Meal replacements are big business. Promising complete nutrition and the opportunity to get everything you need on the go, they have become a staple. However, the option to make your own might be more appealing, if slightly more time consuming, as you can tailor the flavour and texture profiles, and make sure you know exactly what’s in your shake!
We’ve already written about the artificial ingredients, thickeners and other additives that certain meal replacement shakes might contain, and why choosing a meal replacement shake that relies on natural, plant-based ingredients is better for your body. If, however, you’re a culinary wizard and you’d like to try your hand at making your own, here are some handy hints and tips for making a shake to be proud of.
First, you need to choose your carbs:
Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for the body, as they are easy to digest and support energy throughout the day. Choosing your carbs will also help with the texture of your shake, and will shape the amount of calories that your shake will contain overall.
For example, using a banana as your base not only gives your meal replacement shake a thick and creamy texture, but it also provides around 28g of carbs and 110 calories. The relatively low amount of calories means that this is a great start for a shake if you are looking to lose weight. They are also an excellent source of dietary fibre, magnesium and potassium, amongst other vitamins and minerals.
Meanwhile, making your base with oats will offer a different consistency, higher calories and carbs, and might limit what else you can add. 100g of raw oats can offer almost 400 calories and around 66g of carbs, which might make a more effective base for someone who is going to be highly active throughout the day. Oats are also high in many essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc, and are thought to help lower cholesterol, making them an excellent addition to a healthy breakfast shake.
Next, add your protein:
Choosing a protein source for your shake is largely down to your own personal preference, but your overall goals can also play a part in helping to make an informed decision.
An athlete, or someone with a very active lifestyle, might want to choose a protein powder which has a higher amount of protein per serving, contains a high amino acid profile and is optimised for muscle building and recovery. Vivo Life’s PERFORM contains 25g of plant-based protein, and a complete BCAA profile to aid in muscle protein synthesis and recovery.
For those who are looking for a protein boost, but are not as active in lifestyle, our VEGAN PROTEIN can make an excellent addition to your routine, and can be added to a homemade meal replacement as your protein base. It contains 21g of protein per serving, and can be easily added to a meal replacement shakes for 117 calories and 2.4g of carbs. Plus, the dark chocolate flavour makes for an indulgent addition if, like me, you’re a bit of a chocolate fiend!
Now, choose where your fats are coming from!
This might seem counterintuitive for a meal replacement shake when they are largely marketed as a way to lose weight. However, healthy fats are absolutely vital for our bodies, so leaving them out of your DIY meal replacement isn’t a good idea. What’s important is choosing which fats you use, and making sure that they are actually good for you, and will help to keep you feeling full after your shake!
They can also have an impact on texture. Avocado, for example, is a source of healthy fats and, when blended, adds a creamy consistency to your shake. Half an avocado provides 117 calories and 6.7g of monounsaturated fatty acids - known to lower HDL, the kind of cholesterol you don’t want, and raise LDL which is the one you do. Other sources of healthy fats include flaxseeds, chia seeds and nut butters, all of which go very well in a shake!
Add in your extras!
Whether it’s some spinach for iron or berries for a little sweetness and flavour, there are a number of different things you can add to your DIY shake to make it taste the way you want - in fact, we even wrote a piece about ingredients you can include in your meal replacements!
If building a meal replacement from scratch doesn’t sound like something you want to do - why not try Vivo Life’s WHOLE plant-based nutritional shake. Whilst it is not high enough in calories to be a complete meal replacement, each serving contains 20g of protein, and 22 essential vitamins and minerals, making it the perfect base from which to build the best shake for your taste and goals.