Let’s Unwrap the Best BJ's Protein Bars for Your Health

Let’s Unwrap the Best BJ's Protein Bars for Your Health

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BJ's Wholesale Club, commonly referred to as BJ’s, is an American membership-only warehouse chain on par with Costco and Sam’s Club. Its vast selection of products in-club and online makes shopping there akin to a treasure hunt — especially now that you can find IQBARs there!

So, how do our plant-based protein bars stack up against other BJ's protein bars? Not all bars are created equal, and sugary sirens and processed imposters lurk in the aisles disguised as healthy heroes.

Let’s talk about how to spot the real deal from the Frankenfoods. Then you’ll be equipped to choose the best protein bars to fuel your body and brain, not your frustration.

Protein Bar Ingredients: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a vegan, low-carb/keto, or vegetarian keto diet — health-conscious shoppers always prioritize natural whole foods. Here’s a dossier on the heroes and villains of the protein bars & snacks market:

The Good Guys: Prioritize These Ingredients 

  1. High-quality protein. Aim for at least 10 grams of protein per bar. That’s enough to tame cravings between meals or up the protein content of a meal afterward. Check out this guide for a comparison of the most popular animal and plant-based sources for protein bars.
  1. Healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, nut butters, cocoa butter, coconut, and coconut oil (bonus points for the MCTs!) keep you energized and satiated.
  1. Fiber. From reducing hunger to lowering blood sugar levels, the benefits of prebiotic fiber on gut health are worth seeking. Plus, you can subtract fiber from total carbohydrates if you’re counting net carbs.
  1. Natural sweeteners. Stevia and monk fruit are the best sugar-free sweeteners, adding a touch of sweetness without the blood sugar spike or sugar crash.
  1. Natural flavor boosters. The simpler, the better when it comes to flavor. Nature has great taste: unsweetened cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla, blueberries, lemon, etc., all win out over artificial birthday cake. 

The Bad Guys: Avoid This Junk

  1. Processed fillers and binders. They inflate the bar’s size and extend its shelf life but offer little nutritional value. They may also spike your blood sugar levels, cause bloating and GI distress, and taste pretty gross.
  1. Soy protein. Over 95% of soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified.[*] Soy protein is also highly processed and has been linked to allergies, hormonal disturbances, cancer, and organ toxicity.[*
  1. Sugar. Sugar goes by over 60 names on ingredient lists.[*] Get familiar with them to find protein bars with the least sugar.
  1. Artificial sweeteners. These may lead to intense sugar cravings, overeating, weight gain, poor gut health, elevated cortisol levels (the stress hormone), irritable moods, headaches/migraines, insomnia, and increased cancer risks.[*][*][*]
  1. Sugar alcohols. Erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, etc., disrupt your gut microbiome and may cause digestive woes like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.[*]
  1. Vegetable and seed oils. Canola, corn, palm, and soybean oils are incredibly inflammatory and high in omega-6 fatty acids.[*

Now that you know how to read protein labels like a pro, you can confidently navigate the BJ’s protein bar jungle and emerge victorious.

BJ’s Protein Bars: What’s the Best Option?

Let’s compare protein bars at BJ’s to find the perfect one for your goals.

Trubar Plant-Based Protein Bar

Trubar protein bars come in a variety pack with Oh Oh Cookie Dough and Daydreaming About Donuts flavors. Here’s a rundown of their nutrition facts per bar:


  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 9 grams
  • Total Carbs: 23 grams
  • Fiber: 12 grams
  • Sugar: 8 grams
  • Sugar Alcohols: 0
  • Protein: 12 grams

  • We salute Trubar for being vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO like us. They also don’t use any sugar alcohols, another win. But these bars are a bit high in sugar and carbs, likely because they contain cane sugar and whole-grain rice.

    Quest Protein Bars

    One of the OG protein bars, you’ll find two variety packs of Quest Bars at BJ’s. One contains Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookies and Cream flavors, the other Chocolate Peanut Butter and Double Chocolate Chunk. Here’s a look at each bar’s nutrition:


  • Calories: 170–200
  • Total Fat: 7–9 grams
  • Total Carbs: 21–25 grams
  • Fiber: 11–15 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Sugar Alcohols: 6–9 grams
  • Protein: 20–21 grams

  • Quest uses dairy-based protein isolates (milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate), so these aren’t vegan, vegetarian, or dairy-free protein bars. They also contain a lot of erythritol and soluble corn fiber, a processed food additive, bulker, and sugar substitute. These may both cause bloating, gas, and other digestive issues.

    Pure Protein Bars

    Pure Protein Bars Chocolate Variety Pack features Chocolate Peanut Caramel, Chocolate Deluxe, and Chocolate Peanut Butter protein bars. Per bar, you’ll find:


  • Calories: 180–200
  • Total Fat: 5–7 grams
  • Total Carbs: 16–17 grams
  • Fiber: 1–2 grams
  • Sugar: 2–3 grams
  • Sugar Alcohols: 4–8 grams
  • Protein: 20–21 grams

  • Though these bars promise a ton of protein (from whey and collagen), it comes at the expense of questionable ingredients for your health, such as maltitol, soy protein and soy lecithin, fractionated palm kernel oil, sucralose, and chemical food additives.

