It seems like these days you can’t open Instagram without every single freaking fitness coach out there telling you that if you just eat more protein, a lot of your fitness problems will solve themselves.
On one level, it’s annoying, because as a personal trainer, I know about the importance of eating adequate protein.
But on the other hand, the simple truth is that it’s worth repeating because most people who are trying to lose fat, build muscle, or perform their best, are simply not focusing enough on protein.
One inexpensive, convenient strategy to get more protein is to make protein bars a part of your regular routine. Leave them in your gym bag, in your pantry, and any place where you might need a protein boost. Have one as part of your breakfast routine, or as a midday snack.
The problem is that most protein bars on the market are crap. They more closely resemble candy bars than anything else, but with the addition of protein. They’re loaded with sugars, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hidden grains. These hidden grains aren’t healthy for anyone, but if you’re gluten-free, then they’re especially problematic.
Because of this challenge, we wanted to share the best gluten-free protein bars on the market today. With the explosion of protein bars as a category in the last decade, here is a list of the best gluten-free protein bars on the market today.
Why You Should Eat More Protein
We don’t need to go too deep on this, but just in case you need a reminder, here are just some of the qualities associated with eating enough protein.
Increase Muscle Mass
One of the most significant benefits of protein is its ability to stimulate muscle growth to increase lean muscle mass. In a 2018 meta-analysis, researchers found that protein intake was shown to promote additional gains in lean body mass beyond those observed with resistance exercise alone.
Lose More Weight
Supplementation of protein through gluten-free protein bars can help us feel full longer and reduce our appetite and cravings for unwanted foods to help with weight loss. A recent 2020 study demonstrated that participants who were assigned to a high-protein diet lost more fat mass when compared to those who had low-protein diets.
Better Immune Function
Adequate protein intake through supplementation can enhance or preserve our immune system. In fact, deficiency of protein has long been known to impair immune function and increase the risk of infectious diseases. In a 2007 study, researchers found that dietary protein improves leukocytes within the body which serve an important role in our immune system.
Now that, just like every other fitness coach, I’ve reminded you how important protein is, let’s get into the list of the best gluten-free protein bars.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
1) Quest Bars
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As one of the healthiest options for gluten-free protein bars, Quest delivers a mouthwatering and flavorsome experience no matter which flavor you decide.
We love Quest Bars because they offer a complete dairy-based protein that contains a full amino acid profile in each bar and is high in fiber. This combination makes Quest Bar stand out from any other protein bar.
Some of the most-picked flavors are cookies & cream, birthday cake, chocolate chip and cookie dough, double chocolate chunk, and white chocolate raspberry.
Each bar contains a minimum of 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 13 grams of fiber, and under 25 grams of carbohydrates (mostly from fiber) with a smooth and creamy texture.
2) Legion Protein Bars
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Legion’s High-Protein Bars contain 100% natural ingredients packed with over 20 grams of premium-grade protein, 20 grams of nutritious plant-based carbohydrates, 8 grams of prebiotic fiber, and 12 grams of healthy fats.
Each High Protein Bar contains three high-quality forms of protein: whey concentrate, milk protein isolate, and whey isolate. The unique blend allows each bar to contain a soft and chewy texture while maintaining nutrient stability.
Legion High Protein Bars are available in chocolate peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough. They don’t have any artificial food dyes or any other compounds which may contain gluten and are free of any GMOs.
3) MariGold Protein Bars
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If outstanding taste and flavor are what you are seeking in a gluten-free protein bar, look no further. MariGold Protein Bars are hand-crafted and delivered fresh to your door with 100% pure and organic ingredients making it one of the best gluten-free protein bar options.
Flavor options are extremely important when it comes to gluten-free protein bars. Even a great-tasting protein bar starts to taste bland if you’ve had it every day for too long. This is where MariGold excels. MariGold offers over twelve unique and flavorful bars each containing 20 grams of protein and are all non-GMO, have less than 1g of sugar, are soy-free, and preservative and chemical-free.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more for your gluten-free protein bars, we highly recommend purchasing the variety pack which includes a wide spectrum of flavors.
4. KIND Protein Bars
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KIND Protein Bars are an excellent choice for gluten-free advocates seeking out a nutrient-dense and flavorful protein bar. KIND Protein Bars are designed in such a way that they contain 100% natural ingredients that are both safe and flavorful.
What makes KIND Protein Bars a particularly great choice is the simple and natural ingredients that they include within every bar. KIND promises to never include preservatives, GMOs, or gluten within its protein bars.
The macros in each KIND Protein Bar vary because they all contain slightly different amounts of 100% natural fruit, nuts, and oats which adds to the uniqueness of each bar.
The simplistic and flavorful nature of KIND Protein Bars is what makes them stand out as one of the top gluten-free protein bar options.
Because they’re nut-based, rather than protein-based, the protein content is substantially lower.
5) Gomacro Protein Bars
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Not only are gomacro completely gluten-free, but they also contain ingredients that are vegan-friendly and made with high-quality, sustainably sourced, plant-based ingredients.
Each gomacro protein bars contain over 10 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat, and 39 grams of carbohydrates and come in a wide variety of flavors. Here are some of our favorites: peanut butter chocolate chip, salted caramel, banana almond, and mocha chocolate chip.
The texture of each go macro protein bar varies depending on the flavor. For example, in the peanut butter chocolate chip, we promise a delicious chewy delicious taste within every bite.
6) Perfect Bar
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It is often the case that gluten-free protein bars can include a significant amount of crappy, high-glycemic carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar. That’s not the case for Perfect Bar.
Perfect Bar not only offers protein from whole food options but also ensures that its product contains ingredients low on the glycemic index within all 10 savory flavors.
Our go-to flavors options for a delicious and chewy protein snack are chocolate hazelnut crisp, chocolate mint, dark chocolate peanut butter, and coconut peanut butter.
Each Perfect bar contains 12-15 grams of protein, 20 grams of healthy fats, and 24 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates ensuring that you will never crash after eating these delicious bars.
Although the Perfect Bar may not be as visually appealing as the other options, it makes up for this by being extremely digestible and easy on the stomach. However, they do need to be refrigerated, so they’re not as useful for throwing in your gym bag.
7) Pure Protein Bars
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Pure Protein Bars are a fantastic choice if you are looking for a gluten-free protein bar with a very low amount of carbohydrates and a variety of unique 9 flavors unlike any other.
These bars can best be described as a candy bar texture on the inside and are coated on the outside with flavor options such as birthday cake, chocolate deluxe, lemon cake, and marshmallow crispy treat.
Each bar contains as low as 3 grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein. It is important to note that Pure Protein Bars are sweetened with maltitol syrup, maltodextrin, and sucralose.
How we ranked
To ensure that you make the best decision on which gluten-free protein bar is best for you we would like to share how we ranked each product. In doing this, we hope to empower you with the understanding to make the best choice for your needs.
This is a gluten-free list. If a protein isn’t gluten-free, it didn’t make our list.
We emphasized the quality of ingredients within every supplement on our list to ensure that only naturally occurring ingredients were used within the gluten-free protein bars listed.
While ranking the best gluten-free protein bars, we prioritized naturally occurring ingredients over artificial or man-made compounds to ensure the safety of our readers.
Some protein bars on our list have very little sugar and use artificial sweeteners. Others have sugar from natural sources like honey. What you prefer depends on your situation and goals, as a case can be made for either.
We obviously gave a boost based on the protein content, but jacking up protein from poor sources didn’t automatically mean we included a bar on our list.
There are a ton of overpriced protein bars out there. We wanted to include quality products, and ones that are worth the price.
Oh, they also have to taste good. Okay, there’s a lot of variation here. Some are “candy bar” style, others are blocks of whey protein held together by delicious flavors, others, like kind, are more like traditional nut bars.
Overall, though, every protein bar on our list tastes pretty good.
Do gluten-free protein bars have side effects?
Protein bars often contain sugar and dairy compounds. Some individuals report mild gastrointestinal side effects including bloating and gas. Some also contain artificial sweeteners, which again are generally safe, but may cause some slight digestive discomfort.
Are gluten-free protein bars vegan?
Not necessarily. Gluten is a structural protein naturally found in certain cereal grains and is not related to certain vegan-free options.
On our list, MariGold and gomacro Bars are great gluten-free, vegan options.
Do gluten-free protein bars have sugar?
Most gluten-free protein bars contain sugar and/or natural sweeteners to enhance the taste and flavor. Again, it depends on the individual bar.
Looking for More Ways to Get Protein?
Bars aren’t the only option. You can check out our guides on the best plant-based protein powders. Many of these options are also gluten-free.