HOME > Chowhound > Special Diets >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice

Best low cal, low carb, high protein bar favorites????

BEACHAHOLIC Aug 21, 2012 11:46 AM

Hello All,
I am hoping this is an ok question for this blog site. I am new to this site and live in Middletown NJ and follow an insulin resistence/metabolic syndrome way of life. I was hoping to gain some insight on people's favorite bars with the specifics mentioned...

  1. mcf Aug 22, 2012 11:32 AM

    I don't use bars, I hate the taste of protein powders. For moderate carb, I use some of the Kind nut and seed bars, and some of the Kashi Trail Mix bars. I have been eating very low carb for many years, tend to use bars only for hikes or for long car rides just in case. Most of them are really bleah. You can make a custom bar from Youbar that will be delicious, but to make it low carb/high protein, you avoid their recommended sweet base and get a crumbly bar for a LOT of money. Might be better to just carry nuts or look up homemade bar recipes. None of the high protein bars taste good to me, anyway.

    1. e
      Enso Aug 27, 2012 12:56 PM

      I haven't like the nutrition of any of the bars I've looked at.

      I'd only want something like that when traveling or away from a kitchen for a while, so I just tend to make up my own trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, maybe some dark chocolate).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Enso
        BEACHAHOLIC Aug 28, 2012 08:25 AM

        Thank you for replying mcf and Enso. I haven"t attempted baking my own, but would like to give it a try. I usually do make a trail mix of my own, sometimes with raisins or carob. My struggle is that i am trying to have a subtle way for my 16yo daughter to eat 20gr carbs/10gr protein as a snack while in class as a needed snack for her Metabolic Syndrome condition. As of now, I utilize Glucerna Hunger Smart snack bars....really lookn for a compact way to provide that nutrition without her feeling like she has to consume seeds and nuts by the handful in school......
        Thank you for your help will keep lookn!
        BEACHAHOLIC ;)

        1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
          mcf Aug 28, 2012 12:01 PM

          You're getting an awful lot of sugar and stuff with your protein there. Fat and protein are the keys to building lean body mass... which is the weight you really want to gain. If your child is already insulin resistant, you might think about reversing that ratio, too. Just based upon personal experience with diet and insulin resistance reversal.

          1. re: mcf
            BEACHAHOLIC Sep 2, 2012 04:32 PM

            Hi mcf, if I could only find a bar with that ratio switched....my search would be over :)
            It would make life a lil' simpler. I couldn't agree with you more!

            1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
              mcf Sep 4, 2012 08:49 AM

              It does look as if the Quest low carb bars w/o SA may work well. You may have mentioned, the peanut/choc one is reasonably decent ingredients and very high fiber, at least, so less digestible carb, though at most, I'd only deduct half the fiber. She can also have a half for a snack, instead of a whole one. At least the protein is from a good source, whey. Also, Muscle Milk lite shakes are said to taste best, and they make a low carb version. I think EAS chocolate low carb is very good, and comes in a juicepak, not plastic with BPA.

      2. cookie monster Aug 28, 2012 11:06 AM

        I eat plenty of protein bars, and maybe my tastebuds have just gotten used to them, but there are some that I actually enjoy. (Disclaimers: I don't eat partcularly low carb, and I don't know what is or isn't allowed on an insulin resistence / metabolic syndrome diet. All nutritional info based on the flavors are currently have in my desk drawer.)

        Pure Protein bars: the smaller ones are 180 calories, 19g protein, 19g carbs. Kind of, sort of like a candy bar.

        Luna protein bars: 170 calories, 12g protein, 21g carbs. A little less sweet, but some of the flavors taste artificial to me.

        Questbar: 170 calories, 20g protein, 24g carbs. These are more expensive and harder to find, but they also more closely resemble real food. They don't have the ubiqituous chocolate-like coating (good for carrying in warm cars, etc.) and have actual discernible pieces of dried fruit and nuts.

