11 Best Meal Replacement Bars (2024 Review) Great Taste 

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: January 3, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Christiana Mikesch, CPT
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Having tried numerous meal replacement shakes, I have found that while they offer nutritional benefits, they may not be the most practical option for those on the go.

From my experience, nutrition bars packed with natural and essential ingredients can be a more convenient snack option, helping curb those midday hunger pangs.

The problem is, though, that the majority of nutrition bars are not that nutritious. And with tons of sugar, they might do you more harm than good.

So, our team tested over 50 products throughout 30 days to develop a list of the best meal replacement bars.

The Best Meal Replacement Bars

Editor's Choice
IQ Bar
IQ Bar
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price
2nd Best Choice
GoMacro MacroBar Organic Vegan Protein Bars
GoMacro
Rated 4.8/5
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
Zoneperfect Nutrition Bar
Zoneperfect
Rated 4.7/5
Check Current Price

Our Best Meal Replacement Bars for Weight Loss (May 2024)

1 - IQ Bar (Best Overall)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Taste
4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Price
IQ Bar
  • Calories : 160
  • Protein : 10-11g
  • Fat : 9-10g
  • Carbs : 18-19g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good source of protein dietary fiber for your digestion
  • Contains important vitamins and minerals for general health boosts
  • Organically sourced ingredients
  • Good subscription discounts available

Cons

  • A few more vitamins would be great

In my thorough hunt for the perfect protein bar, I tried several choices, looking at nutrient composition, ingredient purity, and flavor. Out of them all, IQ Bar repeatedly shone.

I've frequently suggested it to my clients for its well-rounded nutrient makeup and because of the upbeat comments on how well it works as a meal substitute.

It might seem like it’s a bit too high in carbs, but those are mainly from fiber to help fill you up [1].

IQ Bar is a great choice to take care of your brain through a range of brain-boosting nutrients it contains, like omega 3s, choline, and flavonoids.

You can choose from 10 flavors to suit your mood, with a classic flavor like peanut butter chip (which we love!) to something unique like lemon blueberry.

Given their lower calorie and protein content, I often advise pairing these bars with a low-carb fruit, Greek yogurt, or a handful of nuts for a more balanced meal.

2 - GoMacro MacroBar Organic Vegan Protein Bars (Best Vegan-Friendly)

Rated 4.8/5
5.0
Taste
4.6
Ingredients
4.9
Price
GoMacro MacroBar Organic Vegan Protein Bars
  • Calories : 290
  • Protein : 11g
  • Fat : 11g
  • Carbs : 39g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Plant-based sources make it suitable for vegans
  • Gluten, soy, and GMO-free for added peace of mind
  • Comes in boxes of 12 for better value

Cons

  • Contains added sugar
  • A bit pricey

In our search for the best bars, my team and I were drawn to the GoMacro MacroBar because of its plant-based ingredients. It quickly became a top recommendation for my vegan clients and those looking to avoid soy and gluten.

Most of the carbs are claimed to be slow-releasing, but it does contain some added sugar.

This nutrition bar is a bit pricey than most meal replacement bars but it can be justifiable because it's certified organic, 100% vegan-friendly, gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO.

3 - Zoneperfect Nutrition Bar (Best for Athletes)

Rated 4.7/5
4.8
Taste
4.7
Ingredients
4.6
Price
Zoneperfect Nutrition Bar
  • Calories : 220
  • Protein : 14g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Carbs : 25g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • May provide a good boost in vitamins and mineral
  • Claims to suppress hunger
  • Largest selection of flavors

Cons

  • Could be better with more fiber

While trying to find effective meal replacement options, my team and I tried Zoneperfect. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, especially from the athletes I train. They liked its 14 grams of protein, noting its benefits post-cardio.

This is a perfect protein boost for anyone wanting a good-sized snack before doing physically demanding tasks.

With a great choice of flavors, many users comment on its taste being far from other nutrition bars with a chalky or weird sawdust texture.

While this protein bar can replace a snack or meal even without much fiber, just be careful of eating too much as it contains a good amount of added sugars.

