Using a protein diet shake for a meal replacement, as part of a weight loss diet, can be a very valuable tool. It can also provide you with all the nutrients you need to keep your energy up and your blood sugar stabilized. Keeping your blood sugar stabilized is a very important factor at all times, but especially when you are planning to use a drink as a meal replacement. When your blood sugar drops, you tend to crave starchy carbohydrates to get your energy up, and eating starchy carbohydrates will sabotage your weight loss.
Calories in a Protein Shake
As far as calories go, a protein diet shake that is a meal replacement should be somewhere between 300 and 400 calories. Remember, you're replacing a meal. You need enough calories from the protein to sustain you until your next meal without snacking. Also, a word to the wise... your goal should always be long term weight loss... and for that, a loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is a good rate.
Your protein diet shake should be replacing one, or upon occasion, two meals in a day. Breakfast and dinner are the two best meals to replace, as you need the most calories in the middle of the day and also burn them most efficiently at that time. So eat a real meal at lunch. Be smart about your weight loss, be creative, and expect good results.
There are a few basics to keep in mind when creating your protein diet shake.
Choosing Your Protein Source
The best kind of protein to use is a pure protein like soy protein, egg white protein, or whey protein. You can also experiment with hemp and rice if you are allergic to the aforementioned proteins. By "pure" I mean protein powders that don't have a lot of additives... extra vitamins, minerals and other "boosts". All pure protein powders have naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in them that are in balance. That's all you need. Using a powder that provides 14 to 24 grams of protein per serving is ideal.
Choosing Your Liquid
The liquid that you choose to use is dependent on your taste. Almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, water, cow, or goat milk are all fine, although the vegetarian types are easier to digest and assimilate. They also don't cause digestive problems like dairy products can (with the exception of yogurt, which you might want to consider if you prefer a thicker shake). It's best not to use fruit juice, unless you're adding a little bit as a sweetener, because of the high sugar content.
You can add a number of other things to a protein diet shake if you like. You can add a sweetener such as:
- fresh or frozen fruit
Use caution with agave and honey, as these also add more calories than you might want. Stevia is a wonderful sweetener as it has no calories, is a natural food (not processed like artificial sweeteners), and has no adverse effect on blood sugar. You can also add unsweetened cocoa for extra antioxidants and flavor.
These are your basics. You can use your creativity to come up with many varied recipes.