Along with many of my fellow health advocates, friends, clients and students, I use meal replacement shakes on a regular basis. I love them. I believe in what they do to support health and optimal weight.
Since everybody seems to be talking about shakes, I thought I’d share my perspective since I have been drinking shakes to replace meals for many years.
- One of the main objections I hear from people about shakes is that they like to chew their food. Well, since we often add fruits and veggies to our shakes, why not have a sliced apple or orange, or some steamed broccoli next to your shake? Today we had a delicious shake with some cut up fruit next to it. Yummy.
- Shakes are versatile. For weight loss, you can just add water and ice when making a shake. If you are going to get a good workout, you can make it with almond milk or soy milk, and add some fruit, veggies, nut butter, nuts, coconut, flax seeds, chia seeds, or yogurt.
- Shakes can be enhanced. Add extra protein for a nutrition + metabolism boost, and fiber, for its cleansing and filling effect.
- I am often asked if shakes will cause someone to lose weight. The answer is no. Shakes support weight loss and the difference is what you may need to understand to use them effectively. Within a comprehensive approach to good nutrition (balanced and complete whole foods, but not too much), shakes are well integrated. One of the best explanations of why shakes support weight loss is to ask yourself, what would you otherwise be eating? For many, the answer is something far less nutrient-dense.
- Shakes help with portion control. One serving is incredibly satisfying. They are quite filling, in fact. One famous company has promoted portion control foods to help people lose weight. But the ingredients of the foods of this particular company are low down on the rung of quality nutrition. A quality, balanced shake can accomplish both: support a reasonable quantity of food, while serving up high quality.
- Shakes are economical. Compared to just about any meal out, for a few bucks you can get a direct line to healthy carbs, fats, and proteins and call it a meal.
- Shakes are convenient. You can take a shaker bottle, and an individual packet in your briefcase or backpack. Add some water and ice, and shake up a meal that is good for you.
- Shakes eliminate decision anxiety. My husband, who works from home, loves not having to make any decisions when it comes to feeding himself for lunch. One downfall for people who struggle with their weight is going to a restaurant and being seduced by food on the menu. Why not skip the restaurant. Have a shake and go for a walk with your lunch buddy instead.
- Shakes help with meal and snack planning. You can adjust your shake to make it last, like with the add-ons I mentioned. This can help prevent snacking and increase fat burning by helping your body to become more “food fit”. This means that the calories you consume last longer and you don’t get hungry as quickly.
- Taking meal replacements is not being on a diet. It’s most definitely not a deprivation based diet. It’s not something you start and then stop. It’s like eating salads and oranges. It’s a sustainable approach to good nutrition and weight management, more of a lifestyle approach. When I hear people say that they don’t want to rely on shakes, I wonder. I think I rely on leafy greens and seasonal fruit and other veggies to stay healthy. Isn’t that like having a nutritious meal in whatever form it comes?
- I saved one of my favorites for last. Shakes are the BEST way to get back on track if you overindulged. I wrote about this in my book, Health Matters. Instead of beating yourself up for eating too much, or overindulging, simply flick the switch called Correction Mode. Rely on these delicious shakes to get you back on track. They will fill you up, but not out. So, it is a very satisfying and effective way to course correct. This is especially handy the day after a celebration, like Thanksgiving.
Buyer be aware. Make sure the product you buy contains little or no sugar, and it not just a sweet milkshake pretending to be a healthy alternative to eating. You are looking for a nutritious shake product that is balanced and complete. This means, as I mentioned, proper ratios of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates (versus processed sugar and sugar-like substances), and a blend of plant-based proteins.
Your body will love you back when you nourish yourself with delicious and nutritious shakes!
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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