Where can I buy savory protein bars?
January 11, 2014 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I am occasionally too busy to cook or go out for food, and a granola or protein bar is the perfect meal replacement -- in theory. I hate the way they taste, mostly because of how sweet they are. Do savory bars exist? I've seen recipes for making them at home, but when I have the time to cook, I'd rather make something more exciting. Looking for something I can buy from a grocery store or order online, that tastes like crackers or chips (preferably spicy or flavorful), but is low in fat and high in protein and vitamins.
posted by redlines to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I also would like to find something like this. The closest I've found is Clif's MOJO Peanut Butter & Pretzel "Sweet & Salty" bar, which has peanut butter's sweetness so isn't quite what you are (or I am) looking for, but isn't as sugary as the vast majority of the protein bars I've seen (which seem to mimic cookies, chocolate bars, cakes, etc.).
posted by pammeke at 10:21 AM on January 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Check out Pro Bars - Meal replacement. Taste good and are filling. They have them at my local grocery chain, Wegmans. Amazon has them too. Maybe do a search for retail locations in your area. http://theprobar.com/

Also check out RawMeal shakes. Another meal replacement. Tastes good and is filling. Just don't get the plain to start with. Vanilla, Chocolate and Chai are all tasty. Cheapest on Amazon but Vitamin Shoppe carries it too. http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Foundational-Nutrition/RAW-Meal.aspx

They aren't exactly what you're looking for but they are really amazingly healthy and they taste good and they are filling.
posted by mrflibble at 10:36 AM on January 11, 2014

How about Tanka Bar? It's a pemmican bar, which is a traditional Plains Indian food made primarily of buffalo meat and berries. They have sugar in them from the berries but I wouldn't say they're sweet.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:11 AM on January 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have a friend who orders YouBars - which are basically protein bars you design yourself. You can mix and match ingredients and it even gives you the estimated caloric value of the bar you've created.
posted by rutabega at 11:17 AM on January 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm with you. I'll just eat some real chocolate if I want sweet. I've looked for the same in the past but couldn't find anything suitable. The closest I've come are Luna Bars Peanut Honey Pretzel. Not savory but not ultra sweet.

I Googled around a little and found these Journey Bars. I haven't tried them but they sound pretty good and are vegan if that matters.

Most of the references in Google for "savory protein bars" are either a recipe or about these Journey Bars. It sounds like they are relatively new. I'm not sure why this is such an unusual idea and hard to find. Thanks for the reminder to look for savory bars again. I think I'll order a box and give them a shot.
posted by Beti at 11:36 AM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Trader Joes baked tofu squares fills this niche for me. There really do not appear to be that many savory bar options!
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:24 PM on January 11, 2014

Both Mojo bars and Pro bars are really sweet. Syrup is one of the main ingredients in Pro bars. I haven't found any non-sweet bars. Protein bars and powders are very sweet to cover up the unpleasant taste of the protein. Regular meal replacement bars are candy bars for delusional people.
posted by Nomyte at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, this is not a bar, but I can recommend Glenny's Soy Crisps as a healthy, savory snack that's pretty portable. They have a bunch of different flavors - my favorites are the Creamy Ranch I linked to, as well as the Cheddar and Lightly Salted varieties.
posted by xiaolongbao at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2014

I tried to find something like this last year and came up short. The sweet ingredients are what make everything stick together, after all. I tried Tanka bars and found them very sweet. Seriously considering following the lead of my ancestors and going with hardtack and jerky.
posted by cali at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2014

Epic Bars, from their website:

The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar designed as nature intended. Paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:55 PM on January 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm also a fan of the Tanka bars. REI sometimes has them in stock, if you can't wait for them to be delivered (and live close to an REI, of course).
posted by culfinglin at 1:55 PM on January 11, 2014

They're more jerky than bar, but what about Primal Strips? Or if you're an omnivore, what about regular jerky? So long as you're staying hydrated, it'll take care of your protein needs, and honestly the vitamin supplemental in energy bars doesn't make any difference if your diet is half-way reasonable.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:48 PM on January 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

Important to remember though, fiber is what will make it filling and keep you from getting quickly hungry again.
posted by mrflibble at 3:05 PM on January 11, 2014

Sheffa bars are extremely delicious and fairly healthy, though probably not as high in protein as you're looking for.
posted by EmilyFlew at 4:13 PM on January 11, 2014

Epic bars oops on preview, what a humble nude ranch said.
posted by ms_rasclark at 7:17 PM on January 11, 2014

I've been pondering a similar question myself, and came up with these "savory snack bars" which I haven't tried yet. And I may not actually order them, they're not particularly high protein (5g per 190cal bar).
posted by aimedwander at 8:05 PM on January 11, 2014

Coincidentally, Ms. jason6 and I just bought a sampler pack of the Journey Bars that Beti had mentioned above. I've only tried the Pizza flavor, and I thought it was pretty good -- the texture is similar to an Odwalla Choco-walla, but the flavor is of tomato paste and "Italian" spices (oregano, basil, etc.)
posted by jason6 at 5:24 AM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh man, if you're willing to be weird have I got you covered! Here are my go-to savory, filling, non-refrigerated snacks:

- kippers (need fork, are surprisingly filling and not fishy)

- beef jerky

- "Justin's Nut Butter," tiny packs of almond butter. There are different flavored with a little honey or chocolate. These are not low fat, however.

- a stick of beef salami

- you know those small boxes of microwavable prepared soups? I drink them at room temperature or refrigerated. Pumpkin or squash or red pepper soups are tasty. Avoid chunky soups. Weird but it does the trick.
posted by nicodine at 9:44 PM on January 13, 2014

Well, I thought I was on to something. I found Garden Bars at my local New Seasons. Their website is down so here in their Amazon page. They come in Italian, Japanese, Indian and Mexican. So far I've tried the Mexican and Italian. It was a good effort but not quite there.

The texture was good but they still us brown rice syrup as the first ingredient. They also use tapioca syrup. Those two combined with the sun-dried tomatoes in the Italian make it an odd combination of sweet and Italian spices. Not bad but not fabulous. The Mexican was about the same. Just a vaguely sweet energy bar with some Italian or Mexican spices mixed in.

I'll post again if the Indian and Japanese are any better. There is also an American flavor on Amazon's site but I didn't see it in the store. I'm not sure what flavor that is. Bacon or ranch maybe?
posted by Beti at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2014

Okay, no. So the "American" flavor is definitely not bacon or ranch. It is pretty awful. It basically tastes like their standard bar (vaguely sweet crunchy bar) with a bullion cube added. Uck.

I tried the Japanese but it wasn't very good, either. It had miso and wasabi and nori added in with some shiitake mushrooms. I'm sorry to say it's not very good. Those flavors just don't work with the sweet-ish flavor of their basic bar recipe.

I'm trying the Indian right now. So far, it's the best of the bunch. Whatever they use for their spice set for this one go better with their basic bar recipe. And looking at their ingredient list, it looks like they added in okra and cauliflower. It's actually not bad. It's not the overdone curry flavor I was expecting.

So one decent option so far. I'm still on the lookout for the Journey bar to try those. I wish I knew more about commercial food production. There clearly is a niche to be filled here.
posted by Beti at 5:54 PM on January 27, 2014

« Older Lowdown on Abu Dhabi/UAE?   |   Overwhelmed by my new goals planner Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.