Meal replacement shakes can be an excellent source of nutrition on the go and an effective tool for weight management. When substituted for one or two meals or used as an appetite-killing snack in the middle of the day, a shake can help you limit your calorie intake. You could also add meal replacement shakes to your diet if you’re looking to gain weight and want more protein or calories throughout the day.
Of course, with so many brands of meal replacement shake on the market, choosing which one to buy depends on more than just utility; taste is a big part of the decision. No one wants to buy a $3 or $4 drink only to find it bland or chalky. But what makes some meal replacement shakes taste better than others, and how can you change or improve them if you’re getting tired of drinking the same beverage every day? Keep reading to find out.
Types of Protein
Because demand exists for so many kinds of meal replacement shakes – vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, low-carb, etc. – the manufacturer’s choice of shake ingredients can be just as diverse. While a number of these ingredients can impact the taste or texture of the beverage, one of the most affecting is definitely the source of protein used in the meal replacement shake.
While you may not be able to pick out the exact taste of the protein in the shake, there are some pretty clear differences between, say, whey protein and soy protein. Aside from the fact that one is animal-based and the other is plant-based, whey tends to have a creamier flavor – a reminder that it’s derived from milk – while soy protein has a nuttier flavor and tends to be a little chalkier.
Figuring out which sort of protein you prefer will help you choose a shake you enjoy drinking. As a rule of thumb, plant-based proteins tend to be grittier and dairy-based proteins tend to be a little smoother, part of the reason whey protein is the most popular form of protein supplement on the market. Each kind of protein comes with its own benefits, of course, but the divergent tastes of the different proteins should make this a major factor in your decision.
Added Sugars and Artificial Flavors vs. Natural Sweeteners
Like any other type of food product on the market, meal replacement shakes can vary widely in terms of the quality of ingredients. One thing to watch out for when selecting your perfect shake is the presence of artificial flavors or added sugars on the list of ingredients. Corn syrup is a common offender, since it’s a cheap way for companies to boost the number of calories in their shakes while adding a touch of sweetness. Unfortunately, corn syrup and its big brother, high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to a number of health concerns.
Stevia leaf is one alternative that has been gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason. This natural sugar substitute has been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration and has almost no calories, making it ideal for those looking to lose weight. Some forms of stevia leaf have a slightly bitter flavor, but ENU nutrition shakes use a non-bitter type of stevia to provide just the right amount of sweetness without the drawbacks of sugar and its other substitutes.
Improving Your Meal Replacement Shake with Tasty Add-Ins
If the meal replacement shakes you just bought aren’t to your liking, there are a few simple ways to improve their taste and texture without too much trouble. Experiment by adding a few common ingredients:
- A banana can add sweetness and smooth out the texture, especially if it’s overripe. This can be a good way to keep older bananas from going to waste.
- Adding half a cup of plain Greek yogurt can deliver some extra creaminess, not to mention extra calcium, protein, and vitamins.
- A handful of berries mixed into your shake can add more fiber and antioxidants – plus, they taste great!
- Put a scoop of peanut butter into your shake to turbo-charge everything from the protein content to the calorie count. Peanut butter is also a good source of essential, healthy fats.
If none of these ideas catch your eye, feel free to get creative and add whatever you think will taste good! If you’re looking to lose some weight, try to aim for lower-calorie foods, though. And remember to avoid unhealthy fats and carbs, no matter your objective.
Try a Meal Replacement Shake You Actually Enjoy
With so many varieties of meal replacement shake available, it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed. Try to keep an eye out for natural ingredients, a healthy balance of nutrients, and above all, a taste you actually like. ENU meal replacement shakes contain 17 grams of protein, plus healthy carbs and fats to provide lasting energy in one delicious package. To learn more about all our products, visit us online today.