Healthy Snack Bars: Key Features to Look for in a Low-Carb Bar

Looking for a healthy low-carb snack bar? It can be challenging to find a delicious and convenient snack bar that meets all of your health and nutritional criteria. You have hundreds of options that include nutrition bars, granola bars, meal replacement bars, and cereal bars. 

Nowadays, with their increasing knowledge about nutrition, consumers have higher expectations, and they are getting pickier about how they nourish their bodies. This means they’re looking more closely at nutrition labels and ingredient listings, and they have a better understanding of the role macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) play in overall health.

Why Snack Bars are so Popular

Snack bars are awesome. They’re delicious, convenient, portable, and can be eaten in place of a meal on hectic days. The grab-and-go nature of snack bars makes them especially appealing for people with a busy schedule and have to eat quickly or on-the-run. They’re also great for active people who need portable fuel during workouts, training, races, or events. 

Because of their popularity, there are a ton of options out there. And so many options can be overwhelming. Aside from taste (which is almost always the top priority), here are the top three features to prioritize when selecting a healthy snack bar. 

1. Made with Whole-Food Ingredients

Chemically processed foods contain artificial ingredients, artificial colors, fillers, and preservatives. Eating processed foods is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, and digestive conditions, among other chronic diseases and health issues [*]. 

Because of these potential health risks, eating real-food ingredients you recognize should be a top priority. Treat your body like a luxury car that deserves only premium fuel. What you put into your body is what you get out of it. That’s why products made with natural, clean, whole foods should be a must-have, not a nice-to-have. If you don’t invest in your own health, then who will? 

2. Low in Carbohydrates

The Standard American Diet is high in carbohydrates, much of it refined and processed. Extensive research shows that consuming a diet high in carbohydrates is linked to many health conditions (some of which are preventable), including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Health benefits of low-carb diets (under 30% carbs)

Evidence increasingly points to cutting carbs as an effective way to improve overall health. A low-carb way of eating...

  • Supports weight loss [*]
  • Reduces your appetite [*]
  • Lowers risk of heart disease by reducing fat molecules (triglycerides) in the bloodstream, increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol), and improving LDL (“bad” cholesterol) [*][*][*]
  • Improves blood sugar and insulin levels [*][*]
  • Helps reverse symptoms of metabolic syndrome [*]
  • Lowers blood pressure [*]

Health benefits of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets (~5% carbs | ~75% fat)

Some people will find that cutting carbs coupled with increasing fat provides an even better quality of life. That’s because a low-carb, high-fat diet won’t leave you feeling hungry or deprived. And the pesky carb cravings you used to have will disappear, leaving you feeling better than ever physically and mentally. A low-carb, high-fat way of eating...

  • Supports weight loss [*]
  • Enhances feeling of fullness [*]
  • Enables your body to burn fat for fuel (when a state of ketosis is reached) [*]
  • Helps manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) [*][*]
  • Lowers risk of heart disease by improving blood triglycerides and cholesterol [*]
  • Boosts energy [*]
  • Enhances physical performance [*]
  • Improves cognitive function, such as mental focus, clarity, and concentration [*][*]

3. Satiating Calories

Calories matter. And due to the high fat content, the calories in the FBOMB Snack Bar provide you with a higher level of satiation. In other words, you get the biggest bang for your buck when you eat this bar. 

Eating fat provides steady energy and helps you feel full longer. A fat-fueled low-carb snack will prevent you from experiencing a carb crash later. Eating natural whole-food sources of fat along with a very low amount of carbs is an excellent way to supply your body with sustained energy. 

Most snack bars on the market can hit 1 or 2 of these criteria, to varying degrees.

snack bar comparison chart
*This information is based on the label claims and ingredient lists provided on the flavors specified in this article.

FBOMB Real-Food Snack Bars: The Unicorn of Snack Bars

The only snack bar that meets all three of these criteria (plus taste!) is the FBOMB Real-Food Snack Bar. 

snack bars venn diagram*This information is based on the label claims and ingredient lists provided on the flavors specified in this article.

