As with any other diet, you first need to make a plan – a diet plan.
Plan your meals and snacks by creating a week meal calendar. This will help you also to plan your grocery list therefore buying exactly what you need and nothing that you don’t. I’ll show you a calendar example that you can follow.
What are Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss?
Meal replacement shakes, for weight loss, are specially designed to substitute a regular meal while providing the vitamins, fiber, minerals and good fats that your body needs, with very low amounts of “bad” fats and sugar. Containing fewer calories than a whole meal, they reduce your calorie intake.
Besides being low-calorie these shakes include natural appetite blockers to leave you feeling full for hours and help fight cravings.
As nutritionally balanced as a regular healthy meal but with far fewer calories, using meal replacement shakes in place of real meals means that you will lose weight easily and relatively quickly.
You just have to mix the shake powder with water/juice/milk, blend it and it’s ready to drink. You can also add extra ingredients for flavoring or extra nutrients/energy/benefits.
Meal replacement shakes are a convenient, easy and quick way to replace your meals and lose weight.
Note: On every weight loss diet, one of the most important is to reduce sugar and bad fats.
These shakes come concentrated with all the good things your body needs and without the bad things (sugar, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, preservatives) that we usually get when eating processed foods like: French fries, Muffins, Bacon, Peanut Butter.
Our Meal Replacement Shakes Plan
First, we will create a meal planner with all the meals and snacks for a week.
Second, from those recipes, create a grocery list so we know exactly what food we have to buy when we hit the supermarket.
Every day we must have 3 main meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
In between main meals we have 2 or 3 Snacks: Mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and before going to bed (if you go to bed late and/or feel hungry before sleep).
How many meals should I replace by a shake?
I recommend you to replace one main meal in each day.
Note: You can replace 2 main meals (breakfast and lunch for example), but for the first week let’s start easy and allow your body to adapt to this diet plan.
Remember, in every diet the goal is to create an healthy habit instead of an extreme weight loss which will result, when you stop, in regaining the weight you have just lost.
Here is one example of a one week meal plan calendar.
Download the editable version on Excel format, or Pages format.
Also available a PDF version.
These recipes are healthy meal ideas that you can follow or replace with other healthy recipes that you enjoy.
If you are a 21 Day Fix follower, I recommend you buy FIXATE (here is my review), a recipe book by Autumn Calabrese.
Choose the recipes for each day of the week, print it or check them on your computer, and see exactly what ingredients you need so you can plan your grocery list.
That way, you will know exactly what you have to buy at the supermarket and so will avoid buying extra food, which most of the time, results in processed food that you’ve found while drifting with no shopping list plan. This can be an even bigger problem if you go grocery shopping while hungry. So, make a list and eat a healthy meal before you hit the stores!
Meal Replacement Shakes
Time to plan your shakes.
As you can see on the calendar, I’ve replaced breakfast with a shake.
Why? Usually, I don’t have time in the morning to prepare a complete breakfast, and as you may know breakfast, plays a very important role in our body.
So, I decided to use my only 5 minutes available in the morning to prepare and blend my shake and drink it.
What do you need?
Kitchen Blender. There are several options here, I’ve used the Ninja Blender Professional (available on amazon.com). Today I use Vitamix 1709, find why I’ve spent $484 on a kitchen blender here. Or how to Choose the Best Blender for Smoothies under $200.
Shake Storage Bottle. To safely store your shake so you can take it with you to your job, school, friend’s house or outside. I use 22-Ounce Bottle and Twist n’ Lock system (also in stock on amazon.com).
Ingredients. Depending on the recipe, you’ll need ingredients to add extra energy, change the taste or texture or increase the nutritional content of your shake.
Meal Replacement Shake Powder. This is the “magic” powder that will boost your body with all the nutrients you need but without sugar or unhealthy fats while being low in carbs.
Choosing which one is the best for you. This can be tricky and confusing with all the products available on the market, but I’ll help you on how to find the one that suits you best.
Choosing the best meal replacement shake
Since there are a lot of options on the market it, helps if we define some “must have” features for losing weight. This will help us to cut down the options and select the best products available …
Meal Replacement Shakes must have:
- Very low sugar: less than 3 grams
- Less than 200 calories per shake to force your body to use fat for fuel
- Adequate Low-Carbohydrate: to provide energy
- Protein: to boost your metabolism
- Include fiber: keeps you feeling fuller for longer
- Include Vitamins: essential for your body to function properly
- Contain Healthy Fats: mono and polyunsaturated fats for your health
- Low on Saturated fats: the “bad” fats that can make you fat
- Low on Sodium: to avoid water retention
- Probiotics: to improve your digestive and immune systems
- Natural Appetite Blockers: so you feel full for hours and fight cravings
- Optional: gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, lactose-free, Non-GMO
Consider only shakes that are:
- Low on sugar, less than 3g per serving.
