The Meal Replacement Mindset
For an adequate meal replacement drink, you need a well-rounded supply of vitamins and minerals. Everyone’s always worried about getting their MACROS, but what about your MICROS.
Macronutrients like amino acids, saturated fats, and carbs are prioritized because they directly affect short term changes in our muscle and fat. However, over your lifetime, proper consumption of micronutrients like Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin E have the most to do with our overall health & wellness.
Obviously, the best sources of micronutrients are fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and organ meats, but not everyone can make these a part of your daily intake. Living in inner-city “food deserts” or colder climates can make it really hard to find consistent sources of these foods. Also, the higher consumption of processed foods, that are stripped of many micronutrients, can compound the issue. Besides a good multivitamin for insurance, a good meal replacement shake can round out your daily needs.
If you don’t work out regularly, excess protein can actually be bad for you. Besides causing you to gain weight in the form of fat, excess protein can also cause high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and more. However, if you’re replacing one of your meals with a shake, then protein content should be a top priority. This is because it’s one of the main nutrients that keep you feeling full.
One thing that we see a lot of confusion on is the recommended amount of protein we need daily. For most people, it’s pretty hard to consume too much protein, so that’s why we concentrate on at least getting the bare minimum. We want to see at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Unless you’re working out 10-20 hours a week, 15-20g should be enough for a meal replacement shake, especially if you pair it with a meal bar or protein bar.
Between the Adkins diet and the Keto diet, fats have become even more of a hot-button issue. Gone are the days of recommending a low-fat diet. When Fat=Flavor, processed foods that are labeled low-fat have to make up for the loss of flavor somehow. They do this by adding salts and processed sugars, which can cause people to gain MORE weight over time.
Without getting too much “into the weeds” on fats, one of the main reasons we have them as a top metric is that fats play the biggest role in keeping you full. You can easily pair your meal replacement shake with a handful of nuts to increase your fat intake, but we really wanted to find “complete” shakes. If you pick a shake that’s lower in fat, just pay attention to your overall macros.
The other main reason it’s one of the top 4 metrics is that healthy fats can improve memory and other brain function. This should be very important for people in Active Mode. From students to business owners, it’s in our best interest to keep our body AND brain running at peak performance, especially when skipping meals.
If you want to learn more about how the right fats can improve your overall health and wellness, take the 28-Day Keto Challenge. Especially for beginners to nutrition and fitness, it’s a great foundation to build on. Even if you don’t fully stick with the lifestyle, your understanding of basic nutrition will positively change the way you look at what you consume.
In our quest to find the purest meal replacement shakes, many big names in the industry were easily eliminated simply for poor choices in ingredients. From preservatives to processed sugars, many companies put shelf-life and taste above proper-nutrition.
Instead of calling them out, we put the spotlight on the companies that put the customer first. Using premium ingredients and transparent labeling is the best way companies get into our Top 5 list.
Sometimes Superfood Greens and Meal Bars just won’t cut it. However, for people on the go, meal replacement shakes can be your best bridge to proper nutrition. So no, Bloody Mary’s didn’t make our cut for the Top 5 Meal Replacement drinks, but nice try.
What we DID include is some of the purest and nutritious meal replacement powders we could find. We went through quite a few, but it was pretty simple to narrow it down when focusing on the 4 major metrics we look for when trying to replace a whole meal with a shake.
- Vitamins and minerals
- Healthy Fats
- Overall Ingredient Quality