Whether you use a commercial meal replacement shake, or make your own using your trusty blender, I know you’ll love how easy healthy eating and weight loss can be. If you are fed up with diets that don’t work, make sure you give meal replacement shakes for weight loss a try for yourself. Like, me, I’m sure you’ll love them too.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine about meal replacements for weight loss. I was explaining how, for weight loss, I think they are one of the best and easiest ways to eat healthily and lose weight at the same time.
At the end of our chat, my friend then said, “So they’re basically protein shakes then?”
After that, I had to explain that, while similar, protein shakes and meal replacement shakes are not the same. I wrote about this in my article Meal replacement shakes vs. protein shakes, so check it out if you are confused too.
In summary, protein shakes contain mostly protein, and are designed to be an easy way to increase your protein intake. They are used by exercisers who need extra protein for muscle growth and recovery after workouts.
Meal replacements, in the other hands, are complete but low-calorie meals in a glass. They do contain protein, but they also have healthy carbs, fiber, and healthy fats too, plus vitamins, minerals, and they may also contain appetite suppressants.
Where protein shakes are consumed in addition to solid meals, meal replacement shakes are consumed instead of solid meals. By cutting the number of calories you consume, your body will burn fat for fuel, and you’ll lose weight. Protein shakes, in contrast, often lead to weight gain – mostly in the form of bigger muscles.
So, that’s the difference, but what is the best way to use a meal replacement shake? Good question.
To lose weight with meal replacements, you just consume a low-calorie shake in place of a higher calorie meal. After all, there would be no point swapping a low-calorie snack for a meal replacement shake – you wouldn’t save any calories that way.
Personally, I like to have a shake for breakfast because I’m often in too much of a hurry to stop and make something healthy to eat, and most breakfast cereals are nothing more than sugary, fattening junk food.
If I get home late, feeling hungry but too tired to cook something healthy, I might have a meal replacement shake then, too. This stops me ordering a takeout or eating something else that’s equally unhealthy and fattening.
Of course, there is nothing to stop you having a meal replacement for lunch. It’s just that I prefer to take a break from work at lunchtime, and it would be too easy for me to end up sitting at my desk and drinking my meal replacement shake. Instead, I eat a salad in the breakroom, so I get away from my desk for 30 minutes or so.
So, to answer the question – the best way to use meal replacement shakes is, however, best works for you. You can replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner as preferred, but I suggest you eat at least one “real” meal per day, if not two. Yes, you’ll lose weight faster with more shakes, but you’ll also be hungrier. If you are hungry, you are more likely to break your diet. That’s why I limit myself to just 1-2 shakes per day.
There are lots of different shakes you can choose from, and I reveal the best products in my article best meal replacement shakes for weight loss. One of the most popular, Shakeology, is very good but also a little expensive, which is why I’ve written about Shakeology alternatives in this article. Finally, if you prefer, you can also make your own, and you can find my favorite recipes for homemade meal replacement shakes here.