As a woman, you have unique needs. Your day-to-day may involve caring for others in some capacity. This may be a spouse, children, older relatives, friends, or those you serve in your career. But somewhere in the midst of all that, you need to find time to take care of yourself! Some of the best meal replacement shakes can help you maintain balanced nutrition while you’re busy crossing off your to-do list.
Especially as you age, your body requires more and more personal attention. You need to keep your hormones balanced through body change processes and your metabolism going strong. You also need to maintain a healthy physical, mental and emotional state. Which is why it’s more important than ever to start nurturing healthy lifestyle habits including clean eating and exercise, today.
What’s a meal replacement shake?
These protein shakes are specially designed to contain all the essential nutrients you need to replace normal, healthy meals. The best diet shakes will have optimal protein and fiber, be low in calories and sugar, and include lots of vitamins, minerals and superfoods. They’ll also have no artificial sweeteners, additives or other chemical ingredients.
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The market is saturated with meal replacement shakes for every goal and need. Everywhere you turn, another brand is promising to make your weight loss dreams come true. But many of these shakes contain ingredients that can actually be harmful to your body in excess. This means they simply aren’t healthy weight loss shakes for the long-term.
Instead, here are the top qualities of the best meal replacement shakes for women. They can help you clean up your diet and develop healthier, lasting habits:
Of course, you want your shake to be extremely yummy so you look forward to drinking it every day, and luckily, many of them are. But you don’t want it to be at the expense of your health!
Avoid shakes that contain ingredients that research shows are bad for you in excess. These include fructose, artificial sweeteners and flavors, and unhealthy additives. The best shakes will use natural ingredients to add rich flavor without sacrificing your wellness.
In order for a shake to control your hunger and reduce the desire to reach for junk food, it has to be satisfying. The key is to choose a shake with a good amount of protein (15-20g) and fiber (5-10g), that will last you 3-4 hours until your next meal. This will give you the energy and staying power you need to succeed with your goals.
Many shake companies add lots of sugar into their protein powders in an effort to give them enjoyable taste. But sugar is full of “empty” calories that provide no nutritional value and can lead to health issues and weight gain in excess. Plus, artificial sweeteners are just as bad, if not worse, since they’re man-made with chemicals.
Here’s two of the worst sweet offenders:
Fructose – Though in its natural form (in fruit), this sugar is okay in moderation, the problem comes when it’s extracted for use in other foods. Only the liver can process fructose in your body, which puts a ton of strain on the organ when you consume lots of this sugar.
And the trouble is, it’s found in a lot of processed food items! Research has linked the over-consumption of fructose to potential health issues including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. (1)
Splenda – One of the most popular artificial sweeteners out there today, Sucralose (or Splenda) is about 600 times sweeter than regular table sugar. And all this sweetness does not equal satisfaction.
Studies in humans and animals have shown that these “fake” sweeteners may actually make you more hungry. And this can lead you to eat MORE calories. In one study, fruit flies given an artificial sweetener for longer than 5 days at a time consumed 30 percent more calories when they were given regularly sweetened foods again.
Plant-based proteins are becoming more and more popular due to the proven health, fitness, and slimming-down benefits. Some of the best options include brown rice, pea, hemp and chia seed proteins.
Look for a protein powder with a good mix of different plant proteins, so you get a variety of essential amino acids that support your body’s health and muscle-building abilities. One of the best mixes is brown rice and pea, which together contain an optimal amino acid profile.
While many plant-based shakes contain soy protein, we don’t recommend it. First off, soy contains something called phytoestrogens that mimic actual estrogen in your body. This obviously poses some health concerns. Though phytoestrogens are controversial, with some research showing they can benefit human health, other studies show otherwise.
For young women, extra estrogen in the body could potentially lead to infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome and other serious diseases. It can also lead to hormone imbalances as you age. (2)
Especially if you’re looking to slim down, you want something that’s going to help you reach your goals quickly. And this all starts with calories. You want to make sure you’re eating a healthy, personalized number of calories each day for weight loss. And low-calorie meal replacement shakes are the best way to do that.
It’s easy to stay on track with your daily goal when you have a protein powder that’s low in calories (around 100 calories per serving). In addition, low-carb diets have also been shown to assist with dropping pounds. Look for a shake with 7g of carbs or less and around 2-3g net carbs.
The best meal replacement shakes for women will also contain a wide variety of essential nutrients. Some of these ingredients include:
Vitamin & Mineral Blend– It’s easier to become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals than you may think. Which is why it’s so important to have them in your meal replacement shakes! Look for a shake with around 20 vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, C, D, E and B12 and minerals magnesium, folate and iron.
Superfoods – In addition to vitamins and minerals, some of the best weight loss shakes for women will also include a blend of wholesome superfoods. Some of the best options include leafy greens like kale, which is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. In addition, maca root is a great option for women since it may help improve your mood and potentially relieve symptoms of menopause. (3)
Probiotics– Good gut health is essential for total body health, and certain strains of probiotics are particularly beneficial for women. Probioticsare healthy bacteria that nourish the body, killing off disease-fighting bacteria and creating balance in your gut.
The most important probiotic strains for women include those that protect against vaginal infections, boost immunity, and promote a healthy mental state, without depression or anxiety. On the label look for: lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus plantarum and bifidobacterium bi-fidum, which are 3 beneficial strains.
When it comes to diet shake brands, some stand out more than others. Here are three we recommend to assist you with your personal health and fitness goals…
Only 100 calories per serving, with NO sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors or ingredients. The meal replacement shakes are plant-based, with an ideal mix of brown rice, pea and hemp proteins. Therefore, it’s safe for vegan/vegetarian diets, along with those who are lactose-intolerant.
It also has the perfect balance of nutrients, with 15g of protein, 5g of fiber, and only 2g of net carbs. Finally, it’s extremely economical at $2.43 per shake serving. And 310 Shake reviews reveal that customers really enjoy the taste of the shakes and the variety of flavors.
With only 115 calories per serving, each shake contains a ton of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and organic, whole food ingredients. It’s also plant-based and vegan, with great protein, fiber and net carbs.
The only potential downside is the taste, which some reviewers didn’t like. However, the majority of these users didn’t blend their shakes. The users who raved about the shakes blended them up with other healthy ingredients to make smoothies.
Along the same lines, Vega One is another plant-based nutritional shake including wholesome, real food ingredients. The shakes include a nice mix of proteins including pea, hemp and sacha inchi proteins, which are packed with essential amino acids and healthy fats. It also has good fiber at 6g per serving. There are 4g of net carbs, which is slightly higher than some other options. As for the taste, many people preferred the taste of the older, non-organic version of the shake (which is still available on their site) over the newer one.
If you’re seeking one of the best meal replacement shakes for women, follow the guidelines in this article to boost your success. The most important thing is that you find a shake that you’ll look forward to drinking each day, that also contains nurturing, life-giving ingredients.
Get bored with routine? Check out a variety of meal replacement shake recipes to spice up your life, daily!