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Protein bars are a great option for increasing your protein intake and curbing your sweet tooth, but many protein bars are also high in calories, so I’ve compiled a list of the best 100-calorie protein bars that you can have and still hit your calorie goals.
So, what is the best protein bar for under 100 calories? The Quest Mini Protein Bar is the best protein bar under 100 calories because it’s the lowest in calories out of any bar on the market (80 calories) and it still has a sufficient protein content (8g) as a ratio of total calories.
(Note: If you want something you can make yourself, check out our baked protein bar recipe. It’s only 125 calories).
It’s important to know what to look for in your protein bar because not all 100-calorie protein bars are created equal, some will have much more protein than others.
In this article, I’ll rank the protein bars from lowest to highest calories, plus I’ll explain:
- What ingredients to watch out for in 100-calorie bars
- Who should eat 100-calorie protein bars
- When to eat 100-calorie protein bars
What To Look For In A 100-Calorie Protein Bar
To find the best 100-calorie protein bar on the market, you need to consider the sweeteners used, the protein content, the fiber content, and any common allergens in each protein bar.
Most 100 calorie protein bars will have a sweetener other than sugar to give them their sweet flavor, so it’s important to know which sweeteners work best for you.
Some sweeteners cause digestive issues in those who are sensitive to them, and others tend to have an artificial aftertaste that isn’t for everyone.
Sugar alcohols are common in protein bars because they provide a sweet taste for a fraction of the calories of sugar. They also have physical properties (taste & texture) similar to sugar, which makes them a great alternative to sugar in lower-calorie protein bars.
However, some people find that sugar alcohols cause digestive distress such as bloating, gas and diarrhea, especially if they suffer from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If sugar alcohols cause problems for you, it’s best to eat protein bars that do not contain them. Some common sugar alcohols used in protein bars to look out for are erythritol, xylitol, vegetable glycerine, and glycerine.
I always recommend reading the ingredient list when checking for sugar alcohols because the FDA allows manufacturers to write 0 grams of sugar alcohols on their labels if there is less than 1 gram per serving of that particular ingredient in the product.
Key Takeaway: if your protein bar says it has zero grams of sugar alcohols but there are sugar alcohols listed in the ingredients, then your protein bar does contain them but in very small quantities.
Other common sweeteners that are used in lower-calorie protein bars are high-intensity sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and stevia. These sweeteners are popular because they deliver an extra sweet flavor for zero calories.
That being said, some people find that they experience a bitter aftertaste when they taste products containing high-intensity sweeteners.
Personally, I reach for protein bars that contain high-intensity natural sweeteners like stevia rather than artificial sweeteners because I like a sweeter protein bar, and natural ingredients often provide more health benefits than artificial ingredients.
Key Takeaway: Read the ingredient list carefully and pick protein bars that have the sweeteners that work best for you.
- Related Article: 10 Best Protein Bars Without Sugar Alcohols
Adding fiber as a form of filler is common practice for protein bars, especially if the goal is to create a lower-calorie product. While fiber is an important nutrient for digestion, there is such a thing as too much fiber so it’s important not to overdo it either.
It is important to check that the fiber content of the bar is right for you, based on when you’re eating the bar, as well as the other sources of fiber in your diet.
For example, if the protein bar is pre-workout, then it’s best to choose a bar with a relatively low fiber content (5g or less) so that it does not slow down your digestion and cause discomfort while you’re working out.
Fiber will also come from other food sources such as whole grains like oatmeal or rice, fruit, and vegetables. When you add all your sources of fiber together, the recommended total daily fiber intake for women is 25g-28g of fiber and 31-34g of fiber for men.
Key Takeaway: Consider the fiber content of a protein bar in the context of your daily fiber goals as well as the timing of the protein bar.
- Related Article: 10 Best Low-Fiber Protein Bars (As Rated By Dieticians)
One major consideration when choosing a 100-calorie protein bar is its protein content because many bars claim to be protein bars but only have 3 or 5 grams of protein per serving. However, a high protein food is one that has at least 10 grams of protein per serving.
My advice for choosing a protein bar is to go with one that has 0.1 grams of protein per calorie.
