Writer and Photographer / Keeley Miller
With the ability to provide an entire meal’s nutrition in a glass, meal replacement shakes have become a popular option for people looking for a healthy boost without having to eat raw kale. From Shakeology to Plexus, there are many different products on the market boasting different ingredients and claims.
In the opinions of sellers and consumers, meal replacement shakes are the perfect solution for someone looking to shed a few pounds, become stronger or just stay in shape.
“Personally, I have lost 30 pounds and dropped about half my body fat from in the 30s to now about 15 percent with all my learning and efforts these past five years,” said Beachbody Coach Sandra Combs. “I have never felt better, and that even means better in my 40s than in my 20s.”
Although every shake differs in macronutrients and ingredients, there are dozens of options on the market. Shakeology, one of the most popular shakes, contains a multitude of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, digestive enzymes and is also a pre and probiotic that has protein.
“I would pay double for the shakes. They have seriously changed my life. I am not a morning person or a coffee drinker, and my shake is what starts my day each morning. It keeps me regulated and helps with my mental clarity and to be sure my body is getting the nutrients it needs each day,” said Shakeology Beachbody Coach Cassie Zeider. “$129.99 is the retail cost, but you can get 10 percent off if you become a club member, and you can get 25 percent off if you become a coach. The bag comes with 30 servings.”
But are these shakes really worth the price tag? To busy people looking for an easy, nutrition-dense meal without having to spend hours planning and preparing a dish, they are.
“Our protein shakes are more than worth the price tag,” said Executive Regional Vice President of Arbonne International Geist resident Lynda Theis. “They taste good which in the world of protein shakes is a huge accomplishment. They offer solid nutrition, and the products offer a better alternative to refuel your muscles after a workout, whether you are an Olympic athlete, a college athlete, someone who works out regularly or even the weekend warrior.”
Beyond this, Theis argues that if used to replace meals, the shakes can actually save money by reducing the monthly grocery bill and potentially saving hundreds of dollars in medical expenses. In Theis’ opinion, nothing is more valuable than good health.
“If the end result is that you can think more clearly, get better results from your workouts, feel better and look better, you will save hundreds of dollars in doctor visits,” said Theis. “When you are not spending your money feeding your sugar cravings or driving through a fast food window to satisfy those cravings, you save money that can be spent actually enjoying your life. Who knows, maybe even a vacation?”
Although the shakes may be an easy, nutritious alternative, they are not a long-term solution in the opinion of some nutritionists.
“There is definitely a craze right now with all the meal replacement shakes on the market,” said Michelle Graves, nutritionist at Hancock Wellness Center. “My passion is to educate others on making good, healthy food choices with real, whole food. These products may be a good short term option for those who tend to skip meals or don’t get a balanced diet, but you really need to think about the sustainability factor. Will you be drinking this shake 10 years from now? Probably not. Are these products bad? No, they aren’t bad. Many of them provide good nutrition, but it is better to learn how to eat real, solid food for the long term to get the nutrients that we need. Parents are also role models for their children, so this is especially important as you are training them how to eat.”
So the question as to whether these shakes are worth the craze is still in the air. But if you are looking for a kick start to your year, consider trying meal replacement shakes along with healthy eating and exercise to reach your goals.