After spending several weeks eating the most popular vegan protein bars on the market, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 of the best with the clear winner being The Vega Vegan Protein Bar.
Why? It struck the perfect balance between nutritional value and taste. Who said vegan snack bars cannot have that yummy factor! 🙂
Runner-up was the Garden Of Life Sport Performance Protein Bar and several others that made the cut.
Let’s talk protein bars.
For the past seven or so years of my life, I have spent approximately 80% of my day running around.
In high school, I was going back and forth from school to dance class to work; college was my internship, classes, dance team practice and my bartending job.
Post-graduation is filled with work, coaching, blogging and spending time with my fiancé and my new pup.
I’ve 110% officially become a crazy dog mom, mind you … so literally almost every free second is spent researching things about raising a puppy … and buying unnecessary things like elf hats and dog couches).
Needless to say, the craziness has undoubtedly changed but has never died down.
Over the years, protein bars have always been my go-to when it comes to quick, nutritious options that can be taken on-the-go.
I mean, they’re SO convenient!
Throw a couple in your bag before running out of the house and your good to go.
That’s why they’ve become so popular in the weight room as well as the bottom-of-the-purse abyss (AKA the dark space of uncharted territory of any women’s bag).
In the past, I’ve always just checked to see how many calories it contained and then calculating if it was a reasonable amount considering my day’s agenda.
However, since becoming a health coach (and ultimately becoming more aware of the nutritional makeup of foods/products), I have started looking more carefully at labels.
Especially when consuming bars as a meal replacement or pre/post-workout nutrition.
It’s crucial to understand what you’re putting into your body.
There is SO much more to a product than its calorie count.
Now, whenever I’m looking at any product I consider a few things before I make a final decision on whether or not I would
A) Rebuy the product and
B) If I would recommend it to a client or reader.
These include taste, protein makeup, nutritional value and the quality of ingredients.
Unfortunately, a lot of protein bars tend to lack in the “taste” department.
Usually having a flavor that resembles artificially-flavored soggy cardboard.
In turn, the ones that DO have a yum-factor are typically chock-fulla sugars, unhealthy carbs and other fillers that make it nothing more than a glorified candy bar.
And the worst part? They can be EXPENSIVE as heck.
There’s nothing that makes me sadder than buying a box of bars that end up getting reluctantly choked down merely because you don’t want to waste the money.
I LOVE eating, and if I’m not enjoying it, it makes me one sad chica.
I’ve decided to do the hard part for you.
I know, you’re welcome. 🙂
I tried five popular vegan protein bars and provided my honest and true feedback.
I’ve presented my review in order of my favorite to least favorite product.
But first let’s talk a little bit more about why protien is such a big deal and what to look for in a protein bar, shall we?
Why You Need Protein To Get Your Dream Body
One of the best things you can do to help you both lose fat and gain muscle is to up your protein consumption!
It’s suggested that consuming between 25 – 30 grams of protein per meal is ideal for muscle growth. 
Protein has been proven to provide a number of health benefits, including:
- Building Muscle Mass
Eating enough protein is a crucial step when trying to gain muscle, especially for those of you trying to build your glutes.
When your body is lacking amino acids (found in proteins), your body can suffer from muscle atrophy, the breaking down of muscle fibers in order to support energy needs of the body.
Protein also assists in muscle recovery as well after strenuous activities such as exercising.
- Stabilizing Blood Sugars
Studies show that eating foods high in protein can slow down the absorption of sugar and help with the management of blood sugar spikes. 
This is especially important in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and balancing energy levels.
- Promoting Brain Function
Enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters are imperative for cognitive function.
The brain needs a consistent supply of amino acids to keep concentration and energy at its best.
When protein deprivation takes place, learning, coordination and focus suffers severely. 
- Increasing Weight Loss
Protein is very filling which contributes to an overall higher feeling of satiety compared to carbohydrates or fats. 
In other words, more protein means less hunger and less hunger means fewer calories consumed … You get the rest.
Consuming protein also causes the body to go through a process referred to as thermogenesis, which requires more energy to be exerted in order to digest food. 
Things You Should Watch Out For in Vegan Protein Bars
The healthier bars are going to stay in the 150 – 300 calorie range.
If you are using it as a snack, try and keep it around 150 – 250 calories.
If you’re planning on consuming it in place of a meal, then you can go for one that is between 300 – 400 calories.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how “nutrient-packed” your choices are, if you’re consuming too much then you’re going to gain unwanted weight!
Be sure to check the labels.
Avoid products that have a laundry list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
Look for minimal amount of ingredients, most healthy bars will contain a lot of well-known protein and health sources such as almonds, whey, pea protein, etc.
Pay attention to the protein amount, don’t settle for a bar with less than 7 grams.
Some of these bars will claim to be protein packed and only contain 3 – 5 grams of protein per serving.
