Sometimes life gets hectic. From meetings to workouts, baby showers, and commuting between it all, balanced meals can slip through the cracks. If you’re starting to move meal time down the list of priorities, it’s time to consider an easy way to fuel up: meal replacement shakes.
A meal replacement should encompass everything you’d look for in any other meal. From nutritional value to a delicious taste, meal replacements are meals themselves.
The best meal replacement shakes will cover all the bases: nutritional value, delicious taste, daily convenience, and overall satisfaction. When you don’t have to worry about the basic aspects of living, you can get more done and feel better about it. Let’s start by going over what you should look for regarding nutrition.
Sadly, not everything you consume has as much nutritional value as you might think. Even if you’re munching on “healthy” snacks and filling your bowls to the brim, you might not be eating the balanced meals you need.
A meal replacement shake shouldn’t be exempt from meeting the standards of a healthy diet. Our shakes may be one color, but they should hold the value of various foods.
There are several components to creating a well-balanced meal. Your shake needs to have the nutritional value that you typically get from eating your fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. A shake that’s filling is not equivalent to a shake that’s nutritious.
Your body depends on several nutrients to function properly and optimally. Let’s dive into what you should look for on the nutrition label of the shake in question.
Macronutrients (macros) is the umbrella term for carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Although certain diets restrict you to one or two macros, all three play important roles in your body. Each macro has a job; they function and interact with your systems in different ways to produce different results.
Protein is essential for building muscle, repairing damaged tissue, and managing your metabolism. When told to eat more protein, you may turn to meats and animal-based products, but you can obtain protein from various sources. You can get protein from tofu, nuts, and other plants, and it should certainly be a component of your meal replacement shake. Plant-based proteins have the added benefit of being both good for you and sustainable - so they allow choose proteins that are good for your heart and the planet!
Carbohydrates (carbs) are the macro greatly accredited for giving you the energy you need to get through the day. Our body breaks down the carbohydrates we eat into glucose. Glucose is the main energy source for your body's cells, tissues, and organs. To have a well-balanced diet integral to a healthy lifestyle, you need to consume some carbs, however, focusing on slow-burning or low glycemic index carbs (complex carbs) will give you the greatest benefit without the crash.
Carbs often get a bad rap. We tend to put bread, pasta, and other high-calorie carbs into the ‘unhealthy foods’ section of our memory. In some cases, this is true, and certain carbs don’t offer much nutritional value. Yet, to label all carbs as “bad” wouldn’t be fair.
Simple carbs are made up of mostly fiber, starch, and sugar, offering little to no health benefits. Whereas, complex carbs like vegetables, beans, and whole grains are a better option because they’re higher in fiber and contain a variety of beneficial nutrients.
Fats get a bad rep when it comes to healthy eating, but they’re just as important to creating a balanced diet. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fats.
Those vitamins that you can only absorb with the help of fats fall under the category of micronutrients, which are also integral to your health.
Micronutrients include all of those essential vitamins and minerals you’re always hearing about. Typically, you might drink milk for calcium and eat your vegetables for fiber and vitamin A, but your shake should be a one-stop shop.
It’s important to have your basic vitamins and minerals every day. Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support growth and repair, and help cells and organs do their jobs.
To ensure your basic needs are being met, look for vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, and minerals like potassium, iron, and manganese. The more vitamins and minerals, the better. A complete meal supports your body with small ingredients that have an enormous impact on your overall health.
Even if you see a ton of vitamins listed on the back of your shake, be wary of nutrition labels. Sometimes, companies will add small amounts of a wide range of nutrients just to give the impression of a high nutritional value. Your body needs a particular amount of each vitamin in order to actually be effective. Keep an eye on the daily percentage value beside each vitamin to ensure it’s actually going to be effective.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day to maintain itself and to power you through the day. Your daily calorie intake will be determined by your basal metabolic rate (BMR), whatever energy you expend outside of that, and whether or not you want to gain or lose weight.
Your BMR is how many calories your body uses to function and simply keep you alive. Each of our BMRs is different based on our height, weight, and metabolism. Depending on how much you move, you burn a certain amount of calories each day outside of your BMR. Your daily caloric exertion is the combination of your BMR and all of your other activities.
