When it comes to the Battle of the Bulge, many people find themselves at a loss for what to do when it comes to loosing weight. This proves especially true for those dieters who have never learned how to cook properly. This is one of the reasons why people often prefer weight loss plans that include meal replacement shakes.
This sort of diet plan is easy, economical, and effective. If you’ve been looking into this kind of diet, you probably know that you have many options. What you may not yet know is what are the best meal replacement for weight loss plans nor the benefits of the diet.
If that is the case, the following six tips will help you sort this and other questions about meal replacement shakes out.
Types of Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss
Meal replacement shakes run the gamut, from store-bought to homemade. Each offers the user something different.
Homemade Shakes/ Smoothies
Let’s start with shakes that you make at home rather than the ones you buy on the store shelves. Typically, when you try this kind of shake you don’t call it a shake at all. You call it a smoothie, though the principle of it is the same. It is a shake drink that you consume in place of a meal made of solid food.
Smoothies typically contain a number fresh ingredients, like frozen berries, bananas, apples, fresh spinach or kale, and coconut water, nut milk, or regular dairy milk. Those who use like to use protein shakes for meal replacement and who like smoothies will also put ingredients, like peanut butter or cashew butter in the smoothie. These ingredients add more protein and fats to the smoothie.
Additionally, many people who like smoothies as meal replacements also add ingredients, like Spirulina, dulse seaweed flakes, barley grass powder, ginseng, liquid vitamins and minerals, and other types of “extra” nutrients. These extra ingredients give the shakes a nutritional boost that may not be found in the fresh ingredients that you use to make the shake.
Store-Bought Meal Replacement Shakes
This is actually a good place to segue into store-bought meal replacement shakes. These shakes often come in powdered form. However, just as often you’ll find some ready-made shakes, with SlimFast being one of the most well-known protein shake meal replacement options.
Some of these shakes come with some of the extra ingredients, like Spirulina, vitamins and minerals, and barley grass powder. These shakes are also commonly made with two types of protein, whey and soy. However, it is also possible to find shakes that include proteins, like pea proteins.
If you buy the meal replacement shakes that don’t come ready-made, you must mix them with some sort of liquid. Low-fat milk counts as a popular option. However, with more and more people leaning toward veganism, nut milks, like almond or coconut milk have become popular, as have soy and rice milks.
It is also important to note that if you opt for a meal replacement shake as a part of a weight loss plan, you may want to stay away from dairy milk if you don’t already drink it regularly. Suddenly adding milk to your diet could upset your stomach if you’re not used to drinking it.
Generally speaking, the best meal replacement for weight loss is the meal replacements that you’ll actually readily use. Loosing weight with meal replacement shakes is as much about consistency as it is about counting calories.
Brands of Protein Shakes for Meal Replacement
Men’s Health has named some of the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss and nutrition on its site. Below, you’ll find options for the best meal replacement for weight loss shakes.
Among the more popular ready-made brands that the site named as the best meal replacement for weight loss options are:
- Orgain Organic Nutrition: It’s gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO. It’s just one of the ready-made protein shakes for meal replacement that you’ll find.
- Premier Protein Shakes: This is also ready-made. It has only 160 calories and 30 grams of protein. Men’s Health says that this is kind a good option for post-workout nutrition.
- Core Power: This shake doesn’t just come in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. It also offers up coffee- and banana-flavored meal replacements. These ones are also ready-made, and come with a whopping 700 mg of calcium.
Here are some options for shakes that you make by adding liquid to them:
- Raw Organic Meal: This one offers vegans something that’s organic and gluten-free as well as being dairy-free. You can blend it with berries or other types of fruit to liven up the flavor a bit. It’s also best to drink it right after you make it. This shake can turn grainy if it sits too long.
- SlimFast Strawberry: Over the years, this old standby has seen quite a few improvements. It also gives you quite a dose of protein for the price.
- Designer Lite Protein Cookies and Cream Flavor: This is another meal replacement shake that offers up some innovative flavors. It is also economical, which means that your weight loss regiment won’t break the bank. Sometimes, the best meal replacement for weight loss is also the cheapest option.
Number of Meal Replacements Required for Weight Loss
When you’re trying to loose weight with protein shakes for meal replacement, it has been typically recommended by shake makers that you replace two of your meals with a shake and then eat a regular meal. This recommendation is backed up by scientific studies, according to Healthline.
The studies followed people who opted for a meal replacement diet over the course of three months. The participants who adhered to this regiment lost 5.6 pounds more than those who just participated in a regular reduced calorie diet plan.
Additionally, of those who participated in the meal replacement shake diet plan dropped out of the study less frequently than those who went on a more traditionally-based diet. It is believed that this is partly due to how easy this sort of diet is compared to other kinds. Because you replace two meals a day with a shake and then eat one other regular meal, it isn’t necessary to learn how to make special diet foods or to cook if you don’t know how.
