What are the best meal replacement smoothies?
Learn how to make the best meal replacement smoothies. Meal replacements are a quick and easy way to meet your wellness goals.
What is a meal replacement smoothie?
A meal replacement smoothie, also known as a meal replacement shake, is a drink intended to replace the nutritional value of a meal, often with fewer calories. A meal replacement smoothie can be used as a convenient, on-the-go breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
How to make a meal replacement smoothie.
There are two types of meal replacement smoothies, ready-to-drink (store-bought) smoothies, and smoothies made at home with a blender. Homemade smoothies can be made with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen, or with meal replacement powder. Meal replacement powder can be mixed with just milk or water, and many people choose this option because it is more convenient.
I highly recommend that you make your own meal replacement smoothie from scratch or with meal replacement powder because ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickeners. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like shelf stability, but are hard to digest and can cause uncomfortable side effects (more about this later). Making your own meal replacement smoothie, on the other hand, is much more gut-friendly.
Again, if you want to take the gut-friendly route and make your own meal replacement smoothie, you have two options: make a smoothie from scratch, or use meal replacement powder. Let us start with the first option.
Making a meal replacement smoothie from scratch.
To make a meal replacement smoothie from scratch, you are going to need a good blender. You are also going to need a good source of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and complete protein. For fats, I recommend avocado and nut butter. For carbs, I recommend banana and oats. For protein, I recommend either dried or liquid egg whites. I know this last one sounds weird, but egg whites are a delicious, easy to digest source of complete protein. Pasteurized egg whites are also perfectly safe to eat, and you cannot taste them in your smoothie.
Here is my favorite meal replacement smoothie recipe:
-1 cup spinach*
-1/4 cup oats
-4 tbsps creamy peanut butter
-4 tbsps unflavored egg white protein powder
-1-2 cups dairy-free milk
*I add a cup of spinach for extra fiber.
This meal replacement smoothie is nutritionally balanced, filling, and affordable. It is a great way to powder your day, take care of your gut, and achieve your wellness goals. Now if this sounds like too much work, you may want to consider using a meal replacement powder.
Making a meal replacement smoothie with meal replacement powder.
If you value convenience, and do not want to have to worry about getting the right balance of nutrients, I recommend making meal replacement smoothies with meal replacement powder. All you have to do is mix the recommended serving size with 1-2 cups of milk or water. You do not even need a blender if you have a shaker bottle. That said, not all meal replacement powders are created equal, and many contain the same additives found in ready-to-drink shakes! Keep reading to learn more.
Avoid food additives.
Most meal replacements are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a meal replacement shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are, generally speaking, hard to digest. They sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon) and can lead to constipation.
In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome. Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are also poorly absorbed by the gut (meaning they feed those hungry gut bacteria) and cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestine. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-meal replacement shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacements:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying a smoothie meal replacement, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
egg whites, almonds, oats, coconut, cocoa, monk fruit
Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, are known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas.
Avoid protein concentrates and isolates.
Finding an additive-free, dairy-free meal replacement is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free meal replacement made with real foods is next to impossible. Why? Most meal replacements are made with protein concentrates and isolates*, foods stripped of everything but the protein. I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming meal replacement. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food. The problem with ingredients that look nothing like real food is that they are hard to digest. (Your gut always prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation.)
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use high protein, minimally-processed ingredients like egg whites and almonds. Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for people with sensitive stomachs. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein. We also like almonds because they are low-FODMAP and gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. Research also suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties, meaning they stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have a sensitive stomach and every meal replacement powder makes me bloated…except drink wholesome!”
Why drink wholesome?
Our meal replacement powders are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates. They are perfect for people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking for a delicious meal without the processing and added junk.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.