. The 7 Best Protein Bars for Diabetes: A Diabetes Dietitian Weighs In

The 7 Best Protein Bars for Diabetes: A Diabetes Dietitian Weighs In

There’s not doubt about it, protein bars are quick, convenient, and portable making them an ideal on the go option for a quick meal or snack. However, there are so many protein bar options available these days that it can be overwhelming and can even lead to decision fatigue when trying to choose the best protein bars for diabetes. Not only are there tons of brand and flavor options, but many are costly so it can be difficult to commit to buying a whole box of something you may not enjoy.

So I went on a quest (no pun intended) for the best protein bars for diabetes. I taste-tested many different bars and observed how my blood sugar reacted in the hours after eating them. In this article, we will explore what to look for in a diabetes-friendly protein bar and reveal the 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Image of top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

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What to look for in a protein bar

The most impactful macronutrients to look at on the food label of a protein bar are carbs, fiber, and protein. While calories can also help determine if the protein bar is more of a full meal replacement or a snack (I recommend sticking to under 250 calories for a snack), they should not be our main focus. 

Let’s dive into each of these macronutrients in more detail.

Carbs

The carb amounts in protein bars can vary greatly. There are also factors such as the sugar alcohol or fiber content that can impact the net carbs of the bar and how much the bar will impact your blood sugar. We generally recommend choosing a protein bar with 30 grams of carbs or less for the best blood sugar results.

Fiber

Fiber can also vary quite a bit in different types of protein bars. Many adults in the United States struggle to get the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber daily so finding a protein bar with at least a few grams of fiber or pairing your bar with a serving of fruit to help get you closer to that goal. The higher fiber bars also tend to have less impact on blood sugar due to the slower absorption.

Protein 

Clearly, protein is the star of the show here and the most important macronutrient to look at in a protein bar. Protein is not only helpful for building and maintaining muscle mass, but it also impacts cellular and immune system function, helps to keep us full for longer, and it can help stabilize blood sugars. We recommend looking for a protein bar with at least 10 grams of protein per serving. 

Our Recommendations for the Best Protein Bars for Diabetes

Think Keto Bars

These taste incredible, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie is almost like eating a recess peanut butter cup. The Think Keto varieties come in Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Mousse Pie. Be aware that the other Think Thin bars contain more carbs than the Think Keto Bars. Think Keto bars contain 180 calories, 14 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.

Image of Think Keto bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Power Crunch Bars

Power Crunch bars come in 15 different flavors and are crispy and airy, similar to the texture of a KitKat bar. I have yet to find a flavor that I disliked. Depending on the flavor, they contain around 200 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.

Image of Power Crunch Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Quest Bars

Quest Bars have been a fan favorite for years. They have a more dense texture that is more typical for a protein bar. Quest Bars also come in many flavor varieties and it seems they are constantly coming out with new formulations and flavors. I find them best enjoyed heated in the microwave for about 10 seconds before serving. Quest Bars contain around 190 calories, 21 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of protein.

Image of Quest Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Fit Crunch Bars

I first came across the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fit Crunch Bars at Costco and fell in love and have since tried several other flavors that they offer. The Peanut butter and jelly and Strawberry Strudel are my current favorites! Fit Crunch bars taste like a cookie and make me feel like I am eating a tasty dessert. They have around 190 calories, 14 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 16 grams of protein.

Image of FitCrunch Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Tru Bar

Another protein bar introduced to me by Costco! These have a chewy texture and I love that they are made with simple, natural, plant-based ingredients like nuts, cocoa, pea protein, and cassava. Tru Bars contains 180 calories, 24 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein. If you tend to be sensitive to sugar alcohols, Tru Bar does not contain any so these would be a great pick for you!

Image of Trubar Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Built Bars

Probably the most unique of the bunch, Build Bars taste like you are eating a marshmallow covered in chocolate. Built Bars come in over 10 different flavor varieties including our favorite, coconut. They contain around 130-170 calories, 18 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein.

Image of Built Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Nature Valley Protein Bars

Nature Valley Protein bars are the most widely available and budget-friendly choice. You can find them at most grocery stores and online retailers. They come in several flavors including berry blend, salted caramel nut, peanut, almond, & dark chocolate, peanut butter dark chocolate, and blueberry nut. These bars contain 190 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.

Image of Nature Valley Protein bar, top 7 best protein bars for diabetes.

Conclusion

Consider trying out a few different protein bars and figuring out which ones you like the most based on your taste preferences, fitness goals, and the blood sugar response that you get. We recommend buying a box or two and splitting them with a friend or family member so that you can sample several different options.

Keep in mind to always be aware of the macronutrients and the ingredients that protein bars contain, especially if you are sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients.

If eating a protein bar as a meal, consider pairing it with a serving of fruit or greek yogurt to make it a complete meal. There are also many great diabetes-friendly protein powder options. If you prefer a more substantial breakfast meal over a protein bar check out our article about Low Carbohydrate Breakfasts Without Eggs.

2 thoughts on “The 7 Best Protein Bars for Diabetes: A Diabetes Dietitian Weighs In”

  1. Love the tip about heating Quest bars in the microwave. I’m going to try that! Also I want to taste the Built Puff bars – they sounds so interesting.

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