In light of this, it seems that loosing weight with meal replacement is more than just an option. It can be one that will lead you to dieting success. Again, it should be reiterated that the best meal replacement for weight loss is the meal replacement (or diet in this case) that you’ll actually do.
The Importance of Portion Control
Both meal-replacement diets and reduced calorie diets operate under the same principle. In order to lose weight, you do need to reduce the number of calories you ingest over time. This has to do with not only the calories that are in the foods you eat, but also with your portion control.
One of the things that a meal replacement shake will do for you, especially if it is a ready-made shake, is keep your portions under control. The typical daily meal plan for those who use meal replacement shakes as a means of weight loss/ control includes two protein shakes equalling 200 to 300 calories, three snacks of 100 calories (a banana, apple, glass of milk, etc.), one regular 400 to 500 calorie meal. That comes out to be about 1400 calories by the end of the day.
What is the Value of Meal Replacement Shakes?
The best meal replacement for weight loss plans offer the dieter a number of benefits. First off, these diets can actually give you more nutritional value than a full-food diet. This has everything to do with how the meal replacement shakes are made. Your body’s daily recommended nutrient requirements were taken into account when the shake was created. In other words, a shake replacement gives you the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fats you need for that meal.
Additionally, going on a meal replacement diet can save you money. Some healthier foods can cost you a great deal of cash. Often, junk food and meal replacement shakes come out to be about the same amount of money in the long run. People gravitate toward junk food in part because it is less expensive than some of the healthier options out there, unfortunately.
However, just because a protein shake per serving may cost you the same amount of money as say a small bag of chips, doesn’t mean the nutritional value will be anywhere near the same thing. The best meal replacement for weight loss is also sometimes the best meal replacement for your budget, too.
How to Plan Your Meals With a Shake
This was touched on a bit before but we’ll go into a little more depth now. First, if you decide to go on a meal replacement diet, just know ahead of time that at least two of your meals are going to be replaced by a protein shake of your choice. This requires very little planning on your part, especially if you have purchased ready-made shakes for this part of your weight loss plan.
Next, you’ll want to plan for the snacks that you will be allowed to have throughout the day. As you may recall, people who adhere to a shake-based weight loss program are advised to have three 100-calorie snacks throughout the day.
Here is a list of some possible snacks that contain 100 calories or so, according to WebMD:
- 1/2 cup of slow-churned ice cream
- 6 cups of microwave popcorn – yes, 6 cups!
- 14 almonds
- A baked apple
- A banana
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Yogurt with seeds or yogurt with honey
You get the idea. And this is just a start. Many 100-calorie snacks exist.
As for meals, here are some ideas for meals that equal 400 to 500 calories:
- Turkey-Stuffed Peppers made in an Instant Pot
- Vegetarian Bolognese
- Seared sea bass with white beans
- Thai beef curry
- Chicken quesadillas
Just a note: It is also possible to combine a meal replacement plan with some portion-controlled foods you find in the frozen section of the grocery store. For example, if you buy a frozen box of macaroni and cheese, you can see right on the box how many calories you’re eating.
Going this route will teach you the kinds of portion sizes you want, which is helpful if you’re trying to make permanent changes to your diet. Many people have never learned to eat proper portions: These types of meals will teach you what an actually portion looks like.
Using Meal Replacement Shakes When Traveling
Meal replacement shakes can provide you with some excellent meal options when you’re on the road. If you’re driving, this is an especially easy and cheap route to go. Carrying along a six-pack of meal replacement shakes is not only convenient, but also much cheaper than stopping at a restaurant or a convenience store every time you need to eat.
Powdered shakes can be a little more difficult to carry with you on the road, though not impossible if you buy a specialty plastic shaker that allows you to blend the shake with a shaking motion. You just need some sort of liquid to pour into the shaker, which isn’t very difficult to acquire. Most truck stops and convenience stores sell milks in small cartons.
Traveling on a plane with a meal replacement shake can be more difficult due to new government safety regulations. That said, it is likely that you will find plenty of shake options in the airport in one of the stores there. While you will probably pay more for the shake in the airport than you would for it when you buy it in the grocery store, the cost may still be worth it, especially if you’re using the shakes as a means to loose weight.
Final Thoughts on Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes come in many forms, from the smoothie you make in your home blender to the store-bought shake that comes in cookies and cream flavor. This type of diet plan has been shown to help people lose significantly more weight than many other types of weight-loss plans.
Additionally, these diet plans are more economical than some other kinds of diets you can go on. They also are very helpful to those who don’t know much about cooking and portion control. They can help you learn how to eat better portions, while helping you lose weight.
Finally, meal shakes are a good option when you’re on the road. They’re cheaper than stopping in a restaurant and offer you many more health benefits than the junk food you may be otherwise tempted to buy.