What do meal bars and shakes do for my diet and exercise plan?

Meal bars and shakes can be used in a healthy diet and exercise plan as a supplement to a healthy diet, but should not be exclusively utilized as your only source of nutrition. They are great when you're looking for something quick and relatively healhty as a snack or small meal.  They are portion controlled and are great when you're in a rush!   Bars and shakes can be kept in your gym bag as a quick option for a post workout snack.  It is still important to read the ingredients on your bars or shakes, as many contain added sugars and calories.  Finding bars and shakes with natural ingredients and minimal processing is ideal. 
Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT

Well, they don’t really DO anything by themselves. The most common uses of these products are as a convenient meal or snack and pre or post workout meal to help with performance and recovery. They are portable and portion controlled, so they are an easily tracked addition to your daily food plan. Life gets hectic and there aren’t always convenient or healthful food choices around. Incorporating bars and/or shakes (often referred to as meal replacements) into your day can make sticking to a productive eating plan a lot easier. In fact, people who use 1-2 meal replacements per day as part of their healthy weight loss program lose an average of 169% more weight than those that rely on food alone.

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