TOP-10 Best Meal Replacement Bars | 2020 Informative Buyer’s Guide
What is the best meal replacement bar? First of all, you should buy your meal bars only from reliable brands to avoid low-quality products. Secondly, choose high-protein meal replacement bars to support your lean muscles and aid muscle recovery after physical exercises. Thirdly, the product should be high in fiber, which is essential for your digestive health and will help you feel full for hours. Scientific studies show that greater fiber intake is beneficial to weight loss. At the same time, make sure that it is low in sugar and carbs. Another thing to consider is the choice of flavors. The more taste options are available, the better. You may not like one flavor but you may become a fan of another. And finally, look at the calorie amount. A meal bar with more than 250 calories will not suit those on a low-calorie diet. We believe that Quest Nutrition Ultimate Variety Pack meets these criteria best.
Why have we chosen it? This meal bar is produced by Quest Nutrition, a trustworthy California-based company that makes a wide range of protein bars, shakes, cookies, and powders. One serving of this product contains 20g of protein, 8g of fats, 5g of net carbs, and 16g of dietary fiber. This product is cost-efficient as one pack includes twelve 60-gram meal bars. For this money, you will enjoy 12 different flavors ranging from oatmeal, chocolate, creamy cookies to mint chocolate and peanut butter. The bar is low in sugar and has only 200 calories, which makes it a great option for a low-calorie diet. The product is free of gluten and all the ingredients are natural.
What Is A Meal Replacement Bar?
A meal replacement bar is a low-calorie substitute for one of your meals. These products provide you with quick energy and, more importantly, with essential macronutrients and micronutrients. Such a bar typically contains a balanced amount of fats, carbs, and protein so that your body could receive everything necessary to function properly. Except for keto products, meal replacement bars generally do not have too much of any of these nutrients.
Quite often, they are rich in protein, a component that is crucial for building and repairing muscles. Besides, these bars should contain beneficial amino acids and fatty acids including Omega-3, an important nutrient that has the ability to prevent heart diseases, protect the skin from inflammation and is beneficial to the brain. And last but not least, meal replacement bars should include vitamins and minerals in sufficient quantities — approximately 20% of your daily intake requirements.
Are meal replacement bars healthy?
Well, the first thing you should know about these products is that you must not use them to replace all the meals. This is a supplement, not a full-fledged substitute for a full-course meal. So if you eat these products in moderation, they are healthy. The next factor that determines whether a replacement bar is healthy is the ingredients. Not all products are created equal. Those products that are rich in calories, sugar and contain extra synthetic ingredients are more likely to be unhealthy.
What are the benefits of meal replacement bars?
- They will allow you to reduce calorie intake as one bar normally contains no more than 250 calories. For this reason, dieting experts often recommend meal replacement bars for weight loss.
- They are a healthier alternative to fast-food snacks. If you have an active lifestyle, these products can be a better option than pizza, chips, and crackers.
- Protein-rich meal replacement bars can be used by athletes to improve muscle mass gain.
- They will boost your energy levels.
Best meal replacement bar effectiveness
According to Diane L. Smith from Michigan State University, there is a growing demand for meal replacement bars. This kind of product is particularly popular with customers who do workouts because they “realize the importance of maintaining stable blood sugar.” Those people know that taking six small meals a day is more effective for improving their exercise performance. Other frequent consumers of meal replacements are children. As a study shows, more than 89% of households with children reported using these products.
Michelle G Kulovitz from the University of New Mexico notes that meal replacements are especially effective for weight reduction, which is confirmed by multiple trials. These studies indicate that “the mere substitution of one smaller portioned meal each day is sufficient to elicit a meaningful reduction in daily energy intake”.
Can You Lose Weight By Eating Meal Replacement Bars?
Yes, you can. To be precise, you can slim down by substituting some of your meals with these bars. However, not all these products are equally good for this purpose. So which protein bars are best for weight loss?
Jennifer Ventrelle, dietitian at Rush University Medical Center, suggests reading the label more carefully. If the product is high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, it would be a bad choice for you. For those who want to shed extra pounds, she recommends buying bars that contain no more than 150 calories to replace a snack. If you are going to use it instead of a meal, choose a product with no more than 350 calories. Another valuable advice from Jennifer is to have these bars not more often than once a day.
Keep in mind that meal replacement bars are just a short-term solution. For longer-term results, you will have to change your lifestyle and opt for healthier foods. How do meal replacement bars help you to lose weight? First, you know exactly the size of the portion as well as the number of calories and nutrients you consume. The thing is that many dieters have difficulties with estimating the number of calories consumed. Indeed, it is not as simple as it seems. Secondly, you eat fewer calories while receiving all the necessary nutrients. And thirdly, these products allow you to avoid calorie-rich snacks between meals.
