About meal shakes
You’ve probably heard of meal shakes, but do you really know what they are and how they can be used to support specific health goals?
Broadly speaking, the term “meal shake” is used to describe a healthy drink that can be used to either completely substitute a solid food meal (a meal replacement), or complement a balanced diet by providing a source of additional nutrients or healthy calories.
For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at the latter.
Using meal shakes
The fact that meal shakes tend to contain concentrated levels of nutrients (whether it be protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre etc or a combination of one or more of these), makes them ideal to support a wide range of health goals and lifestyles (if they are of a high quality and used in conjunction with a balanced diet).
- A hectic lifestyle – People who regularly skip meals or turn to fast-foods and ready-meals because they don’t have the time to prepare fresh, home-cooked meals, might find that meal shakes can provide a convenient source of “top up” nutrients on the go.
- Healthy weight management – Meal shakes are perhaps unique in the fact that they can be of benefit to both those trying to lose weight, as well as those trying to gain pounds. How? Well, for slimmers or anyone trying to manage their weight healthily, these shakes can help to reduce calorie consumption (e.g. by replacing high-fat, high-sugar snacks), whilst still ensuring optimum nutrient intake on a daily basis. Conversely, if someone is trying to put on weight because they have a poor appetite and struggle to eat large / regular meals, they can provide a handy source of additional (healthy) calories and nutrients that are in an easy drinkable form.
- Athletes – Concentrated levels of nutrients (such as lean protein, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, Omega oils etc), in an easy to access form, can offer invaluable support to those who place unusually high demands on their bodies and energy levels, such as athletes, bodybuilders, those in the services etc. These types of individuals are often looking to support or bolster their immune systems, digestion, growth, cell repair, stamina, general health and well-being, for instance.
- Recuperation – Those who are recovering from illness, surgery, infection or who have a weak immune system may wish to provide their bodies with support by taking in additional healthy calories and nutrients.
- A restricted diet – People may have a restricted diet for a wide variety of reasons, such as: a food allergy or intolerance (such as dairy allergy, lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity); an autoimmune disorder (such as coeliac disease); an illness (such as diabetes); a sensitive stomach (for example, related to digestive disorders); and lifestyle choice (such as a vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet). Meal shakes can provide a reliable and convenient means of topping up on nutrients that are missing or are only present in low quantities in the diet. Prime examples for vegetarians and vegans are protein (particularly complete protein), iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, alpha-linolenic acid and vitamin D.
Of course, many people simply choose to use meal shakes on a daily basis because they are health-conscious and want to up their nutrient intake in a quick, easy and tasty way!