Quick & Healthy Breakfast Shakes: The Only Resource You’ll Ever Need

Last Updated 1st August 2019

Lack of appetite in the morning? Constantly pushed for time before work? Looking to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way? Or, maybe, you’re just a serial breakfast skipper?

Healthy breakfast shakes sound like your breakfast soulmate. These easy-to-make, quick-to-prepare, super satisfying and convenient shakes can muster up an appetite in the busiest and most perpetual of breakfast skippers. Yes, gals and guys – you ain’t skipping breakfast no more.

Plus, enjoying a healthy breakfast shake in the mornings can bring you numerous benefits. Pick one full of filling, nutritious ingredients and you’ll probably find that you eat less throughout the day and feel less tempted to snack. On top of this, your boosted nutrition could leave you feeling far more energetic and vivacious throughout the morning… which could come in super handy during that 11 am Monday meeting *yawn*.

But with a mile-long list of nutrition brands touting their product’s benefits, what exactly should you be looking for? Here’s everything you need to know about quick and healthy breakfast shakes.

woman holding drink in recyclable mug

A Beginner’s Guide to Quick & Healthy Breakfast Shakes

First, let’s get the breakfast shake basics covered.

What are the Benefits of Breakfast Shakes? 

Breakfast Shakes can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance

Perhaps one of the most common reasons people introduce a breakfast shake into their routine is to lose weight. And it’s totes true – when it comes to weight loss, they can be a huge help.

For example, if you normally skip breakfast altogether, you may end up snacking or consuming larger portion sizes later in the day. This often results in a higher calorie intake overall, despite not eating anything for breakfast. Shannon R. Weston, MPH, a certified diabetes educator, said to Readers Digest: “…people who skip breakfast tend to overeat at subsequent meals, consuming the majority of calories during the most sedentary hours of the day.”

And if you do currently eat breakfast but opt for sugary cereal or a couple of slices of toast, breakfast shakes are likely to come in at fewer calories yet give you greater nutritional value – seems like a winner, right?!

Either predicament often ends up in a reduced calorie intake overall, which can create a calorie deficit (when you use more calories than you consume) and end up in gradual, sustainable weight loss – or just help you to stay at a consistent, healthy weight. On top of this, breakfast shakes come in a precise, measured number of calories, making calorie tracking far easier for those following a weight loss plan.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. A multitude of studies have concluded that replacing one or two meals a day with a meal replacement shake can help to speed up weight loss. For example, a 2004 study concluded that meal replacements were effective in achieving a significant reduction in weight over 6 months of treatment, while a 2019 review discovered that programmes incorporating meal replacements achieved greater weight loss at 1 year than traditional weight loss programmes and should be considered as a valid option for management of weight and obesity.

Breakfast Shakes are Quick and Convenient

According to a study by NPD Group, the most common reason for adult females to miss breakfast was time constraints and a busy schedule. In fact, a 2013 study on Work Hours and Perceived Time Barriers to Healthful Eating Among Young Adults discovered that full-time working hours were associated with time-related barriers to healthy eating and dietary intake. 

Breakfast shakes are a great fix for this predicament. From busy Mum’s to time-constrained office workers, breakfast shakes are perhaps the simplest and most stress-free way to get a nutritionally complete and convenient breakfast. Generally, they take no more than a minute to prepare and can be drunk in a shaker bottle on the way to work, whilst doing the school run, during your commute or whilst sat at your office desk.

Nutribuddy Shake Complete by JustHelina
Nutribuddy Shake Complete by JustHelina

Breakfast Shakes Can Boost Nutrition

From your physical to your mental health, from maintaining a healthy weight to decreasing your risk of disease and from preventing premature ageing to boosting energy levels, eating well and nourishing your body has an impact on everything.

When you follow a healthy diet, you aren’t only satisfying your hunger – you’re also nourishing your body. But if you lead a busy lifestyle, you may find it challenging to fit in a nutritionally balanced and whole food breakfast; instead, opting for high-sugar cereals or toast, both of which tend to be fairly low in essential nutrients.

Meal replacement shakes are a great way to fill this morning nutritional void which many busy, working people or parents seem to experience. If you pick the right product, it’ll provide you with a range of essential micro and macronutrients and vitamins without needing to know a thing about diet and nutrition. Trust us, your body will thank you in both the short and long-term!

The Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake, for example, provides the same nutritional value as a bowl of jumbo oats and seeds and is high in fibre and essential vitamins. If you compare this to two slices of toast with butter, which provides some fibre but is low in protein, fat and nutrients, the nutritional benefits are clear.

This also comes in handy in terms of weight loss. With traditional dieting methods, people often fail to meet their daily nutritional requirements as they cut down their food intake so drastically. This can lead to fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and lowered immunity. Meal replacement shakes, on the other hand, can help to cut calories whilst still providing a sufficient dose of essential nutrients and minerals.

