A meal replacement or a protein bar may be the smartest additions to your fitness regimen
If your goal is to lose weight, get fit, and build muscle then it’s important to eat correctly. By now you should know that it’s super important to be strict about what you eat. But it’s also super important to consider when and how often you eat. In this case, that means eating frequently. Like, 5-6 meals a day!
If you have your own chef or a kitchen assistant (or super-dedicated spouse!), then it’s easy. But for regular people who also juggle work, a household, and family commitments, the meal meal prep can be a real challenge…
That’s why meal replacements and protein bars should be a top priority on your grocery list.
Meal replacements generally come in two formats – Ready to Drink (RTD) products or Meal Replacement Powders
(MRP), in an array of flavours to satisfy even the most discerning of consumers. Meal replacements are an ideal option to take the place of one or two of your daily meals.
The best MRPs on the market have generally been formulated for those people striving for fat reduction and the preservation of lean body mass. That is why they are low in carbs and fat, and provide a healthy dose of protein to support lean muscle building/toning, and are often fortified with nutraceuticals that support fat burning, such as L-Carnitine, Chromium Picolinate, Green Tea Extract.
Just remember, if fat loss/toning is your goal, then be sure to read the label and try to choose meal replacements that provide at least a 2:1 protein to carb ratio. Some supplement manufacturers use the words “meal replacement” pretty loosely, so it’s not uncommon to find a high carb, high calorie shake labelled as an MRP. Steer clear of these products if it’s a lean, toned physique you’re seeking.
RTDs provide the benefit of convenience in that they are already made and require no preparation, but they usually cost more because of their packaging and all the distribution that they require behind the scenes. On the other hand, the tubs of bulk powder offer you real value for money.
Using one of these meal replacement products to replace meals once, or from time to time even twice daily, in conjunction with exercise and a sensible diet can therefore be a smart, convenient approach to support your efforts in building a better body.
Liquid meals (protein powders, MRPs and RTDs) can leave you feeling a little “empty”, especially when you’re on a strict meal plan. If this is the case then protein bars may be exactly what you are looking for. The better protein bars are formulated to provide a healthy meal alternative, all wrapped up and packaged in a quick and easy snack-sized serving.
Not only do protein bars offer a much healthier alternative to your typical candy bar snack, but in the past few years protein bar manufacturers have taken taste to new levels. So which bar is right for you? If you are trying to lose fat or weight, you will most likely want a low-carb, low-calorie bar. The extra protein will help you maintain lean mass. If, on the other hand, you are trying to gain muscle, you would want a high protein bar that’s relatively low in fat.
As you can see, one of the most important habits you can develop in the pursuit of a lean, strong body is that of reading labels. It’s critical to understand how much energy, protein, carbohydrates (and sugar) and fats you’re getting in every serving of your food, so you can manage your calorie intake (and nutritional needs) effectively.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.