It is often difficult to follow a strict diet if you are trying to accomplish a healthy lifestyle during busy days, where you are focused on doing your work in the office or if you are exercising rigorously. It can also be tough to keep track of the meals that you eat if you’re always on the go or traveling, as sometimes the places that you go to would not have foods that can provide proper nutrients for your body.
Meal replacement food products were created to remedy the problem of insufficient daily nutrition, as they will be able to provide all the nutrients that you need in a small package or a bottle. There are many different kinds of meal replacement food products in the market, but for this article, we will focus on the meal replacement bar, which is a snack that could sometimes serve as your breakfast, lunch, or dinner because it can contain the nutrients found in a full meal.
Why Should You Eat Meal Replacement Bars?
Besides the beneficial nutrients found in meal replacement bars, they are also helpful for those who won’t be able to prepare or cook their meals during hectic or busy situations. If you can’t cook your breakfast since you will be late for work if you do, then you can easily eat a meal replacement bar without hassle.
In addition, if you are always on the move, instead of doing a quick stop to eat a restaurant, you can just consume meal replacement bars while you are commuting or stuck in traffic. Moreover, meal replacement bars also have nutritional facts written at the back of the packaging, and almost all restaurants typically wouldn’t be able to show the ingredients and the nutrients that their meals have. Not knowing the nutrients found in a meal can be dangerous for those who are allergic to certain kinds of food or those who are following a very strict diet.
Since most food companies are legally obliged to show all the ingredients that they use for the products, you will always know what you are eating in meal replacement bars.
What to Look for in Meal Replacement Bars
There are two essential nutrients that you would need to have in a meal replacement bar, and these are carbohydrates and protein. The best bars usually have 40 to 45 grams of carbohydrates and 10 to 15 grams of protein per serving.
Carbohydrates are able to provide energy for your body. Once they are consumed, our body will then break down these carbohydrates into simple sugars, and these sugars will be circulated in the bloodstream. The sugars found in our blood and the bloodstream is called glucose, which is needed for our body to produce sufficient energy for movement.
Protein is one of the elements used by our body to repair or fix cells and tissues. They are also considered as a beneficial nutrient for our hormone-producing organs like our pancreas. Bodybuilders would usually take protein supplements in order for their muscles to remain healthy even under rigorous and sometimes painful training.
You can always find how many carbohydrates and proteins each meal replacement bar has by looking at its nutrition facts label. Besides the said nutrients, meal replacement bars can also have vitamins and minerals, thanks to some of their extra ingredients like fruits and vegetables.
The Best Meal Replacement Bars
There are hundreds of meal replacement bars that can be purchased in grocery stores and online, but only a few are deemed the best at providing all the nutrients that a person needs in a single meal. Here are some of the healthiest meal replacement bars according to customer reviews.
The ZonePerfect Nutrition Bar not only provides 10 to 15 grams of protein, but it also contains 19 vitamins and minerals that can give a boost in your health.
The vitamins and minerals in this bar include antioxidants that can help fight toxins in your body. These toxins usually destroy cells and impede proper cell growth, which can cause severe illnesses like cancer and diabetes.
The bar comes in a variety of flavors, but the most popular ones are the Fudge Graham, the Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip, and the Caramel Cluster.
The LUNA Lemon Zest bar is perfect for those who want a citrus flavor for their meal replacement bars. It contains 8 grams of protein, which is lesser than the ZonePerfect Bar, but it is still sufficient as a replacement meal for breakfast or lunch.
In addition, the carbohydrates in the LUNA bar come from organic oats, which means that there are no harmful chemicals or pesticides used to grow the crop. The bar is gluten-free as well, making it suitable for those who are trying to lose weight.
For those who want the benefits of the LUNA bar in a sweeter flavor, then there is the LUNA Bar Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter variant.
All LUNA Bars contain organic sweeteners like can sugar syrup and brown rice, and some variants even include cashews and macadamia nuts for added protein.
