There are a million and one (ish) health food and dietary supplement products on the market and meal replacement shakes are a longstanding industry favourite.
But no matter the credibility, quality of ingredients used within or effectiveness of a product, there’s simply no guarantee that it will work for you – because we’re all different! But taking some time to select the right meal replacement shake is important if you want to benefit positively from long-term dietary and nutritional changes.
During your search for the perfect meal replacement shake, it’ll become obvious that there are lots of stereotypical gender-based marketing in the sector: big muscles and strength for men, and weight loss and toning for women. And that’s before you spot the colour of the packaging!
However, there are some genetic differences between men and women which impact health and give some roughly gender-based traits. This can affect the type of meal replacement shake that will work best for an individual.
Here, we explore the top tips for those looking to start their journey towards better nutrition and health through the use of meal replacement shakes for women. Read on and learn what you may need or not need to keep an eye out for:
1. Consider the Impact a Meal Replacement Shake Could Have On Your Sleep
It’s now (thankfully!) becoming a more acknowledged fact that women tend to take on more emotional labour than men which often results in taking on unpaid work around the house, in childcare and just on ‘life admin’. A study has shown that women, on average, take on 60% more of these types of chores than men – yup, it’s no wonder we’re all knackered!
Combine this with the fact that women are more likely to be the full-time carers of family members – be that infants, children or other relatives – then add in the strains on the female reproductive and urinary system that childbirth, hormonal changes and ageing can have; and it’s easy to see how it’s very often the alpha female in the family getting up in the night.
Eating a bulky meal before bed can make you feel warm and full, but it can actually make your digestive system work hard just as you’re about to lie down – which isn’t conducive to a restful environment for your body. If you find yourself feeling tired even after a few hours kip, try replacing your evening meal with a meal replacement shake to cut back on the work your metabolism needs to do. Healthy meal replacement shakes with organic or natural ingredients can be digested easier and more efficiently than artificial components, so make sure to check the label before you sip.
Equally, if you find that you need a boost in the morning and often forget breakfast (or choose not to have it) then try out a meal replacement shake such as the Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake. It’ll be more convenient than having to put together a meal and extra nutritional boost should give you a bit of a spring in your step.
2. Ignore Quick Fix Promises and Focus On the Bigger Picture
The 21st century ‘body ideal’ societal image of what a woman ‘should’ look like is everywhere and it’s easy to feel the pressure to conform. It’s no surprise then, that women are far more likely to crash diet and try different weight-loss techniques than men are.
Realistically, unless you naturally have a super-fast metabolism and/or the money to invest in a personal trainer and organic diet, achieving a slimmer, more toned figure is no easy feat. It takes time and dedication, and no ‘quick fix’ dietary product will be able to sustain weight loss or health for a decent period of time.
Society’s picture-perfect image of a woman doesn’t take into account that the way health looks isn’t always skinny. Everyone is built differently and you can maintain fantastic health and body confidence as a plus-sized woman or with an Amazonian build. ‘Woman’ comes in all shapes and sizes. Whilst a rapid drop in weight can be expected in the first few weeks of meal replacement shake usage for some, this is water weight and any loss will quickly plateau. In order to hit your target and stay there, don’t fall for cheap meal replacement marketing tricks – find a meal replacement shake that is properly balanced to not just provide you with nutrition but also nourishment, to best avoid yoyoing back to your original form.
Crash dieting may get results once in a while – but not only do they not last, but they can cause damage. Your body can’t cope with too rapid a weight loss or gain at once, so slow and steady wins the race… and the health lottery.
3. Treat Meal Replacement Shakes as a Supplement, Not a Substitute
Choosing a meal replacement shake shouldn’t be the end of your journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle. Think of your new dietary addition a supplement to an overall package of health-inducing activities and not a substitute for doing anything else!
Ensure that the rest of your food intake is balanced and nutritious to help give yourself the best possible shot at looking after yourself from the outside in. Consider taking up some exercise. You could try running (a mile’s better than nothing!), stretch out on a yoga mat or try a workout class with a friend. Small steps will soon add up to big changes and taking up a range of healthy life activities will help you continue to lose weight and tone up even after the initial plateau that most of us experience.
Making the decision to consume meal replacement shakes means that you’re already in the right mindset for adopting new habits and trying new things, so take advantage of the momentum while you’re feeling it and start healthy habits afresh. If not now, when?