4 - Oatmega Protein Bars (Best Tasting)

Rated 4.7/5
4.6
Taste
4.7
Ingredients
4.7
Price
Oatmega Protein Bars
  • Calories : 200
  • Protein : 14g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Carbs : 22g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Plenty of protein to support weight loss
  • Good source of dietary fiber
  • Contains Omega 3s for healthy heart and brain

Cons

  • It’s not a soy-free option

As the name suggests, this meal replacement bar is primarily based on oats, but also contains nuts and seeds.

The meal bars' taste is natural, and among eight delicious flavors, the most popular ones here are chocolate brownie and chocolate peanut butter.

Based on feedback from my clients, the balanced macro of 14 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 200 calories per bar has consistently been effective in replacing a meal during their busy days.

I also appreciate how they kept the meal bars low on added sugars for health-conscious people. However, it's not a soy-free option, which can be an issue for people with soy allergies.

5 - Quest Nutrition Protein Bar (Top Pick Protein-Rich)

Rated 4.6/5
4.6
Taste
4.6
Ingredients
4.6
Price
Quest Nutrition Protein Bar
  • Calories : 180-190
  • Protein : 20-21g
  • Fat : 6-9g
  • Carbs : 21-23g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • One of the stronger doses of protein
  • Low net carb content thanks to high fiber
  • Comes in a great selection of natural flavors

Cons

  • Some of the flavors are little on the sweet side

Quest protein bars are what we recommend to folks looking to maximize protein intake.

From my experience using various protein sources, these bars, with their impressive 21 grams of protein, match what many expect from a post-workout recovery shake.

Keto dieters will surely find this protein bar perfect for their diet as it generally has low carbs with a good amount of fat.

Most users seem to like how these protein bars deliver in terms of flavor, chewiness, and crunch, but some might find it to be on the sweet side.

6 - Probar Meal On-The-Go Bars (Best Organic)

Rated 4.5/5
4.5
Taste
4.6
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Probar Meal On-The-Go Bars
  • Calories : 180-200
  • Protein : 9g
  • Fat : 8-11g
  • Carbs : 22-25g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many positive comments that it might reduce hunger cravings
  • Low in saturated and trans-fats for better heart health
  • Certified organic whole food ingredients

Cons

  • The mineral and vitamin content could be higher

If you prefer organic ingredients in your meal replacement bar, then this one from Probar might be your best choice.

From a nutrition perspective, these meal bars may also be healthy enough to support most weight loss diets. Most of our female clients love Probar, and we’ve actually featured it on this page.

After several clients tried out these bars, the feedback was mixed. While a few felt the protein and fiber content could be higher, most agreed that the bars did a great job at curbing hunger and delivering a pleasing flavor.

7 - Isagenix IsaLean Bars (Finest Natural Flavor)

Rated 4.5/5
4.4
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Isagenix IsaLean Bars
  • Calories : 250
  • Protein : 18g
  • Fat : 8g
  • Carbs : 30g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Decent amount of protein is suitable for athletes
  • Claims to help bridge the gaps between main meals
  • Flavors are natural and not too overpowering

Cons

  • It’s a little bit high in sugar

Isagenix has formulated this protein bar specifically for weight loss and cutting phases, and we found quite a few comments about it working well to keep you full.

Just keep in mind that it contains 7 grams of sugar, which could impact your blood sugar levels.

In our team's trials, we were pleasantly surprised by the refreshing nature of these bars. The lemon flavor often had us questioning if we were straying from our dietary goals.

It can a bit high on sugars so I'd be careful with that.

8 - Redcon1 MRE Bar (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.4/5
4.4
Taste
4.4
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Redcon1 MRE Bar
  • Calories : 260
  • Protein : 20g
  • Fat : 9g
  • Carbs : 29g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Suitable as a post-workout snack with plenty of protein
  • The larger size may make you feel full for longer
  • Many users comment about the great natural taste

Cons

  • Not high enough in minerals and vitamins

Because the Redcon1 meal replacement bar is high in protein, they are often used by bodybuilders and could even be eaten after a workout session.

Just make sure you factor in the larger size and calories.

