Find out if protein bars are normally gluten-free, where you can buy gluten-free protein bars, and get a list of options you can buy at the store.
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If you hit the gym often and are looking for a snack for pre- or post-workout, you may have picked up a protein bar to give you the energy you need to keep going throughout the day.
Or if you are trying to find a healthy option to get you between busy meetings, car pickups, or something to stash in your purse for busy days, a protein bar may have saved you a time or two.
If you like to rely on protein bars for some extra protein and that little pick-me-up to keep you going mid-day, you’re not alone.
But if you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that with any processed food you find at the store, you have to be extra careful about what you’re eating. Gluten happens to find its way into just about anything that’s processed, including protein bars.
That’s why I thought it would be useful to round up some gluten-free protein bar options for us to make that decision making just a little easier next time we’re shopping.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what gluten is, if protein bars are usually gluten-free (and therefore, if you even really need to worry about if there’s a gluten-free label or not), and find out where you can buy gluten-free protein bars.
We’ll also talk about the four different things you’ll want to pay attention to when you go to buy a protein bar – whether it’s gluten-free or not.
We’ll wrap this post up with a big list of gluten-free protein bar brands and options to look for at the store, including their protein, fiber, sugar, and calorie content. This information will help you make some quick decisions about what to pick up and which ones to leave behind.
If you’re looking for someone to help you narrow your choices, keep on reading!
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form of gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
There is no way to remove the gluten from a wheat product, as gluten is an integral part of wheat. However, there are plenty of gluten-free products that contain no wheat or other gluten at all.
Read on: What is gluten?
Are protein bars normally gluten-free?
Protein bars can be made with a lot of different dietary needs in mind. While you can find many gluten-free protein bars, not all of them are gluten-free.
That’s why it’s worthwhile to read ingredients lists and understand the names of gluten, so if you find them on a package, you can steer clear of these products.
You can also look for a gluten-free label on the packaging of a protein bar you’re considering buying.
This label ensures that the manufacturer has had the product tested for gluten and it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten in the product. Anything less than that is considered safe for folks who have celiac disease.
How to choose a gluten-free protein bar
When looking through the options at the grocery store or health food store, you might wonder what you really want to be looking at on the packaging. What matters? What do you need to be sure of before you spend your money on a protein bar?
Look for added sugars
Reaching for a protein bar might seem like a good way to get a quick energy boost, be sure that what you’re choosing isn’t loaded with tons of added sugars. A lot of these bars have great protein but also sugars and additives to give them flavor. Be aware that less sugar is generally healthier when it comes to protein bars before picking one up from the store.
Assess the protein content based on what you need
Everyone needs protein in their diet, but how much should be coming from your protein bar? Well, it depends on how much protein you get elsewhere in your day throughout your other meals.
While the recommended amount of protein from the FDA is about 50 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men, keep that overall number in mind while considering how much added protein you’ll need to get from your supplemental protein bar.
Look for a bar with fiber
Yes, you may reach for a protein bar for that boost of energy, but to optimize your digestion and allow the absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream, be sure that fiber is also present in the bar that you choose. This will slow the overall digestion process to maximize the energy you get from the protein bar.
If you use a protein bar as a meal replacement, it might make sense for you to find a high protein and high fiber bar. Whereas if you are looking for a protein bar to satiate you between meals knowing you’ll get plenty of protein elsewhere in your meals during the day, choose one with less protein and fiber.
Review ingredients for artificial additives and flavors
Protein bars are processed foods, so manufacturers have plenty of opportunities to add in artificial flavors and additives to create a good-tasting product while creating their bars.
If you’re looking to keep your diet as close to natural sources as possible, be sure to be on the lookout for these ingredients in your protein bar before buying.
Where can I buy gluten-free protein bars?
You can find gluten-free protein bars at most grocery stores and health food stores. Look for the brands listed in this post to help you narrow down your options. You can also read the ingredients lists of the bar to help you make a decision if it didn’t make the list in the post.
One of my little secrets is that I carry around a copy of my GFDF Take Along Cards so that I always have a point of reference when I can sneak a peek at the ingredient list of a food.
Read on: 101 gluten and dairy-free snacks
Read on: Gluten-free emergency food
Brands of Gluten-free Protein Bars
There are so many protein bars on the market, so I’m doing my best to narrow down your choices with this list of only gluten-free protein bars. This list is in alphabetical order for no other reason than it is to find things easily.
I’ve shared the protein content, added sugars, calorie count, and notes on if each bar is also dairy-free. I follow a gluten and dairy-free diet, so knowing which bars I can safely consume is helpful information for me and many other readers who visit my site.
Detour Smart Bars contain 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 150 calories per bar. They are gluten-free, use whey protein as their main source of protein, and market themselves as having “nothing artificial” in their bars.
They come in three flavors: Cookie Dough, Sugar Cookie with M&M’s, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Keep in mind that while Detour Smart Bars are gluten-free, the other bars from the Detour lineup are not tested or considered gluten-free by the company.
Eat Like A Woman Protein Bars contain between 11 and 14 grams of protein, 5 to 9 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 170 calories per bar. They are gluten-free and use a plant-based protein from brown rice in their bars. All their bars are also vegan, dairy-free, lactose-free, and egg-free.
These bars come in Chocolate Brownie, Coconut Almond, Cherry & Nut, and Peanut Butter & Ancient Grains.
Read on: 5 best gluten-free dairy-free protein powders
The different varieties have different amounts, but the Epic Protein Bar in their Beef Apple Bacon flavor contains 8 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 140 calories per bar.
These bars come in five different protein sources: beef, bison, chicken, pork, and venison with a variety of flavors for each. You’ll find flavors like Bison Bacon Cranberry, Venison Seas Salt Pepper, and Chicken Sriracha.