How To Choose Best Meal Replacement Bars?
There are several things to consider when shopping for your meal replacement bar. A good option should contain a balanced ratio of fats, protein, and fiber.
- Protein. Choose a bar containing between 15 and 25 grams of protein. A smaller amount of this essential compound will not be sufficient for replacing a meal. As a reference, you get 20 grams of protein with a steak or 3 eggs. Protein is an important building block of blood, body tissues, and bones. This compound is especially crucial for gaining lean muscles and muscle recovery, which is why high-protein food is an integral part of athletes’ diets.
- Carbs. Our bodies cannot do without carbohydrates, but you can significantly reduce carb intake.
- Fiber is needed for your digestive health and allows you to feel fuller for a longer period of time. A healthy bar should include no less than 5 grams of fiber.
- Sugar. Best weight loss meal replacement bars should be sugar-free or contain no more than 5 grams of sugar. Some manufacturers use natural ingredients but they are essentially the same sugar. These are glucose, fructose, honey, all sorts of syrups, inverted sugar and the like.
- Fats. If you are on a keto diet, you can safely choose bars that are high in fats. What you must definitely avoid are low-quality fats. These are trans fats, soybean, peanut, hydrogenated fats as well as coconut oil and butter.
Apart from that, we recommend you to choose GMO- and gluten-free products. You should also avoid buying bars that include artificial additives and sweeteners.
Types of Meal Replacement Bars
Depending on whether you need to slim down, build up muscles or simply a healthier snack on the go, you can choose your type of meal replacement bar. There are all-natural, soy-free, gluten-free and organic options that are good for those who want to have a healthier lifestyle. People who follow a vegan diet will also benefit from such products.
Those on a diet should choose low-sugar, low-carb, and low-calorie meal replacement bars. Not all meals that are small in size are low in calories. That is why you should read the label carefully, including the small print. Alternatively, if you want to build up muscles and improve your workout performance, opt for high-protein and high-calorie meal replacement bars. If you are on a ketogenic diet, keto bars will be very helpful for you. As a reference, this type of diet is meant to stimulate the creation of ketones. These are acids that remain when your body burns fat. As a result, a keto diet encourages your body to burn fats for fuel rather than use carbs.
Popular Brands of Meal Replacement Bars
SlimFast meal replacement bars are hugely in demand among dieters. This is a reputable company that offers nutrition products that help people lose weight fast and in a healthy way. Its product range includes shakes, smoothie mixes, snacks, and meal bars. SlimFast also offers product lines for people with diabetes, keto dieters and those who are looking for an energy boost.
MET-Rx meal replacement bars are rich in protein — up to 30 grams of this nutrient per item. They offer bars of different delicious tastes ranging from chocolate and peanut butter to vanilla caramel and jelly donut crunch. The company has been in the market for about 20 years and is well-known for the quality of its products. MET-Rx bars are intended mainly for workout enhancement and promoted as the training fuel.
Atkins meal replacement bars are the best choice for those who are on a low-carb diet. The company was established by a cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins in 1996. He carried out research in the mid-50s and discovered the benefits of carbohydrate restriction for weight loss. The first Atkins meal replacement bar was launched in 1997.
TOP-10 Best Meal Replacement Bars
Below, you find the 10 best meal replacement bars at a price ranging from $7 to $10. These products are available in different flavors, including chocolate, almond, peanut butter, caramel, orange, vanilla, just to name the few. Some products are rich in protein while others are high in fiber. The former is a recommended option for workout enhancement while the latter is the best choice for weight loss goals.
1. Quest Nutrition Ultimate | Best Low-Carb Meal Replacement Bars
This is the most popular item on our list that has gained over 16,500 ratings. Why? First of all, it is a good buy. For about $25, you get as many as 12 (!) meal bars of different flavors. The set of flavors is really impressive. One day you eat the blueberry muffin or oatmeal chocolate bar, the other day you enjoy the taste of creamy cookies and mint chocolate. In the morning, you can enjoy the flavor of white chocolate with raspberry or peanut butter while in the middle of the day, the chocolate brownie meal bar seems to be the right choice.
Another upside of this meal bar is a balanced amount of fats, carbs, and protein. One serving contains 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fats, about 5 grams of net carbs, no more than 3 grams of sugar, and as much as 16 grams of dietary fiber. Protein is essential as a building block for your muscles while fiber will help you to shed extra pounds. A study published by a group of experts in 2015 says that consuming 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis can significantly contribute to weight loss success. And, as you can see, this product is high in fiber. Besides, each 60-gram bar has only 200 calories, meaning you can safely incorporate it into your low-calorie diet. And finally, it includes natural ingredients, is gluten-free and has no added sugars.
