It’s a mistake I’ve made too many times. Hungry, I reach for a snack bar in some fantastic-sounding flavor—peanut butter chocolate chip cookie maybe?—and peel back the wrapper hoping that this time will be different. One bite, though, and I’m reminded that snack bars actually taste like sadness. Then I discovered savory snack bars and realized there’s another way.
I know snack bars that come in flavors like pizza and ginger sesame may sound off-putting, but hear me out. Sweet snack bars masquerading as healthy-ish candy bars tend to be dry and one-note in the flavor department. While some savory snack bars might be dry, too, seasonings and spices instead of sweeteners let the ingredients shine.
There’s also a health benefit. “Savory foods are typically lower in sugar or even sugar-free," says registered dietitian Lauren Manaker. "For those who need to limit their added sugar intake, savory options can be great."
For someone like Manaker, whose palate prefers savory treats, this category of snack bars is a no brainer. “They can satisfy in a way that sweet ones don’t,” she says. “For years, we have been rotating through chocolate, peanut butter, and other sweet varieties of bars. Savory flavors give a nice opportunity to switch it up.”
Next time you need a snack, try one of these six savory bar brands.
Keto-friendly brand Keho sells four flavors of savory snack bars that also happen to be vegan. They’re all made with tapioca flour and a variety of vegetables and nuts. Standouts among them include Pizza To Go ($21.56 for 6), an umami-packed bar made with mushrooms, capers, and pecans, and Tex-Mex Moment ($23.95 for 6), which has a kick thanks to chipotle pepper and red pepper flakes.
Slow Up isn’t your usual snack bar, and not just because it’s savory: It’s fresh. These bars are perishable and meant to be stored in the fridge (though they taste best after they’ve come to room temperature). Although this means you can’t easily stash them in the car for emergency snacking, it also means they’re far from dry and are made with minimally processed ingredients. If you like texture, these are for you. The Savory Box ($29) gets you six bars: two Red Pepper Pesto, two Poblano Black Bean, one Calabrian Chili Lemon, and one Coconut Curry.
On the drier side of things is Sheffa, a snack bar brand that comes in flavors like Everything Bagel and Rosemary ($16.60 for 12). They’re lower in protein than most of the other bars featured (around four grams), but they satisfy that need for a salty crunch.
Crunchy and chewy at the same time, it’s easy to forget when you’re eating an Undressed bar that it’s basically a dehydrated salad. Made with greens like kale and spinach, these bars come in flavors that pop: smoky Chipotle Cranberry, tangy Cilantro Lime, earthy Honey Mustard, and spicy Sesame Ginger. All of the flavors are vegan (except for one, Honey Mustard) and make it easy for you to sneak in some fiber. The Variety Pack ($34.95) comes with three of each savory flavor, but you can also by 12 packs of individual flavors.
If you’re feeling carnivorous, give Epic bars a try. They’re made with a variety of proteins like bison, chicken, and beef that are used in unique flavor combinations. One standout, for example, is the Beef Habanero Cherry Walnut ($30 for 12). It’s smoky-meets-spicy and slightly sweet. Best part? Most of the bars keep the calories relatively low (around 150) and the protein high (around eight grams).
Skratch Labs makes a variety of savory and sweet bars that are on the heartier side. The names are pretty self-descriptive, like Parmesan, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Black Pepper ($29.50 for 12), and they feature an ingredients list that includes nut butter and dehydrated vegetables. Skratch's other savory flavor is Savory Miso ($29.50 for 12), which has a garlic-ginger kick.