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Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes: A Dietitian Reviews 6 Brands

by | Dec 17, 2023 | Blog | 1 comment

Last updated 66 days ago.

Embarking on the journey of managing gestational diabetes while seeking a convenient and tasty grab-and-go option? Protein bars can be a great choice, but the truth is not all protein bars are created equal. The secret to choosing the right one lies in finding a good balance of fiber and protein to complement those carbs. In my pursuit of the ideal protein bars for gestational diabetes, I’ve curated a personal review of six popular brands, offering an honest take on flavors, textures, and nutritional profiles.

There are so many suitable protein bars for gestational diabetes out there, but generally I tried to pick 6 that had similar flavors (I’m a chocolate and peanut butter fan, so you’ll see most of these fall into that category). I recommend trying some of these, experimenting with some you may find at your own grocery stores, and being open to trying new things. You never know which ones might surprise you!

Disclaimer: As an intuitive eating counselor and dietitian, I understand that personal preferences and blood sugar responses to foods differ. This review isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution but rather a roadmap to navigate the vast world of protein bars. Your exploration may involve some experimentation of your own to discover the bars that sync with your taste buds, dietary requirements, and blood sugar management.

**There are carb, protein and fiber numbers below that are included just for informational purposes. Please feel free to skip if numbers are triggering or difficult for you.

Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes: A Dietitian’s Review of 6 Brands
Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes: A Dietitian Reviews 6 Brands 4

A.M. RXBAR: Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate 

I am a big fan of regular RX Bars (these are the “AM” version so there’s added oats) and I was excited to try these! RX Bars give the vibes of a homemade bar, since it’s essentially whole foods “mashed together”. This particular flavor has oats and peanuts, and I really enjoyed it! I wouldn’t typically grab this for gestational diabetes because honey is a top ingredient, however there is fiber and protein in here so I think this may work for some folks!

  • Overall Rating: 7/10
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Would buy again? Definitely! Regular RX Bars could also be an option for some folks with gestational diabetes! You may just need to pair them with another higher protein food for blood sugar balance.

This bar uses a protein blend from milk and whey to help lower the carbs. But let me just say: the texture on this one is notttt my favorite. The bar is very dense and honestly it felt like I was chewing on protein powder. It also contains sugar alcohol and stevia, which I don’t love the aftertaste of. If you don’t mind artificial sugar you might not mind it, but again texture is not the best. 

  • Overall Rating: 5/10
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Would buy again? No.

Power Crunch Peanut Butter Creme

The texture of this bar reminds me of a KitKat bar or wafer cookie. A protein whey blend is used to give this bar lots of protein. Surprisingly this bar didn’t have a strong artificial aftertaste, even though it contains Stevia. Overall I was pleasantly surprised with this one and would enjoy it again!

  • Overall Rating: 8/10
  • Carbs: 12g (lower carb count!)
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Would buy again? YES!

Simply Protein Peanut Butter Chocolate

The texture of this one reminds me of rice krispies, just less sweet, making it a great option if you aren’t a big fan of sweetness. The added fiber in this bar comes from inulin, which can be tricky to digest if you have GI issues. The protein in this bar actually comes from soy protein crisps! The texture is not my favorite, but I could see some people enjoying it! Definitely worth a try.

  • Overall Rating: 6/10
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Would buy again? YES!

To be completely honest, I had never heard of this brand before seeing it at the grocery store. This bar really gives off the vibes that it wants to be a candy bar in both its texture and appearance, although sadly, it’s not a replacement for candy bars taste-wise. Definitely interesting, but not a favorite of mine.  Contains whey protein, sugar alcohols, and gelatin (so not a great option for vegetarians).

  • Overall Rating: 4/10
  • Carbs: 27g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Would buy again? No.

Quest Protein Bar Choc PB

Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes: A Dietitian’s Review of 6 Brands
Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes: A Dietitian Reviews 6 Brands 5

Ending on a high note! This is one of my favorites for sure. Although it has sugar alcohols and sweeteners, it has no bad aftertaste. The texture is great, flavor is good, and has a high protein count. Would definitely recommend trying this one if you haven’t already!

  • Overall Rating: 9/10
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Would buy again? YES!

Additional Notes on Protein Bars For Gestational Diabetes

You may also note that two popular options: Kind bars and Larabars aren’t on this list. This is because these bars are typically lower in protein and higher in carbs, making them a more difficult option for folks with gestational diabetes (but are great paired with other higher protein foods).

Most folks with gestational diabetes will find that higher carb, higher sugar and lower fiber options might not work as well unless they are paired with other foods.

So if you are looking for a grab and go snack option that you can eat on its own (without having to pair with other foods for blood sugar) there are some great protein bars for gestational diabetes out there to keep on hand. And if you’re looking for more grab-and-go snack options, check out my gestational diabetes snack list here.

There are sooo many options out there, so try some and see what you like best. I picked a few of the more popular brands my grocery store had, and have definitely opened my mind after trying these! Even though I learned that I generally don’t like whey based bars with artificial sweeteners, I was still surprised by the quest and power crunch bar, so you never know!

A few more pro tips:

  • Buy a singular bar to try before buying a full pack to save $$ (in case you don’t like it)
  • Protein bars can also be a great night time snack for some folks with gestational diabetes (learn more about bedtime snacking for blood sugars here).
  • Remember, protein bars are obviously NOT chocolate cake, but they can be a sweeter dessert choice or snack option to “scratch that itch” when you have gestational diabetes. 

Let me know if you try any of these protein bars, and if there are any protein bars for gestational diabetes that you love that I should add to my next review! And if you’re looking for more support as you navigate gestational diabetes, learn more about my coaching here. 


1 Comment

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    THANKS FOR NARROWING DOWN THE SELECTION EMILY. REALLY HELPFUL COMMENTS.

    Reply

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Emily PiazzaHi! I’m Emily.

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Full Spectrum Doula, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and mom of 3.

Emily helps pregnant and postpartum folks with gestational diabetes, disordered eating and eating disorders, and body image struggles. Through a weight inclusive, anti-diet lens she helps people confidently feed themselves for a healthy pregnancy and healing postpartum journey.

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