        10 Replies
        1. re: cookie monster
          BEACHAHOLIC Sep 2, 2012 04:25 PM

          HI Cookie monster thank you so much for taking the time to put all of that info together for me, it was so very nice of you. i will def look into those Questbars... I'm very curious to see about the fiber. Our endocrinologist just gave my daughter the green light to forgo the snacks betwwen meals(if she doesn't warrent it)and it those spared carbs onto her lunch and or dinner, when balanced with adequate protein. She will keep some type of bar near by in case she needs it. Thank you again for taking the time,

          1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
            goodhealthgourmet Sep 3, 2012 03:20 PM

            i know you have a couple of Vitamin Shoppe locations nearby, and they actually stock a HUGE assortment of protein bars. you should just go into the store and ask one of the salespeople to help you find some good options...and they carry the full line of Quest bars so you can check those out. (i wish they weren't sweetened with sucralose - which gives me wicked stomach cramps - because aside from that, they're some of the least junky bars i've seen.)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              BEACHAHOLIC Sep 3, 2012 06:41 PM

              Funny you should mention that shop, I just went there and inquired yesterday and the fellow told me about Greenbars(spirulina) so I gave a few different ones a try. The one with the least calories,low carb and high protein was a peanut butter based one; for some reason i felt an instant sugar rush(even my face got warm and diapheretic)wish I had a meter near by....will be attempting to make my own with almond flour soon.
              Thanks again for all your help

              1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                goodhealthgourmet Sep 3, 2012 08:03 PM

                are you sure it was a low-carb bar? most of the green bars contain 15-20 grams of sugar.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  BEACHAHOLIC Sep 4, 2012 07:56 AM

                  you guys are correct the bar had 24carbs,only 2g/fiber, and 18sugars...I had thought it was from complex carbs and nevr xpected the sugar rush.....so much for the 'balanced blood sugar"claims on the wrapper :(
                  The salesman was very informative, so thats what I get for assuming ;) SHAME ON ME

                  1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                    mcf Sep 4, 2012 08:05 AM

                    Complex carbs can be higher glycemic than table sugar. Complexity of carbs has nothing to do with glycemic response.

                2. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                  mcf Sep 4, 2012 07:07 AM

                  26 grams of carbs and 18 grams of sugar in the one I looked up! Cut that by 1/2 and it's still moderate, not low, carb. My glucose meter tells me that any meal or snack over 10-12 grams carb total is not low carb. Then consider how much of that carb content is from sugars, yeesh.

                  1. re: mcf
                    BEACHAHOLIC Sep 4, 2012 08:06 AM

                    Thats what I get for not doing my homework sometimes I dont have my brain....fibro takes it from me more often then i would like :(

                    1. re: BEACHAHOLIC
                      mcf Sep 4, 2012 08:36 AM

                      Or whatever is causing your FMS is also fogging your brain. BTDT, still am for other health reasons.

                      1. re: mcf
                        BEACHAHOLIC Sep 4, 2012 08:45 AM

                        right there with ya lol, ;)

          2. t
            thegforceny Sep 1, 2012 03:20 PM

            When I was an athlete, between work outs I'd eat Myoplex Lite bars. I needed the protein but wanted to keep calories low as well. They used to have more flavors I think.


            4 Replies
            1. re: thegforceny
              mcf Sep 1, 2012 04:42 PM

              The OP asked for low carb and high protein, and that bar is neither of those.

              1. re: mcf
                thegforceny Sep 1, 2012 05:53 PM

                I thought 15g was pretty high protein for a bar of only190 calories. But I did mis-read / -register 'carbs' for 'calories'.

                1. re: thegforceny
                  mcf Sep 2, 2012 06:44 AM

                  It's certainly significant, if not high, protein and not a calorie bomb.

              2. re: thegforceny
                BEACHAHOLIC Sep 2, 2012 04:29 PM

                Thank you for the fyi thegforceny, I hadn't heard of those yet. I will be looking into the nutritional values. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

              3. t
                taboo Oct 23, 2012 07:15 AM

                I have been eating 2 bars as of late. The fruit and fiber bar and The Simply Bar. These are both great and hold me over until the next meal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: taboo
                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 23, 2012 08:00 AM

                  if you mean the AdvoCare Fruit & Fiber bars, they're much too high in sugar for the OP.