If your protein bar has 0.1g/cal then it’s a good source of protein; if it has more than this, then it’s an excellent source of protein, and if it has less than this, then it’s not a great source of protein.
This means we would expect a 100-calorie protein bar to have at least 10g of protein. If it has more than 10 grams of protein, then that’s even better. If it has less than 10g, then it may not be the best option.
Key Takeaway: Look for protein bars that provide approximately 0.1g of protein for each calorie; for a 100-calorie protein bar this would be 10 grams of protein.
Many protein bars contain common allergens such as milk, soy, nuts, peanuts and eggs. If you have allergies to any of these foods, it’s important to avoid protein bars with these ingredients.
Read the ingredient list carefully when it comes to protein bars because they could contain ingredients that you wouldn’t expect.
Manufacturers are always looking for lower-calorie alternatives to common ingredients, so you never know what allergen might make its way into your lower-calorie bar.
Key Takeaway: Read the ingredients carefully to avoid protein bars that contain ingredients that you are allergic or intolerant to.
Best Protein Bars For 100 Calories Or Less
It’s important to note that there aren’t many 100-calorie protein bars on the market, so although these are the top 10, there are bars on this list that don’t meet the protein requirements discussed above.
The bars are ranked based on their calorie count per serving from lowest to highest.
The top 10 protein bars on the market under 100 calories or are:
- Quest Protein Bar Minis – Cookies & Cream: Lowest Calorie Bar
- Protein ONE – Assorted Flavors: Highest Protein Content
- KIND Bar Minis – Caramel Almond & Sea Salt: Lowest Calorie “Clean” Bar
- ChocoRite Protein Bars – Cookies ’n’ Cream: Highest Fiber Content
- Soylent Squared Plant-Based 100 Calorie Snack Bars – Chocolate Brownie: Best Nut-Free Bar
- ALOHA Organic MINI – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Best Organic Bar
- RxBar Minis – Blueberry: Best Paleo-Friendly Bar
- Zing Bars Plant-Based Protein Bar Minis – Assorted Flavors: Best Soy-Free Plant-Based Bar
- Larabar Minis – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Best Energy Bar
1. Quest Protein Bar – Minis Cookies & Cream: Lowest Calorie Bar
Quest Nutrition Minis, either Cookies & Cream or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor, are the best protein bars that are 100 calories or less because they only have 80 calories per serving and they have 8 grams of protein. This meets my criteria for 0.1 grams of protein per calorie.
I’m happy to see that the new mini Quest bars only have 4 grams of fiber, which is better than their full-size Quest bars that have 15 to 16g per bar (which can be a fiber overload for some people).
These Quest minis would make an excellent pre-workout snack if paired with fruit for some extra carbs.
Note that Quest bars do have milk ingredients and almonds, so they are not suitable for anyone with nut or dairy allergies.
|Quest Protein Bar Minis - Cookies & Cream||Sodium Content|
|Sweetened with||Erythritol, stevia, & sucralose|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.1|
|Allergens||Milk & almonds|
- Related Article: Protein Bars With The Most Protein. In this article, we rank the protein bars with the highest content of protein.
2. Protein ONE – Assorted Flavors: Highest Protein Content
Protein ONE bars are the second best protein bar that is 100 calories or less because they come in a variety of delicious flavors that are all only 90 calories with 10g of protein per bar. These bars have the highest protein content of all the bars in this review.
These bars are in second place despite being the highest in protein because they have 10 more calories than the Quest Minis and they also have the highest sugar alcohol content with 5g per bar.
The high sugar alcohol content in these bars could cause digestive distress in sensitive individuals. Additionally, they do contain milk, soy, and peanuts so those who are allergic should choose a different protein bar option.
|Protein ONE Assorted Flavors||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Maltitol, maltitol syrup, vegetable glycerin, & stevia|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.111|
|Allergens||Milk, soy & peanuts|
3. KIND Bar Minis – Caramel Almond & Sea Salt: Lowest Calorie “Clean” Bar
KIND Bar Minis, specifically the Caramel Almond & Sea Salt Flavor, are another option in the protein bar category that has 100 calories or less with 90 calories per serving; however, the protein in this bar is too low for what you would expect in a protein bar, with only 3 grams per serving.