The amount of calories that you consume each day is up to you. If you want to remain the same weight, you’ll eat the number of calories equal to your daily exertion. If you want to gain weight, you’ll eat more calories than you burn, and to lose weight, you have to eat in a caloric deficit. You should look for meal replacement shakes that align with your caloric needs.
Even two people with the same daily caloric intake may divide their calories throughout the day differently. If you have 2,000 calories to work with each day, you might want to eat four meals of 500 calories, or you may be happier eating two meals of 500 and one of 1,000. Calories can determine whether or not your meals are satisfying and supporting you.
Keep in mind that not every meal with the same caloric value will have the same nutritional value. Eating a 400-calorie fast-food burger will not make your body feel the same way as a 400-calorie bottle of Soylent. Even between two equal-calorie meal replacement shakes, you’ll find that their nutritional benefits aren’t equal. Hint: look at the ingredients, macros, and micros!
A meal replacement shake needs to be a genuine meal replacement; it should nourish your body with the macros, micros, and calories you need. If your diet is well-balanced, your quick and easy meal replacement shouldn’t have to be a compromise.
Whether you’re preparing all of your meals yourself or buying pre-packaged goods, a nutritious diet is filled with natural ingredients that give your body what it needs. Every meal that you eat (or drink) should come with health benefits.
Just because you don’t have the time to prepare a delicious meal doesn’t mean you should settle for a cardboard-flavored blend of artificial ingredients. If you don’t enjoy the taste of your replacement shakes, you will regret buying and drinking them.
Food is fuel, but it’s also something that we have an emotional connection to. Even thinking about your favorite food can make you excited. The taste of your shake should make you happy and be something that you crave from time to time.
Great news, Soylent’s taste beats BOTH plant-based and dairy-based nutrition shakes in head to head taste tests, so you can be sure you are getting great nutrition without having to choke it down.
Most of us turn to meal replacement shakes because we’re craving more convenience in our lives. Meal replacement protein shakes make hitting your macros easier, nutrition shakes ease your concerns about calories, and food delivery takes away grocery shopping altogether. Convenience is good; it makes our lives easier.
Life is less stressful when you don’t have to worry about cooking, meal prepping, or shopping for nutritious options. A meal replacement shake should make your life as carefree as an Old Navy commercial.
If you’re a vegan, finding both nutritious and convenient options can be even more difficult. A vegan meal replacement shake answers all your problems. If you’re constantly on the go and don’t want to lug around a bunch of Tupperware, a lightweight and compact option does loads of good. If you typically have a coffee or soda with your meals, the most convenient shake will have caffeine in it. Out of every option, look for the meal replacement shake that offers you the most convenience overall.
If your meal replacement isn’t leaving you feeling satisfied, then what’s the point? Between nutritional value and a great taste, the best meal replacement shake is the one that makes you satisfied.
Food satisfaction is the positive physical and psychological response after consuming food, which is what eating is all about. This satisfaction is seen in your perceived stomach feeling, energy level, and the satiety period after consumption. A good shake should replace meals and let you continue on with your day without skipping a beat.
If you’re craving another meal only a few hours after you drink your shake, then it’s working more like a meal delayer than a meal replacement. A shake should leave you feeling full and nourished.
Complete, Compact, and Convenient
Your meal replacement shake should be complete, compact, and convenient. Not every nutritional shake on the market considers what complete nutrition means and what value it brings to your body and day.
Soylent is a meal replacement powder that actually works as a solution to inconvenient eating. Soylent offers a nutritious option that serves your body and acts as a replacement for full meals. The best part of it all is you don’t have to compromise on a delicious taste. Soylent comes in various flavors, so you can switch things up if you’re ever in the mood for something different.
Soylent bottles have the nutritional value you should look for in any 400 calorie meal, covering the bases of nutrition and helping your body perform. Soylent’s powdered form is perfect for creating meals the size that you want and taking compact nourishment with you on the go.
Your meal replacement shake should be a solution to every convenience that comes with eating traditional meals. Feel confident knowing that by swapping out a meal for Soylent, you’re not compromising nutrition, taste, or satisfaction.