                  The Simply Bar is new to me. i just looked up the nutrition info, and it does appear to be better than most in terms of macronutrients...it's just too bad the first ingredient is processed soy.

                  i think i need to revisit my desire to create a line of gluten-free, soy-free, low-sugar protein bars!

                  1. re: taboo
                    Jetgirly Nov 13, 2012 08:42 PM

                    I ate a few Simply Bars this spring. It was nice to find a bar that was more of a snack size (under 200 calories) but still high in protein. I'll never be someone who replaces a meal with a bar, but it's nice to get some extra protein considering I'm a vegetarian who lifts a lot of weights (well, for a girl...).

                  2. m
                    MRS Oct 23, 2012 08:05 AM

                    I had gestational diabetes this past Spring/Summer and needed to be below 120 after eating. I found that certain KIND bars were low enough in carbs and sugar for me to eat. Not sure if they would work for your numbers, but they are tasty and perhaps worth looking into?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MRS
                      mcf Oct 23, 2012 08:09 AM

                      Yes, a few of them are under 14 grams of carbs, and I keep them around. They don't have too much crap stuff in them, either, which I like.

                      If ONLY endocrinologists told ALL diabetics to stay in that range post meal!

                      1. re: mcf
                        MRS Oct 23, 2012 08:22 AM

                        i was to be at 90 waking and 120 after eating and that was with only borderline numbers on failed 3 hour glucose. My endocrinologist was firm that you don't mess around and so, for 4 or so months, I was hard-core about my eating and checking my sugar.

                    2. s
                      sueatmo Oct 23, 2012 02:20 PM

                      I eat these, though certainly not every day. They come in handy sometimes, and sometimes you need to carry a snack. None of the reduced carb bars are very good, in the way a couple or three cookies would be, for instance. I've used Kashi bars, but grew tired of them. Right now I'm liking Nature Valley Protein chewy bars. Be sure to check the carb and fiber counts to make sure they are OK for your diet--but you probably already knew that.

                      One bar of the sort I bought a week or so ago has 14 g total carb with 5 g of fiber per bar. There are two or three sorts, and the carrb counts vary a bit.

                      1. lynnlato Oct 29, 2012 12:11 PM

                        I love Power Crunch bars. 200 calories, 10g of carbs, 13g of protein. It's the best low carb protein bar I have found. My favorite flavors are peanut butter, vanilla, and cookies & cream (they also have chocolate, and a berry bar). You can find them at Trader Joes for like $1.20, but in the grocery stores they run anywhere from $1.30-$1.90.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: lynnlato
                          goodhealthgourmet Oct 29, 2012 12:24 PM

                          those were my favorite before i went off gluten - such a treat!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            lynnlato Oct 29, 2012 04:42 PM

                            Love 'em! Nice crunchy texture and lighty and creamy. I am not a fan of bars (usually too heavy and tasteless and WAY TOO CARBY). These are the anti-protein bar. ;-)

                            1. re: lynnlato
                              mcf Nov 4, 2012 08:08 AM

                              Have to try those some time... Tom really likes PB and Choc together.

                              1. re: mcf
                                goodhealthgourmet Nov 4, 2012 10:24 AM

                                highly recommend. they have a PB Fudge flavor that would be right up Tom's alley.

                                1. re: mcf
                                  lynnlato Nov 8, 2012 03:38 AM

                                  "Tom really likes PB and Choc together"

                                  Who doesn't? ;-)

                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                    mcf Nov 8, 2012 07:36 AM

                                    Yeah, really, silly me! :-)

                            2. re: lynnlato
                              tracylee Nov 4, 2012 02:11 PM

                              I stock up on these and keep one in my purse all the time. They have the lowest sugar grams per serving of any bar I've found.

                              1. re: tracylee
                                lynnlato Nov 8, 2012 03:40 AM

                                FYI, they are currently running weekly giveaways where they are giving away a box of bars (like 30 bars). Details are on their Facebook page.