It took many months to develop the FBOMB Snack Bar because we were so selective about the ingredients we used. In addition to wanting only clean, minimally-processed ingredients, we also wanted it to be delicious, low-carb, and high-fat. 

We were thrilled when we finally perfected the recipe and partnered with a manufacturer that could make them in small batches with the fresh, premium, whole foods we wanted. 

Low-carb clean bars with a high amount of quality fat and a natural real-food ingredient list didn’t exist. Until now.

The delicious result is an ultra low-carb nutrition bar that is not only one of the best tasting snack bars on the market, but also healthy and satiating. 

FBOMB Snack Bars get their fat-fueled flavor and texture from hazelnuts, almonds, eggs, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter. The protein comes from the nuts and eggs. And the perfect amount of sweetness comes from a touch of honey. Everyone from a preschooler to a professional athlete can benefit from this snack bar.

Each of the premium ingredients comes with their own set of health benefits:

  • Hazelnuts are a great source of high-quality omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, plus vitamins and minerals, like vitamin E, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, potassium, and zinc. They’re also rich in antioxidants, which are linked to many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol [*][*]. 
  • Almonds are also a great source of fat, protein, and fiber. They are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which is linked to lower rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease [*][*][*]. Like hazelnuts, almonds are loaded with antioxidants. Plus, research shows eating almonds can have positive impacts on weight management, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure [*][*][*][*].
  • Eggs are a superfood because they contain a bit of almost every nutrient humans need, as well as all the essential amino acids. Eating eggs is linked to many health benefits, including improved eye health, heart health, and weight loss [*][*][*]. 
  • Honey is a natural sweetener that’s rich in antioxidants [*]. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and certain cancers [*][*]. Honey has been shown to have positive impacts on blood pressure and cholesterol [*][*]. We intentionally chose honey over other low-carb options such as erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit because we wanted an all-natural sweetener that would enhance the texture and flavor of the bar.  
  • Cocoa butter and cocoa powder both offer the benefits of cocoa, which is a rich source of antioxidants called polyphenols. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help improve blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol [*]. These benefits are linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes [*]. Studies also show that polyphenols can improve brain health and cognitive function [*].

Ways to Enjoy Snack Bars

Snack bars are convenient and portable and can be enjoyed just about anytime, anywhere. Common ways to enjoy them include:

  • At home (stock them in your pantry for healthy snacking between meals)
  • At work (keep a stash in your desk drawer)
  • At the gym (always have a few in your gym bag)
  • On a hike (toss a couple into your backpack)
  • During races and endurance events (have one before or after the event)
  • While traveling (throw a few into your carry-on)

Snack bars are perfect when you need a quick energy boost no matter the time of day or where you are. 

What to Know When Selecting a Healthy Snack Bar

We partnered with a registered dietitian who specializes in low-carb, clean, whole-food diets to go over what you should look for when shopping for snack bars that help optimize your health. We also go over what you should avoid. The ingredients left out of a product can be just as important as what goes in.

The vast majority of snack bars on the market contain too many carbs and/or too little fat. Among the ones that are marketed as “low-carb,” they either still contain too many carbs or they use sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners in order to achieve the correct macro breakdown. Snack bars made with preservatives, artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols, and/or processed fibers may cause digestive distress or lead to sugar cravings.

Here is a list of the most important factors to understand before you make a choice on which brand to try:

Calories: The calorie count will be different between a snack bar and a meal replacement bar, so be aware when making a selection. When it comes to snack bars, you want one that has enough calories to tide you over until your next meal or provide enough energy to get you through an activity (workout, hike, etc.). Generally speaking, snack bars should be under 200 calories per serving.

  • Dietitian Tip: “For snacking between meals, I encourage my clients to stick to bars with 150-200 calories and a good combination of macronutrients, including moderate protein, low carbohydrate, mostly from fiber sources, and high quality healthy fat for satiety,” said Registered Dietitian Molly Devine. “If weight loss is also a goal, many ‘snack’ bars have too many calories to be considered a snack between meals and often lack the quality fats and proteins that help with satiety.”

