Sometimes you just need a (low-carb) snack, you know?

By Leah Groth
Updated January 22, 2020
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Here's the situation: It's the middle of the day—right after lunch, but still too early for dinner—and you're so hungry. Most people can just pick up a protein bar and get on with their lives, but for people on the keto diet, things aren't quite so easy (why must everything have carbs?!). 

Luckily, there are still keto protein bar options out there—you just have to know what to look for, because staying in ketosis is likely your main goal. "When following a Keto diet plan, it’s important to eat the right foods to stay in ketosis. Ketosis is an all or nothing deal—either you’re in ketosis or you’re not," Melissa Nieves, RD, of Healthy Meals Supreme tells Health.

So what exactly should (and shouldn't) be in a keto protein bar? Nieves suggests starting with the ingredient list—specifically how short or long it is. "As a quick, simple approach, the less ingredients a bar has, the better,” she explains.

Your best bet is to choose bars with plant-based fats (coconut oil, avocado oil), that have low amounts of sodium (no more than 140 mg of sodium per portion), and less processed ingredients. 

It’s also important that they have sufficient protein and fiber, in order to help with satiety. “One of the most common complaints from those following the keto diet is constipation, and adding more fiber to the diet can help counteract this effect,” she adds, pointing out that a high fiber food, should boast 3 grams per serving. 

And, because keto is all about that delicate fat-protein-carbohydrate ratio, the macros of each bar is important, too: "When it comes to keto-friendly bars, you should look for ones with net carbs less than 7g, protein between 7-8g, fat around 15g, fiber between 8-9g and added sugar at 3g or less,"  Arthur Agatston, MD, author of The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet: Rev Your Metabolism and Improve Your Health With the Latest Science of Weight Loss, tells Health.

Still a little confused? Don't worry, we've got your back. Here, 11 nutritionist-approved keto bars you can eat on the go—and that won't kick you out of ketosis.

1. RSP Nutrition Whole Bar

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Monica Auslander Moreno, RD, founder of Essence Nutrition suggests the RSP Whole Bar, a “sturdy bar that has a smooth and velvety chocolate flavor.” Nutritionally, it offers an ideal balance of nutrition in a healthy keto protein bar, with 11g of grass-fed protein, 18g of high quality fats, only 4g of net carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 0 added sugar or sugar alcohols. “It's sweetened with monk fruit extract,” she points out.

To buy: RSP Nutrition Whole Bar, 12 count ($35; amazon.com)

2. Perfect Keto Bars

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Aimee Aristotelous, RD, a certified nutritionist, recommends any bar from Perfect Keto, like their Birthday Cake, Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, or Almond Butter Brownie flavors. “It is one of my favorite brands as they use these superior quality ingredients which are beneficial for weight loss and overall health,” she explains.

To buy: Perfect Keto Bars, 12 count ($40; amazon.com)

3. Doctor's Best Weight Loss Peanut Butter Cup Fat Bombs

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If you’re on a budget and love the taste of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Aristotelous is a fan of these peanut butter and chocolate bars. “With only four grams of net carbohydrates, they can help you to remain in ketosis, while having the taste that really makes you feel like you’re cheating,” she says. 

To buy: Doctor's Best Weight Loss Peanut Butter Cup Fat Bombs, 16 count (from $23; doctorsbestweightloss.com)

4. Dang Bar

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You can still maintain a plant-based diet and do keto. If you are trying to keep your consumption of animal products at a minimum, Aristotelous suggests trying a Dang Bar. “It will help you adhere to a ketogenic nutrition plan without any animal products with healthy fats and proteins such as coconut, pea protein, almonds, Chia seeds, and cocoa butter,” she explains. This plant-based bar boasts 15 grams of fat, nine grams of protein, and five grams of net carbs. 

To buy: Dang Bar, 12 count ($30; amazon.com)

5. South Beach Diet Espresso Nut Entrée Bar

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This South Beach Diet bar is a little more nutty and infused with rich and warm flavors of real coffee. “This barista-approved meal bar is a delicious way to fuel your progress,” says Dr. Agatson. 

To buy: South Beach Diet Espresso Nut Entrée Bar, 30 count ($54; amazon.com)

6. EPIC Chicken Sesame BBQ Bar

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Gabby Geerts, RD at Green Chef is a big fan of Epic Provision’s bars, as they offer grass-fed protein with only a few simple ingredients. “These bars are great for a keto eater,” she reveals. “Very low in carbs, with 5 grams or less, these flavors take the confusion out of keto snacking.” Their Chicken Sesame BBQ Bar, for example, boasts a whopping 13 grams of protein. She does warn that  many of their flavor varieties contain dried fruit, which wouldn’t comply with keto diet.  

To buy: EPIC Chicken Sesame BBQ Bar, 12 count ($17; amazon.com)

7. EPIC Sea Salt & Pepper Venison Bar

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Geerts also suggests this venison bar from Epic, made with 100% grass-fed venison and spices. It boasts 15 grams of protein, 2 grams of total carbs, and is certified gluten-free. 

To buy: EPIC Sea Salt & Pepper Venison Bar, 12 count ($23, amazon.com)

8. Bulletproof Lemon Cookie Collagen Protein Bar

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Got a sweet tooth? Geerts endorses Bulletproof’s Lemon Cookie Collagen Protein Bar. “Using collagen and coconut and cashew butters, this bar is high in protein and fat to sustain fullness for longer,” she explains. An added bonus? The collagen protein helps support healthy skin and bones. The bar also offers 5g fiber, 14g fat, and 12g protein.

To buy: Bulletproof Lemon Cookie Collagen Bar, 12 count ($43, amazon.com)

9. Primal Kitchen Macadamia Sea Salt Collagen Fuel Bar

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A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, Naomi Whittel, author of High Fiber Keto, loves this bar created by her friend Mark Sisson, pointing out that its packaging reads “Eat Like Your Life Depends On it.” “It’s made with almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds and a touch of egg white and collagen to give me a bar with a bit more protein than most keto bars (it contains 15 grams versus the 10 grams most others have),” she says. “I love this bar especially after a workout or even as a meal replacement if I really need it!”

To buy: Primal Kitchen Macadamia Sea Salt Collagen Fuel Bar, 12 count ($27; amazon.com)

10. Bulletproof Vanilla Shortbread Collagen Protein Bar 

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Whittel is also a fan of Bulletproof’s Vanilla Shortbread Collagen Protein Bar. “I love the texture of this bar because it is more like a cookie than a bar, but still with high quality ingredients including cashews and collagen protein, along with MCT oil and inulin from chicory root. It’s delicious!” she exclaims. 

To buy: Bulletproof Vanilla Shortbread Collagen Protein Bar, 4 count ($12; amazon.com)

11. SlimFast Keto Nutty Caramel and Nougat Meal Replacement Bar 

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Another sweet option, this bar is available at your local grocery store. “It contains coconut, MCTs and some added nutrients including B vitamins and some added minerals,” Whittel says.

To buy: SlimFast Keto Nutty Caramel and Nougat Meal Replacement Bar, 5 count ($12; amazon.com)

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