I love how this protein bar contains only whole-food sources which won't cause any digestion problems like from what I usually experience with others bars.

Go for our favorite crunchy peanut butter cup if you ever decide to give this meal replacement bar a try.

9 - PaleoPro Primal Protein Bars (Best Paleo-Friendly)

Rated 4.4/5
4.4
Taste
4.4
Ingredients
4.3
Price
PaleoPro Primal Protein Bars
  • Calories : 250
  • Protein : 14g
  • Fat : 13g
  • Carbs : 24g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Specifically formulated to satisfy the needs of Paleo dieters
  • Provides lots of raw nuts (cashews and almonds) to help suppress hunger
  • Contains collagen that may help with joint health
  • Gluten-free bars with lots of grams of protein per serving

Cons

  • Limited flavor options

Many athletes I've worked with are drawn to the PaleoPro bar, mainly because of its impressive 10 grams of fiber.

This seems to be the main reason so many users find that it helps them avoid hunger cravings in addition to 15 grams of protein per serving.

So far, online reviews have been mixed when we're talking about flavor, but I personally like coconut so this nutrition bar works pretty well for me.

Related Post: Best Paleo Protein Bars

10 - Zing Bars (Top Choice High-Fiber)

Rated 4.3/5
4.3
Taste
4.4
Ingredients
4.3
Price
Zing Bars
  • Calories : 210
  • Protein : 10g
  • Fat : 11g
  • Carbs : 24g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly option with a non-GMO ingredient list
  • Seems to work well as a filling snack
  • Soy and gluten-free bars with lots of grams of protein per serving

Cons

  • Provides no vitamins for immune and general health

The Zing bars are another option for vegans, and with 7 grams of fiber, it should suppress cravings in between meals.

And because it’s soy and gluten-free, most people shouldn’t get an upset stomach.

I found these bars to be a delightful treat after adding them to my workout routines. However, feedback from some clients highlighted the 9 grams of sugar per serving, indicating it might not fit every dietary regimen.

11 - Transparent Labs Uncut High-Protein Energy Bars

Rated 5.0/5
5.0
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
5.0
Price
Transparent Labs Uncut High-Protein Energy Bars
  • Calories : 290 (280 for chocolate coffee)
  • Protein : 16g
  • Fat : 16g (14g for chocolate coffee)
  • Carbs : 23g (24g for chocolate coffee)

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A high amount of protein suitable for active people
  • Delicious chocolate chip and chocolate coffee flavors
  • Contains real-food ingredients
  • No artificial sweeteners

Cons

  • Pricier than other brands

Transparent Labs promises to support muscle growth and recovery with their Uncut High-Protein Energy Bars.

With 16 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate, real-food ingredients, and 290 calories (280 for the chocolate coffee flavor), this meal replacement snack can keep you full for hours.

The protein bars have no artificial sweeteners and contain additional components that give your body the fuel it needs for a great workout.

Customers love the natural foods in its formula: honey, roasted almonds, real chocolate chips, and coffee beans.

How We Tested the Best Meal Replacement Bars

In choosing the top meal replacement bars, we focused on five key criteria to ensure a balance of taste, nutrition, and value:

  1. Nutritional profile. We examined the balance of proteins, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in each bar, prioritizing those with a well-rounded nutritional content.
  2. Ingredient quality. Bars made with natural, whole-food ingredients and free from artificial additives were preferred. We also checked for common allergens.
  3. Taste and texture. We taste-tested each bar, focusing on the flavor balance and texture, to ensure a pleasant eating experience.
  4. Price and value for money. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of each bar, comparing the price to the nutritional benefits they offer.
  5. Customer reviews and feedback. We analyzed customer reviews for insights on effectiveness, taste, and overall satisfaction with the product. This streamlined approach helped us identify meal replacement bars that offer the best combination of nutrition, taste, and value.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Meal Replacement Bars for Weight Loss

A man looking to buy the best meal replacement bars online

Keep It Balanced

Meal replacement bars are not created equal. Your bar of choice depends on your physical requirements and fitness goals. Here's a short criteria for evaluating your next meal replacement bar:
  • has a balanced combination of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat)
  • has 300 or more calories to provide adequate energy comparable to having an actual meal
  • has a healthy source of fiber to help you feel fuller for longer
  • has whole-food ingredients for additional nutritional benefits
If you're particularly sensitive to artificial sweeteners, look out for nutrition bars that are unusually low in sugar and calories. It's best to thoroughly check the label and ingredient list to make sure that you're not putting too much extras into your body.

