As a dietitian, I always promote a food first approach to my clients by educating them on protein, carbs, fats, and hydration.
I also help make nutrition easy to understand in a way that doesn’t take up all of their time. With that being said, is there a time and place for meal replacement shakes?
A meal replacement shake can come in handy for reasons such as:
- Convenience for a busy lifestyle
- You’re looking to add/maintain muscle mass and lose weight
- An easy way to help go into a caloric deficit
- You’re struggling to meet protein needs
Let’s take a look at these.
Meal replacement shakes for a busy lifestyle
If you’re always on the go due to a busy lifestyle, you may tend to skip meals and/or snacks. So how are you supposed to meet your daily protein needs?
Skipping breakfast means you’re not getting the fuel you need to kickstart your day. This is where a meal replacement shake can be a great alternative to ensure you’re at least giving your body some sort of nutrition. You can add a scoop of RSP’s meal replacement powder to a shake or grab one of their ready-to-drink TrueFit shakes as you head out the door. If you're vegan, try RSP's TrueFit plant protein powder with the same TrueFit benefits you know and love, but vegan!
Lunch is another meal that can be easily skipped if you’re busy at your desk all day, even while working from home. A meal replacement shake like TrueFit is an easy go-to if you have a meeting or a deadline and you’re glued to your desk.
Snacks are important to have in between meals, but it’s easy to grab a handful of chips or a couple of cookies to satisfy your hunger. While I would never tell someone to restrict themselves from these kinds of snacks because let’s be real, I love them too, but they won’t help you get the protein you need.
Meal replacement shakes for muscle mass
There’s a muscle-building switch in your body that goes on and off every 3-4 hours. Having protein turns it on. If you’re someone who’s looking to gain muscle, meeting your daily protein needs by having things like chicken, fish, and eggs is important.
Let’s be real though, meal prep isn’t always realistic if you have a busy schedule. That’s when a meal replacement shake comes in. The protein will keep you fuller longer to help turn on that muscle-building switch to increase and even maintain your muscle mass.
Meal replacement shakes for weight loss
Healthy weight loss typically requires you to go into a caloric-deficit, which you can learn more about here.
When hunger kicks in, your natural response is to eat something. If you’re trying to lose weight, however, you need to be mindful of your calorie intake. An easy way to satisfy that hunger is with a meal replacement shake, which is full of protein and low in calories.
Meeting your daily protein needs with a meal replacement shake
Both men and women should focus on meeting their daily protein needs. For women, it’s recommended to have between 1.2-1.6g per kilogram of protein and for men, between 1.4-1.8g per kilogram.
Here’s a quick example of daily protein for a women who’s about 150 pounds:
- 2 eggs for breakfast = 12g of protein
- Chicken for lunch = 20g of protein
- Chicken for dinner = 20g of protein
That adds up to 52g of protein, but she would need 81.6g to meet her daily needs. She’s short by 29.6g. One of her snacks could be a meal replacement shake to help meet those needs.
All in all, meal replacement shakes can have a place in your diet. As always, it’s best to consult with a dietitian to figure out how and when they can work for you.