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Meal replacement shakes. What you need to know

Written by VTN Editorial

 

Whether your goal is to trim down or up your intake of essential vitamins and nutrients into meals, or a combination of both, meal replacement shakes are one of the many components that may help you in your daily routine. 

Generally speaking, meal replacement shakes are intended to contain nutrients required for a balanced diet, but with fewer calories, presented in a format that is quick and convenient to prep and consume. As long as you choose and use them wisely, healthy meal replacement shakes can be a real game-changer for your daily diet plan and weight loss target. 

For many, it’s a brave new world of liquid nutrition to explore, so let’s get to your questions!

 

Do meal replacement shakes work?

The short answer – they certainly can! But it does depend on what your goals are, and how you choose and use your product. 

One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is the time and effort it takes to prepare and consume nutritionally balanced meals, three times a day, seven days a week. Thanks to their convenience, meal replacement shakes help you avoid making diet decisions you’ll regret, like turning to fast food, or skipping a meal altogether. Their concentration of vitamins is intended to fill in nutritional gaps you may have missed through your busy lifestyle. 

When it comes to weight loss, replacement shakes can be very helpful. Though it’s important to remember that, whilst diet replacement shakes have been clinically proven to help you lose weight, they are not a silver bullet, and should be used in conjunction with exercise and some healthy solid foods in order to ensure your weight loss is healthy and sustainable. 

 

What should I be aware of when purchasing?

Just like ‘nutritional bars’ the shake industry has its share of health imposters – but don’t let that put you off! There are only a few simple guidelines to follow to turn yourself into a savvy shake-shopper. As a smart shopper, the back of the pack is your best friend. Always check exactly what nutrients and vitamins are included, how much protein and fibre, and if weight loss is part of your motivation, exactly what calories you’re consuming.

Choose a weight loss shake based on your individual health and fitness goals. If you’re struggling to maintain a well-balanced diet and know you’re not including enough fruit and veg every day, a high-fibre shake may suit you better.

  1. 1. Once you’ve determined your goals, factor in dietary requirements like vegan, gluten free or any specific allergens to avoid.
  2. 2. It’s also important to keep an eye on how your shake is sweetened. If it’s too high in sugar or sugar alcohols, you’ll be hungry again soon after and suffer a crash in energy. More information on the consequences of this lifestyle choice can be found here.
  3. 3. Equally if there’s too much artificial sweetener you may be prone to diarrhoea in the short term, whilst tampering with your taste buds in the long term so that natural fruits like berries will taste too tart.
  4. 4. Finally – and this is the fun part – choose flavours you enjoy, so you actually look forward to shake time every day!

 

What should I be aware of when consuming?

 

You’ll have to choose to chew from time to time, even if you aim to lose weight fast. Most nutritionists recommended replacing a maximum of two meals a day with a shake for a limited weight loss period, then sticking to no more than one replacement a day long term. 

Unlike protein shakes, meal replacement shakes do not need to be consumed at certain times of the day, in conjunction with your workout, for example. Simply figure out what works for your schedule. For many women, breakfast or lunch is the most convenient as that’s when they are likely to be ‘on the go’. It is not recommended however to exist mostly on replacement shakes – trading solids for a shake once a day should be your maximum.

 

What is the best meal replacement shake for weight loss?

 

If weight loss is the main goal, opt for a shake that is high in protein, fibre and healthy fats to keep you satisfied, and low in sugar to prevent hunger pangs later on.

One option that may be suitable for some people is the meal replacement shake from leading health and lifestyle brand eimele. This is available in vanilla and chocolate flavour. 

It’s low in calories at just over 200 per serve, high in protein to improve weight loss, full of gut-loving fibre and rich in the vitamins and minerals that will give you the energy you need to get through the day in top form.

It comes as a meal replacement powder in sachet form, so you can store in the cupboard or your handbag, and just add water when you’re ready to drink.

Switching to a 100% meal replacement shake diet can be tough going for most people and not sustainable, making the likelihood of weight gain once you return to solid meals higher. So, like everything, if you want your replacement shake to really work for you, find a way to make the habit sustainable and your diet still balanced.

Incorporating healthy solids doesn’t have to mean hours of meal prep – eimele’s nutrient dense, low calorie porridge range is a great place to start, and there are countless great recipes online to inspire you too. 

Now you’ve got the facts down, we hope you feel confident and keen to get shaking!

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