                                1. re: lynnlato
                                  tracylee Nov 9, 2012 11:10 AM

                                  Woo hoo! Thanks for the heads-up!

                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                    BEACHAHOLIC Nov 14, 2012 04:27 PM

                                    I have never tried these bars, but they sound like something worth looking into. I am going to give 'em a try. A BIG thank you for the info...always good when the nutritional value "works" and the product doesn't taste like cardboard :)

                              2. goodhealthgourmet Nov 4, 2012 10:25 AM

                                addendum to my previous comments about Questbars - apparently they now have an "all natural" line with no sucralose, so i'll have to pick up a couple to try...

                                1. escargot3 Mar 21, 2013 10:03 PM

                                  I enjoy Greens Whey Krisp Protein Bar. It's a bit larger in size than many, so that's a factor. 50g per par.
                                  But that said, it has 20 g carbs (-3 g fiber), 15g protein, 9g sugars. While it's GF, it does contain dairy product (obviously, whey). They sell it at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) and in the Bay Area at Rainbow Foods.

                                  1. m
                                    mrsphud Apr 12, 2013 02:11 PM

                                    Kind bars! They have one that has nuts, and dark chocolate and it is only 5 carbs!

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: mrsphud
                                      lynnlato Apr 12, 2013 07:39 PM

                                      Ooooh, good to know. Thanks!

                                      1. re: mrsphud
                                        mcf Apr 13, 2013 09:59 AM

                                        I think I've mentioned in this thread; their new nuts and spice line has lower carbs and less sweet, more salt and/or spice. We buy them by the case for Mr. MCF's golf bag, car, office.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          lynnlato Apr 14, 2013 02:48 PM

                                          I had the madagascar vanilla nuts & spice Kind Bar today and it was really good and quite satisfying. I will be buying more of them for sure.

                                          I was not able to find any Kind Bar's that only have 5 carbs. The lowest carb Kind Bar i could locate was 14 carbs. I even checked there website and came up empty handed. All I can figure is maybe mrsphud was referring to the bars that say "only 5 grams of sugar" but they have 14 carbs.

                                          1. re: lynnlato
                                            mcf Apr 14, 2013 04:15 PM

                                            Some folks only count "net" carbs or sugar, but I count them all the same, fiber and non sugar carbs. My pancreas doesn't know the difference.

                                            There's one bar with only 4 grams sugar, the one I mention here is 5.

                                            These wouldn't be low carb for an Atkins dieter on induction, but half a bar makes a great snack for me, and a whole one is great for a round of golf for my husband, or a hike for me.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              lynnlato Apr 15, 2013 06:55 AM

                                              "Some folks only count "net" carbs or sugar, but I count them all the same, fiber and non sugar carbs. My pancreas doesn't know the difference."

                                              Exactly. I have never understood why some folks, diabetic or not, only count the sugar. I think it was a trick or play on words that the food industry tossed out there. Carbs are carbs as far as insulin production is concerned. And while fiber is good and complex carbs are better than simple ones, all carbs affect our blood sugar.

                                              1. re: lynnlato
                                                mcf Apr 15, 2013 06:58 AM

                                                Actually, complex/simple makes no difference in terms of metabolism; white potato and white flour are complex, for ejemplo. They are as bad as or worse than table sugar.

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  lynnlato Apr 15, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                  I meant, for example, sprouted grains vs. white flour. Both affect blood sugar, but the latter more rapidly than the former.

                                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                                    mcf Apr 15, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                    Oh, sure, definitely, but that's not about complex/simple, which is just a molecular description of the food. I get no benefit from, say, breads made from sprouted grains, but water filled sprouts themselves, just fine.

                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                      lynnlato Apr 15, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                      I don't understand your point, but I'm fairly certain we are officially off topic. I'll chalk it up to a case of lost in translation. :)

                                                      1. re: lynnlato
                                                        mcf Apr 15, 2013 02:50 PM

                                                        Okey dokey. :-)

                                                2. re: lynnlato
                                                  tracylee Apr 15, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                  I admit right off that my situation is really unusual in that I don't watch sugar for diabetic or low-carb diet reasons. For me, it's sugar grams and sugar grams alone that mess up my digestive tract. It really doesn't matter what else is on the label, or where.

