Fact Checked

How do I Choose the Best Meal Replacement Bars?

Mandi R. Hall
Mandi R. Hall

Meal replacement bars, or MRBs, as they are often called in the bodybuilding world, are bars of food intended to be used as a substitute for a traditional meal. To choose the best one, you should take the flavor, nutritional content, cost, and overall health benefits into consideration. These bars are similar to candy bars or granola bars, but filled with healthier ingredients such as protein and fiber instead of fattening chocolate and nougat. While often grouped in the same category as energy bars or protein mars, these bars are not the same. The ratio of typical ingredients of each bar type is what sets them apart from one another, and it’s up to each consumer to decide which set of ingredients and supplements is most important to him.

Because they are meant to serve as an entire meal, meal replacement bars are filled with nutritional, energy-providing ingredients. Carbohydrates, various sugars, fiber, fat, vitamins, minerals, and proteins are usually included on the packaging label. The carbohydrates are meant to provide consumers with energy to last them until the next meal or snack. Energy bars typically contain more carbohydrates than MRBs, while meal replacement bars generally contain more protein and fiber, which help the digestive process. Your best bet might be to choose one with a higher carb content for your morning meal supplement, and a fiber-filled bar for the afternoon.

Meal replacement bars often made ingredients laden with carbohydrates and sugars.
Meal replacement bars often made ingredients laden with carbohydrates and sugars.

Meal replacement bars also help concerned dieters measure their food intake. Because specific ingredients and amounts of each supplement are labeled on each package, dieters can record calories and overall food intake with ease each day. Additionally, if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthier diet, MRBs can you help recognize appropriate portion control.

When dieters see how full they can get from eating one bar, it often helps them realize they don’t need huge plates of food to satisfy their appetites. The portability of meal replacement bars is also an advantage. If you cycle everywhere, or often find yourself in a hurry, you may find meal replacement bars to be an easier option than consistently cooking healthy, protein-rich entrees.

Meal replacement bars come in many flavors. Chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry yogurt, and popular cookie and cereal choices are regularly marketed flavors. Many well-known food manufacturers offer lines of MRBs.

Using popular flavors helps reel consumers in, as consumers who are already familiar with a taste may be more likely to purchase it. If you are fond of one brand’s cereals, for example, you may want to try that company’s meal replacement bars. Additionally, if you are allergic to peanuts, carefully check each bar’s ingredients label. Even if the bar itself doesn’t contain peanuts, it may have been made by the same machine that manufactures a peanut bar.

Though calorie counts widely vary among meal replacement bars, most are between 200 and 500 calories, which is the equivalent of a large snack or small, nutritional meal. If you find it difficult eating a dessert-like or chalk-like substance for every meal, however, you may want to choose your favorite meal replacement bar and replace just one meal a day with it. There are other meal replacement options, too, such as liquid meal replacement, meal replacement mix for use in homemade smoothies or milkshakes, and cereals, soups, and ice cream products, as well.

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    • Meal replacement bars often made ingredients laden with carbohydrates and sugars.
      By: baibaz
      Meal replacement bars often made ingredients laden with carbohydrates and sugars.