Healthy Keto Snack Bars: The Best and Worst for Low-Carb and Keto Lifestyles
Looking for a healthy keto snack bar? Whether you’re new to the keto lifestyle or a veteran who is on the hunt for new keto products, this article will help you better navigate the world of snack bars, specifically, keto-friendly ones.
One of the top complaints about the keto diet is that it’s challenging to find keto-friendly snacks that are tasty, nutritious, and convenient. And with the continued popularity of the keto diet, the market continues to launch new keto products every day, and not all of them are actually keto.
The keto diet calls for a macronutrient breakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. This is why finding a keto snack bar is so challenging. All three macronutrients can pose challenges when you’re looking for a keto snack bar.
Carbohydrates: Many snack bars simply contain too many carbs to qualify as a keto product. To achieve and maintain ketosis, you’ll need to keep carbs to 5% of calories.
Protein: There are a lot of protein bars on the market and many of them have too much protein to be keto-friendly. Remember that a keto diet should only be about 20% protein.
Fat: When a snack bar is too high in protein, it mostly likely means it doesn’t have enough fat. A keto diet gets around 75% of calories in fat. It’s the most important macronutrient on keto.
Then there’s taste. At the end of the day, a food product must taste good. It doesn’t matter how amazing the ingredients are if it doesn’t please our taste buds.
Why Snack Bars are so Popular
Snack bars are popular due to their convenience, portability, and taste. They’re great if you need a quick energy boost between meals, and can even be eaten in place of a meal on a hectic day when you’re too busy to sit down for a real meal. The grab-and-go nature of snack bars are especially appealing to those who have to eat on-the-go.
Snack bars were already flying off shelves before the keto diet skyrocketed in popularity. Now, there are many keto, keto-friendly, and low-carb snack bar options available. But with so many options out there, a keto rookie may find it overwhelming.
That’s why we have created a list of snack bars that complement a keto or low-carb lifestyle. Before we get to the list, here are some factors to consider when choosing a snack bar.
What to Look for in a Keto Snack Bar
For those on a low-carb or keto diet, carb count is one of the top factors to consider when making a snack bar selection. But that’s not the only feature to consider. Here are others you should review and understand before making a choice on which brand to try:
Calories: The calorie count will be different between a snack bar and a meal replacement bar, so take note when making a selection. Generally speaking, snack bars should be under 200 calories per serving. You’ll want one that has enough calories to take the edge off your hunger and tide you over until your next meal or provide enough energy to get through an activity (workout, hike, etc.).
Macros: Macros are short for macronutrients, namely fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The macro breakdown of snack bars is an important consideration. For keto, carbs will need to be around 5%, protein around 20%, and fat to be around 75%. If you’re low-carb, you’ll want carbs to be 10% to 30% of calories, although there is no set definition.
Features: Depending on your health goals, dietary restrictions, and food sensitivities or allergies, you may want to look for features, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free.
Ingredients: A product may have all the features and macros you’re looking for, but it’s always a good idea to check the ingredient list to see how they achieved them. In general, it’s best to look for products without any artificial flavors and sweeteners.
What are Net Carbs?
For those who might be unfamiliar with net carbohydrates, here’s the formula for calculating it:
Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols
For most people to achieve or maintain a state of ketosis, they must limit their daily net carb intake to 20 to 50 grams. That’s why understanding how to calculate net carbs is important.
The reason you subtract fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs is because your body can’t fully digest and absorb them. In other words, net carbs are digestible carbs.
10 Healthy Keto-Friendly Snack Bar Options
Here are 10 high-quality keto-friendly bars that are worth trying if you’re looking for a snack bar with minimal carbs. We reviewed flavors that contain both chocolate and nuts (or nut butter) to better compare. The information summarized below includes the company’s website description, nutrition facts, ingredients, and features.
Website Description: Finally! A truly delicious keto bar that fits your macros and satisfies your sweet tooth. Fuel your low-carb lifestyle with these portable Chocolate Hazelnut Keto Snack Bars that you can take anywhere.
Calories per bar: 190
Macros: 15g Fat | 6g Protein | 14g Total Carbs | 9g Fiber | 5g Net Carbs
Website Description: FBOMB’s Chocolate Hazelnut Real-Food Snack Bar is made with natural minimally-processed whole-food ingredients. These bars are packed with high-quality fats from ingredients like hazelnuts, almonds, cocoa butter, and eggs.
