Eating a healthy diet daily is an important part of overall health.

When you’re eating the proper vitamins and nutrients on a regular basis, you’ll find that you spend a lot less time at the doctor’s office and you have more energy to do the things you love.

If you’re missing meals, a meal replacement can help you get the nutrients you need when you otherwise might not get them.

Don’t confuse meal replacement shakes and bars with protein shakes and bars.

The protein ones are only meant to boost your protein intake (especially important for bodybuilders). But they don’t have enough calories in them to replace a meal or sustain you in energy for the portion of the day you’re taking them for (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).

What Are Meal Replacements?

Meal replacements, whether they come in the form of a bar or a shake, are meant to be a substitute for a solid meal.

Some people eat them due to busy lifestyles, while others use them to limit or control the number of calories or nutrients they are taking in.

Typical people that may use a meal replacement include weightlifters and older people, as well as people on-the-go (they’re great if you don’t have time to eat an actual meal). They use them for specific nutrients (like protein).

One of the usual ways people use them is through meal replacement shakes, including brands like Boost and Glucerna. Shakes and bars aren’t the only options. There are also meal replacement soups and supplements.

For some people, meal replacements replace only one meal a day. For other people, they may be used to replace more than one meal a day.

Often, meal replacements are prescribed by a doctor to boost a specific nutrient.

Most Popular Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars

There are many different brand names on meal replacements, as well as types (shakes, bars, soups, etc.) on the market – and not all of them are even advertised as meal replacements. You can tell if they’ll sustain you for a meal by looking at the ingredients, the nutrients in them, and by how many calories are in them.

If you’re looking for meal replacement products, no matter what for, here are some of the top-rated meal replacement bars and shakes that you may want to try.

1. KIND Bars

KIND bars come in all sorts of types, but for meal replacement at its finest, you want the nuts and spices options.  These are not just packed with omega-3 fatty acids (good for brain and heart health) and antioxidants (Vitamin E from the nuts), but they also contain a nice protein punch.

KIND bars have lower sugar content than many other meal replacement bars. They’re an excellent option, and they actually taste great.

2. Idealshake

Idealshake is a popular option when it comes to meal replacement shakes, mainly because they did everything they could to ensure that all of the key vitamins and nutrients were found within. This is definitely the best meal replacement powder.

Made by Idealshape, Idealshake is packed in protein and works as a multivitamin. It doesn’t contain a ton of fiber, but enough. It’s also low in sugar.

3. Simply Protein

Developed by a registered dietitian, the Simply Protein bar is made with just the right amount of protein. It’s enough to give you an afternoon boost, but not too much. Too much protein is about as bad as not enough (take in too much, and your body won’t be able to absorb it.

4. Vega One All-in-One Shake

If you’re avoiding all animal byproducts, including whey (which is made from milk), the Vega One shake is one of the best options for meal replacement shakes. It’s made from 100-percent hemp protein and vegan pea.

This is a high in protein and fiber choice in mixes, and it even has some probiotics in it. Probiotics keep your gut healthy. It’s also sweetened with Stevia.

5. Larabar

If you want awesome taste, Larabar has an abundance of delicious flavors you’ll be happy to enjoy in place of any meal. Larabar is made with fruits and nuts. However, they do contain a bit of sugar, so eat them sparingly.

Consider Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars

While store-bought powders and shakes, and even bars, are great – you can make your own at home. You just need some good recipes, some free time, and a love of being in the kitchen.

According to MyProtein, there are some specific ingredients you’ll want to include in your meal replacement shakes to make sure they do what they need to. This includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fruits and vegetables. You can get these different ingredients from various sources.

For shakes, you’ll need a blender (a traditional style blender will work, or consider purchasing a NutriBullet or a Ninja blender).

For homemade meal replacement bars, you will want ingredients like oats, nuts, and dried fruit. There are any number of recipes available online, but this simple one uses oats and nuts for a great protein boost.

When to Grab a Meal Replacement

You don’t have to have a doctor’s permission to skip a meal.

If you find yourself in a rush in the morning, grab a meal replacement bar on the way to work.

Meal replacements give you the boost you need to get through the morning, and you can power up again at lunch with a healthy salad.

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