The downside of the KIND Bar Minis is that the protein content of this bar is only 0.03 grams of protein per calorie, compared to the recommended protein content of 0.1 grams of protein per calorie.
One thing I do appreciate about this bar is that the ingredients are very wholesome. This bar doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, or synthetic colors and they are gluten-free.
This is by far the best protein bar if you’re looking for a “clean” option that is under 100 calories. However, they also have the highest fat content so they’re not the best option if you’re trying to increase your protein intake without increasing your fat.
|KIND Bar Minis Caramel Almond & Sea Salt||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Honey, glucose syrup, & sugar|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.033|
|Allergens||Almonds, milk, & soy|
4. SKiNNY JiMMY! Protein Bar – Chocolate Peanut Butter: Best Taste
The SKiNNY JiMMY! Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar is in the top 10 best 100-calorie protein bars because it tastes amazing and has 99 calories and 6g of protein, giving it a protein content of 0.06 grams of protein per calorie, which isn’t too far off from my recommendation (0.1g/cal).
I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter so I might be a bit biased in awarding “best taste” to these bars, but they really did get it just right with a crispy, crunchy peanut filling wrapped in a smooth chocolate coating.
These bars get their protein from soy protein and whey protein, along with real peanuts, so they are not suitable for soy, milk or peanut allergies.
Also, the ingredient list indicates that this bar contains small amounts of sugar alcohol in the form of maltitol and vegetable glycerin. The content is low enough (<1g) that it rounds to 0g on the label, but they are listed in the ingredients.
|SKiNNY JiMMY! Protein Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Maltitol, sugar, & vegetable glycerin|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.061|
|Allergens||Peanut, milk, & soy|
5. ChocoRite Protein Bars – Cookies ’n’ Cream: Highest Fiber Content
The ChocoRite Cookies ‘n’ Cream Protein Bars are another great protein bar option with exactly 100 calories and 9 grams of protein, which makes them the second highest protein bar on this list.
Most of the ChocoRite flavors have similar calorie counts, ranging from 100 to 110 calories, so if Cookies ‘n’ Cream isn’t your favorite flavor, then there are other great options to choose from.
These bars are completely sugar-free and instead rely on a blend of sugar alcohols (erythritol & vegetable glycerin) and the high-intensity sweetener sucralose for their sweetness.
If you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols, then this may not be your best option, even though the total sugar alcohol content isn’t very high with only 1g per bar.
Another important note about ChocoRites is that they have the highest fiber content of all the bars on this list with 11g of fiber per serving. This is beneficial if you’re struggling to meet your recommended daily fiber intake.
However, it could also cause digestive issues if you’re already meeting your daily fiber intake from other foods and this bar is pushing you to the point of overconsuming fiber.
Additionally, I would avoid these bars as a pre-workout snack because the high fiber content won’t sit well before a workout.
|ChocoRite Protein Bars Cookies ‘n’ Cream||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Erythritol, vegetable glycerin & Sucralose|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.090|
|Allergens||Almonds, milk, & soy|
6. Soylent Squared Plant-Based 100 Calorie Snack Bars – Chocolate Brownie: Best Nut Free Bar
Soylent Squared Plant-Based Snack Bars, particularly the chocolate brownie flavor, is another 100-calorie protein bar option that has exactly 100 calories and 6 grams of protein for protein content of 0.06 grams per calorie.
Like their name suggests, Soylent bars contain soy as the primary source of protein. These plant-based bars are the only ones in the list that do not contain peanuts or tree nuts, making them the best option for those with nut allergies.
The bars only have 1g of sugar (1g added sugar), but they contain quite the cocktail of sweeteners with 5 different types listed in the ingredient list. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy an overly sweet protein bar, then this one probably isn’t for you.
|Soylent Squared Plant-Based 100 Calorie Snack Bars, Chocolate Brownie||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Allulose, tapioca syrup, rice syrup, maltodextrin & Sucralose|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.060|
7. ALOHA Organic MINI – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Best Organic Bar
ALOHA MINI bars are another 100-calorie protein bar that is plant-based, contains all-natural sweeteners, and they’re organic. They have 6 grams of protein and are the lowest in sodium with only 35 mg of sodium per bar.
