Meal Replacement Shakes

Meal replacement shakes are generally used for weight loss or weight maintenance. Although similar to protein shakes, they are designed to REPLACE a meal instead of SUPPLEMENT like protein shakes do. Therefore, they generally have more calories and nutrients than the average protein shake.

Many experts recommend that you not replace more than two out of your five to six meals/snacks a day with meal replacement shakes. Some people like to replace breakfast and dinner, eating their biggest meal in the middle of the day. If you find yourself running to the vending machine for a quick pick-me-up every afternoon, this might be the plan for you!

The best times to use meal replacement shakes are:

  • When you don’t have time to cook and need a complete meal on the go
  • After a tough workout (look for more protein to help with muscle repair)
  • As a snack to boost energy without spiking blood sugar
  • When you have a craving for sweets and need a healthy way to satisfy it
  • To reduce calorie consumption

What Should Your Meal Replacement Shake Contain?

Normally when you eat a healthy, well-balanced meal you have some carbs, some protein, and some fat. You also get a wide range of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals that ensure your body has the building blocks necessary for growth and repair.

Since you are skipping your normal meal, you should look for a meal replacement shake that contains everything you would get eating a normal meal. You don’t want all sugar and carbs. Instead, look for something with enough carbs to increase energy and enough protein and fiber to keep you full until your next meal. Your meal replacement shake needs:

  • Enough calories for 20% of your daily calorie intake (if you are eating five meals/snacks a day)
  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Minimal fat
  • 20% daily value of key nutrients
  • Fiber
  • Great flavor!

Meal Replacement Shakes and Weight Loss

If you have been trying to lose weight you understand that you need to create a Calorie Deficit. In other words, you need to expend (burn) more calories than you consume.

Calorie Deficit:

a calorie deficit is the act of spending more caleries than you consume. This is important while dieting.

Choosing a meal replacement shake that is lower in calories than your typical meal can make it easier to reach a Calorie Deficit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should choose the meal replacement shake with the fewest calories.


A nutrient that your body needs but only in very small, minute doses.

Your body needs a certain amount of calories to maintain normal body functions. Because of this, try to choose a meal replacement shake that contains between 200 and 400 calories, meeting macro- and Micronutrient guidelines.

You can also use meal replacement shakes to help you overcome poor dietary habits. For example, if your breakfast is always a donut or pastry, replace it with a meal replacement shake for a healthier and more filling alternative. If you frequently turn to a candy bar or chips in the afternoon to get your energy levels up, that’s the perfect time for a meal replacement shake.

When you do eat a traditional meal, make sure it is well balanced. Don’t undo a whole day’s worth of healthy eating by indulging on anything and everything in sight!

Post-Workout Meal

Another key time you might consider using a meal replacement shake is after your workout. Look for a shake with easily digested protein so you can get to work rebuilding muscle tissue faster.

After your workout you may need more carbs to increase energy levels again. When you use meal replacement shakes during and after physical activity, you can keep your carb levels high for greater energy without having to feel bloated or full like you would with a traditional meal.


hen you don’t have the time or energy to make an elaborate, or even simple, balanced meal, using meal replacement shakes can give you the same nutrients you would otherwise receive. Although meal replacement shakes are primarily used for weight loss, consider adding a meal replacement shake after a tough workout for a quick energy boost and using one anytime your sweet tooth refuses to be satiated!

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