Evo Hemp Bars contain 12 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 220 calories per bar. Three of their bars are considered gluten-free by the brand: Lemon, Birthday Cake, and Brownie Chip.
In addition to hemp, the ingredients contain cashew butter and pea crisp blend, which lend to the overall boost in protein.
If you’re looking for something a little different, these Exo Protein Bars are made with acheta protein, aka cricket protein. Exo Protein Bars contain 14 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 160 calories per bar.
They come in four different flavors, including: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Salted Caramel.
GoMacro Protein Bars contain 11 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 290 calories per bar. All GoMacro bars are gluten-free, vegan, and use only organic ingredients too!
These bars come in a variety of flavors, including Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Banana + Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Lemon + Lemon, Mocha Chocolate Chip, Blueberry + Cashew Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Sunflower Butter + Chocolate, Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips, Salted Caramel + Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate + Almonds, and Cashew Caramel.
Good To Go Protein Bars contain 12 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 170 calories per bar. All Good To Go Bars are gluten-free and vegan, as well as non-GMO Project certified.
You can find Good To Go Protein Bars in these flavors: Cocoa Coconut, Vanilla Almond, Raspberry Lemon, Cinnamon Pecan, Blueberry Cashew, Chocolate Mint, Double Chocolate, and Strawberry Macadamia.
Huel Complete Protein Bars contain 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, less than one gram of sugar, and 200 calories per bar.
All Huel Protein Bars are gluten-free and vegan. These bars come in the following flavors: Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Banana Pudding, and Raspberry.
KIND Protein Bars contain 12 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 250 calories per bar. All flavors of this bar are considered gluten-free.
KIND Protein Bars are available in the following flavors: Crunchy Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Nut, Caramel Nut, and Almond Butter Dark Chocolate.
Kirkland Signature Protein Bars contain 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 190 calories per bar. These bars are certified gluten-free, but they do use whey protein so they’re not a good choice if you’re also dairy-free.
They are only available in one flavor: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. You can find these at Costco stores and on their website.
Read on: Is whey gluten-free?
Luna Bars contain 7 to 9 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 200 calories per bar. They use plant protein in the form of soy protein, and all their flavors are considered gluten-free.
You can find Luna Bars in a variety of flavors, including LemonZest, Chocolate Cupcake, Chocolate Dipped Coconut, Blueberry Bliss, and White Chocolate Macadamia among others.
Mezcla Protein Bars contain 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 170 calories per bar. These bars use a puffed crisp for added texture, but all flavors are completely gluten-free and vegan.
Find Mezcla Protein Bars in these flavors: Japanese Matcha Vanilla, Peruvian Cocoa Peanut Butter, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Canadian Maple Blueberry.
MIsfits Protein Bars contain 15 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 190 calories per bar. These bars have layers of vegan chocolate, caramel, and crispies for texture.
They come in a variety of flavors, like Caramel, S’Mores, Cookies ‘N Cream, White Chocolate Caramel, and Mint Chocolate Chip among others. All flavors and options are gluten-free and vegan.
No Cow Protein Bars contain 20 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 190 calories per bar. All their protein bars are considered certified gluten-free and dairy-free.
Find these bars in flavors like Peanut Butter, S’mores, Cookies ‘n Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Blueberry Cobbler among others.
ONE Protein Bars contain 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 240 calories per bar. They are gluten-free and are great on the go.
This brand of protein bars comes in a variety of flavors, like Almond Bliss, Birthday Cake, Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Roll, and Cookies & Creme among others.
OatMega Protein Bars contain 14 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 200 calories per bar. They use whey protein as their main source of protein.
They come in flavors like Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut, Cinnamon Bun, Vanilla Almond, and White Chocolate Raspberry.
Orgain Protein Bars contain 10 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 150 calories per bar. These bars use plant-based protein with brown rice protein, pea protein, and chia seeds.
You can find their bars in six different flavors: Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, S’Mores, and Chocolate Coconut.
Perfect Bar Protein Bars contain 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 330 calories per bar. These are unique in that they are sold and need to stay refrigerated before eating. They use peanuts and almonds as a base for their protein bars.
Here are just a few of the flavors they come in: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Coconut Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Pie, Salted Caramel, and Almond Butter.
Perfect Keto Protein Bars contain 13 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 240 calories per bar. They use collagen as their main source of protein.
Find Perfect Keto Bars in these flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel, Almond Butter Brownie, and Cinnamon Roll.
RX Protein Bars contain 12 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 200 calories per bar. This brand is very straightforward with their ingredients, making it clear exactly what goes into each bar.
Find these bars in the following flavors: Strawberry, Blueberry, Chocolate Sea Salt, Mixed Berry, Mint Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Banana Chocolate Walnut, Maple Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Coconut Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Almond.
Rise Bar offers protein bars with whey, pea protein, or vegan options. Their Rise Vegan Protein Bars contain 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 270 calories per bar.
Find them in these flavors: Chocolatey Coconut, Lemon Cashew, and Sunflower Cinnamon. For whey protein bars, click here.
Think! Protein Bars offer both whey and vegan protein bar options. Each vegan protein bar contains 13 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 200 calories per bar.
Find vegan Think bars in these flavors: Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Sea Salt Almond Chocolate.
Zing Protein Bars contain 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 200 calories per bar. All their bars are vegan and gluten-free.
They come in a variety of flavors, like Dark Chocolate Cherry, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Double Nut Brownie, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip to name a few.
Read on: Are Clif bars gluten-free?
If you’ve been looking for a brand of protein bar to help you get between meals or to get some energy before or after a workout, I hope this post has helped you narrow down your gluten-free options.
There are so many protein bars out there, so I hope next time you’re at the store you can reference this list to help you make a decision a little easier.