The RSP Whole Bar contains 11 grams protein and 18 grams of quality fat, but what’s most surprising is that it only contains 4 grams of carbs, making it perfect for those who want to limit their sugar intake.
Moreover, the bar is made using cocoa butter and whey protein from pasture-raised cows. Its low carbohydrate content is also suitable for those who are doing a ketogenic or paleo diet.
The RSP Whole Bar’s most popular flavor is Coconut Cashew, which gives the bar a delightfully sweet and nutty flavor combination.
The PROBAR Meal Bar comes in a smaller package than the other bars on the list, which makes it able to fit in anyone’s pocket or inside a small compartment in a bag.
It contains 9 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, with all of these nutrients coming from the chia and flax seeds that are found in the bar. Along with chia and flax seeds, the bar also contains all-organic ingredients such as oats and nuts.
Like the LUNA Bar, the PROBAR Meal Bar is gluten-free and can be eaten by people who are always busy. Too much gluten in the body can often cause excessive tiredness and fatigue, which is why most meal replacement bears don’t have any gluten since they are primarily eaten by people who are always on the move.
While Kellogg’s is mostly known as a brand of cereals that aimed for children, they have also tapped on the health-conscious market by releasing meal replacement bars with the Special K label.
The Kellogg’s Special K bar contains 12 grams of protein, which is one of the highest on the list, but it has only 5 grams of total fat, which is the lowest.
Along with the said nutrients, the bar also has 13 essential vitamins and minerals to provide strength and protection for your body.
For people who want a lot of protein in their diet, then they should eat the MET-Rx Protein Bar, which has 30 grams of protein per serving.
A large amount of protein in the bar can help support lean muscle if you are working out or toning your muscles, and it also contains a few vitamins and minerals to increase your muscle strength further.
However, those who are on a diet to lose way may want to avoid eating this bar, as it has 47 grams of carbohydrates, a little higher than the usual intake of carbs in a meal.
The MET-Rx protein bar comes in eight different flavors that will surely suit the taste of anyone. The most popular flavors are Peanut Butter Pretzel, Super Cookie Crunch, and Chocolate Toasted Almond.
The IQ Bar will not only provide nutrition for your body, but it can also boost your mind to stay focused while working or studying. The bar’s brain-enhancing capabilities are given by six brain nutrients, namely Lion’s Mane, Omega-3, Flavonoids, Vitamin E, Choline, and MCT.
Besides its brain nutrients, the IQ Bar also contains 11 grams of protein and 19 grams of carbohydrates. The bar’s brain and body nutritional benefits make it an all-around meal replacement bar that you can eat as a snack or as a breakfast meal.
Those who need meal replacement bars that have lower grams of carbohydrates than the RSP Whole may want to try the NuGo Smarte Carb Bar, which only one to two grams of net carbs per serving.
However, the bar contains 20 grams of protein that is slightly higher than the average intake. But the high amount of protein is suitable for people who are working out and may need a lot of the said nutrient for muscle toning and strengthening.
Another protein-focused meal replacement bar, the BSN Protein Crisp has 20 grams of protein like the NuGo Smarte Carb Bar, but the nutrient is contained within a blend of ingredients such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and milk protein concentrate.
The bar also contains up to 25 grams of carbohydrates, but the amount depends on its flavor. Speaking of flavor, the BSN Protein Crisp comes in nine regular flavors, which are Chocolate Caramel Crunch, Chocolate, Crunch, Cookies & Cream, Mocha, Peanut Butter Crunch, S’mores, Salted Toffee Pretzel, Strawberry Crunch, and Vanilla Marshmallow. But the bar also has two special edition flavors that are created in collaboration with Cold Stone Creamery, and these flavors are Birthday Cake Remix and Mint Chocolate Chip.
These are just ten of the best meal replacement bars that are available online, so there may be hidden gems lying around grocery stores that could be better than the ones mentioned on this list. Before buying packs of 20 or 30, you should try at least one meal replacement bar and see if the product makes a difference in your diet.