    Atkins Protein Meal Bars

    BJ’s stocks both the Atkins Protein Meal Bars in Chocolate Peanut Butter and a variety pack that includes Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars and Peanut Butter Granola Bars. Here’s what you’re looking at per bar:


  • Calories: 220–240
  • Total Fat: 11–15 grams
  • Total Carbs: 18–23 grams
  • Fiber: 6–12 grams
  • Sugar: 1–2 grams
  • Sugar Alcohols: 8 grams
  • Protein: 16 grams

  • Even though soy protein is the #1 listed protein, it’s followed by collagen and whey, making them a no-go for plant-based diets. They contain several synthetic ingredients, sugar alcohols, palm oil, and sucralose too. We also don’t think 16 grams of protein qualifies as a “meal replacement.”

    Think! High Protein Bars

    Think! High Protein Bars come in a variety pack featuring Chunky Peanut Butter and Brownie Crunch flavors at BJ’s. Each bar clocks in at:


  • Calories: 230–240
  • Total Fat: 8–10 grams
  • Total Carbs: 23–24 grams
  • Fiber: 1–2 grams
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sugar Alcohols: 8–10 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams

  • These high-protein bars are also way higher in calories and sugar alcohols. Because their fiber’s practically nil, net carbs also tip the scales. We know better protein bars for a low-carb diet.

    Clif Builders Protein Bar

    BJ’s carries a protein bar variety pack that includes Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Peanut Butter Clif Builders flavors. Each gluten-free bar contains:


  • Calories: 280–290
  • Total Fat: 9–11 grams
  • Total Carbs: 29–31 grams
  • Fiber: 2–3 grams
  • Sugar: 17 grams
  • Sugar Alcohols: 0
  • Protein: 20 grams 

  • Excited about the 20 grams of plant protein in these bars? Too bad it comes from soy. These bars also take the crown for the most calories, carbs, and sugar on this list. Definitely not the best protein bar for weight loss.

    Nick’s Swedish Style Protein Bar

    Nick’s Almond Choklad protein bars are a BJ’s exclusive. Here’s a rundown of each keto-friendly bar:


  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 10 grams
  • Total Carbs: 21 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Sugar Alcohols: 9 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams

  • These aren’t dairy-free or vegan protein bars. They also contain a heap of sugar alternatives: soluble corn fiber, vegetable glycerin, erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, and stevia. Why do unsweetened chocolate and roasted almonds need all that to taste good?

    Now, It’s Our Turn: What’s In IQBAR?

    Our BJ’s exclusive variety pack includes two IQBAR fan-favorite flavors: Chocolate Sea Salt and Peanut Butter Chip.

    We only use clean-label ingredients — each vegan bar is kosher, GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free to comply with virtually every diet. Check out our bar’s nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 160–170
  • Total Fat: 10–12 grams
  • Total Carbs: 10–12 grams
  • Fiber: 8–9 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Sugar Alcohols: 0
  • Protein: 12 grams

  • We pack our bars with plant protein from almonds and peas (no soy here!), prebiotic fiber, and healthy fats to support strength, stamina, and an optimized gut/metabolism. Our great keto-friendly flavors come from real delicious foods. And we only sweeten our bars with stevia — so you can finally ditch the sugar alcohol bloat.

    Psst! No Other Protein Bar Matches Our Brain Nutrient Blend 🧠 

    IQBARs are brimming with six key brain-boosting nutrients shown to support sustained energy, mental performance, and long-term cognitive health. Nosh these vital nutrients, and you’ll go from brain fog to razor-sharp focus: 

    • Omega-3s. You must get these essential fatty acids from your diet. We choose to get ours from fiber-rich flaxseeds (and skip the fishy pills).
    • Choline. Consuming more of this science-backed brain health supplement may enhance your memory, mental prowess, and moods while decreasing your risks of Alzheimer’s disease.[*][*]
    • Flavonoids and vitamin E. Potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants shield your noggin from free radical damage and may support higher brain power.[*]
    • MCT oil. This steady, readily available energy source for your brain elevates cognitive performance.[*]
    • Lion’s Mane mushroom. Known as the “smart mushroom,” this nootropic may strengthen your concentration, creativity, and thinking skills while supporting the growth of new brain cells.[*][*][*] It’s also an adaptogen that improves stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.[*][*

    No other BJ’s protein bars deliver our unique combination of science-backed compounds to help you stay full, active, and focused throughout your busy schedule. Once you try a box, you’ll see what we mean. 😎

    Let Your Body Thrive and Your Brain Flourish

    By choosing whole-food ingredients, ditching processed junk, and keeping your carb and sugar counts in check, you can fuel your body and brain with the best nature has to offer. 

    With IQBAR, you’ll never compromise your health and wellness goals for an on-the-go source of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and beneficial fiber again. So grab a box at your local BJ’s or online while you can!

    🤔 Want to try every IQBAR flavor before you commit to two? Need more variety in your life? That’s exactly why we created The 7 Bar Sampler! You’ll score 1 bar of all 7 of our flavors — Chocolate Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Chip, Almond Butter Chip, Lemon Blueberry, Banana Nut, Wild Blueberry, and Matcha Chai — including the ones you’ll find at BJ’s.

     

    Written by Lauren Ciccarelli, a writer and research geek passionate about low-carb nutrition, mental health, and meditation. Her 2,500+ articles empower doers with science-backed tips for leveled-up living.