If you’re a skinny person, it can be aggravating to hear people talking about how they need to lose weight. Especially if you’d like to add some pounds. You could ask them to give you some of their excess. Even if they could, however, they don’t have the type of weight you want.
You’re not looking to add fat. You’re looking to bulk up and put on some muscle. You’re eating square meals of good high-density food and the scale still isn’t moving. Maybe it’s time to add a few protein bars to your daily routine.
Thin people aren’t the only ones who can benefit from protein bars. These are not only bars that make you gain weight like crazy. They’re also supplements that can keep you from losing weight.
That’s a big deal for endurance athletes. I used to do some long-distance cycling, and after all day going hard it can be difficult to pack away more food. The stomach starts to rebel and to refuse the calories you desperately need. That’s when protein bars come to the rescue. Many are small and easy to digest when you just can’t shovel in any more “regular food.” An outdoor enthusiast can slam down 2-3 easy-to-swallow bars and get a boost of 500-1000 calories just when they need it the most.
These bars are sometimes called “meal replacement bars.” Now, I don’t often want to unwrap prepared food in place of sitting down at the table with my knife and fork. However, there are times I’ve rushed off to an event without eating my Wheaties, and that’s when a protein bar or two can be a lifesaver.
Maybe you’re looking for weight gain bars for skinny females. Perhaps you want something to get you through the last few games of your tennis match. Possibly you want an extra edge for recovery between weight-lifting sessions. Whatever your weight gain or weight maintenance need, here are 16 bars to help you meet those goals.
1. MET-Rx Big 100 Meal Replacement Bars
If you’re looking for calories, you’ve found them. Many of the flavors contain more than 400 calories per bar. That’s a lot of punch in a small package. In addition, there’s about 30 grams of protein. These are ideal for building muscle and for that much-needed post-workout recovery. Flavors include peanut butter, vanilla caramel churro, cookie crunch, jelly donut and apple pie. If you just can’t seem to eat enough to gain weight, add a couple of these to your daily diet.
2. PROBAR Meal Bars
PROBAR likes to call their product a “meal on the go” because it contains real foods that you can actually see. These are power-packed edibles such as oats, nuts and dried fruit. They’re gluten-free and soy-free, and entirely plant-based with their protein and fiber coming from sources such as chia and flax seeds. All ingredients are sustainably sourced. Yet they’re no slouch in the calorie department, boasting from 360-390 per bar. There are 12 flavors including chocolate, coconut, banana nut bread, almond cashew crunch and oatmeal chocolate chip.
3. Greenbelly Meal2Go Bars
These are marketed toward outdoorsy types such as backpackers as a stoveless meal, but they’re a great choice for anyone in need of extra calories. They’re power-packed with 300+ calories, but they’ve made an effort to make these taste like real food. They were formulated by a culinary chef and they’re handmade for extra freshness, usually within a week or two of when they’re shipped. They’re big and fluffy, and flavors include cranberry almond, dark chocolate, mango cashew coconut and spiced caramel apple.
4. Garden of Life Sport Protein Bars
The name may be a little cutesie, but the bar’s contents are plenty serious. How does 300 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fat and 9 grams of fiber sound? They’re organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO, but they also have a couple sports certifications. The ingredients list is repetitive because the word “organic” precedes every item: organic tapioca, organic pea protein, organic vanilla bean extract and so forth. Flavors include peanut butter chocolate, chocolate fudge and sea salt caramel. They don’t let their organic “cred” get in the way of tastiness.
5. SANS Meal Bars
Here’s another heavy hitter, with most of the bars clocking in around 390 calories. They also contain protein, fiber and 15 essential vitamins and minerals. And here’s a bonus, every time you buy some, the company sends food to someone in need, including undernourished communities in Haiti. They’re proud of packing their bars with real food ingredients but no gluten, dairy, soy or added sugar. You can do a good deed while enjoying flavors including peanut butter cacao, pistachio and fig, PB&J or coconut almond butter.
6. RxBar Protein Bar
This bar derives its protein from egg whites. That gives you a healthy dose of potassium and magnesium. The emphasis in the ingredients is on natural whole foods chock full of vitamins and minerals. Date, almonds and cashews are among the superfoods that go into these bars. Bars have about 210 calories and 12 grams of protein each. Flavor choices include chocolate sea salt, chocolate coconut, mixed berry, maple sea salt and peanut butter chocolate.
