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When you are training hard but don't have the time or inclination to prepare meals that support your workout schedule, meal replacement powders, such as Labrada Lean Body or Fitness Labs NutraFit, provide a variety of nutrients specifically geared toward enhancing athletic performance in a quick and easy high-protein shake.
Many meal replacement protein powders contain 25-50 grams of protein, usually a blend of fast-digesting protein (whey) and slow-digesting protein (casein) resulting in a time-release effect. They also have BCAAs and glutamine to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue during and after workouts. Most meal replacement powders also include 15-30 grams of carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar stable and provide energy.
Providing another option, protein bars such as the Balance Bar provide 14 grams of protein and adhere to the 40-30-30 ratio of 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fats. These bars can serve as meal replacements during the day when you are on the go and don't have time or the equipment to mix up a shake. But keep in mind that although you can mix up meal replacement powders in the blender with ice, many brands work just as well if you mix them with water and stir vigorously.
Most meal replacement powders and bars are free of trans fats, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. But check the labels if you have food allergies—some flavors contain milk and nuts, so you may need to shop around to find the brand and flavor that meets your needs.