According to a survey, around 31 million Americans (that’s about 10% of the total population) skip breakfast. These numbers continue to grow each year.
Despite knowing the health perils of skipping meals, many of us resort to it due to a bunch of factors. Busy professionals like doctors and nurses are called into work at odd hours. If they’re in surgery, they cannot leave to grab some food. Some of us struggle to wake up early for work. This causes us to rush and ultimately skip breakfast. Entrepreneurs have no fixed schedules. Sometimes, they come back late at night and feel too tired to eat.
Is there a solution for this? Fortunately, yes!
As the term suggests, “meal replacement shakes” are drinks that are substituted for solid/whole foods. Meal replacement shakes are typically low-fat and rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. While whole foods should always be your first choice, these shakes are surely a much better option to consider than to stuff yourself with junk or just starve throughout the day.
For those who’re always on the run, these shakes are very quick and easy to prepare. Since their calorie levels are pre-measured, you don’t have to spend most of your day thinking about how many calories you’ve consumed. Furthermore, you could keep a tub of meal replacement powder at your workplace so you never skip meals again.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Different from Protein Shakes?
There are a few significant differences between the two. Let’s take a look at some of the distinguishing factors:
- Meal Replacement Shakes (MRS) are rich in nutrients like complex carbs, vitamins, and proteins. Protein shakes, on the other hand, provide you with only proteins (whey, eggs, soy), with little to no carbs.
- MRS are usually higher in calories compared to protein shakes. One serving may consist of 200-400 calories. Whereas protein shakes may contain less than 200 calories in one serving.
- MRS is formulated to replace your regular meals whereas protein shakes are supplements/bars and cannot replace a meal.
How to maximize the benefits of meal replacement shakes?
- Make sure that you replace just one or maximum two meals by meal replacement shakes. Ideally, you must use it to swap with meals that you’re too busy to take (e.g. breakfast), or when feel like giving in to convenience foods like burgers or ramen noodles.
- Your meal replacement shake should contain between 200-400 calories, about 5 grams of fiber, 15-20 grams of protein and 1-5 grams of healthy fats. This is especially important because you need to meet your daily nutritional needs while feeling satiated.
- You can enhance weight loss by balancing the nutrition levels in your solid foods. Eat more vegetables, fruits, meat, legumes, etc.
Where can you get the shakes?
You’ll find plenty of good meal replacement powder tubs online and in fitness stores. Some of the best brands include EAS Myoplex, Shakeology, 310 Nutrition, Herbal Life, Vega, Orgain, and IdealShape.
When purchasing meal replacement powders/shakes, you must keep the following points in mind:
- Ensure that the one you choose is not too high in sugar or saturated fats otherwise it’ll be counter-productive to weight loss.
- Depending upon the diet you’re following, check for the nutritional value on the label. For instance, if you’re on a low-carb diet, make sure that the product you purchase has a low carb content.
- Find out your daily calorie needs and choose the one that’s most suitable.
- Make sure that whatever you buy can be dissolved in milk or water.
- Your meal replacement shake should offer a good balance of all the essential nutrients.
Here are a few guidelines to help you make a meal replacement shake at home:
- Bananas (better if frozen) or instant oats are great options to get your dose of carbs.
- For proteins, add your meal replacement shake powder with a high-quality protein source in it. You can also add yogurt/milk if you want.
- Additionally, you can also add vegetables like kale and spinach or fruits such as mango, berries, or pineapple (best when frozen).
- Avocado, flax seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, etc. are great sources of healthy fats and can make your shake taste delicious.
- Shakes can be thickened by adding a few ice cubes or a teaspoon of xanthan gum giving it the texture of a milkshake.
And that’s it. Choose your ingredients and blend! Now you no longer have to pull through the day without eating. Bon appetite!