Do you feel too rushed in the morning to prepare yourself a meal? If yes, then you should try out meal replacement shakes. Unlike protein shakes, these drinks are packed with a bunch of nutrients including some essential vitamins and minerals. They take minimal effort to prepare and are convenient to consume while on the move.
The best meal replacement shakes come in either powder form or can be purchased as a ready-to-drink shake. There is a slew of options to choose from. Just remember to check the label for the amount of sugar since some of them contain a high amount of fructose, and you want to avoid that if you’re trying to keep away from calories. Some of the best brands include ideal shape, shakeology, 310 nutrition, and vega. These are all available on the internet.
Advantages of Meal Replacement Shakes:
These drinks are extremely beneficial for your body. I’ve listed a few of those benefits:
- Helps us avoid junk foods – If you’ve ever been on a low-fat/low-carb diet, you’ll understand the pain of pre-packing your meals in advance. It can get quite tedious and monotonous. This makes you reach for unhealthy foods for most of the day, especially when you’re at work. However, these foods are sugary and contain refined carbs and bad fats which will ruin all your efforts to lose weight. Meal replacement shakes can be prepared by even a child, they’re that easy. They are made using whole foods, providing you with balanced nutrition, while being portable. They’re much lower in calories compared to unhealthy foods.
- Offer nutrition that may be lacking in normal meals – Sometimes, your regular diet may not contain the nutrients you require on a daily basis. In that case, you must consider supplementing your diet with meal replacement shakes. Other than proteins, carbs, and fiber, many also contain calcium, potassium, iron, and vital vitamins.
- Speed up the weight loss process – Studies have shown that diets can actually backfire and lead to weight gain in the future. This is because of the restricting nature of these diets, causing people to overeat when they’re stressed out. However, the best meal replacement shakes make you feel fuller for longer as they contain proteins and fiber, thereby helping you to control your hunger and consuming fewer calories. Adding these drinks to your regular diet is a sustainable way of eating healthy rather than following a diet that’s too strict, helping in weight management as well.
The two-shakes diet (for weight loss):
There are many diets that require you to literally starve yourself and spend dollars without actually seeing any results. Here is a diet that has been well-researched and proven to show results if you’re trying to lose weight –
- Choose a low-calorie meal replacement powder brand. Make sure that the one you choose is a good mix of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Ideally, you must take only one serving (containing 15-20g of protein and 5-10g of carbs).
- Check how much fiber the meal replacement shake has. If it doesn’t have enough, make your selection of fiber so that you feel satiated for longer. Also, it helps control the sugar level in your blood. You must get at least 25g of fiber in one day. As options, you can choose either glucomannan (capsule form) or chia seeds (1tbsp) and add it to your meal replacement powder.
- Add good omega-3 fats like flax seed oil (1 tbsp) or fish oil (1-3 softgels) to your shake, or check the ingredients to see if it contains these things already. Studies have found that overweight people have been able to get rid of body fat with the help of consuming omega-3 fats and doing exercises.
Research has shown that people who drank two shakes a day (as per the method given above) for about two months, lost about six pounds of body fat and gained two pounds of muscle mass.
While meal replacement shakes are a great choice for those who’re leading busy lives or looking to lose weight, it may not work for some others. When consumed incorrectly or replaced with whole foods completely, these drinks can cause harm. So without further ado, let’s jump right in:
- Cannot completely replace whole foods – While meal replacement shakes are designed to replace meals, your body still requires nutrients from whole foods in order to function properly. Therefore, it’s important to limit yourself to only one or two shakes in a day as a supplement to your regular diet.
- Diuretic properties – These drinks can cause you to feel thirstier, resulting in the retention of fluids, if you drink a lot of liquids. They have diuretic properties which may increase your tendencies to urinate.
- Weight gain upon going back to unhealthy methods of eating – If you’ve been using meal replacement powders for a long time, you might gain weight very quickly upon returning to your normal diet since your body is no longer used to processing whole foods. For this reason, many people continue to use meal replacement shakes to replace at least one meal per day as a long term lifestyle, to prevent relapse or going back to unhealthy eating.
If you’re looking for quick and easy nutrition, try the best meal replacement shakes, by doing research and reading reviews. It may just give you the much needed time, energy, and health you need in your life.