At that point you’re better off just opting for a hardboiled egg or another form of convenient nutrition.
High fiber is best.
When looking at the labels, select ones with more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Fiber is known for its ability to keep you fuller longer.
This can ultimately result in less calorie consumption and assist in weight loss.
Fiber is also linked to reduced constipation, digestive health and lower risk of heart disease.
The lower, the better. As mentioned, many products being sold today contain an absurd amount.
They may look and advertise as a healthy option when in reality they contain up to 30 grams of sugar!
That’s more than a candy bar or bottle of soda.
When looking at the source of sugars, try and make sure they come from real foods such as dates and fruits, not added sugars or syrups.
The Results From Our Tests
Here we go!
I was able to sample several vegan protein bars then narrowing it down to the five that stood out.
Since vegan bars do not contain any animal products, they’re a great option for those with dairy sensitivities.
The protein sources are plant-based and typically come from rice, peas, hemp or soy.
Rice protein reduces glycemic response and is easy to digest.
Pea protein has a rich amino acid profile, hemp protein also has a great amount of omega fatty acids and soy is a complete protein meaning it contains all essential amino acids.
#1. WINNER IN TASTE + TEXTURE
VEGA PROTEIN + SNACK BAR: CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER
200 Calories | 11g Protein | 12g Sugar | 4g Fiber
Pros: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy Free, Organic, Non-GMO
Cons: Slightly high in sugar
Vega (previously known as Sequel Naturals), provides customers with on-the-go plant-based nutrition.
Since they started in 2001, Vega has emerged on top for being groundbreakers in the world of plant-based natural health and performance products.
The company was founded by Brendan Brazier, a former professional Ironman triathlete, who was driven to influence the athletic world with vegan nutrition.
They strives to be a company that leaves a net-zero carbon footprint which is something I admire.
This bar is a plant-based protein bar that includes 11 grams of protein and a number of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E and K.
All the ingredients in Vega’s products are clean and certified organic whenever possible.
This product also contains a whole bunch of additional ingredients such as a variety of fruits and greens which could make this a great option for those who want to use this as a meal bar or pre-workout nutrition.
Since it contains approximately 25% of your daily needs of 11 types of vitamins and 11 grams of protein.
These bars can benefit in muscle building and body recovery as well.
The protein is derived from sprouted, organic peas and brown rice which is easily digested and provides sustainable energy to the body.
Mm, mmm, MMMM!
The best way to describe this bar would be a vegan version of a snickers bar. It’s rich, it’s chewy and it’s sweet.
There were real roasted peanuts on top and throughout which I was really digging.
I didn’t taste the peanut butter too, too much, but it was definitely there in a subtle way.
This bar seemed to almost melt in your mouth with every bite.
The dark chocolate coating gives a softer, sweeter texture while the nuts give a nice crunch that helps satisfy.
The chocolate coating does melt fairly quickly which can make it kind of a mess to consume on the go.
But since it helped curb my appetite for 2 – 3 hours, it was worth throwing one into my bag before I left the house for the day.
Since it reminded me so much of a candy bar, I’m not sure I’d be able to have it in first thing in the morning.
Instead, I really enjoyed it as a post-workout treat or dessert.
This one was a top contender with my roommates as well as myself.
#2. WINNER IN NUTRITIONAL VALUE
GARDEN OF LIFE SPORT PERFORMANCE PROTEIN BAR: CHOCOLATE MINT
230 Calories | 20g Protein | 8g Sugar | 7g Fiber | 3.2g BCAA’s
Pros: High Protein, High Fiber, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy Free, Organic, Non-GMO
Cons: Couldn't find an issue.
About Garden of Life:
Garden of Life is a natural supplement company that produces a number of health products such as protein powders, probiotics, multivitamin and green powder – all of which are USDA organic and non-GMO.
The company follows here principals when it comes to making their products:
- The Science of Whole Foods
- Clean is Healthy
Garden of Life claims that their bars are “great for refueling and repairing muscles after a hard workout”
And are “made to eat anytime throughout the day to help achieve your daily protein intake while keeping you full.”
Nutrition : 10/10
Garden of Life is known to be the producer some of the cleanest health products on the market.
The calories are a little high in this particular bar, but it makes it an excellent option for pre- or post-workout.
It is low in sugar and has a nice fiber value as well.
What makes this bar stand out from its competitors is that it also contains over 3 grams of BCAA’s (Branched Chained Amino Acids).
These are the amino acids that are essential for muscle building and recovery.
An added bonus for anyone trying to tone up and lose weight.
Though it can be consumed at any point throughout the day, I would recommend enjoying this bar as a post-workout refuel option since it is a bit higher on the calories and carbohydrates.
It will help replenish your muscles and give you that boost of energy you crave, plus the fiber will help you feel fuller longer!
Another added benefit of fiber is that it helps feed “good” bacteria in the gut.
