Workouts & Exercises

A Definitive Guide to Meal Replacement Alternatives

Does your mind immediately shift to thinking of highly restrictive diets when you hear the word meal replacement? Or, do you constantly wonder why anyone would want to replace a good meal with something else?

Well, meal replacements are typical solutions, and many of us use them for different reasons. It may be resource constraints like time and money, or wanting something that takes less effort - like Kachava, which as you can see in our kachava review takes next to no time. Others are after these shakes for fitness goals, among other reasons.

Ideally, I use meal replacement alternatives as substitutes for solid meals like the next guy. Let’s talk more about these strategies.


What Can I Replace Food with to Lose Weight?

There are variety of meal replacement alternatives from which you can choose one based on your nutritional requirements

I highly recommend replacing food with weight loss shakes if you want to lose weight.

To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. Shakes do not allow you to consume many calories since they have low calorie contents.  

When you target weight loss by using shakes, you need to ensure that the macronutrients are balanced, but carbohydrates must be the least in each serving. Add more protein to feel fuller for longer and blend in more fats to fuel energy.


What Can I Replace a Meal with?

If you are looking for an ideal meal replacement for weight loss, then meal replacement shakes are the right choice

There is something to note before we can look at what you can use to replace your meals.

When substituting meals, the crucial thing is to choose the right and best option based on your needs and requirements. It is also best to use replacements that can sustain you without feeling deprived.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, these are some of my highly recommended alternatives;


Shakes

Meal replacement shakes are the first choice if you are searching for meal replacement

Meal replacement shakes are meant to give you the nutrition you obtain from a full meal. They are convenient when you don’t have enough time to cook a meal and are low in calories. Personally, I prefer Lyfe Fuel Essentials for its pocket friendly price tag and a cool nutritional profile, but Kchava is also good for you all curious cats out there who want to try out different tastes and flavors.

The ingredients will typically vary from one shake to another, but they must have a harmonious balance of fats, carbs, and protein. The best shakes should also have fiber, essential minerals, and vitamins.

You can make meal replacement shakes yourself to adjust the ingredients, or you can buy premade ones. However, be careful when purchasing shakes because they may also contain hidden unhealthy additions.


Protein Powders

Replacing your meal with protein powder ideally benefits you in terms of losing weight and reducing daily calorie intake

A protein powder is a premade powdered form of protein made from different sources. Plants like hemp, soybeans, rice, and more can be sources. They can also be from whey protein or casein, and you can also find egg protein powders.

All you need when using a protein powder is milk or water to mix it in then you can consume it. Protein powders are simple ways to give yourself a healthy boost. Protein is a crucial component for weight loss, bone strength, muscle build-up and maintenance, and other bodily functions. I took a 2 protein shakes each day for a month in a bid to lose weight, trust me, these do work. 

Protein powders may be made with added sugars, artificial flavors, and thickeners which can be unhealthy. If you have been in the fitness space long enough, then you know you should be avoiding eating sugar by all means - so choose your powder wisely.


Meal Replacement Bars

As meal replacement bars are low on calories and high on nutrition so you can occasionally use them as a meal replacement

Meal replacement bars are excellent, mainly because they are packed with calories that you would get from a meal.

The calories contained in these bars are primarily found in healthy ingredients like almonds, chia seeds, oats, flax, and sunflower seeds. Some have natural sweeteners or dried fruits.

You don’t always have to buy pre-packaged bars. You can bake them yourself, which is an excellent way to control the ingredients. You can balance the nutrients to make a bar that can sustain energy, and you can also adjust the flavor and level of chew to your liking.


Trail Mix

Trail mix is ideal for adding fiber, protein and other nutritional value to any meal.

I always have a trail mix ready just in case I need a meal alternative on the go. A trail mix is an ideal snack since it provides me with a nutritional bang. Trail mixes comprise healthy fats, calories, adequate protein, and fiber.

There are healthier options with low sugar, unsweetened fruit, nuts, and seeds.

I always make my trail mix at home, and to balance their high-calorie density, I pair mine with vegetables or fruits.


Bone Broths and Soups

Bone broth has plenty of minerals, vitamins and healthy nutrition that makes it an ideal meal replacement

You can make your soups or bone broths or buy them from restaurants and cafes. Veggie-based soups are always the best alternative for me because they are highly satisfying, and they help me meet my nutritional needs.

I feel that soups and broths give my digestive system a good break. They can also be a good way for you to lose weight and detox.

You can make your soups and broths in advance and refrigerate or freeze them. When you need them for a meal, you only need to heat them thoroughly.


Frequently Asked Questions

For those of you who still have some more questions concerning meal replacement shakes, here are a few more answers worth checking out.


Q. Are meal replacement good for muscle building?

A. If you are a gym goer, and considering supplementing your diet with something more potent, then a well-loaded meal replacement shake can give you quite an edge. However, when heading to the gym and you want to boost your performance to the max, I'd recommend considering a dose of pre-workout. 

These come in a myriad of types, like pills, and even some powders. But whatever type you get, ensure it's a natural pre-workout, especially if you are new to this kind of stuff. My personal fav is the 4-gauge pre-workout

While some ingredients will give you over-the-top pumps and strength, different people react differently to these ingredients. That's why  there are some pre-workouts without beta-alanine...the choice is all yours.


Q. Can you replace every meal with meal replacement shakes?

A. Ideally, yes. But you should not settle on skipping every meal for a shake. A well-rounded meal has nutrients that a shake may not give you.

Meal replacement shakes are typically very low in calories. If you take them exclusively you may fail to address your required body calorie intake.


Q.How much weight can you lose in a week on shakes?

A. Shakes are low in calories, and that is how they help in weight loss.

If you consume weight loss shakes, you may see yourself lose about 1% of your initial weight in a week. Ideally, that would be rather difficult to attain with everyday foods alongside a weight loss program.


Final Thoughts

You can replace your meals with various alternatives based on your reasons. Still, meal replacement alternatives do not beat the nutritional benefits of a well-put-together and complete meal.

I recommend using the alternatives controllably and balancing them with full meals.

Related Readings;

Resources:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/meal-replacement-shakes
  2. https://outstandingfoods.com/blogs/news/meal-replacement-ideas

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