2. Wonderslim Weight Loss Meal Replacement Bars | Best For Weight Loss
With only 160 calories, this nutrition bar will save you from hunger without compromising your weight loss goals. It has a nice flavor of dark chocolate marshmallow and it is not sticky-sweet. So you can safely eat it any time of the day as a meal replacement. Besides, the bar is available in 8 other flavors, so that you could choose your favorite one: nutty almond, crispy peanut, vanilla caramel, cinnamon, and others.
The product includes 15 grams of protein and 17 essential vitamins and minerals. It is low in carbs and sugar, which makes it a perfect choice of a low-calorie or low-carb diet. This bar has earned 4 out of 5 stars and a lot of positive customer reviews. Many of them say that they are satisfied with the product and will continue to purchase it. As for flavors, the buyers prefer crispy peanut and crispy cinnamon, however, it is a matter of taste.
3. Truwomen Plant-Fueled Protein Bars | Best For Women
This product contains 12 grams of protein, which is sufficient but not excessive. I mean if your goal is to enhance your workout results, this is not the best choice. But for a woman who is looking for natural and healthy snacks or meal replacements, that’s the real deal. The Truwomen bars are vegan-certified, free of GMOs and gluten. They are made with roasted cashews, cassava flour, cocoa butter, and other healthy ingredients. The manufacturer uses organic cane sugar as a sweetener, without adding artificial additives.
The amount of calories ranges from 190 to 200 kcal per serving depending on the flavor. The product also contains 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of saturated fats as well as vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. As for the flavors, you have a lot of choices here. Depending on your preferences, you can pick donut, orange cream, cookie dough or zesty lemon flavor. In their reviews, many customers say that the taste is amazing while ingredients are simple and healthy.
4. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Bars | Best Vegan Meal Replacement Bars
If you are a vegetarian, meal replacement bars will be particularly helpful for you. They will provide you with all the necessary nutrients and minerals. That said, not all of these products are vegan-friendly. The Orgain Protein Bar meets vegetarian requirements as it is based on extracts from 12 plants, and furthermore, is organic.
One serving contains 6 grams of fiber, 20 grams of saturated fats, calcium, iron, and potassium. Protein (10 grams per serving) is extracted from chia seeds and brown rice. No artificial flavors or preservatives. The product is also gluten- and lactose-free while all the ingredients are USDA organic. The bar does have sugar, but only 4 grams and it does not seem to affect the calorie content of the product. One 40-gram bar contains as little as 140 calories.
Purchasers like the ingredients’ quality. One of them, Jeffrey, described the product as a “game-changing bar”, pinpointing what makes the product special: high-quality organic ingredients, fantastic taste, and the balance of protein, carbs, and fat.
5. SlimFast Keto Meal Replacement Bars | Best For Keto
This product is marketed as an optimal ketogenic nutrition bar, and rightly so. As you might know, a keto diet is a low-carb diet that forces your body to use fats for energy production. In SlimFast Keto Meal bars, as many as 120 out of 190 calories per serving come from fats, not carbohydrates. Besides, the product contains 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of dietary fiber as well as a legion of vitamins and minerals. These are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B12, iron, niacin, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, riboflavin, and many more.
For some $10, you will get a pack of five individual meal bars, 42 grams each. The brand SlimFast is one of the most trusted and boasts a 40-year history. The company uses only clinically proven solutions and high-quality ingredients. The bar is free from gluten, artificial flavors, and sweeteners. It will satisfy your hunger without adding extra pounds to your body, stimulate your metabolism, and energize you for the whole day. The manufacturer promises that you will see results as early as a week.
6. Pure Protein Bars | Best High-Protein Meal Replacement Bars
I recommend this product to anyone who wants to enhance his or her workout routine while staying full and slim. With a whopping 20 grams of protein and only 3 grams of sugar, this thing will boost your energy levels and provide your muscles with much-needed proteins. What I like about this bar is that in addition to cocoa powder, it contains milk chocolate drops based on cocoa butter. As a reference, cocoa powder generally has no more than 10% of cocoa butter. The latter is a healthier ingredient that makes the product more delicious because it is a pure fat extracted from cacao beans. That is why this bar is so delicious!
Eat this bar before or after your fitness exercises or use it as a snack while on the go. This meal replacement bar is highly popular among buyers and has gained over 2,500 ratings, most of which are positive. One of them says that she has managed to drop as many as 18 pounds because this bar is good at curbing sweet cravings.
