While many golfers default to a fatty snack covered in ketchup on the turn, if you’re looking to replenish the body and boost your energy, a nutritious protein bar is often the smartest play. The only problem? With so many bars to choose from, it can be difficult to decipher which is best for golf and which are just sugar traps. Our testers and experts rated the bars on nutritional value, ingredient list, taste, texture and how well each bar held up on the golf course after being pushed to the bottom of a golf bag under the hot afternoon sun. Here are our winners for the best protein bars for golf.
Winners: Best Protein Bars for Golf
RXBAR (Mixed Berries)
The nutritional values and clean ingredient list are what set RXBAR above the rest of the field. Known for their simplicity, the bars contain just seven recognizable ingredients, most of which are clearly listed on the front of the package. The mixed berry flavor tested in these trials wasn’t the top-ranked flavor, and the bar is extremely chewy (and will stick in your teeth), but the almonds and cashews give it a slight crunch and flavor of pleasant nuttiness overall. A tester compared the taste of his favorite rolled fruit snacks he ate as a child. The RXBAR also held up very well after being pushed to the bottom of our golf bags on a hot day; the shape, consistency and taste of the bar were relatively unchanged after four hours in the sun.
$41 (for 24 bars)
Aloha Bar Organic Plant-Based Protein Bars (Lemon Cashew)
Since their launch in 2018, these plant-based bars have quickly become a sports snack favorite. The texture was chewy but not too chewy with a slight lemon flavor (the flavor we tested was Lemon Cashew). One of our testers compared it to a Fig Newton for its grainy, nutty profile. The Aloha bar contains 14 grams of protein, one of the highest values in our field, and 9 grams of fiber. Fiber is a great addition to protein bars because it will help you feel full longer.
$33 (for 12 bars)
Clif Bar White Chocolate Macadamia Flavor
The CLIF bar performed well in our on-course testing, with almost no change in shape or taste when we took it out of the golf bag after the round. It has a pastry texture and taste, a very sweet flavor and is clean to eat without crumbling. There’s an oatmeal flavor profile that leaves a little dryness in your mouth after eating, but doesn’t last too long. It’s a trusted brand that golfers know and is available at almost any grocery store. The White Chocolate Macadamia Nut flavor (tested in this Editors’ Choice test) is apparently Ernie Els’ favorite. He has been a brand ambassador since 2019.
$15 (for 12 bars)
IQBAR Keto + Vegan Protein Bars (Lemon Blueberry)
Ideal for those looking for a low carb option, these bars are made with pea protein which also makes them vegan. Our testers were split on the taste, with half enjoying the lightness of the lemon blueberry flavor and the other finding the citrus irresistible. The texture is rather dry, with a slight grainy aftertaste that is common in many alternative vegan foods. It’s a great source of fiber (8 grams), has 12 grams of protein, and a pretty clean ingredient list.
$30 (for 12 bars)
Perfect bar (peanut butter)
This fan favorite excelled in taste tests and surprisingly held up better than most after several hours on the golf course, considering it’s the only chilled bar on the list. It’s a filling and fairly clean bar with 17 grams of protein and just 50 milligrams of sodium (the lowest in the industry.) The Perfect Bar was among the most expensive on the list on average and has the most sugar at 19 grams, although mostly the sugar comes from honey and natural sweeteners.
$25 (for 10 bars)
One of many series of tests that have helped to select the best protein bar for golfers.
These are the bars we tested and worth mentioning. We were impressed with 88 Acres’ ultra-clean ingredient list, the high-protein, cake-like taste of Pure Protein Bars, and Unite’s unique flavor offerings. Luna Bars, think about it! and Kind Bars both scored well in taste tests, but quickly melted in the sun, making them a great option for cooler days or a pre-round bar.
Everything you need to know to find your perfect protein bar for the course
With grocery store aisles lined with protein bar options with colorful wrappers and promising adjectives, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. To solve this golfer’s dilemma, we sat down with Dr. Liz Applegate, Senior Lecturer Emeritus and Director of Sports Nutrition Emeritus at the University of California-Davis, to talk about how your body actually uses protein bars. , as well as ingredients to look for. for and what to avoid. Here we answer all your burning questions and help you find the right protein bar to fuel your game.
First of all, what is a protein bar?
Although there is no FDA guideline determining what is considered a protein bar, in consumer lingo, a protein bar is generally a packaged snack that provides all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat, and an amount of protein that would be comparable to what you would find in a balanced meal or in a protein-rich food, such as eggs or chicken breast.
You may also have heard of energy bars or energy bars – these are just marketing differences, although they may prioritize different nutrients. With a protein bar, you can be sure you’re getting one of the most crucial nutrients your body needs for intense exercise: protein.
So what should I look for in a protein bar?
You want to look for a bar with at least 15 to 25 grams of protein, advises Dr. Applegate. “The daily value of protein is 50 grams,” Dr. Applegate said, “so 5 grams would be 10%; that’s not a lot of what you need for the day.
Dr. Applegate also advised looking for a bar with at least 5 grams of fiber so it can act more like “real food” when ingested into your body. You also want to look for a bar with less than 4 grams of added sugar, which Dr. Applegate says equals one teaspoon of sugar. “You prefer it to be sweetened with dried fruit,” she says. “The closer the ingredient list is to actual foods, the better.” She advises looking for bars that use ingredients like egg whites and nuts, real high-protein foods. Essentially, you want to look for a bar that you can understand: when reading the ingredient list, you should be familiar with the foods listed.
Some common ingredients mentioned by Dr. Applegate might use names unfamiliar to many consumers. These are whey and casein, which come from milk, and albumin, which comes from egg whites. These isolated proteins always come from real foods, so they’re great in protein bars, they just have to go by different names in that form.
When should I eat a protein bar?
Let’s say you have a bar with 20 grams of protein that contains between 200 and 400 calories, Dr. Applegate said. That, along with something to drink (like water or a sports drink) and a portable piece of fruit like an apple or banana, is a great meal replacement or mid-term heavy snack.
“Most people need about 80 to 100 grams of protein a day,” Dr. Applegate said. “It’s above the requirement because we know that exercise increases the amount of protein the body needs.”
So a bar with 20 grams of protein is a great option for golfers whose bodies need protein throughout the day to keep functioning. If you eat 4 meals/snacks a day, each containing an average of 20 grams of protein, you are in great shape. Especially if eating your protein bar means you’re saying “no” to that bag of cheese puffs, soda and hot dogs on the food cart, Dr. Applegate said, it’s a much healthier option and will provide your body the nutrients it needs.
Anything else golfers should know about protein bars?
Dr Applegate said the biggest thing golfers should think about is preparation. “You have to have your stash in your bag,” she said. “Always think when you start your 18 holes, have a plan.”
It could be as simple as: I’ll be out for six hours, I have plenty of fluids, and two protein bars, plus a piece of fruit, which I’ll spread throughout the day. It’s about equipping your body just like you do your game; you fill your bag with the right irons and the right amount of golf balls – your body needs the same consideration.
“You need to have a plan to hydrate and fuel yourself,” she said.
Find all the 2022 Editors’ Choice winners, here.