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Meal Replacement Shakes - Myths And Facts



Meal Replacement Shakes - Myths And Facts

Many of us here remember when meal replacement shakes first became a thing. A few decades ago, we were all introduced to the concept of drinking a shake for breakfast and lunch then eating a healthy, balanced meal for dinner. It was the answer to our prayers, sold as the ideal weight loss solution. 

Since then, we’ve been introduced to numerous variations on the same theme, but do they do what they promise to do?

It turns out that yes, they do, and they have some additional benefits too! As long as we do use them to replace a meal, rather than having them in addition to our regular meals. 

Pre-made meal replacement shakes and ready-to-go powders that we mix with milk (or a dairy-free alternative) have been nutritionally assessed to provide all the nutrients we need, including a certain amount of calories. 

Yes, they’ll probably leave us feeling hungry more quickly than consuming a traditional ‘solid’ meal, but it’s important that we don’t view them as being ‘free’. Since they contain calories, if we consume one and then still eat our regular number of meals a day, we’ll be consuming more calories - the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve! 

But we can use meal replacement shakes to replace one or two meals a day and then eat more than one other meal, as long as the meals are smaller. 

So by all means, make a protein filled smoothie for breakfast, but if by 11am you’re finding it hard to concentrate on anything other than lunch, then it’s absolutely ok to eat! We think eating little and often absolutely is the right thing to do if it works for you. 

For example, you could have a shake at 7am, hummus and oatcakes at 11am, another shake at 1pm, Banana and Almond Stacks at 3pm and then something like these Marmite Soldiers and Dippy Eggs at 6pm. 

However we do it, meal replacement shakes help us to avoid consuming calorie-laden, unhealthy meals because they put us in the mindset of calorie-controlled eating without having to think too much about it. Because they’re so quick and convenient, they can also stop us grabbing fast food and takeaways, as we can whip up a shake in seconds - ideal when we’re pushed for time and the takeaway menu is easier than preparing a freshly made meal. 

Meal replacement shakes also help to provide essential vitamins, minerals and fibre that we might miss out on if we’re on a calorie-controlled diet and we’re restricting how much we’re eating. 

Just beware that the brand of shake you’re using doesn’t contain added sugars as some of them do. 

Homemade shakes and smoothies are a good idea if you’d prefer to create your own at home to ensure you know exactly what’s in it. Our Fig and Nut Butter Smoothie is rich in protein from the nut butter and nut milk (pea milk is also a good protein rich option) and vitamins and minerals from the fruit. This Berry Protein Smoothie is also rich in protein and valuable nutrients, and can be made vegan by using a plant-based protein powder such as one made from hemp or pea protein. 

Essentially, drinking meal replacement shakes is a personal choice. If you do decide to replace one or two meals a day with a shake, then ensure that it contains lots of beneficial nutrients and that you manage the other meals you consume in order to keep your calorie intake where you want it to be.

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