7. SlimFast Bakeshop Meal Replacement Bars | Best SlimFast Meal Replacement Bars
This is another product from SlimFast, but higher in protein. Namely, it contains 15 grams of this nutrient, including whey protein concentrate. All the flavors are natural while the amount of sugar does not exceed 1 gram. It is also rich in dietary fiber, with one serving accounting for 20% of your daily needs. Like the above-described SlimFast meal bar, this one also boasts a wide range of vitamins and minerals, something that makes it a truly nutritious.
Some customers complain that this product differs from the original “cookie dough” meal replacement bar. The manufacturer has changed the flavor and texture of the bar by adding the crunch and making it sweeter. It seems that regular buyers have not appreciated this solution, though. Still, there are positive reviews. One customer says that this bar keeps her from getting hungry for hours because it is very thick. And this is a good thing, she added. By the way, it has only 180 calories.
8. MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Protein Bars | Best MET-Rx Meal Replacement Bars
MET-Rx is known for its high protein meal replacement products and this one is literally packed with proteins. Thirty-two grams per serving might seem to be a knockout dose, but not for those who are engaged in bodybuilding and weightlifting exercises. So if you need to gain lean muscle and help them recover faster, this is the best! Another advantage of this bar is that it contains only natural flavors and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
The product is high in calories, with one serving containing as many as 410 calories. Well, it is not something you will want as an addition to a low-calorie diet. The bar also has 42 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fats, and 3 grams of fiber. Customers rate it highly, with 64% of buyers giving it five stars. They say that these meal replacement bars will fill you up for hours to come and are good for those who work out heavily.
9. Luna Bar | Best-Tasting Meal Replacement Bars
When it comes to flavors, this product leads the pack. You can choose the satisfying tastes of salted caramel, peanut butter, and white chocolate or the fresh flavors of lemon and blueberry. The seller offers a variety pack that includes 12 bars of 6 different flavors. One serving has 8 grams of protein, 13% of saturated fats and 3% of fiber.
Another upside of this product is that it is based on plant extracts and is an excellent vegan snack. It is GMO-free and is made with organic chocolate. The sugars it includes have a low glycemic index while all flavors are natural. The product has gained over 1,600 ratings, with 80% of the buyers giving it 5 stars. They like the taste and the quality of ingredients. the buyers say it is delicious without being overly sweet and is a great pick for traveling.
10. Atkins Protein-Rich Meal Bar | Best Atkins Meal Replacement Bars
This is another keto-friendly meal bar from a reputable manufacturer. With only 2 grams of net carbs, this product is a perfect choice for keto dieters. The bar has only 190 calories and 80 of them are fat calories. It is also high in fiber, which makes it ideal for weight loss. One serving contains 11 grams of fiber, which accounts for more than 40% of the daily value. Rich in protein, this bar will also suit the needs of athletes.
The bar has the flavor of almond butter with chocolate, which is highly popular among consumers. Many buyers rate it highly, claiming that “Atkins is the best!”. They use it as a snack or a nutritious breakfast, saying it is a great thing to fight the hunger. These bars will satisfy your cravings for sweets and are amazingly chewy. However, some purchasers complain that the product has an overwhelmingly sweet taste.
10 Best Meal Replacement Bars Comparative Table
Can I lose weight by using meal replacement bars?
These products are a good addition to any weight loss diet plan. They are generally low in calories and help you to curb appetite. You can use them to replace a meal or a snack and thus reduce calorie intake. But remember that using meal bars without following a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle will not make you slimmer.
Can bars be used as a meal replacement?
Yes, this is exactly what they are meant for. But never try to replace all your meals with these bars as it may harm your health.
Do meal replacement bars really work?
Yes, they do. Otherwise, meal bars would not be so popular. Most quality bars will make you full for several hours while providing all the necessary nutrients.
How much protein is in meal replacement bars?
Depending on the product, the protein content in one serving ranges from about 7 to 30 grams.
Are meal replacement bars suitable for children?
Yes, many parents prefer to give their kids meal bars, instead of chips and other unhealthy foods. However, when it comes to kids, you should not replace a balanced meal with these bars. They cannot fully satisfy the needs of a child’s growing organism, but they are good as a healthy alternative to snacks.
Pros and Cons of meal replacement bars
To sum up, let’s take a brief look at some advantages and disadvantages of these products.
- You will consume fewer calories.
- You will receive a large number of beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Protein-rich bars will help you improve your workout performance.
- Meal bars are very helpful when you have no time for preparing a meal.
- They are a healthier alternative to snacks and will help you stave off hunger while on the go.
- Most products contain a lot of sugar.
- Do not provide long-term results for weight loss.
- A full-course meal is still healthier than these bars.