Do you recommend a certain kind of protein bar over another? I've tried the following bars: Pure Protein, Luna, Slim Fast, Special K. I'm not sure if protein bars are a good way to supplement for protein or not...? Thanks, Amy!

Protein and meal replacement bars can be found all over supermarket shelves. They are utilized for many reasons. Some people use these to help curb appetite and can be a low calorie meal replacement item. Others use protein bars as a supplemental way to increase protein in their diet. The bars that you listed are all somewhat similar in their approximate nutrient value (with the exception of the Pure Protein bar). They contain similar amounts of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat. The Pure Protein bar contains minimal carbohydrates and has at least 3 times as much protein.

Generally protein and meal replacement bars can be consumed as part of a healthy diet. They would be a much healthier choice than a fast food meal or snack (like a fried chicken sandwich, French fries and a milkshake) but they do not contain the nutritional health benefits of choosing a well-balanced and varied diet. Many of the bars do contain some vitamins and minerals but this is not the same as the natural phytochemicals, fiber, and balanced vitamins and minerals that you would get from whole foods.

Overall protein bars may be a quick and convenient way to get additional protein. They can be used as a snack or a pre-workout source of energy. I do not necessarily recommend one bar over another, but I would advise you to check the labels on the bars. Try to avoid bars that contain palm oil or partially hydrogenated fats. Choose bars high in fiber and low in saturated fat. Vary intake of the protein bars with other high protein snacks: half of a whole grain bagel with light cream cheese, an apple with peanut butter or low fat yogurt with fresh berries.

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