Nowadays it is common to see commercials of meal replacements with before-and-after pictures that urge us to question whether they really are the miracle we need to lose weight. Although the process of losing weight differs from person to person, millions of people have found meal replacements an effective way to control hunger and start losing weight.
Available in the form of shakes and bars, meal replacements are meant to meet the nutritional requirements of a balanced meal in a convenient manner. They contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, hence they are nutrient dense and offer recommended portioning. But in order to be effective, they need to be taken properly. Here is how.
Balance is Key
Make sure you read the nutrition label of your product. The grams of protein present in meal replacements need to be higher than or equal to the amount of carbs you will be consuming. Nutritionists explain that this will help prevent your blood sugar from dropping and will keep you full longer as well. If your meal replacement doesn’t provide the amount of protein necessary, add a side of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or a deli turkey to make up for the difference.
Combine it With Your Salad
Many people find it difficult to get the amount of protein they need at lunch. Drinking a shake that is packed with protein with a small salad can be the ideal solution to meet your protein intake needs. Experts recommend choosing a shake that contains around 200 calories and a salad with 200-300 calories to avoid exceeding your allowed daily calories intake.
Use It as an Afternoon Snack
A protein-rich shake with no more than 200 calories is also a great way to stave off an afternoon hunger attack. It will help keep your blood sugar stable, which is vital for weight loss.
Nourish Your Workouts
If you usually work out during your lunch break, a meal replacement can be a great way to ensure that you stay fueled and full. Drink half of a shake half-hour before hitting the gym, then drink the rest once you finish your exercising. This is also a good strategy to try when heading the gym after work.
Make it Your Dessert
Use half vanilla or chocolate flavour shake to soothe your ice cream cravings. You won’t miss the sugar crash that comes with a pint of your favorite desert.
It is important to mention that while meal replacements offer great nutrition, they should not be used to replace an entire diet. Plus, you may need to supplement your daily fibre intake with nuts and fruit and wholegrain in your other meals. Over time, taste fatigue may become an issue, so it is recommended to select different meals as to ensure you stick to your target while enjoying yourself.