                                                  I do look at protein. Since I don't have the capacity to eat much, what I do eat needs to be high enough in protein to keep my body functioning.

                                                  1. re: tracylee
                                                    lynnlato Apr 16, 2013 04:13 AM

                                                    Oh, gotcha tracylee. Well, that is good to know that there are folks who do need only the sugar info.

                                        2. pinehurst Apr 15, 2013 12:17 PM

                                          Kind bars....findable in zee big chain grocery stores or do I have to go to a Whole Foods? I live in big chain purgatory.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: pinehurst
                                            lynnlato Apr 15, 2013 12:24 PM

                                            They are pretty much everywhere Pinehurst. You should be able to find them in your chain grocery store. :)

                                            1. re: lynnlato
                                              mcf Apr 15, 2013 02:52 PM

                                              They're usually in regular groceries, but around here, it's hard to find every variety in one store, I've found. I managed to sample the nuts and spice by hunting around, then ordered full boxes online when I couldn't always get the ones I wanted, the dark chocolate, nuts and sea salt, and the chocolate, pecan cinnamon.

                                              Andrea, I didn't know you were bilingual! ;-)

                                          2. coll Apr 16, 2013 04:37 AM

                                            Right now I've been enjoying Lara Uber Bars: 190 calories, 12 g fat, 0 cholesterol (that's my bugaboo), 12 g carb, 2 g fiber, 12 g sugar and 4 g protein. The bars are mostly fruits and nuts. The one I like is called Cherry Cobbler, lots of nuts and cherries but of course held together with brown rice syrup and honey. That seemed healthy enough for an occasional snack, but I don't have many dietary restrictions, so you let me know. Oh and it's gluten free and Non GMO, plus kosher.

                                            Think I'll pick up some Kind bars when I go shopping today, those flavors sound outrageous!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: coll
                                              mcf Apr 16, 2013 06:14 AM

                                              Those Uber bars were what we were eating before finding the Kind on the market. Love the salty with sweetness.

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                coll Apr 16, 2013 06:56 AM

                                                Uber bars are really good, but I will see if Waldbaums has Kind in stock later on too. I don't like to make a steady diet of them, but we will be on a couple of weeklong trips in the near future and I've love to have a tasty, healthy snack on hand, instead of impulse buying.

                                                1. re: coll
                                                  mcf Apr 16, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                  I always travel with bags of nuts, cheese sticks (very small cooler for car trips), bars, and dark chocolate bars. Oh, and my own coffee and pour over filter.

                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                    coll Apr 16, 2013 07:31 AM

                                                    Yeah we're visiting our friends who are militant vegans, I'm thinking instant coffee or Lipton teabags will have to be smuggled in my suitcase. Not sure if her refrigerator will be like a kosher one and I will contaminate it with my impure foods? She doesn't do any fats or sugars either. And my husband cannot get out of bed without a glass of milk and a bowl of Cinnamon Life. I'm afraid I'm going to have a whole piece of luggage devoted to foodstuffs!

                                            2. lilmsmuffin Apr 17, 2013 10:22 PM

                                              I guess I never actually replied to this. I enjoy the "Pure Protein" bars - PB for breakfast when I can't do my eggs, chocolate for later if it's what I'm craving. 200/180 cals, 17 carbs, 20 protein.

                                              I adore the "Jamieson Slimdown" bars. 150 cals, 15 carbs and 15 protein. LOVE the almond coconut. Also enjoy belgian chocolate crisp.

                                              The "Protilife" line has some OK stuff. I'll have the chocolate delight and choco crunch bars. 160 cals, 19 carbs, 16 protein.

                                              Cost and availability are both issues for me. That being said, I've been juggling those brands around for the last year or so, making sure I always have a variety on hand for when I need them.

                                              Show Hidden Posts