- Low on Sodium, preferably less than 300mg per serving
- Contain no trans fat
- Low Saturated fat, less than 2 grams per shake/serving
Learn more in detail the importance of these features and ingredients in meal replacement shakes and diet plans for weight loss in the article “How to choose meal replacement shakes for weight loss”
The shakes powders I’ve selected in the next section follow these rules making them perfect for those suffering from diabetes.
Best meal replacement shakes for weight loss
Having all the rules defined before (including for diabetics) I’ve searched for and gathered, what I considered to be, the best meal replacement shakes powder on the market. I’ve also taken into account an “acceptable” price and customer’s reviews…
My personal recommendations here.
Shakes Recipes for weight loss
After you have your shake powder you’ll need to prepare the meal shakes.
As I said before, recipes help you to organize and plan your grocery list.
Here are 5 breakfast meal replacement recipes that I use.
Get Your Own Free Copy of The Meal Shakes Book
Get all my meal replacement shakes recipes available on The Meal Shakes Book.
The book contains 15 meal shakes recipes.
All recipes are low in fat and sugar and contain unhealthy no trans-fats.
Easy recipes with simple ingredients that only take 5 minutes’ preparation.
Get ready to start your meal replacement shakes weight loss plan by following the plan inside the book.
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Questions and Answers
- You recommend replacing breakfast, but can I replace lunch instead?
Answer: For me, replacing breakfast means I start each and every day with a healthy meal, even if I’m in a hurry or running late; it’s very convenient. I prefer to have a solid food lunch, usually one that I pre-prepared at the weekend.
However, replacing lunch with a meal replacement shake will work too. In many ways, it makes a lot of sense because it saves you having to pre-prepare meals or carry food with you. Just make sure your breakfast is healthy, and that you have an afternoon snack to prevent any hunger pangs.
Here are some specific meal replacement shake recipes that are ideal for lunch.
- Can I use protein bars between shakes?
Answer: Protein bars are a very good option when you need a snack. Most of them are low in calories and low in carbs, but the high protein and fiber content means that they are very filling. Of course, even the best protein bar is still a type of processed food, so I’d make sure not to eat too many of them and I’d also make sure that you consume a good quality protein bar – like one of the ones I recommend in my article Best Protein Bar For You. You could also make your own protein bars so you can be sure about what ingredients they contain. You’ll find lots of recipes for homemade protein bars in this article.
- Do you recommend frozen or fresh ingredients for the shakes?
Answer: In truth, I recommend both frozen and fresh ingredients for meal replacement shakes. Fresh ingredients are nice, but it’s not always possible to keep them fresh – especially if you only go grocery shopping once a week. In contrast, frozen ingredients are convenient to store for when you need them. As to their nutrient content, freezing does not diminish the benefit of the ingredients enough to worry about. Using frozen ingredients also means your shake is chilled and you won’t need to add any ice.
Make sure your blender is powerful enough to cope with frozen ingredients – I have broken one or two low-powered blenders trying to process frozen ingredients. That’s why I use a professional-type blender.
- How do I download The Meal Shakes Book?
Answer: Follow this link and you’ll find a box at the end of the article. Just enter your name and email address and then follow the directions on the email you will receive. The book is free and packed with 15 great recipes that I love and I know you’ll love too!
- Why should meal replacement shakes contain probiotics?
Answer: Probiotics are vital for the health of your digestive system. With a healthy digestive system, your immune system works better and, great news, you’ll burn fat and lose weight more easily too. Most people have very low levels of healthy gut bacteria which is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are loaded with “good” bacteria. Very few foods naturally contain probiotics so it makes sense to add probiotics to your meal replacement shakes for better health and weight loss.
For more on probiotics, please check out my articles “How probiotics have helped me” and “7 probiotic superfoods.”
- Can I combine meal replacement shakes with a low carb diet?
Answer: Low carb diets and meal replacement shakes can go very well together. Both are a great way to lose weight and get healthy. Meal replacement shakes take the hard work out of creating healthy meals and by making sure your shake contains lot of vegetables and protein, it will automatically be low in carbs. You’ll have to avoid shakes that contain lots of fruit as that is a healthy but rich source of carbs. Small quantities of berries should be okay, however.
Almost all the meal replacement shakes I recommend are low in carbs, so make sure you check out The best meal replacement shakes for weight loss for more information.
- Why do you always recommend meal shakes that are so low in sugar?
Answer: Sugar is nothing more than empty calories, and is a leading cause of weight gain and bad health. I’ve written a lot about the dangers of sugar – such as my article How sugar makes you fat. Because sugar is so fattening and unhealthy, it has no place in a weight loss diet or meal replacement shake. A meal replacement shakes that contain more than a couple of grams of sugar is no better than soda or a takeout milkshake! Sugar in weight loss meal replacement shakes? Just say NO!
