It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Which meal replacement bars are best?

I would like to know what you consider the best meal replacement bar? I don't have time to make a lunch, some days, and would like to be able to have one on hand for those busy days.

Dr. Gourmet Says....

Granola Bar

This is a great question. We're all really busy today and the idea of being able to get a meal in a bar that you can eat on the run is really appealing.

While the ideal is to take the time to make a nice sandwich or pack some leftovers for lunch, you're right that it doesn't always happen. And while most doctors and dietitians aren't fans of meal bars, I believe that it's a lot better choice than hitting up the fast food joint where you could toss back 1,000 calories pretty easily.

Keep in mind that choosing such bars is somewhat subjective and depends on your taste. We have reviewed some and you can read those reviews in our Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews section.

You will also note that on that Food Reviews Index page are a lot of convenience foods that you might consider keeping on hand that are great choices also.

One of my favorite brands is Zone bars. These are pretty balanced with a good mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The Fudge Graham flavor is pretty popular. Another good brand is Clif Bars. They are a pretty good company and use good quality ingredients. Their bars are also well balanced nutritionally with the bonus that they contain more fiber.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet