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And while packaged bars often ~appear~ to be better alternatives to most packaged snacks, don’t let the fancy wrapping fool you. “You definitely want to be careful when selecting a bar,” warns nutritionist Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN. “Many are very high in sugar and processed ingredients.”
The selection process gets even trickier if you follow a low-carb or keto way of eating. Many bars, while they do provide protein, also rack up the carbs and sugar. (That’s why Poon likes to DIY her own protein bars.)
Luckily, in an answer to your snacktime prayers, low-carb protein bars are finally popping up on store shelves. Yes, even at those random highway rest stops.
To pick the perfect protein bar for you, though, you’ll want to get pretty comfy reading your labels.
“I usually opt for a bar with a plant-based protein base and as few ingredients as possible,” says Poon. Her other go-to rule-of-thumb: to opt for a bar that contains less than 12 grams of carbohydrates and five grams of sugar per serving.
One other thing to note here: Many low-carb protein bars contain nuts, so scan those ingredient lists carefully if you have any allergies.
Of course, you won’t always have a ton of options, so don’t sweat it if your pick doesn’t *perfectly* fit Poon’s criteria. Chances are, though, wherever you are, you’ll be able to get your hands on at least one of these 20 nutritionist-approved low-carb protein bar picks. Good to know the next time you’re in a pinch!