
Milk can lurk in protein products under lots of different disguises. Avoid any products containing whey or whey isolate, which are proteins derived from milk – in fact, the quickest way to ensure your bar is dairy-free is to scan all the way back to the allergen statement and look for the phrase “Contains Milk.”
If this appears on the packaging, it isn’t a cruelty-free protein bar.
You’ll also want to be on the lookout for gelatin (not even vegetarian, as it comes from the connective tissues in the bodies of animals) and K-Carmine, a red dye made from insect bodies.
Look for the “V” logo on individual bars (and other groceries!) that signify a vegan product without having to read through the entire ingredient list.
What If My Protein Bar Says “May Contain Traces of Eggs/Milk”? Is It Still Vegan?
This warning doesn’t imply that non-vegan ingredients are used in your bar.
This statement is added for the safety of those with severe food allergies – for example, someone who is extremely allergic to tree nuts will need to know that the product was made on equipment that was shared with tree nuts, and may not be a safe food for them.
On the whole, this means that your product is still vegan, but the warning is added for those who may have severe, potentially fatal allergic reactions to certain foods.
As long as the product does not say “Contains Milk/Eggs” on the label, it is a vegan product.
Raising the Bar for Protein Supplements
Though protein bars can sometimes get a bad reputation for being glorified candy bars, many vegan options are made with entirely whole food ingredients and offer alternatives to fit any lifestyle, from organic to low-carb.
Protein bars can be a good snack option to keep in your school bag, desk drawer, or just around the house for when hunger strikes.
With a good balance of taste, nutrition, and satiation, protein bars can be a great supplement to a vegan diet based around whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.