The Truth About Meal “Replacement” Bars (& The REAL Solution To Hustle-Culture Hunger)

diet health wellness Dec 05, 2022

Welcome to the WHOLISTIC LIVING PODCAST: Episode 31
Aligning Body, Mind, and Soul with Elena Bensonoff


Hello and welcome to the Wholistic Living podcast! I’m your host Elena Bensonoff. On today’s episode of the Be the Hero of Your Health series, we will be chatting about the convenience craze of meal replacement bars. I will be sharing why it’s not a good idea to replace" a healthy meal with a bar! We’ll take a look at two of the most popular “clean” bars that seem to promise they are a good choice and learn the truth about this on-the-go option.

Finally, I’ll share a healthy solution you can start today and 5 benefits of prioritizing healthy meals because your body is important. Fueling your body with healthy foods should be worth penciling into your day. By the end of this podcast, you’ll want to take a good hard look at your commitments and reduce the number of obligations in your schedule so you actually have time to eat healthy meals. Let’s jump right into it!



Overview Of The Problem

Do you feel like you're always on the go and need a fast solution to keep hunger at bay? Hustle-culture tells us we can do it all and we must find shortcuts to address less-lucrative needs like hunger.

Grabbing a pack of healthy-looking meal replacement bars for fuel seems like a good choice!

You even did your research and found some with clean, no junk added ingredients! I’m so proud of you, reading that label is the first step to taking back your health when you are on the go.

But the story doesn’t end here. Did you know that even the “healthiest” of meal bar options is still processed and lacking in vital nutrients?

Let’s level-up your knowledge today and learn why there is no true replacement for real food.

Meal replacement bars often are full of hidden sugars and harmful additives. While the convenience is tempting, replacing a whole meal with a bar leaves us lacking in the variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our bodies need for optimal health.

Here’s a rundown on a couple of popular bars that seem like a safe choice:

LÄRABAR is advertised as vegan, GMO-free, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and free of artificial ingredients and added sugars. However…  

  • It's smaller and less satiating than a meal of whole foods (most are ~200 calories)
  • It's high in sugar and fat and very low in protein (some flavors have as much as 20g of sugar and only 4g protein)
  • The company capitalizes on the consumers preference for natural foods, loading them with dates which are high in sugar and processed with a preservative 

RXBAR is advertised as minimally processed, containing wholesome ingredients. However…  

  • The main ingredients here are also processed dates and nuts which are high in sugar and fat
  • It has added salt - the Peanut Butter flavor has 310mg of salt
  • Excess sodium contributes to:
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • And even calcium loss from bones (1)
  • Depending on the rest of your diet, you could easily consume too much sodium from this processed snack
  • This chewy, sticky bar can contribute to cavities and is just as bad for your teeth as candy

Again, my desire here is not to frustrate you or make you feel like healthy choices are impossible. I want you to confidently know why you make the choices that you do. The better equipped we are with knowledge the easier it will be to come up with creative ideas and solutions on the pathway to ideal wellness.

The reason why even processed health bars like the ones we talked about today are less satiating than real food is because they have been stripped of all the water, dried, and condensed.

Think about a balanced meal that incudes whole fresh fruit vs a handful of dried mango slices coated in preservatives that will leave you feeling hungry again immediately or contribute to a sugar craving. That’s the difference!




The real solution may be taking a good hard look at your commitments and reducing the amount of obligations in your schedule so you actually have time to eat healthy meals. It’s time to leave hustle-culture behind and adapt Wholistic Living! When you live Wholistically, you know and honor the fact that your body feels the best when you are nourishing yourself with a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods! 

Think of your body as your most important client! You deserve the best care and consideration. This may mean saying “no” more often when appointments start to pile up on your calendar. Say yes to your health. Start today!

I want to point out that when you slow down and learn to listen to your body’s hunger cues, you may realize you need to make adjustments to your meal frequency or size. It could be that you need to adjust your meal timing or add some more nourishing ingredients that will satisfy and energize you to not only get through your day but to thrive through your day! 

I know busy schedules can happen and you may need a healthy snack to tide you over on the go…

Here are 5 healthy whole food snack ideas: 

  1. A small handful of organic, raw, unsalted nuts that have been soaked in water overnight to improve digestion like Brazil nuts or almonds
  2. Sliced fresh veggies with homemade hummus or guacamole
  3. Hard-boiled eggs 
  4. An apple and some all-natural almond butter
  5. Chia Pudding made with natural coconut milk and chia seeds

Here are 5 benefits of having healthy meals that include whole, nutritious foods instead of meal “replacements!” 

  1. Learn to listen to your body’s hunger cues instead of suppressing them because of a busy day
  2. Experience improved digestion when you have a meal that isn’t rushed
  3. Stay satisfied and fueled longer during your busy days with balanced nutrition
  4. Feel better by avoiding extra sugar and sodium that are in convenience foods
  5. Support long-term healthy habits by making meals a priority



More Knowledge That Will Change Your Life

You can achieve vibrant health on all levels if you commit to comprehensive body, mind, and soul care with little habit changes like this one. It can be intimidating and overwhelming when first learning this information.

Your success is so important to me that I want to make sure you have all the tools that you need. I make it easy for you by doing the research and then empowering you with the knowledge to take steps towards your ideal life.

I’d love to invite you to join my FREE Masterclass and learn 3 simple techniques to tap into your limitless healing abilities. 

My mission is to put an end to chronic illness by providing all my students and clients with practical solutions for cultivating long-term health and wellness.

Take FREE Masterclass


Wellness Wishes,




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