Check the back of many store-bought protein bars and you’ll find a list of ingredients that looks like it belongs in a science experiment.
Save the extra -ols and isolates for the lab and make these recipes at home instead. These dessert-inspired bars have at least eight grams of protein and fewer than 15 grams of sugar to give you hours of energy without the sugar-related slump mid-afternoon. Whip up a batch this weekend for a week’s worth of snacks that will keep you full and focused—and much leaner than your usual vending machine pick.
Nutrition: 130 calories, 5 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 9 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 15 g protein
Skip the belly-bloating bars you can get at the store and whip up a batch of these superfood-spiked beauties. They not only get natural color and flavor from , but also use vegan plant-based protein that won’t cause an unwelcome belly bulge like whey. Drizzle them lightly with dark chocolate to really set off the cookie dough-inspired texture. You won’t find a more delicious way to refuel mid-afternoon.
Nutrition: 312 calories, 22.3 g fat, 4.8 g sat fat, 24.4 g carbs, 5.2 g fiber, 13.4 g sugar, 8.8 g protein
We’re big fans of KIND bars, but sometimes you need a grab-and-go breakfast that’s a bit more substantial. These bars hit all the same notes—visible nuts, seeds and just a touch of sweetness—with a little more heft to get you through to lunch full and focused. Looking for a little less sweetness? All you need is enough honey and syrup to hold all the natural ingredients together, so feel free to back off on the amount suggested in this recipe.
Nutrition: 116 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1.2 g sat fat, 11.9 g carbs, 2.0 g fiber, 2.9 g sugar, 8.3 g protein
Whether you enjoy these bars as a snack or healthy dessert alternative, you’ll get over eight grams of protein from a combination of whey protein powders, walnuts and plain Greek yogurt. If you’re a healthy eater with a soft spot for sweets, you’ll love this ingenious take on the classic protein bar.
Nutrition: 234 calories, 10.4 g fat, 2.1 g sat fat, 25.7 g carbs, 3.8 g fiber, 14.4 g sugar, 11.8 g protein
Sweet, chewy and brimming with energy, these bars are your delicious solution to that pesky 3 pm slump. Choose your favorite protein powder—we’re fans of pea protein—and use these bars to swap out your daily sugar-laden granola bar. With just a touch of added honey, these bars get a natural sweet-tart pop of flavor from fresh berries.
Nutrition: 157 calories, 5.8 g fat, 1.2 g sat fat, 16.6 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 10.3 g sugar, 12.5 g protein
Just seven ingredients and 20 minutes are all you need to whip up a batch of Girl Scout Cookie-inspired protein bars that will fuel you through two work weeks—if you can keep other people out of your stash. Don’t count on it, though, these healthy bars taste like dessert but are naturally sweetened with dates and packed with over 12 grams of muscle-building protein.
Nutrition: 200 calories, 11.3 g fat, 2.2 g sat fat, 19.4 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 10.5 g sugar, 8.2 g protein
If your favorite sweet indulgence is a chewy peanut butter cookie, this is the perfect protein bar for you. Packed with plenty of creamy peanut butter with the texture of cookie dough, these bars boast plenty of complete vegan protein to keep you full from lunch until dinner. They’re sweetened with dates and just a touch of maple syrup, so you don’t have to worry about weird sweeteners or sugar alcohols when snack time rolls around.
Nutrition: 180 calories, 8 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 12 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 17 g protein
First of all, that’s not artificial coloring you see; these bars get their arresting color from healthy, vitamin-packed beet puree. But, trust us: you won’t taste it. Vanilla paste and chocolate protein powder combine for a classic cake-inspired flavor that will make you forget all about the beets. Even better, you’ll get a whopping 17 grams of protein and just two grams of sugar for less than 200 calories.