These bars have 0.06 grams of protein per calorie, which is beneath my recommendation of 0.1g/cal but still on par with many other bars on this list.
|ALOHA Organic MINI Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Tapioca syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.060|
8. RxBar Minis – Blueberry: Best Paleo-Friendly Bar
RxBar Minis, particularly the blueberry flavor, are another all-natural protein bar that has 100 calories and 6 grams of protein. The bars are sweetened only with dates, and the protein comes primarily from egg whites, along with almonds and cashews.
These simple ingredients are in line with the paleo diet, and have a decent amount of protein considering they don’t contain protein powder. This is the best option for those who are dairy intolerant, but obviously cause an issue for those with nut allergies.
|RxBar Minis Blueberry||Nutrition|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.060|
|Allergens||Eggs, almonds & cashews|
9. Zing Bars Plant-Based Protein Bar Minis – Assorted Falvors: Best Soy-Free Plant-Based
Zing Bars Minis are a plant-based, soy-free protein bar that have 5 grams of protein in a 100-calorie bar, which is only 0.05 grams of protein per calorie, but it is the best option for those who need a dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free protein bar.
All of the Zing Bar flavors (dark chocolate coconut, dark chocolate mint, dark chocolate peanut butter, and peanut butter chocolate chip) are under 100 calories and have 5 grams of protein, which allows for more variety in your 100-calorie protein bar.
However, the Zing bars do contain both peanuts and almonds, which means that they are not suitable for paleo diets or for those with peanut or nut allergies.
|Zing Bars Plant-Based Protein Bar Minis||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Sugar, allulose, prebiotic tapioca syrup, & organic agave nectar|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.050|
|Allergens||Peanut & tree nuts (almonds)|
10. Larabar Minis – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Best Energy Bar
Larabar Minis, particularly the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor, are the last 100-calorie protein bar to make the list, and they come in 2 grams of protein in a 100-calorie bar. This is the bar with the least amount of protein, so I do consider it more of an energy bar then the other bars on the list.
Larabars have a total of six ingredients, and they’re sweetened with dates, sugar, and apples. These wholesome bars are naturally vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher and paleo-friendly.
Larabars are suitable for most people with allergies or intolerances, with the exception of those who can’t have cashews.
|Larabar Minis Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough||Nutrition|
|Sweetened with||Dates, sugar, & apples|
|Protein Ratio (grams of protein per calorie)||0.020|
Should You Eat 100-Calorie Protein Bars?
Eating a 100-calorie protein bar is suitable as a small snack that can help provide protein toward your daily protein goal. Additionally, the protein and fat in these bars can help to keep you full but only for short periods of time.
A 100-calorie protein bar is low enough in calories that it’s suitable for someone with a low daily calorie requirement (1600 calories or less).
They could also be good for those with a high caloric intake as long as they’re pairing it with other foods to increase the caloric content to hit their daily goal.
However, if you’re someone who really struggles to eat enough to meet your calorie goals then you should choose a higher calorie protein bar instead of a 100-calorie bar.
I love a 100-calorie protein bar as a dessert after supper because it curbs the sweet craving that I have in the evenings without adding a significant amount of calories to my daily intake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A 100-Calorie Protein Bar Filling?
A 100-calorie protein bar can be more filling than other food choices, especially if it provides at least 10g of protein, and fiber to provide a sense of fullness. The top three bars for protein & fiber content are ChocoRite (9g protein, 11g fiber), Protein ONE (10g protein, 4g fiber) and Quest (8g protein, 4g fiber).
What Are The Best Times To Eat A 100-Calorie Protein Bar?
A 100-calorie protein bar is great to eat almost any time of day, except for pre- and post-workout. It might not be high enough in calories on its own for a pre- or post-workout snack, and it’s important to focus on bars that have 5g of fiber or less around training.
More Protein Bar Resources
- Protein Bars vs Shakes: Which Is Best?
- Is It Okay To Eat Protein Bars Every Day?
- Are Protein Bars Good For Breakfast?
- Best Protein Bars Under 200 Calories
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.