It seems like no matter where you go—from your neighborhood convenient store to big chain grocery stores, protein fueled snacks and meal replacements are everywhere. You know you need protein. After all, protein is necessary for every area of your body (from your cells to your muscles) to flourish, thrive, grow and rebuild.

As fast paced of a life that you live, what’s the best and easiest option for a protein fueled diet? Here, we break down the pros and cons of protein bars and protein shakes—two easy sources of protein that you may already depend on for a healthy body and mind.

Protein Shakes: Are They Really That Good For You?

Man holding and drinking the post workout chocolate whey proteinIf you’re trying to lose weight, you may already be familiar with protein shakes. Whether you have bought them in a can from a weight loss manufacturer (just shake, drink and enjoy), or you’ve seen them in powdered form at your natural health food store, protein shakes are a great way to get your protein in without all the extra calories of a full, balanced meal. They can be used to replace a meal, or to give you an extra boost of protein in order to help your body repair and build more muscle. If you’re worried about muscle loss, protein shakes can be a great way to rebuild and replenish. However, moderation is key.

If you’re depending on protein shakes throughout your day to fuel your body and mind, consider it too much of a good thing. Protein shakes are meant to be used along with a healthy, balanced diet. They don’t give you all the vitamins and essential minerals you find in delicious food you’d normally eat. Cook up a healthy fish dinner to get your omega-3’s, and serve yourself a delicious veggie stir fry to get your daily vitamin A, B, C and D in.  Protein shakes aren’t all you need for a thriving body—but used in moderation, they can act as a great tool for weight loss increased health for muscle repair and strength.

Protein Bars: They’re Everywhere, But Do They Actually Work? 

Protein barRead the labels carefully, because while many brands of protein bars give you an energy boost, act as a weight loss aid and help to repair torn muscle, not all protein bars act in the same way. For example, some protein bars contain over 50 grams of carbs! If you don’t want to sabotage your hard work (from this morning’s spin class) it pays to pay attention. The great thing about most protein bars is that they offer you a major protein boost. It’s an easy, simple way to get between 20-25 grams in (which equals to about half a day’s recommended protein intake for adults.) Just be on the lookout for protein bars that contain more than 20 grams of sugar. Any more than that, and you’re eating a candy bar. Another perk about protein bars? Many of them include vitamin B6, C, E and B12—which most protein shakes do not. For an easy, convenient option on the go, protein bars may be your best bet, yet.