Happy gut = Happy body!
I love that there is so much protein in this bar.
As an avid gym-goer it’s always important for me to have high protein options available to me post-workout.
And sometimes I’m just simply not feeling a standard protein shake.
Garden of Life gives me an alternative that is even more convenient!
I keep one of these in my bag to snack on while I’m running errands after finishing up my workout.
The macronutrient profile is balanced enough to keep my energy levels up and my belly full.
Flavor : 8.5/10
I thought this flavor was better than most chocolate mint flavors.
There was a delicate mint flavor which I think is better than feeling like you’ve been punched in the face with a tic-tac.
I will say that there was a slightly gritty texture which left a little bit of a chalky residue on the tongue while eating.
Though I consider this a very small price to pay for such a nutrient-dense snack.
It does have crunchy pieces in it which broke up the texture a little bit, but I found myself getting a little bit bored eating this (is that a thing?) and don’t think I would enjoy this flavor every single day.
I am very interested in tasting some of the other flavors though!
Overall it was very soft, not bendy or super chewy and it doesn’t stick to teeth like some other bars.
I also really liked that this isn’t a protein bar that is wrapped up in a chocolate coating.
I left it in my bag at work next to my foot heater, and it didn’t melt, which is fabulous for those on-the-go who toss a bar into their bag and walk out the door.
#3. RUNNER-UP IN TASTE & TEXTURE
NUGO DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP VEGAN BAR
200 Calories | 10g Protein | 14g Sugar | 1g Fiber
Pros: Gluten-Free, Vegan, Non-GMO
Cons: High in sugar. Contains soy
Similar to many health food companies, NuGo was started by a health fanatic.
David Levine created the first protein bar covered in REAL dark chocolate back in 2005, and they’ve been taking the world by storm ever since.
They go against the “norms” of others in the industry by steering away from chocolate-flavored palm kernel oil and opting for natural cocoa butter which gives a smooth and velvety texture.
NuGo is an independent food company that make some of the tastiest and healthiest bars on the market.
Nutrition : 7/10
When it comes to nutrition, these NuGo bars are obviously not the worst things there.
But the sugar is very high, the fiber is very low, and the protein amount is nothing to write home about.
THAT being said, it is a lot better than choosing an alternative such as a pint of ice cream or slice of cake 😉
I knocked off another point on the nutrition score for these bars as well because they do contain soy.
Though debatable in the health world, I am not a soy advocate.
So this is one that could be a pro or con, depending on your opinion on the topic!
What is great though, is that these bars are made with REAL dark chocolate which means it’s made with cocoa butter and non-fat cocoa solids, not palm kernel oil.
Real ingredients are always a plus in my book.
Dark chocolate is also known for its antioxidant properties, which can play a vital role in overall health and protection against free radicals.
Fact: Dark chocolate and cocoa has more potent antioxidants, flavanols and polyphenols than any other fruits tested.
This includes blueberries and Açai berries! 
Flavor : 9/10
Now, these bars are delicious, one of my favorite tasting bars out of the bunch!
As mentioned, it is made with real dark chocolate, so it’s indulgent and pretty sweet – making it taste more like a candy bar than a protein bar.
Upon my first bite, I was surprised by its thick dark chocolate exterior and crispy.
Somewhat chewy interior, almost like a rice crispy treat but a bit crumblier.
There is none of that artificial chocolate or sweetener flavor you find in most health products.
The dark chocolate isn’t bitter like some traditional ones. Instead, it’s a balanced luscious flavor.
It was easy to chew and didn’t leave my jaw or teeth aching by the end.
I could see these bars being used as a treat to myself when I have a sweet tooth craving I can’t kick.
I do wish there were some more interesting notes in the flavor and texture department.
Unlike some of the others that have a combination of soft and crunchy or sweet and salty, this bar is pretty basic in its taste and consistency profile.
#4. THE RUNNER-UP IN NUTRITIONAL VALUE
RAW REV GLO VEGAN PROTEIN BAR: MIXED NUTS CARAMEL & SEA SALT
190 Calories | 10g Protein | 5g Sugar | 10g Fiber
Pros: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy Free, Non-GMO, High Fiber
Cons: Pretty small bar for its calorie makeup
RawRev is a nutritional snack and bar company that’s mission is to make delicious, healthy, vegan, organic options for its customers.
The company is 100% women-owned and was started by Alice Benedetto in 2004.
Benedetto is a registered nurse, and natural foods chef, her hobby of preparing healthy options for her family turned into a family-owned factory that produces millions of products a year!
Their products are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and includes a hearty amount of raw-sprouted superfoods.
Nutrition : 9/10
I love that this bar has low sugars, high fiber, flax and omega-3’s!
It also packs some impressive macro and micronutrients, especially for a vegan bar!
It contains 10 grams of fiber and 45% of your daily iron requirement.
