One of the most common ways to lose weight is through the use of meal replacements. Some of them are healthy, while others are high in sodium and other unhealthy ingredients. There are many meal replacement shakes for weight loss out there and choosing the right one for you can be challenging.
Typically, meal replacements have a ton of benefits but mainly, they help with weight management. Most people use them to regulate their eating habits. They’re filling and generally lower in calories than an equivalent meal. But it can be hard to know which ones have the best combination of ingredients.
Why You Need Meal Replacements
If you maintain a well-balanced diet, then you may not need to replace or supplement your food with meal replacements. However, if you are on a weight-loss diet, or if you have trouble controlling your appetite, then meal replacements can be very useful. Furthermore, they can be helpful to people who are on restricted diets. For example, a healthy shake can provide lots of nutrients if you need to avoid solid foods.
What Makes a Complete Meal Replacement?
As a rule, choose a meal replacement with at least 15 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. This will help you to maintain your muscle mass, while also keeping you regular so that you can eliminate unhealthy waste from your body. Many healthy meal replacement drinks have the following composition:
- 25-50% of calories from protein
- 200-250 kcal of energy
- Not more than 30% of calories from fat
- At least 30% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamins and minerals
- 3-5 grams of fiber
These are the basics on what a meal replacement should contain. Start there, and then try these tips to really hone in on the best drinks for your needs.
Read Reviews Carefully
Start by picking out several options. Read reviews on Amazon, as well as those that appear on independent websites. Be sure to read a balance of positive and negative reviews, and look for clues that indicate whether the author is an expert on the subject. For example, if you read this RSP review, you’ll see that the author is a certified personal trainer with several degrees. When you dig into the article itself, you will notice that it describes important components of this particular meal replacement in detail. These are all good signs that the review is legitimate. By contrast, if you only read reviews that lack details, which are written by unknown authors, then you may want to do more research before making a decision.
Choose a Meal Replacement With Enough Calories
As a rule, when buying a meal replacement, you need to read the nutritional label of the package. Ideally, a healthy meal replacement should contain at least 250-350 calories. If you cut your calories too much, then your metabolism may slow down, and you may find yourself deficient in a number of important vitamins and minerals.
Choose a Meal Replacement With Enough Protein
As mentioned earlier, meal replacements help to regulate your eating habits. They are useful when you need to stay longer without eating your regular meals. For this reason, make sure you’re choosing a meal replacement with lots of protein to support your lean muscle mass. It’s generally a good idea to choose meal replacements with at least 20-25% of their calories derived from protein.
Get Meal Replacements With Fiber
Protein and fiber play vital roles in regulating your eating habits. Among other things, they keep you feeling full. For example, water-soluble fiber will expand in your stomach when you drink water, to create the feeling that you’ve just consumed a large meal. Only, it has no calories. Therefore, get meal replacements with at least 4 grams of fiber. You may also eat vegetables of fruits to increase your fiber intake along with your meal replacements. Just keep in mind that you need to consider the sugar calories that fruits contain.
Choose Meal Replacements With Low Fat Content
Make sure you are getting replacements with fewer than 14 grams of fats per serving. Furthermore, try to stick to healthy fats. Ideally, you should get replacements with unsaturated fats while you avoid saturated fats. While they contain the same number of calories per serving, unsaturated fats tend to be better for your overall health.
Get Replacements With Enough Vitamins and Minerals
Last but not least, choose replacements that are high in Vitamin A, C, D, E, and K, as well as the B vitamins. They should also contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Try these tips as a first step in selecting healthier meal replacement drinks. You’ll feel better overall, while lowering any associated risks. If you still find it difficult to choose a healthy meal replacement, then make your own at home. Choose healthy ingredients and follow the standards outlined in this article.