Meal replacement shakes have seen a huge rise in popularity, with more and more of us embracing them as a convenient alternative to breakfast, or enjoying them as lunches on the go. The high calorie meal replacement options are created to provide everything you would need to keep you going until your next meal just by adding water. In fact, some meal replacement shakes and drinks actively encourage drinkers not to add anything else as the blend is the ‘ideal’ amount of everything you need for a complete meal.
However, if meal replacement shakes are your everyday go to, you might find that they become a little samey and boring over time. So what can you add to meal replacement shakes for a little variety, and to add a little more pizzazz to your packed lunch?
It quite often depends on what you’re looking to achieve with a meal replacement shake. Are you looking for a nutritional boost, an early morning wakeup or a tool for weight loss? Let’s examine what you can add to your meal replacements to change the texture and taste of your shakes.
Whilst this is a higher calorie option, peanut butter is an excellent source of healthy fats, potassium and dietary fibre. It’s also great for nutritional balance and for those looking to stay fuller for longer on the go. It does pack an energy punch, with nearly 100 calories per tablespoon - good job you don’t need too much to enjoy that nutty deliciousness! If you fancy adding peanut butter to your meal replacements, make sure you check the label and choose peanut butter without any added preservatives, sugars or salt.
Another source of healthy fats, half of an avocado blended into a shake can provide a creamier, thicker texture and additional nutrients! If you’re looking for an almost milkshake-like consistency, ripe avocado makes the perfect addition without overwhelming your preferred taste... Unless you like the idea of a guacamole milkshake. I’m not judging! Avocado has also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, so if you’re using shakes as an aid to get healthier, balance your diet or incorporate new foods, this is a good starting point.
This is more of a straight swap than an addition, but hear me out! Most meal replacement shakes are designed to be had with water or milk, with milk adding extra calorific content. However, if you’re only making your meal replacement shakes with water, you might find them a little bit thin. In that case, try adding your favourite plant milk to a low calorie meal replacement powder. It’ll be a thicker consistency, and plant milks are often fortified with extra vitamins - double bonus! You might find that there is separate nutritional information for a shake made with plant milk on the packaging, as it is a popular alternative.
The base of every good smoothie or shake is, in my opinion, the humble banana. Not only is it another excellent source of potassium, it also contains vitamin B6 which helps to regulate your metabolism, perfect for those of us trying to get into a better groove with our food. It’s also a good addition for people using meal replacements to lose weight, as bananas contain around 100 calories per serving (depending on the size of the banana). They are also rich in dietary fibre which can help you feel fuller for longer.
A great source of carbs for sustained energy, oats are a good addition to a breakfast shake. Not only will they keep you fuller for longer and provide an energy boost for a great start to the day, oats have been shown to increase our appetite control hormones, helping to regulate our metabolism and even cut our risk of type 2 diabetes. On top of that, oats really help to thicken a meal replacement shake, giving it a texture which slows down consumption, aiding digestion.
Not only do they taste great in small quantities, but berries also add a natural fruity sweetness to your shake without the need for artificial sweeteners. Packed with antioxidants, blueberries are a particular favourite of mine as they are sweet, delicious and really good for you. Berries can help keep you focused, can help you to lose or maintain weight and can help prevent heart disease. Using seasonal ingredients can also help the long time shake drinker get more variety. Perfect.
This superfood is a powerhouse of nutrition. From lowering cancer risk to providing calcium, iron and thiamine, throwing a handful of spinach into a smoothie or meal replacement shake is a great move. It’s brilliant for your hair, skin and nail health and turns your shake a wonderful bright green, adding vibrancy to your day.
If you intend to have a meal replacement once a day to help lose weight or provide a nutrition boost, you might find that drinking it straight can cause ‘taste fatigue’ - the idea that having the same taste at the same time every day becomes dull and uninteresting. It might even put you off your shakes, or lead to unhealthy snacking for a different taste and texture experience. If you don’t have a lot of time to prepare your shakes, you can add different spices before you mix to add a new flavour dimension. Cinnamon, for example, has multiple health benefits and tastes amazing. A sprinkle of cinnamon in your shake has anti-inflammatory properties, adds warmth to your palette, and helps relieve digestive problems. Nutmeg has similar medicinal properties and also tastes great - especially with Vivo Life’s Caramel Biscuit WHOLE, a vegan nutritional shake, perfect for on the go.
Ultimately, you can add any flavours or textures that you want to a smoothie or shake, as long as they are part of a balanced healthy diet. Adding oats, a few shavings of dark chocolate, berries, and coconut shavings is my personal favourite for breakfast. Choosing WHOLE as a foundation for your meal replacement is beneficial as it is lower calorie and can be tailored to your needs and schedule. Whilst most meal replacement shakes are higher in calories to provide a complete meal, WHOLE gives you the flexibility to do nutrition your way. It gives you a blend of plant protein, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and herbs in only 148 calories, meaning you can adapt it to suit your flavour and texture preferences, whilst still benefiting from a nutritious foundation.
Interested in more vegan food and shake inspiration? Check out our recipes section.
- Are Bananas Fattening or Weight-Loss-Friendly?
- 12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado
- 12 Things to Blend Into Your Meal Replacement Shakes
- Health Benefits of Oats
- Spinach: Nutrition, health benefits, and diet
- Top 6 health benefits of cinnamon
- Nutmeg: Health Benefits, Nutrition Information, and How to Use It
- 9 Amazing Health Benefits of Berries