What do you class as a meal replacement?
A shake? A bar? A ready meal? All of these above qualify for me if – and that’s a big IF – they cover all the required macro and micro nutrients needed to replace the meal you could have had in line with your specific goal.
When I say “a shake”, I don’t mean just a whey protein shake, as this does not adequately replace a meal, irrespective of the goal. When I say “a bar”, I don’t mean a chocolate bar and when I say “a ready meal”, I don’t mean a £1.99 chicken korma from Tesco. What I am referring to are complete meal replacement (MRP) shakes, goal-specific bars and clean prepped meals such as those from the Yolo Food Company.
So, when would you use a meal replacement?
At home? At work? When you are out for the day? I would say none of these, perhaps with the odd exception. A meal replacement should be used when you are not able to get your nutrition from real food due to life’s obstacles.
A life obstacle is not because you can’t be bothered to prep meals for work, cook at home or take your meals out with you. A meal replacement for me would be used if, for example, I am in back-to-back meetings at work for hours, going away for several days and need extra nutrition, or if I need to make up some time in a day to be able to get another important task done. Let’s be honest if training isn’t your life or career (which for most of us it isn’t), meal replacements certainly have a strong place in our routine.
So, if they tick the above boxes and are used in the correct time, then meal replacements are a good idea! For me, the following products are some of the best on the market, depending on your goal.