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Stuck at your desk and unable to take a lunch break? Long drive home after the gym and your body is screaming for some food? Scenarios like these, and others, are where meal replacement shakes can really help you out. These shakes are easy to bring with you wherever you go, easy to mix and a great first step in your quest to getting in better shape.

Benefits

In addition to convenience and portability, meal replacement shakes also have the following benefits:

Weight Management – these shakes are a great way to help you lose or gain weight. They have a controlled amount of calories which are typically less than a solid meal.

Plenty of Nutrients–meal replacement shakes are filled with vitamins and minerals which the body requires. They’re a valuable source to ensure that you get your daily requirements.

Protein – if you are trying to manage your weight or build muscle, protein is essential. Unfortunately, many of you don’t get enough protein in your diets. Meal replacement shakes can help you consume more protein on a daily basis and provide your body with these vital building blocks.

Pre or Post Workout – drinking half of your meal replacement shake before the gym will provide you with a good amount of fuel and energy for your workout. Drinking the other half of your shake after a gym session is a great way to refuel and replenish your body.

Sweet Tooth – most of us have a sweet tooth that drives us to eating too much junk food like ice cream, cookies or candy. Some meal replacement shakes taste like chocolate or vanilla ice cream and can really satiate those junk food cravings.

Choosing the Right One

It’s important that you don’t walk into your local supplement store and buy just any meal replacement shake. Not all shakes are equal and you really need to know what to look for when buying one. The following should be taken into consideration before purchasing meal replacement shakes:

  • Has a low amount of sugar
  • Has a low amount of fat
  • Has a relatively low amount of calories, but enough to keep you feeling full for a few hours
  • Has more grams of protein than fat or carbs
  • Has a good amount of vitamins and minerals
  • Tastes good
  • Has a good ratio of servings per cost of each container
  • Made by a reputable company
  • Has positive expert and consumer reviews

Getting Fit

When trying to get fit, many of you will be doing a large overhaul of your diets and lifestyles. For some of you, this may be the first time you’ve ever tried to get healthy. This also may be the first time that you have ever tried to take a sensible and well-constructed approach to your diet. I understand how daunting of a task this can be for some of you. The good news is – meal replacement shakes make it easier for you to make and maintain consistency with these initial changes to your diet and lifestyle.

As mentioned above, these shakes aid in weight loss, building muscle and meeting most daily requirements for vitamins and minerals. When trying to lose weight, most of you will have to cut down on the amount of calories you eat per day. Since you know how many calories a shake provides, by reading the nutrition label, it’s easy to implement these shakes within your newfound calorie controlled diet and ensure that you are not going over your max caloric intake.

It’s also easy to choose shakes that are low in fat, which are perfect for those of you looking to cut down on how much fat you consume per day. The same approach can be applied to sugar and carbs.

For those of you that don’t take vitamins and are transitioning from a nutrient deficient diet, meal replacement shakes can be a great source for these essential nutrients. They may also be a stepping stone for you to start taking a multivitamin and other supplements.

Conclusion

Meal replacement shakes are effective tools for the short term, but they are not meant to be a permanent solution for the long term. Additionally, they are not meant to be a substitute for eating a healthy, well-balance diet. To get the most out of these shakes, you should consume them along with regular exercise and healthy eating habits.

If you have never taken supplements or shakes before, consult your physician to ensure that you won’t have any adverse reactions. Additionally, if you have various food allergies, then you will also want to consult your doctor on what shakes might be right for you.

Jamie Sene

Resources

SFGate.com: Advantages & Disadvantages of Meal Replacement Shakes http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-disadvantages-meal-replacement-shakes-7285.html

LiveStrong.com: Are meal replacement shakes healthy? http://www.livestrong.com/article/471772-are-meal-replacement-shakes-healthy/