How to Do Meal Replacement Diet? Explained for Beginners

How to Do Meal Replacement Diet? Explained for Beginners

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Last Updated on November, 2022

Unlike most other food supplements, a meal replacement shake provides complete nutrition. They (usually) don’t focus on just one type of nutrition. Instead, they offer a wide variety of micronutrients and all macronutrients.

All of this makes sense, given they’re meant to help you replace full meals, as their name suggests. So, how can you use this nutrition to achieve your weight goals easily? That’s what we’ll be discussing more in detail by introducing you to the meal replacement diet.

As with any other commitment as serious as a diet, you should do a lot of research and decide accordingly. That said, we’ve done the research part for you. Here’s everything you need to know about these diets based on experts’ research, experience, and opinions.

What is a Meal Replacement Diet?

Meal Replacement Diet

Before going on a diet, you must learn more about it. That said, this diet plan revolves around nearly abandoning proper meals. Instead of eating those, you have to focus on consuming alternatives with much lower amounts of calories in them.

This mainly includes meal replacement shakes, which offer lots of nutrition and usually have less than 300-400 calories. You can also eat meal replacement bars and protein bars, drink smoothies, soups, broths, and much more.

There are plenty of options in a diet such as this. All of these options are nutritionally dense while offering a significantly reduced calorie intake.

Is There Even a Thing Called a Meal Replacement Diet?

So, we’ve covered what the whole idea is. But does such a diet exist, or is it just a concept that doesn’t work?

You’ll be glad to know that it is real and can work. It’s great for weight loss, and you shouldn’t suffer from a lack of nutrition as long as you know how to work with what you have. Speaking of making it work, let’s take a look at how such a diet is functional in the first place.

How Do These Diets Work?

Meal Replacement Diet

In a meal replacement diet, you can only have one full meal daily. So the rest of your main meals and any snacks in between are meal replacements. This doesn’t just mean meal replacement shakes, though.

As we’ve already mentioned, many nutritionally-dense options offer low calories that you can try. There are meal replacement bars, healthy crisps, healthy biscuits, certain fruits and vegetables, soups, broths, and much more.

With these different options, you can create your meal plan, which keeps you below 1500 calories a day. While that’s well below the daily recommended average, it shouldn’t negatively affect your body if you can balance out your nutrition. 

Most branded shakes offer a complete set of healthy macronutrients as well as most micronutrients you need, so there’s not much of a need to worry about this. What’s more, you can easily fill up on lost nutrition through fruits and vegetables, which are always healthy alternatives to other snacks.

This diet requires a lot of commitment and focus. You’ll feel quite hungry for some days, as your body will try to adjust to certain changes. You’ll also want to work out for at least 30 minutes a day to keep yourself healthy and active while making it easier to achieve your goals.

We recommend that you make a meal plan of your own for optimal nutrition while remaining under the 1500 calorie limit. Only you know which ingredients or foods in general suit you best and which ones would be easiest to get for you.

Because of that, it only makes sense to create your diet plan in the context of your needs and limitations.

Related: Can You Drink Only Meal Replacement Shakes for Every Meal?

Pros and Cons of a Meal Replacement Diet

Before making any quick decisions, it’s important to consider just what kind of effects such a diet could have on you. This includes positive effects, as those are what you’re dieting for in the first place. But, they also include negative effects.

That’s why we took an extra step by reading up on other people’s experiences with a meal replacement diet and studying more about the topic. We did this to learn more about this plan’s advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll now list:

Pros

The biggest advantage of a meal replacement diet is its effectiveness in weight loss. Because of the low-calorie intake, you’re sure to lose weight much quicker than with other diets. A light workout every day can make this significantly easier too.
There are so many meal replacement products that can match even the most specific of dietary requirements. Regardless of health conditions, you can find something that works for you. That makes this one of the most accessible diets for any person.
It’s much easier to track your caloric intake (or nutritional intake in general) on a meal replacement diet. That’s because these products already have all their nutritional information written on the back, meaning you don’t have to go around doing math equations every time you want something to eat.
There’s hardly a diet easier to follow than this one. It’s one of the most convenient plans you’ll ever find and extremely flexible. This is thanks to how easy most meal replacement products are to prepare. Many options are already pre-made, while a majority of the ones that aren’t pre-made take some minutes to prepare.
Because of this diet’s convenience, it’s perfect for anyone on a very tight schedule looking to lose weight. It only takes a little work to prepare and consume meal replacement products no matter where you are, ensuring that you never miss out on that nutritional goodness you desperately need.
Brands that offer these products have worked hard for decades to create the perfect supplements. They’re usually healthy and feature lots of nutrition, making them perfect for a balanced diet. So, there aren’t many risks you have to worry about.