- Do you have any Shakeology alternatives?
Answer: Shakeology was the first ever meal replacement shake diet I tried, and it really opened my eyes to the potential of meal replacement shakes. It’s a great product and one that I still occasionally use. My main complaint with Shakeology was always the price – it can get very expensive, especially if you use two or more shakes per day. For that reason, I did some research and come up with some great Shakeology alternatives, which all taste just as good, but cost much less money to use.
Losing weight can be a challenging journey, but incorporating meal replacement shakes into your diet can be a helpful tool for reaching your weight loss goals. Meal replacement shakes are a convenient and nutritionally balanced option for those looking to lose weight by reducing their caloric intake. They provide a balanced combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to help you feel full and satisfied, while also providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to lose weight with meal replacement shakes:
Step 1: Consult with a healthcare provider
Before starting any weight loss program, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if meal replacement shakes are right for you and to establish a safe and effective weight loss plan.
Step 2: Choose a meal replacement shake that meets your needs
There are many different brands and types of meal replacement shakes available, so it is important to choose one that meets your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions. Look for a shake that is low in sugar and high in protein, and make sure it contains vitamins and minerals to support your overall health.
Step 3: Determine how many meal replacement shakes to consume per day
The number of meal replacement shakes you consume per day will depend on your weight loss goals, your caloric needs, and the type of shake you are using. Most meal replacement shakes contain around 200-300 calories per serving, so incorporating one or two shakes per day can help you reduce your caloric intake and promote weight loss.
Step 4: Incorporate meal replacement shakes into your diet
Meal replacement shakes can be used as a replacement for one or two meals per day, or as a snack between meals. It is important to also include a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in your diet to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs.
Step 5: Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and it is also essential for weight loss. Drinking plenty of water can help you feel full and prevent overeating. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day.
Step 6: Get regular exercise
Exercise is an important component of a weight loss plan. Incorporating regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or strength training, into your routine can help increase the number of calories you burn and enhance the benefits of your meal replacement shake diet.
Step 7: Track your progress
Keeping track of your progress can help you stay motivated and on track with your weight loss goals. Consider tracking your weight, body measurements, and food intake in a journal or using a tracking app.
Step 8: Make gradual changes
Losing weight is a gradual process, and it is important to make changes gradually to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Make small changes to your diet and exercise routine each week, and be patient as you work towards your weight loss goals.
Meal replacement shakes can be a convenient and effective tool for weight loss when incorporated into a healthy diet and exercise routine. However, it is important to remember that they are not a magic solution, and weight loss success ultimately depends on a combination of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
In addition, it is important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. If you are not feeling well or experiencing side effects, it may be necessary to adjust the number of meal replacement shakes you are consuming or to try a different brand or type.
In conclusion, incorporating meal replacement shakes into your diet can be a helpful tool for weight loss, but it is important to approach weight loss in a gradual and healthy manner.
Previously it was mentioned that ViSalus VI-Shape Nutritional Meal Replacement
Shake was a good option. Why is this no longer on the list…is it not a quality option?
ViSalus VI-Shape is a very good option, but I later tried IdealShake and found it very effective. If it’s your first time doing meal replacement shakes I would recommend, on my personal opinion, to go with IdealShake.
In your 2nd edition recipe book, you have ViSalus VI-Shape listed as a good alternative to Shakeology. Why is it not listed on this page?
That’s true. The reason is because by the time I was looking for shakeology alternatives I didn’t know about IdealShake, I’ve just discovered it later. Both are very good meal replacement shakes, in my opinion, IdealShake is better for “meal replacement shakes beginners”.
I have been on the Metabolic Weight Loss System. I have boxes of their shakes. Will they work for the Meal Replacement shakes?
Hi Ann. I’ve never used their system, but if their shakes provide nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, good quality protein and low on sugar, YES. Start replacing one of your meals (I replace breakfast) and prepare healthy recipes, and do some exercise (running is perfect to burn fat and lose weight). Start today and good luck !
Hi Sarah, I do not have excel, I was wondering if I could get a blank copy of your meal plan calendar? I am new to the dieting scene and need all the help I can get that won’t cost much 🙂
Hi Renee. You can download my meal plan here. If you don’t have excel you can download OpenOffice for free. It’s 100% free forever and works pretty good. Check their download page here. Hope I’ve helped. Thanks
It’s good to know that meal replacement shakes can help you manage your weight by providing you with an appetite blocker. It’s important that you still find food and shakes that can help you feel full while providing you with the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Plus, I think it can be a bit more motivating to know that your diet can be fairly enjoyable since you can use these kinds of shakes to get what you need.