Macros: Macros are short for macronutrients, namely fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The macro breakdown of snack bars is an important consideration. If you’re eating a low-carb diet, you’ll want carbs to be 10% to 30% of calories, although there is no set definition. For keto, carbs will need to be around 5%, protein around 20%, and fat around 75%. For Atkins, depending on the phase you’re in, fat is 55% to 70%, protein is 20% to 30%, and carbohydrates is 5% to 15%.

  • Dietitian Tip: “While the macro breakdown is important, you also have to read the list of ingredients. In an effort to reduce ‘net carbs,’ many brands will add ‘filler fibers’ such as chicory root or psyllium husk, which can cause digestive discomfort without any nutritional value. Your body will respond much better to the fiber in whole foods, such as nuts and seeds than these fillers,” said Devine.

Ingredients: A product may have all the macros you’re looking for, but it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients to see how the macros were achieved. A long list of ingredients with unfamiliar and unpronounceable names is a red flag. Look for short ingredient lists with familiar and easily recognizable ingredients. When it comes to carb content, look for unsweetened or minimally sweetened products full of natural flavor from nuts, oils, spices, and other whole foods. 

  • Dietitian Tip: “Many low-carb and keto snack bars contain high amounts of non-caloric sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols, which not only can cause digestive discomfort and contribute to reduced gut health, but also make the snack excessively sweet, leading to intensified cravings and over-consumption for many individuals,” said Devine.

Features: Depending on your health goals, dietary restrictions, and food sensitivities or allergies, you’ll want to look for features, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. 

Snack Bars that Claim to be Healthy, But Aren’t

While these snack bars are extremely popular, they’re not a healthy option when it comes to a low-carb lifestyle. In fact, some of them aren’t a healthy option for any lifestyle due to the added sugars and processed oils. 

These brands are marketed to active people with a healthy lifestyle, but the high amount of carbs can derail your diet and weight loss efforts.

1. think! Keto Protein Bars

Flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Calories per bar: 180

Macros: 14g Fat | 10g Protein | 14g Total Carbs | 3g Fiber | 7g Sugar Alcohols | 4g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Peanuts, Erythritol, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk, Cocoa Butter, Unsweetened Chocolate, Chicory Root Fiber, Milk Protein Isolate, Palm Oil, Butterfat, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Stevia Leaf Extract.

Features: No Artificial Sweeteners, Gluten-Free, Keto Certified by the Paleo Foundation, Non-GMO, Vegetarian

Pros: Convenience

Cons: Contains sugar alcohols, contains peanuts which can be inflammatory, contains palm oil which is inflammatory, contains soy and whey which are common allergens, contains chicory root fiber, minimal whole-food ingredients

Registered Dietitian Opinion: I would avoid these bars and not recommend them for any of my low-carb or keto clients because they contain a high level of pro-inflammatory ingredients, such as peanuts, palm oil, and soy lecithin. They also contain chicory root fiber and sugar alcohols, which may cause digestive distress.

2. Quest Nutrition Snack Bars

Flavor: Chocolate Mixed Nuts

Calories per bar: 210

Macros: 15g Fat | 10g Protein | 14g Total Carbs | 7g Fiber | 3g Sugar Alcohols | 4g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Almonds, Peanuts, Soluble Corn Fiber, Pistachios, Whey Protein Isolate, Palm Kernel Oil, Erythritol, Glycerin, Milk Protein Isolate, Sodium Caseinate, Cocoa Processed with Alkali. Contains less than 2% of the following: Water, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Stevia Sweetener, Sunflower Lecithin.

Features: Gluten-Free, No Added Sugar, Vegetarian

Pros: Convenience

Cons: Contains pro-inflammatory ingredients, such as peanuts, corn fiber, and palm oil;  contains sugar alcohols; macronutrient ratios are not ideal for those following a ketogenic diet.  

Registered Dietitian Opinion: While these bars are low-carb, they contain a high level of pro-inflammatory ingredients, such as peanuts, palm oil, and corn fiber, as well as sugar alcohols and other sweeteners. I would avoid these bars and not recommend them for any of my clients.

