Owner/Director of Nutrition Energy, NYC, explains how to make sure you're choosing the right ones and what else you should be eating to round out your diet.
Lauren: Protein shakes and bars. Are they helpful in terms of getting us to lose weight? Sometimes. The answer depends on you. If you're really busy, not finding time to cook, grabbing things on the go, which are probably higher in fat and total calories than you like, then you may benefit from a protein shake or bar that has protein and fiber instead of grabbing those things. If you are going to use protein shakes and bars, I want you to make sure that you do so in moderation. So you still need to make sure you're eating your fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. You always want to include at least two healthy, balanced meals. So for example, if you wanted to grab a protein shake or make a protein shake for breakfast and use some sort of bar or shake for one or two snacks, then absolutely be sure that you include a lean protein, complex carb, and non-starchy vegetables for at least lunch and dinner. In terms of how to look for a protein shake, more is not necessarily better. You're not necessarily looking for 50 grams of protein or any fancy bells and whistles, we're just looking for very basic whey protein. Maybe you mix it with fruit, maybe you mix it with water, maybe it's a ready to drink product, but it doesn't need to be anything crazy. In terms of bars, bars can be very helpful and useful. What I like to see in a bar is a high combination of protein plus fiber, because protein and fiber are filling. And what I also like to see in a bar, real foods on that ingredient list that I can identify, or looking at the package, real foods that you can actually visualize. If you are going to include bars and shakes as part of your weight loss plan, it can be a very healthy way, just try to make sure that the ingredients in those bars are coming from good foods.
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