It can be tough to fulfill your daily nutrition needs from food when you have a busy schedule—especially if you’re training hard in the gym and on the practice field. Next time you’re in a rush, instead of skipping a meal, maintain your gains by grabbing a meal replacement bar.
What Is It?
A meal replacement bar (MRB) is intended to do exactly what its name suggests—replace a meal. But not all nutrition bars are meal replacement bars. Jose Antonio, CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, says a MRB must deliver the calories and nutrients you would expect to get from a meal, including a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Protein bars are usually low in carbs and fat, making them insufficient meal replacement options.
When Should You Eat One?
An MRB is great when you’re pressed for time. If you hit the snooze button too many times, you can eat one for breakfast. They also work well in the bus en route to away games. Antonio says, “It should serve as a replacement when you can’t eat a meal. Sometimes you just don’t have the time, and a meal replacement bar is perfect.” Just don’t make MRBs a habit. Limit them to times when you’re in a pinch.
What To Look For?
Antonio recommends selecting MRBs that are high in protein but low in sugar. Too many sweet calories pack on the wrong kind of pounds, limiting your performance.
Clif Builder’s Bar
Contains slow-digesting carbs for sustained energy.
EAS Myoplex Strength Formula Nutrition Bar
A good post-workout choice, because it provides a large dose of protein to fuel muscle recovery.
Gatorade G Series Pro 01 Prime Nutrition Bar
Formulated with performance in mind, this bar includes both whey and casein protein, vitamins and minerals.
Advocare Meal Replacement Bar
Boasts a proper nutritional balance of carbs and protein and is low in both fat and sugar.