3. RXBAR Protein Bars

Flavor: Chocolate Hazelnut

Calories per bar: 210

Macros: 9g Fat | 12g Protein | 23g Total Carbs | 5g Fiber | 18g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Dates, Egg Whites, Hazelnuts, Cashews, Chocolate, Cocoa, Natural Flavors.

Features: Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, No Added Sugar, Vegetarian

Pros: Whole-food ingredients

Cons: Very high in carbohydrates for a snack, hard texture, difficult to chew

Registered Dietitian Opinion: While these bars are full of clean natural ingredients, they are mostly carb and protein, making them a poor choice for those living a low-carb or ketogenic lifestyle.

4. KIND Protein From Real Food Bars

Flavor: Dark Chocolate Nut

Calories per bar: 240

Macros: 17g Fat | 12g Protein | 18g Total Carbs | 5g Fiber | 13g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Peanuts, Almonds, Glucose Syrup, Soy Protein Isolate, Honey, Palm Kernel Oil, Sugar, Chicory Root Fiber, Unsweetened Chocolate, Alkalized Cocoa, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Cocoa Butter.

Features: Gluten-Free, Kosher, No Trans Fat, Vegetarian

Pros: Convenience and taste

Cons: Contains palm oil, soy, chicory root fiber, and peanuts

Registered Dietitian Opinion: Most of the “real food” ingredients in this bar are pro-inflammatory and should be avoided. With a high sugar and calorie content, this is a glorified candy bar and should be avoided as a snack for anyone following a healthy active lifestyle.

5. CLIF BAR Energy Bars

Flavor: Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt 

Calories per bar: 260

Macros: 7g Fat | 9g Protein | 43g Total Carbs | 4g Fiber | 39g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Rolled Oats, Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Roasted Soybeans, Rice Flour, Cane Sugar, Organic Almonds, Cocoa, Organic Soy Flour, Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Oat Fiber, Alkalized Cocoa, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Cocoa Butter, Salt, Organic Cocoa Butter, Barley Malt Extract, Soy Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant).

Features: Non-GMO, Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa, Vegetarian

Pros: Convenience and taste

Cons: Very high in carbs and sugars, contains soy

Registered Dietitian Opinion: These are another glorified candy bar and very high in calories for a snack option, especially for those with weight loss goals. 

6. Balance Bar

Flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter

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

Pros: Convenience

Cons: No real-food ingredients, contains peanuts, sugar, fructose, corn syrup, carrageenan, and soy

Registered Dietitian Opinion: These bars are not only high in carbs and sugars, but they are full of low quality ingredients and fillers.

Invest in your Health with FBOMB Snack Bars

When comparing calories, macros, features, and ingredients, FBOMB is superior to the snack bars listed above. Take a look:

FBOMB Real-Food Snack Bar

Flavor: Chocolate Hazelnut

Calories per bar: 120

Macros: 10g Fat | 3g Protein | 6g Total Carbs | 2g Fiber | 4g Net Carbs

Ingredients: Hazelnuts, Almonds, Honey, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Whole Egg, Humectant Syrup (Rice Syrup, Grape Juice), Plant Fiber Emulsifier (Lemon, Pea, Potato, Plantain, Norwegian Kelp), Ancient Sea Salt.

Features: Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, Peanut-Free, No Artificial Sweeteners and Flavors, No Sugar Alcohols, Non-GMO

Pros: Clean ingredients, all-natural, low-carb, high-fat, paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, no sugar alcohols or other ingredients which may cause digestive distress

Cons: Lower in protein compared to other bars (but fat content provides satiety)

Registered Dietitian Opinion: I love the whole-food ingredients in this bar! I avoid artificial sweeteners and/or sugar alcohols for gut health, so this bar fits the bill. I would use this as a great on-the-go snack option for myself and my clients, and even my kids.

Snack Bar Comparison Chart

Snack Bars comparison chart *This information is based on the label claims and ingredient lists provided on the flavors specified in this article.

Final Thoughts on Snack Bars

You deserve a snack bar that will provide the fuel you need without weighing you down. This means selecting a bar that’s low in carbs, high in healthy fats, and made with natural, clean, whole-food ingredients. A bar like FBOMB is truly one-of-a-kind in taste and nutrition.


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