Cons

Well, we did say that there aren’t many risks that you have to worry about. But, still, there are a few to keep in mind. So let’s walk you through what they might be:

A meal replacement diet certainly is exceptional for weight loss. But, people overestimate the long-term effects of this. It’s more than likely you’ll regain lots of weight the moment you revert to a balanced diet.
Meal replacement products offer lots of nutrition, but they don’t offer absolutely everything. Sticking to only these products might make you miss certain healthy fats and antioxidants. You can tend to this by adding necessary healthy snacks, fruits, or vegetables to your diet.
Many health risks are involved if you don’t make a proper plan with the right ingredients and meals. These risks include health conditions and negative effects on the body. To avoid these, do lots of research and consult others that have experience with this topic before making a diet plan.
Despite the seemingly limitless flavor options for certain meal replacement supplements, it’s easy to get fed-up/tired of this diet. That’s especially the case for picky eaters. Beware if you don’t have the strongest of resolves.
A diet like this can bear quite a load on your wallet. Meal replacement supplements are often quite expensive, and you’ll need lots of them if you’re planning to revolve an entire diet plan around them. So, get ready to spend some bucks while testing new things out.

What to do Before Starting a Meal Replacement Diet?

There’s not much in particular that you must do before starting a meal replacement diet. The only thing to keep in mind is to take things slowly, rather than suddenly deciding to completely shake it up one random day.

Start with eating fewer calories a day. Then, start introducing meal replacement products into your routine bit by bit before they completely take over your diet.

Doing this can make it much easier for your body to get used to the changes while also making it significantly easier to avoid any health risks. Other than that, our only pointers are for those with allergies or other digestive problems.

If you have any such issues, we highly recommend you consult a dietitian before trying a meal replacement diet. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not your body is suited to such a diet plan while also helping you find the best possible routine if you are suited to them.

Other than that, you don’t have to worry about too much. Just remember to do lots of your research and consult experts to avoid mishaps, which is a given with any new diet.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Meal Replacement

Chocolate Meal replacement shake

Remember that there are many important things to consider before buying the perfect meal replacement products for your diet. If you’re new to supplements like these and want to know what to keep in mind, the following information should help:

Manage the Price Point

Remember that these products aren’t going to be cheap, especially if you want them to be good quality. Still, don’t go overspending. There are plenty of great budgeted options that you should be able to find with some research. 

We recommend making a price range for yourself before looking for meal replacement products and then buying them according to this range. That way, you can make sure you don’t make all of this spending a problem for yourself.

Look for Nutritional Variety

You’ll want a lot of range regarding nutrients inside your meal replacement products. So get various products, each of which focuses on specific nutrients. 

For example, get a filling shake that can give you bits of everything. Then, maybe get a meal bar with lots of protein in it. Then, look for biscuits or other snacks with healthy carbs and fats while also piling up on fruits that offer the nutrient you might miss.

By carefully buying everything you need with nutritional needs kept in mind, choosing the best products for yourself becomes much easier. It also makes it a lot simpler for you to manage your daily nutritional needs.

Specific Ingredients

One of the most important things is to look for (and avoid) certain ingredients. When looking for specific ingredients, this includes just about anything healthy that you aren’t allergic to. For example, nutritional things such as yogurt, eggs, berries, and other organic things are usually good.

As for stuff to avoid, make sure to completely cut out anything artificial. These ingredients have a lot of negative effects on the body and can make you sick. Also, avoid anything you’re allergic to, which isn’t something we should be pointing out to you. Here’s a list of worst ingredients to avoid in a meal replacement shake.

Conclusion

We can’t recommend this diet to you, and we can’t advise you against it either. That’s because we don’t know what conditions you might have and how your body works. But, we can give you pointers and tell you everything you need to know about the diet.

That’s what we’ve done with this article, and now we hope you know what the right step is to take. If you need some more of our help and want to know which meal replacement shakes taste the best, go here to learn more.

Taking a step toward a new diet is a struggle for anyone. But, you have nothing to worry about as long as you remember what we’ve shared. Still, if there are any things you wish to share with us or want to ask, feel free to do so in the comments, and we’ll take a look.

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband that she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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