These bars would be a great pre-workout option as the raw ingredients can really help give you a boost of energy needed to power through your sets.
These bars are made up of raw superfoods and are free from any allergens or unhealthy additives which is amazing for those who suffer from certain food allergies or sensitives.
The “superfood blend” that is in all the GLO bars is made up of peanuts, organic brown rice protein, pea protein, raw organic virgin coconut oil, raw organic hemp protein, raw organic chia seeds and raw organic sprouted flax seeds.
The plant-based protein makeup even includes chia seeds, which is a considerably beneficial added nutrient to any diet.
I thought this bar was pretty good overall!
If you are a caramel fan, you will LOVE this product.
It was soft, pretty dense and somewhat chewy (similar to a cookie dough consistency).
Plus it had ribbons of smooth, gooey dark chocolate and caramel throughout.
It was not sickeningly sweet, but sweet enough that it was easy to forget you were eating a protein bar.
As you bite, it bursts in your mouth giving you a nice silky texture of sweet caramel.
The flavor of the cashews and almonds combined with the sea salt was a little overbearing to the caramel, which could be a disappointment to some.
Fair warning, I found that chips melt a bit in the packaging, so it gives you a messy adventure unless you eat it in the wrapper!
Also, due to the nut butter ingredients, these bars get a little bit oily which may be another turnoff if you plan on keeping these bars in the car while running errands, or to keep as a snack in your gym bag.
I actually took these bars and broke them into small little chunks and mixed them into my oatmeal – DELISH!
It was a great way to add some texture and flavor to my oatmeal while giving it some much-needed protein.
#5. THE RUNNER-UP IN NUTRITIONAL VALUE & TASTE
GOMACRO ORGANIC VEGAN PROTEIN PLEASURE: PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP
290 Calories | 11g Protein | 14g Sugar | 2g Fiber
Pros: Organic, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, High Omega-3’s
Cons: High in sugar. Relatively low in fiber
About Go Macro:
A family-owned, natural food company that prides itself on its organic farming roots.
Started in 2004, this company has become a nationally distributing company that stands for sustainable choices and clean eating.
Everything they produce is 100% vegan, USDA certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and made-up of raw ingredients.
Score, right? Also, their packaging is SO cute.
All of the GoMacro bars are cold-pressed and nut butter based products that are made from clean components.
The combination of high plant protein and wholesome non-GMO ingredients can help fuel you for your day by providing a balance of carbs, proteins and healthy fats.
They’re also grain sweetened which means no refined sugars and no sugar alcohols!
The nut butter base coupled with the rice protein make these bars rich in omega-3’s but also cause them to be a bit higher in calories.
A sacrifice you need to make for nourishing ingredients sometimes!
One thing that prevented this bar from getting a better score in the nutrition realm was that its first ingredient was brown rice syrup.
A sweetener derived from brown rice which is basically 100% glucose, the same sugar that causes spikes in blood sugar.
According to research, rice syrup has a glycemic index (GI) of 98, which is exceptionally high compared to table sugar whose GI is between 60 – 70. 
This is almost guaranteed to lead to rapid blood sugar spikes which produces an insulin spike followed by a “crash,” resulting in cravings and hunger. 
There’s evidence to show that consuming foods high on the glycemic index is associated with many diseases such as diabetes, inflammation and obesity.
Not quite what I’m looking for when it comes to a healthy snack or meal option.
This bar has a super chewy texture, similar to a tootsie roll.
I would compare the consistency to a soft taffy.
One major downfall is that it doesn’t have too much flavor, in my opinion, considering the ingredients included.
Just a mild peanut butter flavor which surprised me due to the moderate sugar content.
But I enjoyed it nonetheless, and it definitely grew on me as I ate them.
The first time trying this bar I was kind of disappointed.
But after trying it a second time, I realized that the delicate flavors are a nice break when you want something filling but easy on the palate.
The chocolate chips give you random bursts of sweetness and creaminess through each bite.
I also liked that there are real nuts in the bar as well which helps break up the chewy texture.
These bars also are pretty oily.
Probably due to the high amount of brown rice syrup that causes it to have a glazed texture which wasn’t my favorite as it left a weird filmy feeling in the mouth.
Give Any Of These Vegan Protein Bars A Try!
My number one recommendation based on overall health and taste would be the Garden of Life Sport Performance Protein Bar.
You just can’t beat all of the nutrients and protein packed into a yummy bar.
Compared to some other nutrition bars, I think this Garden of Life brand bar sticks out.
The flavor/texture may not be my #1 choice, but the nutritional value and ingredient quality make up for it.
I have to stress though; all of these brands are worth trying out!
There was not a single one out of the sample that I disliked strongly enough (in flavor or nutritional value) that I would not recommend to someone.
Next time you see one of these in the store be sure to pick one up and let us know what you think!