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To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of drinking my calories/meals because I prefer eating real food. Chewing and tasting food adds to the pleasure of eating, but I recognize that sometimes we just don’t have enough time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. To this end, I make an exception to my rule of not drinking meals by creating this post of meal replacement drinks that come as close as possible to being a full, nutritionally sound meals.
We may not have time to eat a full meal at varying times during the day so I’m including meal replacement drinks that can work for breakfast and lunch or for a quick snack. I also don’t think we should replace more than 2 meals with drinks so I will focus exclusively on ideas for breakfast, lunch and snack meal replacement drinks.
Meal Replacement Drinks for Breakfast
- Bulletproof Coffee
I first learned about bulletproof coffee while following the keto diet. Bulletproof coffee is essentially brewed coffee that’s heavily dosed with fat – preferably MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) but sometimes butter, heavy cream or regular coconut oil is used. The theory behind bulletproof coffee is that the caffeine in the coffee provides an anti-oxidant boost and the MCT oil provides several hours of sustained energy without the need to consume more food.
I only recommend bulletproof coffee to people following the keto diet as it has the nutrients necessary for the ketone production that our bodies use for energy while on a a high-fat diet.
- Breakfast Banana & Oatmeal Shake
This is a breakfast shake of my own invention. I combine ingredients that are fiber-rich to keep you full until mid-morning or lunch. This shake is also nutritionally dense and contains carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and many more nutrients to give you a much needed morning boost. It’s quick and easy to make with this recipe:
Blend until smooth and creamy in a Vitamix or other high-power blender: 1 cup homemade coconut almond milk (or use any milk you like) 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 pitted dates, 1 small banana and a handful of ice cubes. Pour in a tall glass and enjoy.
- Green Smoothie
A green smoothie is just that, green. It has all of the good nutrition that comes from green leafy veggies, protein from Greek yogurt as well as anti-oxidant and vitamin-rich berries. As was done for the Banana & Oatmeal shake, use a high-power blender to process 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1/2 cup mixed berries, 1 small container Greek yogurt and a bit of sweetener like honey, agave, stevia, etc. Pour in a tall glass and enjoy.
Meal Replacement Drinks for Lunch
- Protein Shake
When it comes to lunch replacement drinks, I advocate making one that’s high in protein because protein along with fats and carbs keep us fueled and full for several hours. Creating a protein shake is easily achievable by using a high-quality protein powder that come in several flavors and diet options (vegan, gluten-free, etc.)
The one caveat to this quick and healthy protein shake is that you still need a blender to make it. This means you can pre-make it at home and bring it with you for lunch. Conversely, if there’s a fully stocked kitchen at your job that includes a blender then you can make it fresh at work.
To make this quick protein lunch blend 1 cup of water (or milk of choice) with 1 to 2 scoops of high-protein powder. If you want to make an all natural high-protein shake then you can use powdered egg-whites, cocoa powder and a sweetener of choice (stevia, sugar, honey, etc.) to make a chocolate protein shake or use vanilla extract for vanilla flavor.
You can make another variation of the all natural, no processed ingredients added high protein lunch shake by blending 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with mixed berries for a creamy, delicious and filling, high protein shake.
Meal Replacement Drinks for Snacks
I am not much of a snacker so I don’t usually recommend having a drink as a snack. Nonetheless, this post is about meal replacement drinks so I will include a quick and easy snack drink recipe. As you may have noticed, I rely heavily on milk as a base for many of these drinks. This is because the word “milk” has come to include any beverage that can be derived from almost any food, not just animals.
A snack drink can be blended using a base of 1 cup of skim milk (or soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, skim milk, oat milk, and so on). You amp up the protein, carbs and vitamin levels of this drink by adding a tablespoon of any nut butter of choice along with 1/2 a banana or 1/4 cup rolled oats.
This snack meal replacement drink will definitely hold you over till dinner.
What About Dinner?
As I touched on before, I don’t believe in having more than a maximum of 2 meal replacement drinks in a day’s worth of meals. It’s for this reason that I will not include a meal replacement drink for dinner. The only reason that I can foresee drinking dinner would be in the case of illness or disease. Sometimes when we are not feeling well we don’t have much of an appetite and can only keep down something light. In this case, having a meal replacement drink may be advisable.
If for whatever reason you don’t feel like eating a full-fledged dinner you can instead try having a smaller meal like a cup of soup, a sandwich/wrap or a small green salad. Dinner is supposed to be the smallest meal of the day anyway so whatever you eat should be fine.
When You Don’t Have Time To Eat, Drink!
I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possibilities for meal replacement drinks. As long as you use natural, organic, and clean ingredients, it’s entirely possible to have a full nutritious meal in the form of a drink. It’s essential that any meal replacement drink you opt for has adequate amounts of macro-ingredients like protein, carbs and fats.
You can also fortify and vary the texture and flavor of your meal replacement drinks, shakes and smoothies by including additions like:
- Greek Yogurt
- Frozen Berries or Bananas
- Pitted Dates
- Nut butter/Nuts
- Green or Protein Powders
Again, add what you like and omit what you don’t. When it comes to healthy eating it’s vital to eat what we like as long as it is beneficial to our health. So, do you ever miss meals? Have you tried making your own meal replacement drinks or do you prefer to use commercial powders and shakes? Let me know in the comments. Until then, Happy Eating!