4. If You See Your GP, Check Out The Ingredients List With Them
Women are more likely to see doctors and nutritionists regularly than men, so you may well have a healthcare professional who you see regularly and who knows you, your body and your health requirements well. If this is the case, check in with them when you see them next – they’ll be perfectly placed to help you select a meal replacement shake with the right ingredients to suit you.
The NHS guidelines to nutrition advise on how best to balance a diet, so these can also be used to help your meal replacement shake purchase decision. Meal replacement shakes can also be used as part of the NHS Weight Loss Plan as an effective way of cutting back on calories while still feeling full and receiving the nutrition you need.
A manufacturer of high quality meal replacement shakes should be confident enough in their product that the ingredients will be easily approved by nutritionists and healthcare professionals. Take a look at the ingredients list of the Nutribuddy Shake Complete, for example – we bet you recognise each and every one (no thank-you, nasty chemicals!).
5. Look for Sources of Calcium to Promote Bone Health
80% of osteoporosis sufferers are female and its estimated that 50% of women with the condition aged over 50 have broken a bone as a result. This is disproportionately unfortunate for females – and as the saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, so look for meal replacement shakes with good sources of calcium in to best protect yourself.
It’s often wrongly assumed that calcium comes from dairy products and that those who are lactose-intolerant or following vegan diets are calcium-deficient. This absolutely doesn’t need to be the case – calcium can be found in many other non-dairy ingredients. A well-balanced meal replacement shake will contain calcium as part of its recipe, so you shouldn’t need to make any more of an effort than you usually do to consume it as part of your other meals.
Look for a meal replacement shake which is nutritionally balanced with all the vital vitamins and minerals you need and ensure that you’re getting a good dose of calcium, too.
6. Don’t Get Hung Up On Cholesterol
There are now several meal replacement shakes on the market which promise to reduce cholesterol. Cholesterol leaves fatty deposits in blood vessels, which, over time, is proven to increase the risk of heart attack and disease.
Unless you know you have a medical issue with high levels of cholesterol, a meal replacement shake aimed at reducing your cholesterol levels is unnecessary. What’s more, studies show that women naturally have higher levels of ‘good cholesterol’ in their systems than men, so it’s less likely that you’d need to mediate your intake of it anyway. In fact, doing so without the medical need to could actually negatively impact on your health as you’d be taking redundant actions which could end up damaging the delicate but perfect balance you already have.You can’t buy into every marketing promise on packets, so knowing what you definitely don’t need is a great place to start.
7. Stay Mindful of Your Natural Hormone Fluctuations
If there’s one thing that women have a lot of over men, it’s hormones! Even when perimenopausal, most women still find they have naturally-occurring fluctuations in their hormone levels over the course of a month. It’s important to stay mindful of your hormone levels and look after yourself to fit with them.
Your tastes can be affected by hormonal changes in the body, so if you know you’ll go off certain flavours once a month, don’t pick a meal replacement shake of that flavour. Equally, if you find yourself craving certain tastes, choose a weight loss shake to fit it or try varying the flavours of your shakes to keep things fresh.
If you’re feeling a little bored of your new supplement, why not try adding fresh fruit to a shake to mix things up? Some meal replacement shakes work better with additional ingredients than others, and some (particularly powdered shakes) come in a variety of flavours, so make sure you’re able to mix and match if you’d like the option. Nutribuddy meal replacement shakes come in a variety of different flavours and textures – all of which blend up perfectly with fruit. Yum!
It’s only natural to feel more fatigued at certain times of the month and this often all down to hormones too. During these periods, try consuming meal replacement shakes which are high in natural sugars and low in artificial sweeteners and having them for breakfast (if you don’t anyway) to set you up well for the day for wholesome nutrition. Or, if all else fails, you could always mix your meal replacement with coffee!
Whilst being a woman doesn’t make you any less healthy than men, there are some gender-based requirements to consider when it comes to looking after yourself.
When you start out on the search for a meal replacement shake, it can seem overwhelming – there are just so many choices! But educating and informing yourself on what is actually healthy and beneficial to the body, as opposed to just being marketing hype, is key to making an informed purchase decision.You know your body and only you can have a say over what you take into it, so do some research and go with your gut – that is, instincts and digestive system.
Before you go, make sure to take a look at the Nutribuddy store. Our shakes were designed with women in mind and aim to provide a natural, nutrition-boosting meal in the form of an uber-convenient and tasty shake.