Consumer Reports; Mobile Meals

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Slim-Fast is the top-selling
meal-replacement drink. But several other companies, including Snapple, hope to take a bite out of that business. They've begun marketing liquid meals, too. Consumer Reports tested to see if these drinks are a good option for people who eat on the run.

Most people eat at least one meal on the go these days. Even if you don't have a lot of time, you've got a lot of choices.

" Granola bar if I get a moment."

"Salad, sometimes, you know something quick."

"Sometimes when I'm bad it will be an ice cream."

Another option is a liquid meal. Slim-Fast was one of the first. Now Snapple has introduced Snapple A Day Meal Replacement. And in the refrigerator section, there's Yoplait Nouriche (PRON: YOH-play Nor-EESHE) Smoothies and Frulatte (PRON: Fru-LAH-tay) Fat Free Smoothies.

Consumer Reports compared the tropical fruit flavors of these various drinks. Testers looked at both taste and nutrition. All the drinks have between 210 and 290 calories, along with vitamins, minerals and some fiber and protein.

"These products are essentially vitamin cocktails with fruit or fruit juice. Three out of four contain added sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup."

"OK, let's taste 347 first."

Consumer Reports' taste testers sampled the drinks. With some they could taste a slight vitamin or chalky flavor. But one was quite good.

"I can taste the pineapple."
"You can taste the pineapple. OK, anything else?"

It had a full dairy flavor — a yogurt drink with small bits of fruit.

It's Yoplait Nouriche's Tropical Flavor for a dollar sixty.

But Consumer Reports says, while it's the tastiest of the four, there are plenty of other healthy grab-and-go foods. It's wise not to make a meal in a bottle a daily habit.

Energy bars are another popular grab-and-go food. Many have about the same amount of calories and protein as liquid meals. But the drinks have more fiber than many energy bars and less fat.

View more Consumer Reports stories here.

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