Calories per bar: 120
Macros: 10g Fat | 3g Protein | 6g Total Carbs | 2g Fiber | 4g Net Carbs
Website Description: Dang Bar is the low carb snack bar you’ve always wanted but couldn’t find. Crafted with whole food, real, good-for-you ingredients, they’ve got the real taste, better texture, and plant-based fats and protein you crave (minus the sugar).
Calories per bar: 210
Macros: 16g Fat | 9g Protein | 10g Total Carbs | 6g Fiber | 4g Net Carbs
Website Description: MariGold’s Protein Bars are hand-crafted and delivered fresh with premium REAL FOOD ingredients. All our bars are packed with 20+ Grams of Protein, are NON-GMO, Low Sugar, Gluten Free, and Preservative & Chemical Free… and extremely tasty!
Calories per bar: 293
Macros: 18g Fat | 21g Protein | 9g Total Carbs | 6g Fiber | 3g Net Carbs
Website Description: A keto-friendly protein bar with no sugar, sugar alcohols, additives or fillers. Formulated to reduce blood sugar impact. Tastes like dessert without added sugars or sugar alcohols.
Calories per bar: 240
Macros: 19g Fat | 10g Protein | 11g Total Carbs | 9g Fiber | 2g Net Carbs
Website Description: Heka bars are made with real food ingredients like almonds, cocoa butter, chocolate, peanuts and sea salt. They are sweetened with a rare sugar called Allulose, which has no glycemic response and 90% less calories than normal sugar. This allows Heka bars to be a full size 55g bar, with only 1-2g net carb. Heka bars contain 10+ grams of whey protein isolate, a high-quality protein containing all essential amino acids and no lactose.
Calories per bar: 190
Macros: 14g Fat | 10g Protein | 26g Total Carbs | 7g Fiber | 4g Sugar Alcohols | 13g Allulose | 2g Net Carbs
Features: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Non-GMO, No Artificial Sweeteners, No Sugar Alcohols
Keto Snack Bar Comparison Chart
*This information is based on the label claims and ingredient lists provided on the flavors specified in this article.
Snack Bars to Avoid on the Keto Diet
These brands market their snack bars as healthy and target consumers who lead an active lifestyle. But they’re not a good option for those living a low-carb or keto lifestyle. The high amount of carbs in these snack bars can knock you out of ketosis after consuming just one. In addition to the information shared above, we also point out some keto red flags you should be aware of in these bars.
Website Description: Each one of our chocolate hazelnut bars is like a package of chocolate covered nuts, but better for you. It’s a protein bar made with chunky hazelnuts, rich 100% chocolate and a few other simple ingredients – egg whites for protein, dates to bind and nuts for texture. It’s nutty, in a good way.
Calories per bar: 210
Macros: 9g Fat | 12g Protein | 23g Total Carbs | 5g Fiber | 18g Net Carbs
Website Description: CLIF BAR® Energy Bar is the first bar we made, and it’s still everything we’re about. Nutritious, organic ingredients. Performance nutrition. And great taste. The Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt CLIF BAR is made with 100% organic rolled oats, organic almonds, and salted chocolate chunks. Plus, it’s got 9 grams of protein—so indulgence feels better than ever.
Calories per bar: 260
Macros: 7g Fat | 9g Protein | 43g Total Carbs | 4g Fiber | 39g Net Carbs
Website Description: Each Balance Bar provides you with balanced 40-30-30 nutrition for lasting energy–a proven formula developed by scientists to help stabilize your blood sugar levels already within a normal range.
Calories per bar: 200
Macros: 7g Fat | 15g Protein | 22g Total Carbs | 1g Fiber | 21g Net Carbs
Ingredients: Protein Blend (Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Casein, Calcium Caseinate), Fructose, Peanut Butter (Peanuts), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Whey Protein Concentrate, Fractionated Palm Kernel and Palm Oil, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Natural Flavor, Glycerine. Contains less than 2% of Maltitol Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Maltodextrin, Heavy Cream (Cream, Milk, Cellulose Gel, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum), Butter (Cream, Salt), Butterfat, Sodium Citrate, Tocopherols added to protect flavor, Soybean Oil, Carrageenan, Dextrose.
Features: Gluten-Free, High protein, Vegetarian, No Artificial Flavors
Keto Red Flags: No real-food ingredients, contains peanuts, sugar, fructose, corn syrup, carrageenan, and soy, contains low-quality ingredients and fillers
In short, keto snack bars are a convenient and delicious way to fuel yourself between meals or during activities while keeping you in ketosis. And the one you choose can either keep you on track or derail your nutrition goals. With so many amazing options at your fingertips, you should be able to find one that not only pleases your taste buds, but also pleases your waist line and overall health.