Can a Protein Shake Replace a Meal?
Maybe you didn’t feel like cooking, or you had a toothache, or it was 100 degrees out and you didn’t want to consume anything that wasn’t frosty and cold. But the question remains – can a protein shake replace a meal?
Of course, the short answer is “yes”! We’ll get into the specifics shortly, but a protein shake can certainly replace a meal.
Which meals can a protein shake replace?
Depending on your lifestyle, food preferences, and what kind of schedule you keep, there might be a meal or two that you wouldn’t mind replacing with a protein shake.
Most protein shakes are versatile enough that they’re palatable at any time of the day, so you’re not limited in which meal(s) to choose.
Naturally, there are a few things you might want to consider before deciding on how to structure your meal plan:
- Breakfast: If you’re looking for an easy way to swap a meal out for a protein shake, breakfast is probably going to be your best bet. Shakes are easy to prepare, portable and easy to drink during a busy commute or hectic morning, and they’re sure to be packed with the protein you need to keep you going strong until lunchtime.
- Lunch: It’s not for everyone, but there are a few groups of people who might actually prefer having a protein shake for lunch. First – the lunchtime gym crew. If you work out on your lunch break, chances are that you might have had a decent snack within the last few hours, and you might not be into eating something particularly heavy right after a workout. The other group? Your friendly neighborhood workaholic! If you find yourself frequently working straight through lunch or stuck in never-ending meetings and conference calls until mid-afternoon, grabbing a shake might be perfect for you.
- Dinner: It’s likely that this is your most calorie-heavy meal of the day. Many people are averse to swapping out their dinner for a shake, but if you work evenings/nights or have a bit of an unconventional schedule, it might work well for you. If you’re used to having a fairly large dinner, you might want to consider the calorie content of your shake. Perhaps an extra scoop of protein powder or a double serving might do the trick?
- Snacks: Depending on your goals, a protein shake might be too calorie-heavy to replace a snack. If you’re looking for weight loss and want to incorporate protein shakes as snacks, make sure that the calorie count for your shake (with all extras you might add in accounted for) is equivalent to or less than what you would have consumed in solid food.
How many meals per day can you replace with a protein shake?
In theory, as long as the protein shake you are using is nutritionally balanced and contains an appropriate ratio of macro and micronutrients, it can be your sole source of nutrition.
Obviously, you’ll want to make sure that the protein shake you choose is appropriate for your needs. Even if you’re looking for weight loss, the right blend of nutrients is essential to keep your energy levels consistent and avoid deficiencies.
Many meal replacements use the concept of giving up food completely as a marketing gimmick and a means to encourage more purchases.
Products such as Soylent and Soylent alternatives contain what may seem like a balanced ingredient list but the ingredient sources may be chemically derived and mixed together in bulk.
If however, you’re looking for a shake that is compatible with clean eating our protein meal replacement shake is made from real food ingredients.
To wrap things up…
The concept of a protein shake replacing a meal is simple, but incorporating it into your lifestyle may take a bit of thought and planning.
You’ll have to consider if replacing a meal with a protein shake is a good option for you. Research has found that some people find it difficult to feel satisfied after a liquid meal compared to solid food.
However, most people have no difficulty incorporating a meal replacement shake regimen into their lifestyle.