Meal Replacement and Protein Bars
Making the best choice
There are tons of snack bars out there in today’s society, which begs the question: Which is the best meal replacement bar snack?
Most people assume that the “traditional” bars are the best option because these bars generally come in large sizes and offer many different types of bars (such as chocolate bars, peanuts, etc.), as well as various flavors and fillings. However, these types of bars usually lack one key element: protein!
Meal replacement bar and a typical protein bar are actually not the same things; in short, some are nutritionally poor and completely unbalanced.
The best meal replacement bars are those that come loaded with micronutrients, both carbohydrates and proteins. These kinds of bars provide the body with everything it needs in order to properly rebuild cells and maintain muscle tissue throughout the day. For example, the carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables contain the necessary micronutrients to help the body replace those nutrients as it breaks them down.
Likewise, proteins-in the form of chicken, fish, or egg-are great sources of protein that the body can use for energy. Also, the fats found in nuts, eggs, or oils are also great sources of fat that the body can use for energy. All of these nutrients are important for building muscle tissue and muscle strength, so make sure that the bars that you choose have all of these important ingredients.
While protein is important for the maintenance of healthy muscles, consuming it immediately following exercise can allow your muscles to recover more quickly, allowing you to work out harder and longer without the risk of muscle soreness or inflammation. This is one of the reasons protein bars are such a great way to add protein to your post-workout meal. Protein bars make hitting those post-workout macros so much easier than it used to be just a few decades ago. However, not all protein bars are the same.
The best protein bars will give you information telling you how many carbs and fats are in the products you are buying; this should be the first place to look. Ingredients are key in maintaining your goals whether you are building muscle or losing fat.
The best thing to keep in mind with meal replacement and protein bars is even though they are a good tool, they are not a replacement for whole meals. Try not to get in the habit of choosing a bar over whole food for convenience sake. However, use them as a good source to make better choices when in a bind. You have to treat a protein bar as you would any other food, and if you see too many unfamiliar words on the ingredients list, just put it back on the shelf.
The Bottom Line: Check the ingredients and calories to make sure you are eating the right amount of quality ingredients for optimal results.