When you think of meal replacements, you often think of canned drinks, powders, and other types of smoothies or shakes. But which are the healthiest options for those wanting to skip a meal?
Before diving into what’s the healthiest, it might be beneficial to look at what’s not healthy first. SlimFast is a brand of weight loss products and foods that has been around for years and is often the first thought when thinking of meal replacement. They have marketed drinks, bars, powders, and smoothies, often in desirable flavors like chocolate and strawberry, but with those flavors come a lot of additives. Additionally, these products don’t help you meet the necessary daily value of vitamins and minerals.
According to Harvard University, a healthy meal will be one that has color. Half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits, a quarter of your plate should be whole grains, and the other quarter should be protein. The quality of your food is key. While this may be hard to get all of this in a shake, it’s important to think about this when choosing a meal replacement option. Which shakes will provide similar nutrients and minerals as fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains? Which replacements will have high, healthy protein?
Women’s Health Magazine gave a bit more specifics on what makes a well-balanced shake or bar and says that they will have 300 to 400 calories, 15 to 30 grams of protein, 3 or more grams and fiber, and 10 to 15 grams of unsaturated fat. Some of their top recommendations for shakes are Orgain Grass Fed Clean protein shake, Evolve plant-based protein shake and Iconic protein drinks.
Health Canal also gave good insight, sharing Vega One All-in-One Shake, which has 50% of the daily value of some needed vitamins, and Ka’Chava Tribal Superfood, which is packed with 70 superfoods and marketed to be able to replace a full meal.
Before making a choice for a meal replacement, you must take into consideration your own body and health needs. It’s also crucial to read labels and look at ingredients when you’re going to choose any meal replacement shakes. Be sure to stay away from artificial flavors and ingredients and things you have a hard time pronouncing. You’ll want to remember why you want to skip a meal in the first place, likely to lose weight or be healthy, and unnecessary additives and preservatives will not help you reach that goal.