Protein Shake Meal ReplacementsMarch 12, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
One of the biggest obstacles to living a healthy lifestyle is a lack of time. Many of us are constantly “on the go”. The thought of preparing three, wholesome, homemade meals on a daily basis is just not practical. But I have good news – one answer to this conundrum can be found within the problem itself. Today, I’m going to share a personal strategy that allows me to stick to a day-in and day-out healthy lifestyle. The key to my success is choosing a WOE (way of eating) that is practical.
Shake It Up, Baby
Eating food can be an extremely pleasurable experience. But it’s important to remember that nourishment is the primary reason we feed ourselves. Taste is by far secondary. Having said that, if we can somehow marry these two aspects of dining together, it’s all the better.
For many years, I’ve looked high and low for the “perfect meal replacement” shake. I’ve been to countless health food stores, Internet sites and industry trade shows. I’ve asked for peoples’ opinions and sampled dozens of the “best options”. The conclusion I’ve inevitably come to is that such a product does not and perhaps cannot exist. But with a little creativity and planning, you can create the ultimate meal replacement shake. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it for myself.
My criteria for a good meal replacement is that it must be: a) nutrient dense; b) affordable; c) easy to make and clean up; d) transportable and; e) satisfy hunger.
Let’s address each point separately:
Nutrient Density – I start with a good source of a natural, unsweetened protein powder. My preference is whey protein. But there are many other options available, such as brown rice protein, egg protein, golden pea protein and hemp protein.
To the protein I add a “super food” powder. “Super foods” are powdered forms of concentrated vegetables and fruits. They often contain nutrient powerhouses like sprouted flaxseed meal, spirulina (an algae) and wheat grass juice as well. These super foods generally provide high levels of antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins.
The next step is to choose your liquid base. Since I’m on a low-carbohydrate diet, I use a combination of organic cream and purified water. Some people may prefer other liquids, such as almond milk, coconut milk, cow’s milk, soy milk, etc.
Whether you choose to add a sweetener or natural flavors is a matter of taste. I use a super food formula that already has a delicious, natural, chocolate flavor. But I do add some additional organic stevia powder. It makes it even more delicious and doesn’t add additional calories.
Affordability – You can find better deals on nutritional supplements on the internet pretty much across the board. Shop around and you may be surprised by how much money you can save. I buy about 95% of my supplements via the ‘net.
Easy to Make, Easy to Clean Up – One the best tools I have in my kitchen is a “shaker cup”. You can find both plastic and metallic versions of these devises. They consist of a container body and a tight fitting lid/top.
All you have to do is add the liquid and the powders into the container. Put the top on and shake it up. Once you’re done, you just rinse it out. Easy peasy.
Transportability – A basic thermos is all you’ll need here. Simply shake the thermos prior to drinking and you’re ready to go.
Hunger Satisfaction – This is something that everyone must gauge for himself. You may have to experiment to find the exact amounts of protein, fat and fiber that will fill you up.
It’s really quite easy to adjust the levels of these three macro-nutrients. Here are a few ideas about how you can increase the amounts of each of these hunger quenchers:
- Protein – Just add more protein powder to your shake.
- Fat – You can include items that are higher in fat such as coconut milk, heavy cream, flaxseed oil and nut/seed butters.
- Fiber – Coconut fiber, flaxseed meal, hemp fiber, canned pumpkin and pure cocoa powder are rich sources of good-tasting fiber.*
* Keep in mind that adding fiber often thickens liquids. Adding too much may present problems with the thermos/portability issue.
In my experience, I tend to fill up more if my shake is reasonably thick. You can, of course, adjust the thickness of your meal replacement by adding more or less liquid.
There are some days when I end having a souped-up protein shake to replace one or even two meals. That’s never my goal, but it is an option that I’m comfortable with because I know exactly how nourishing my creation is. I also know how it makes me feel – which is great!
My point in sharing this information is to hopefully empower you with alternatives. In this day and age, we have more nutritional options than ever. I suggest that you try to come up with your own solutions that will allow you to nourish your body well everyday. It’s doable. It just takes a little experimentation.
Tags: Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition, Protein
Posted in Nutrition