Meal replacement shakes have been around for a long time, since most of us have encountered them on teleshopping channels in the 1990s. "With just a single smoothie, you will bulk up on muscles and have a hot body worth admiring at the beach!”. Unlike, what we saw in those advertisements, those 'swole is the goal, size is the prize' headlines and models in their spandex tights have now been swapped for busy professionals in their suits and ties.
If you are new to meal replacement shakes, they are a simple way to get your meals over and done with in a easy and fast manner, since they can be prepared easily.
What Do Meal Replacement Shakes Do?
If you are asking for the difference between meal replacement shakes and protein shakes, meal replacement shakes actually supply more fibre, carbohydrates and calories, as compared to protein shakes. But compared to a meal made with whole foods, meal replacement shakes are unable to sufficiently replace the nutritional component, since it lacks in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. To make up for all the loss of nutrients, it is recommended to supplement the shake with a fruit or a low-calorie snack to nourish your body with the good stuff.
What compensates for the loss of nutrients is convenience, since it is simple to take along and a breeze to prepare and consume on the go. Just by gulping down its contents during your morning rush, you will feel full, at least until your next meal comes along.
Can it Actually Help You Lose Weight?
Of course, this is the penultimate question that is on everyone’s mind. Since most store-purchased meal replacement shakes are flavoured to make them more appealing to the taste buds, they may contain plenty of sugar and calories that we are unaware of. Take a chocolate-flavoured replacement shake, for example. It contains somewhere around 18 to 20 grams of sugar, which constitute more than half the amount of sugar that adults should ingest in a day.
In a study that pitted participants who took meal replacements against those who reduced their calorie intake and opted for a healthy lifestyle, it revealed that both groups had lost weight. But checking in a year later, the study found that a significant number of those who took meal replacements regained the weight they had initially lost, while the other group maintained their weight. This would be telling of how meal replacements are actually a temporary weight loss fix that should not be taken long-term as a plan to maintain one’s weight.
Making Your Own Homemade Shake
Considering how the store-bought variations may be slightly unhealthy, that is what has led to more and more fitness buffs turning to homemade meal replacement shakes to get the on-the-go refuelling that their busy lifestyles need.
A really simple meal replacement shake that you could fix up really quickly at home is a green slushie that has what you need for your day. Essentially, a slushie contains a liquid like water or milk, fruit or leafy vegetables for the nutrients, dried fruit to make it sweet, nuts or seeds to bulk the smoothie up with protein and either banana or mango chunks to hold the drink together. When they all come together, you will have a smoothie that would be able to tide you through the difficult parts of your day.
Just before you head to the supermarket to shop for your ingredients, it is always good to plan your meal replacement shake. Having a shopping list in advance helps you ensure that you are buying optimally without any waste or being thrown off your routine with unhealthy food items that are on sale at the store. Similarly, aim for different variations each week to keep it interesting. There are plenty of ingredients that you can play around with and substitute without much of a deviation.
The Perfect Mix
If you are in the business of losing weight, a homemade meal replacement shake is actually great for weight loss, since it allows you to adequately observe what you put into your body. When you feed your body right, you will find that you would find yourself a week later with increased energy, much better sleep and your cravings shaved off by half.
On top of that, it is important to supplement this with an active workout plan. How weight loss works is when your calorie intake is less than the number of calories burnt. When you put in the extra effort to be more active, you will find your metabolism rate spiking up and more calories being burnt in the process. Since you would have managed to shave some time off your daily schedule, there might just be some wiggle room to include a 30-minute slot for a quick drop-in at the gym.