Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can Meal Replacements Work for Weight Loss?

Several years ago, meal replacements were frowned upon by many dietitians and other health professionals. The emphasis was on learning to eat healthy, real foods in the proper portions, and no substitutions were allowed! Now the philosophy has changed. Leading experts in the field of nutrition are offering up this advice: If it works to help you lose weight and it's not potentially harmful, go for it!

That being said, there are dozens of ways you can choose a meal replacement diet!

1. Many diets can be purchased which include an entire program for you. You've seen them on tv with their famous spokespeople. You don't buy any of your own food: These programs provide meals, snacks, desserts--everything. The downside is they can be expensive, and you may not like the taste of their food. You are also highly likely to regain the weight when you go off their program and back to eating supermarket and restaurant food. But it's a good idea to try if it will help you lose weight now. Maybe you'll gain it back, but maybe you won't!

2. You can eat one or two regular meals and substitute the third with a meal replacement, such as a bar or a drink. You know the saying, "a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a healthy dinner". It can be a diet drink, or it can be Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink. The important factor is that you are getting a good source of important nutrients in a limited amount of calories at that meal time. The reason it works is it takes away the work of figuring out what to eat and how to prepare it. Just pop open a can and drink your breakfast and maybe lunch, too. One of the hardest parts about dieting is all the planning--this takes that hard part away.

3. Another option is to prepare a low calorie frozen meal for lunch every day. This can be considered a meal substitute, just like the Subway diet can. It's a prepared item that you do not have to think about or fix or cook.

4. You can use any combination of these: A slimfast for breakfast, a 6-inch low fat sub for lunch, and a Lean Cuisine for dinner. Just be sure to use the food pyramid guidelines to also get in enough servings of fruit and dairy, which are often not included in these meals. Sound like a lot of calories? I calculate less than 1200. That means you have enough leftover for a 100- calorie snack bag in the evening. enjoy!

Please let us know if you try this! Comment here and let us know which way you did it and what your results were.


Kahthan said...

I make a protein shake as meal replacement for breakfast sometimes when i'm short on time. The usual combination for me is a scoop of whey protein powder, a banana, some peanut butter and non-fat milk. It does the trick and keeps me going till my 10am snack.


That sure sounds healthy! Even quicker is mixing up a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast Drink--but you are getting the fresh foods which is an even better idea :)