To use meal replacement bars and shakes, or not to use them, that is the question. Today we’re going to break it down with an easy list of pros and cons that will help you come to your own conclusion about if or how often you want to add these into your daily diet.
There’s no argument that meal replacement bars and shakes can be a perfect solution, but when and exactly how often? Keep reading to find the answer.
Pro: Nutrient dense with a controlled amount of calories
Quality meal replacement bars and shakes are loaded with vitamins and minerals that will help keep your body energized when you’re in a pinch and need a boost. You also know exactly what you’re getting into calorically speaking. There are no surprises, making it a stress-free option during a busy day.
Con: Sometimes they’re too low in calories, causing too much of a caloric deficit
Don’t get swindled by the “100 Calorie meal replacement bar!” advertising. 100 calories is not enough calories for a meal. We all know when you’re trying to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit, but you don’t want to go crazy. Eating too little is going to tank your energy and your progress.
Not only do meal replacement bars and shakes not require cooking, they’re also a breeze to grab on the go and a snap to track in the iTrackBites app. This means you can keep up with your daily tasks, and still hit your wellness goals sans stress.
Con: Ingredients can get sketchy and sometimes they taste like cardboard.
You have to be extra careful when choosing your bars and shakes. It’s easy to miss loads of hidden sugars or other chemicals, so you want to make sure you’re reading the labels thoroughly.
What to look for when shopping for meal replacement bars and shakes:
- Does it have protein, carbs and fat
- Does it contain Fiber
- Does it contain a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals
- Does it contain poly-unsaturated fatty acids like Omega-3s
- Be mindful of the added sugar and other chemicals
Most of these bars and shakes are also lacking in phytochemicals, which means you still need to eat your leafy greens no matter how many vitamins and minerals you’re getting in your meal replacements.
Pro: They can fill in the gaps of nutritional deficiencies
It’s common for people to be at least somewhat deficient in vitamin D and magnesium. Meal replacement bars and shakes can be a great solution to get in extra vitamins and minerals you may otherwise be missing.
Con: Excessive nutrition
If you’re grabbing these meal replacements as a quick snack rather than a meal, you’re already taking vitamins every day and eating a relatively balanced diet, you could end up with an over excess of certain vitamins in your system, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. These bars and shakes should be reserved for actual meal replacements, not just a quick snack between meals.
All-in-all, meal replacement bars and shakes can be a great tool to help you stick to your diet, but they’re not necessarily great for forming long-term habits. They also tend to be costly, averaging anywhere from $2-$4 per bar/shake.
However, if you utilize them sparingly and continue filling the majority of your diet with whole foods, they can truly be the perfect supplement to your already stellar wellness plan.