It’s important to keep in mind that meal replacement products aren’t recommended as a total substitute for food, as per KC Wright, MS, RDN, LD.
Her article featured in Today’s Dietitian list tips that clients should be aware of when purchasing close to 175 possible meal replacement product manufacturers snacks and convenient foods:
1)Adequate fiber should be available to increase satiety and aid in proper digestion.
2) Macronutrients ( carbohydrates, protein and fat) should be nutrient dense with minimal sugar added. Protein should be at least 20 grams. Bars are typically low in protein and real ingredients.
3) Whole food ingredient bars including vegetables, fruits, and nuts would add to increased energy and healthy monounsaturated fats, respectively.
4) Vitamin and mineral content and quality should be considered and analyzed along with any supplements already included in the diet.
5) Because the FDA doesn’t routinely text meal replacement products for quality before sale, the content of nutrients and toxic substances can be determined only with laboratory testing. It’s imperative to thoroughly review ingredient and nutrition labels.
6) Retain a small supply of whole foods in the car, office, handbag and suitcase. Whole foods are less expensive than meal replacement products and many times healthier.
Contact a dietitian to “help navigate the vast marketplace for products that are safe and serve their purpose”, per KC Wright.[