Hoping to sip your way to a slimmer you? Then meal replacement shakes might just be your golden ticket. These shakes are low in calories and high in essential vitamins and minerals.
But, before you decide, you need to really understand what meal replacement shakes are and how they work. Read on to learn five things you need to know about meal replacement shakes before deciding if this weight-loss method is right for you.
1. Meal replacement shakes aren’t what you think they are.
You’ve seen your neighbor drinking them, and you’ve seen them advertised on TV showing people’s amazing before and after photos. But do you really understand what a meal replacement shake is? First off, they’re not going to magically help you shed 50 pounds (no matter what that inspiring commercial showed), they’re not meant to be used to starve yourself and they’re not protein shakes.
Meal replacement shakes do contain ample amounts of protein and other nutrients your body needs, and they can help you lose some weight, when used right. That means you drink a nutrient-rich shake in replacement of one or two meals a day to help you cut your calorie intake during that mealtime.
2. Successful meal replacement diets require more than drinking shakes.
You can’t drink a shake, wait 10 minutes, step on the scale and expect to see that you’ve lost a couple pounds. If you really want to lose weight, you have to eat less and exercise more than you currently are. Meal replacement shakes help with the first part. When you drink a shake packed with good nutrients, it’s less than eating a normal meal that’s typically filled with unneeded calories, fats and sugars. It should also keep you full longer so you don’t get the munchies before your next meal.
The exercising part, that’s on you. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends you exercise 150 minutes a week.
3. Meal replacement shakes are filling—when they’re made with the right ingredients.
A growling stomach too often keeps people from being able to lose weight. Feeling hungry, and having others hear your hunger pains, is what causes many of us to overeat during and in between meals. But, meal replacement shakes help keep you full and slim down. And the best meal replacement shakes contain a healthy trio of ingredients:
- Protein—Helps you stay fuller for a longer time frame.
- Fiber—Makes you feel full instantly.
- (Good) Fat—Work with your body’s hormones to tell you to stop eating.
4. It’s an easy, convenient diet to follow.
Some people worry they won’t be able to follow the strict rules some diets require. But with meal replacement shake diets, it’s a pretty easy daily system to follow that doesn’t require calorie counting at every meal or reading every label of everything you cook with. Just replace one or two of your meals a day with a meal replacement shake, most choose breakfast or lunch, and then eat a healthy mid-afternoon snack and a balanced dinner.
Along with easy to follow, it’s also convenient. Wouldn’t you rather sleep longer and whip up a shake in five minutes or less in the morning that you can drink in the car on the way to work than wake up 20 minutes earlier to make and eat a hot, healthy breakfast?
5. You can choose whichever meal you want.
The best time to drink a meal replacement shake is whatever time you feel is best for you. Nobody knows your body better than you. Some people choose breakfast because they’re not super hungry in the morning and need something convenient, and shakes are light and filling, plus easy to make and take. Others pick lunch so they’re not tempted to get a calorie-filled, drive-thru meal on their 30-minute lunch break or for dinner as a post-workout source of protein that supports muscle repair and recovery. It’s up to you to decide which meal or meals you want to replace with a shake.
If you’ve decided to try meal replacement shakes, then you need some delicious, nutrient-dense shakes to drink. Check out our favorite shake recipes that give you a healthy, well-balanced meal replacement option—and don’t skimp on the flavor.