Meal replacement shakes are a great option for people who are always on the go, aren’t huge breakfast fans, or just love shakes. However, most people assume that a smoothie or shake is automatically a healthy option without actually knowing what’s in it.
The Truth Behind Shakes
Let’s look at an example: Bright Eyed and Blueberry from Jamba Juice. Here are the ingredients: soy milk, nonfat plain yogurt, frozen blueberries, and frozen strawberries. Sounds healthy right? Wrong! This drink boasts 510 calories and a whopping 90 grams of sugar, roughly 3.5 times the amount of sugar you should consume in a day. This drink is also lacking healthy fats.
The second issue with meal replacement shakes is that commercially produced shakes are often filled with ingredients that are unrecognizable and impossible to pronounce. Zanthan Gum? Guar Gum? Slendesta? Commerically made meal replacement shakes make bold claims that are not required by law to be evaluated by the FDA. So the question becomes how can you enjoy a shake as a meal while still feeling good about the ingredients in it?
How Can I Make My Shake Healthy?
First, if you want to consume a meal replacement shake, it must be substantial enough to give you the energy that you require for the day as well as the nutrients that your body needs. The average person requires between 1,800 and 2,000 calories per day. If your shake is not substantial enough it can do more harm than good. Consuming significantly less calories and nutrients per meal can cause overeating later on. Simply blending fruit and milk is not a meal. It is important that the shake be comprised of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Avocados are a great option for adding fats. They also give the shake a bit of thickness.
Second, it is important that you do not overload the shake with fruit, especially if you are watching your weight. Yes, fruit is delicious and healthy but you must remember that fruit has a good amount of sugar. For example, a strawberry banana shake tastes good, but can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar.
Third, leafy greens are your friend! Kale, spinach, collard greens, and other leafy greens can be a good source of iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium. It is important to vary your leafy greens so that you can get various nutrient profiles. Shakes are a great way to disguise these vegetables if you struggle to consume them otherwise.
The nice thing about these shakes, aside from pure nutrition, is that they are incredibly easy to make and do not require strict instructions.
Shawna’s Classic Smoothie
2 heaping handfuls of spinach
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 giant scoop of sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
1 scoop of boku superfood
Toss ingredients into a blender, blend, and drink!
This delicious shake is 343 calories and is packed with 10 grams of healthy fats, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of protein, 1,160 mg of Potassium, 13 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of sugar (most of this comes from the banana which you can always omit or cut in half). It is also loaded with Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium! I encourage you to play around with different ingredients to find what you love.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
All you need is a base, leafy greens, a protein source, a fat source, and fruit (optional)
Bases: Coconut Milk, Coconut Water, Alomond Milk, Milk, Water
Leafy Greens: Spinach, Kale, Arugala, Bok Choy, Swiss Chard
Protein: Protein Powder, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Nut Butter, Eggs (Make sure the egg shells are washed)
Fats: Chia Seeds, Nut Butter, Avocado
Fruit: Strawberries, Bananas, Watermelon, Pumpkin, Blueberries
When you find a variation that you love please share it with us on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SgtKFitness?ref=ts&fref=ts
Remember these are general guidelines, you should always consult with your doctor before starting a new diet or drastically changing your eating habits.
Jamba Juice Bright Eyed & Blueberry™ Calorie Counter (CalorieLab) (Jamba Juice Bright Eyed & Blueberry™ Calorie Counter (CalorieLab))
About the Author
Shawna Phillips holds a BS in Nutrition Science and is a Certified Personal Trainer through NASM. She enjoys spending time with her boxer, creating healthy recipes, lifting heavy things, and teaching a small bootcamp class.