After testing some of the most popular high-calorie bars on the web, I found that the MET-Rx Big 100 bar was the most nourishing on-the-go bar out there.
As someone who hikes regularly, I’ve been experimenting with different protein bars for years. While many people don’t put much thought into it, I’ve realized how differently each bar affects one’s daily energy.
This is the reason that I found the MET-Rx Big 100 bar to be the best. It was the most effective at sustaining energy over long periods and had the most efficient ratios of nutrients and micronutrients.
Of course, such a heavy bar isn’t for everyone, which is why there are different “best for” bars for different groups of people.
Whether you’re looking to replace a meal fully or for a snack on your hiking trip, these are the top five best high calorie protein bars.
- Reasons for Buying Bars / Benefits
- Homemade vs. Premade
- Homemade High Calorie Bar Recipes
- Research Criteria
- The 5 Best High Calorie Protein Bars
Reasons for Buying Bars / Benefits
High calorie bars are excellent meals on the go, perfect for hikers, gym fanatics, and individuals with busy schedules. People who expend more energy daily need denser, nutrition-packed foods but don’t always have the time to cook, which is why bars are so convenient.
Additionally, it’s vital to eat healthy, high calorie foods when trying to build muscle. This need is especially prevalent in outdoor activities where lots of energy is required, but there is little room to carry hefty foods.
Bars also make efficient meal replacements. By compacting all your daily nutrients into small bars, you’re saving time and cutting out all the stuff you don’t need. Remember that meal replacement isn’t for everyone, and it’s better to focus on getting your diet straight before supplementing with bars.
Homemade vs. Premade
Some people opt for making homemade bars as opposed to getting premade ones. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to choose what works for you.
Pros of making homemade bars include the following:
- Cost efficient
- You control what goes into them
- Less added sodium and sugar
If you have dietary restrictions, making your own bars is a fantastic way to get a healthy, nutritionally-dense snack. But there are some drawbacks, including the following:
- Not as convenient as store-bought bars
- Shorter shelf life
Verdict: While it’s ultimately up to your wants and needs, I think homemade bars are cheaper and healthier, but premade bars are more efficient and convenient.
Homemade High Calorie Bar Recipes
If you choose to go the homemade route for your high calorie bars and protein bars, here are a few options for recipes.
If you are looking for high calorie bars for camping/survival, then one of your best options for recipes can be found here. For every 2inch by 2inch square, it contains roughly 600 calories! The whole recipe comes out to 3600 calories, with 1200 calories allocated each day over 3 days. It can be a really efficient way to pack in the extra calories, just incase for your excursion.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a more protein focused recipe, you can find some great ones here. It contains over 21 different recipes depending on your preference on flavor, macros, and available ingredients. You can very easily double the serving size on any of these recipes to pack in the calories and protein!
When testing each bar, I factored things into two different considerations: high priority and low priority. The high-priority group included nutrition, fulfillment, and energy levels throughout the day. Low priority included cost, taste, and variety.
The 5 Best High Calorie Protein Bars
These are the best high calorie protein bars out there:
Best for Weight Gain / Muscle Growth – MET-Rx Big 100
MET-Rx Big 100 is the go-to bar for fitness fanatics who want to gain muscle mass. With a sizable calorie count of 410 calories and an astounding 32 grams of protein, this entry blows the competition out of the water.
Not only does this bar have one of the highest protein counts in the whole industry, but it contains all the carbs, vitamins, and minerals necessary for high-intensity workouts. It’s the perfect meal replacement bar during training season, and it also tastes great.
- Five different flavors
- Combination of fast and slow absorbing proteins
- 18 vitamins and minerals
- 32g of protein
- High protein
- Optimized for athletes and strenuous fitness
- Has better flavor compared to similar protein bars
- Contains protein powder and other post-workout ingredients
- High in sugar (24g of added sugars)
- Fairly expensive
- Not suitable for casual consumption
Best for Vegans – Protein Puck
With all the dietary constraints of veganism, it’s pretty hard to find a suitable meal replacement. One of the best high calorie protein bars for vegans is Protein Puck. The flavors available are limited, but well-designed.
The Protein Puck bar outperforms other vegan bars both in the energy it provides and in taste.
- Vegan, gluten-free, and no GMOs
- Four different flavors
- No artificial ingredients
- 13 – 17 grams of protein per bar
- Contains all-natural ingredients
- Unique, varied flavor combinations
- Not too sweet (like other bars)
- Filling for the size
- A bit dry
- Doesn’t have as much protein as non-vegan bars
Best for Meal Replacement – SANS Meal Replacement Bar
The Sans Meal Replacement Bar is exactly what the name entails and is by far the best bar for people who want to switch out their meals for something lighter.
Like the MET-Rx Big 100 bar, the Sans bar has all the protein, carbs, and nutrients you need for the day but cuts out all the workout-oriented ingredients.
There are plenty of other meal replacement bars that do the job well, but after making some comparisons, this one has the best nutrition ratios.
- Free from gluten, dairy, and soy
- No added sugar
- 15 vitamins and minerals
- 7g of fiber and 15g of protein
- Filling and effective as a meal replacement bar
- The company provides support for undernourished communities when a pack is purchased
- Well-rounded ingredient list
- Has a mild flavor
- Moderately high-fat percentage (29%)
Best for Outdoors – GreenBelly Backpacking Meals
Greenbelly Backpacking Meals are the best meal replacement bars for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and biking.
Their lightweight, easily-accessible packaging and high calorie count make them ideal energy sources where food is limited.
- Five different flavors
- All natural ingredients
- Ideal for backpacking
- Leaves you feeling full for long periods
- 17g of protein and 10g of fiber
- Great for kids and adults
- Expensive per bar
- The package is hard to open the first time
Best for Variety- PROBAR
For those who like a bit of variety, the PROBAR is king. With 13 different flavors, the PROBAR offers more and better-tasting options than pretty much every competitor. It’s not quite a meal replacement bar, but it does have a good amount of nutrition and is a healthy snack.
- 13 different flavors to choose from
- Gluten-free and GMO-free
- Plant-based protein
- The best-tasting option on this list
- Multiple variety pack options
- Cost efficient
- Lower nutrition percentages compared to other bars
- High demand means flavors aren’t always available
In the end, the MET-Rx 100 Protein bar reigns supreme. Whether you’re scaling up a mountain or training for a sport, this bar provides the nutrition and energy necessary to persist through it all.
If you’re ready to get your meal replacement on, head to any of the links listed above for all the best high calorie protein bars you’ll ever need.