7. Clif Bar Builders
The original Clif bar was one of the first performance bars that was actually made from real food and tasted good. The Builder is its slightly more calorie-dense cousin, with calorie counts around 280-300. There are about 20 grams of protein and a bunch of essential amino acids. They’re now gluten-free and made from non-GMO and low-glycemic-index ingredients. Clif has long been a leader in introducing new a different flavors. Some of the classic favorites are chocolate and peanut butter crunch.
8. Rise Protein Bars
Rise pushes the homemade look and feel by hand-mixing small batches in their California kitchen. The result of that is that no two bars are exactly alike. Each bite is just a little different from the next one. These weigh in at 300 calories, 20 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fat. There are 15-20 grams of whey and pea protein for rebuilding muscles after a workout. Flavor selections include almond honey, chocolatey almond, mint chip, cacao banana, mocha almond and, just for fun, snicker doodle.
9. GoMacro MacroBar
The protein in GoMacro comes from sprouted brown rice. That’s an excellent source of essential amino acids, the amino acids your body can’t produce and has to get from food. The bars are high in branched-chain amino acids, which promote muscle gain and healing. The tale of the tape on these in 270 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein. Plenty of flavors, including blueberry cashew butter, maple sea salt and the ever-popular peanut butter chocolate chip.
10. Vega 20G Protein Bar
These pack in 290 calories and 20 grams of plant-based proteins from sources such as peas and brown rice. There’s also 4 grams of fiber. The bars are vegan-certified, non-GMO and gluten-free without artificial flavors or preservatives. They come in chocolate peanut butter and salted caramel.
11. Zing Plant-based Protein Bar Minis
So what it they have only 100 calories? They’re minis, so you can treat yourself to a handful. They work at giving these a better taste than many plant-based bars. They’re soy-free and gluten-free, and come in munchable morsels such as coconut, mint, dark chocolate peanut butter and peanut butter chocolate chip.
12. BSN Crisp Bar
These are a concoction of brown rice, egg whites, vegetable oil and milk, along with a variety of ingredients. A tasty bar that’s been compared to a Rice Krispy treat or a chocolate milkshake. Each delectable dose give you 230 calories and 20 grams of protein, and the natural ingredients add carbs and fats. As well as the standard chocolate-based flavors, there come in birthday cake, s’mores and salted toffee pretzel.
13. ONE Protein Bar
This one’s marketed as a dessert substitute, but at 230 calories of edibility, it’s no slouch when it comes to weight gain. If that’s your goal, I’ll give you permission to have your regular dessert plus this bar. It’s gluten-free and each bar has about 8 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. Flavors are aimed at the dessert crowd with chocolate brownie, butter pecan, peanut butter cup, maple glazed donut and a birthday cake version complete with sprinkles.
14. Perfect Protein Bars
Okay, nobody’s actually perfect, but these bars take a good shot at it. The father of a family invented the recipe when he blended dried fruits and vegetables with peanut butter and honey. They’re so fresh that you’re asked to keep them in the refrigerator. They also contain nonfat dry milk, egg powder and rice protein. Then come five oils, including flaxseed oil, which produce anywhere from 12-30 grams of healthy fats. Calories vary widely, from 220 to 330, as does protein from 8-17 grams. There are over 14 vitamins and minerals and flavors include peanut butter, almond butter, blueberry cashew and maple almond.
15. Ensure High Protein Bars
Ensure’s high calorie canned drinks have been around forever, and now there’s an “on the go” nutrition bar. The calorie count is lower than you might expect at 210, but other benefits include 15 grams of protein as well a B vitamins, biotin, calcium and vitamin D. Flavors are mixed berry and cupcake.
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine smiles at you from the wrapper, wearing a short-sleeved shirt to show of his guns. He touts his product as the world’s only 6-layer baked bar. Just what you’d expect a chef to come up with. The calorie count is a little light at 200, but with Chef Irvine concocting them you might just want to eat several. Whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate make up the protein blend. The chef offers his bar in mint chocolate chip caramel peanut, lemon cake, classic chocolate peanut butter and more.