Watch Out For Hidden Ingredients

I mentioned above that many of these bars tend to be full of ingredients that are less than helpful for weight management and fitness improvement. One of the most common ones to avoid is high-fructose corn syrup. This highly enriched sugar is known to cause blood glucose spikes that could have the opposite effect on hunger [2].

Fructose, a new study finds, has a marked effect on the brain region that regulates appetite, suggesting that corn syrup and other forms of fructose might encourage overeating to a greater degree than glucose.

- Katherine Harmon, Health Science Writer

Consider Your Dietary Restrictions

We have several gym clients who are diabetic, and they would frequently ask about protein-filled snacks. Our list of best protein bars for diabetics covers that.

Also note that pretty much all nutrition bars are not going to be suitable if you have nut allergies.

But some of these products are also heavily reliant on ingredients like soy and wheat. The last thing you want to end up with is an allergic reaction or severe cramping, so always check out the packaging for typical allergens especially if you have tons of food allergies.

Planning Your Intake With Other Supplements

The important thing to keep in mind is that most of the bars above contain a good boost of protein. You might want to avoid eating them around the same time that you might be taking a post-workout recovery drink or even a meal replacement shake.

Too much protein in one go might be difficult to digest, and some people may even end up with bloating or cramps. If you’re in a dilemma whether to stick with your protein supplement or grab a barg instead, here’s a detailed comparison of two that could help you decide: Protein Powder vs Bar.

What to Look for in the Best Meal Replacement Bars?

You must look out for fat, sugar, and high fiber content, as they could potentially harm your body if you consume them excessively. Not all meal replacement bars are created equal. Here's why:

Fat and Sugar Content

A lot of meal replacement bars are high in fat and sugar content. As such, ensure that each bar has no more than 4 grams of added sugar and 4 grams of saturated fat. If you want these bars as a snack, cut it down to 2 grams of added sugar and saturated fat instead.

These are important since fats and added sugars can cause body inflammation, increasing heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis risks.

High Fiber Content

The ideal meal replacement bar should have around 2 to 3 grams of dietary fiber. Be careful, though, since some products add chicory root or other ingredients to increase fiber content artificially. Instead, look for products with fiber coming from fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

FAQs

A top view of protein bars

Are Meal Replacement Bars Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, meal replacement bars are good for weight loss, but only when combined with an overall well-balanced diet and regular exercise. By helping you reduce your calorie intake and avoid unhealthy snacks, they may help you get over a moment of weakness.

How Much Weight Can You Lose With Meal Replacement Bars?

You could lose 1 to 2 pounds of weight per week with meal replacement bars. This does, however, heavily depend on your overall calorie intake for other meals and how much physical exercise you get.

Our Verdict on the Best Meal Replacement Bars for Weight Loss

Based on feedback from my team and clients, the IQ Bar is the top choice for a meal replacement bar. Its blend of proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals effectively aids in post-workout recovery.

The bar's high fiber and omega-3 fatty acids make it a suitable meal replacement, helping to manage hunger effectively.

IQ Bar's use of organically sourced ingredients adds to its appeal, and the available subscription discounts offer added value. Clients report satisfaction with its hunger management capabilities, making it a recommended choice.

Our #1 Recommendation

IQ Bar (Best Overall)

IQ Bar

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Taste
4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Price
Pros
  • Good source of protein dietary fiber for your digestion
  • Contains important vitamins and minerals for general health boosts
  • Organically sourced ingredients
  • Good subscription discounts available
Cons
  • A few more vitamins would be great
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our ingredients score is based on 3 factors including: transparency, blend disclosure, and dosage accuracy. We conduct third-party lab verification of ingredients. The score is an objective measure of the lab test results compared to the product label. For more information see our ingredients score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.