Healthy On The Go
Read Time: 3 minutes Sometimes life becomes busy and finding the time to sit down, let alone prepare a meal, just isn’t possible. Not eating enough can lead to nutrition deficiency, fatigue, and drops in blood sugar. Concentration and maintaining a positive outlook will become hard. Meal replacement shakes are the perfect on-the-go option for the busy individual. The shakes can be bought pre-made or created at home. Meal replacement shakes should on replace one meal a day. Below are the top 6 tips on what to look for in a good meal replacement shake.
1) Look at the calories
The average meal replacement shake is between 200-400 calories. Any shakes below or above this amount will not provide sufficient nutrients to replace an entire meal.
2) Lots of protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body. Protein can also increase the feeling of being full and curb cravings. Diets high in protein are great for weight management and often lead to reduced body fat and increased lean muscle mass. Peas and whole grains are healthy sources of plant-based proteins. Look for protein shakes with between 10-20 grams of protein per serving.
3) Find enough fiber
Fiber helps the body absorb nutrients and pushes food through the digestive tract. Look for a meal replacement shake with 3-5 grams of fiber. Fiber will also leave the individual feeling fuller for longer.
4) Watch the sugar
Companies will add excess sugar to meal replacement shakes to improve the flavor. Excess sugar can lead to negative health effects including weight gain, increased acne, and low energy. Look for meal replacement shakes with 10 grams or less of sugar per serving.
5) Fortify with vitamins
Look for meal replacement shakes with a third, or 33%, of the daily value of vitamins and minerals. The essential nutrients are vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, as well as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
6) Pay attention to the fat
Healthy meal replacement shakes will have no more than 10-15 grams of fat per serving. Look for shakes with high amounts of omega-3s and unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats.
At-home meal replacement shakes
When making shakes at home, pay attention to portion control and sugar content. Begin by choosing a liquid. Water, dairy-free milk, and juice work well. Adding in fruit as a natural source of glucose can add just the right amount of sweetness to the shake. Dates are a popular source of healthy sugar. Add in as many leafy greens as desired. Vegetables are a great source of fiber. Nuts and many types of seeds can serve as the protein source. Peanut butter works as well. To add thickness to a meal replacement shake, try adding a filler such as avocado, banana, rolled oats, or yogurt. When mixing in a blender, start with a balanced liquid-to-solid ration to ensure everything blends together.
For optimal health, replacing only one meal a day is recommended. Replacing even just one meal a day should have an impact on weight loss. Meal replacement shakes can be used for meal substitutes or to fill nutritional gaps. The shakes are not a replacement for eating a real meal and should not be used long-term. Maintaining a well-balanced diet outside of meal replacement shakes is recommended. Patients should speak with a healthcare provider for weight loss and nutrition recommendations.