Nutribuddy Breakfast Smoothie Bowl by @health_happiness_hannah
Nutribuddy Breakfast Smoothie Bowl by @health_happiness_hannah

Breakfast Shakes Can Help to Prevent Satiety and Snacking

Don’t get us wrong, enjoying a snack is totally okay and normal (hello, chocolate!).

But, the fact is, you’re far less likely to head to the vending machine during your morning break if you’ve eaten a nutritious, nutrient-dense breakfast. A breakfast routine is obviously preferable; and is bound to leave you feeling a lot healthier and more energetic than eating sugary, high-fat snacks on the regular.

Therefore, consuming a high-fibre or high-protein breakfast shake first thing in the morning is a great way to increase satiety and leave you feeling comfortably full up until lunchtime. High-fibre foods absorb a lot of water and, quite literally, fill your stomach up on fewer calories. Several clinical studies conclude that high-fibre foods heavily impact satiation (feeling full) because of their properties of adding bulk.

High-protein foods are also highly beneficial in terms of satiety as they require more energy to digest than carbs. On top of this, protein is believed to positively change the levels of multiple satiety hormones such as ghrelin. In fact, according to studies, eating high-protein snacks improves appetite control, satiety, and reduces subsequent food intake in healthy women. Winner!

The Nutribuddy Shake Complete packs in 7g of plant protein, 3g of fibre and a mega-dose of slow-release carbs per serving – and that’s before it’s mixed up with milk. This combination will leave you feeling full-up and energised until lunch-time, despite being relatively low in calories – yep, much better than an 11 am bag of crisps and chocolate bar sesh!

Is it Best to Make my Own Shake or to Buy One?

Whilst scrolling through Instagram, reading your favourite magazine or browsing websites, you’re sure to come across some rainbow-like, uber-healthy looking breakfast smoothie recipes and smoothie bowl inspo. But is making your own healthy breakfast shake a realistic, and more importantly, healthy option?

Well, there’s really no clear answer to this. It all comes down to your individual schedule, goals and knowledge. If you have a spare 10-20 minutes every morning to prepare and serve a homemade breakfast shake recipe, then choosing to make yours fresh might be a good choice.

However, do make sure that the recipe you follow is nutritionally balanced and will leave you feeling satisfied until your next meal. Many homemade smoothie recipes focus on merely blending fruits, milk and ice together. This may be easy, but it’s not a complete meal, won’t fill you up for long and is likely to be chockablock with sugars. Instead, aim to mix one serving of fruit with milk or yoghurt, but add in a protein-boost by using a protein powder like the Nutribuddy High-Protein Sculpting Shake or another protein source such as nut butter or seeds.

The problem with this, though, is that you’ll never know exactly how many calories you’re consuming – unless you’re a qualified nutritionist or have lots of diet know-how, that is! It’s also likely to take up at least 10 minutes of your morning, which many people simply don’t have. If these situations apply to you, it may be worthwhile opting for a preformulated breakfast shake, such as the Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake. This way, all you need to do is grab a shaker, add your milk and powder, shake it up and go – plus, you’ll know exactly how many calories you’ve consumed.

Conclusion? Whether you make your own homemade breakfast shakes or buy a pre-formulated one for ease is all down to your personal lifestyle and needs.

Nutribuddy Vegan Breakfast Shake

Choosing the Best Breakfast Shakes: A Survival Guide

So, you’ve read through the benefits of breakfast shakes and have decided they’re for you. But now, you’re faced with the most difficult part – finding a suitable product from the thousands of meal replacement shake brands on the market.

The truth is, not all breakfast shakes are created equally. And as it’s something you’ll be putting into your body day-in-day-out, it’s important to opt for one with high-quality, wholesome ingredients which will not only help you to maintain a healthy weight but bring on other health benefits, too.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all meal replacement shake, understanding what to look for and what to avoid is sure to help you find the best breakfast shake for you:

The Best Breakfast Shake Ingredients to Kickstart your Day: Our Top 4 Picks

Ingredients here, ingredients there… insanely long ingredients lists everywhere! So what exactly should you be looking for whilst decoding those labels?

Wholefoods are, and will always be, the winner. So while this is by no means an exhaustive list, the following 4 natural breakfast shake ingredients get a major ‘yes’ from us:

Oats

Everyone loves oats, right? They taste good, they’re incredibly filling and are packed with health-boosting dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. They also come with a lengthy list of health benefits, including:

Oats are also full of soluble fibre, which, as we previously mentioned, can help you to feel satisfied and full. For these reasons, oats can help you to reduce your portion sizes and dim the temptation to snack – ultimately, allowing you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This has been proved through in-depth research, which concluded that eating oatmeal increases fullness and decreases the desire to eat for 4 hours. No complaints there, hey?!

There’s little wonder this nutritious grain is often used as a base for breakfast shakes – spotting them on the ingredients list could mean you’re onto a winner!

Oats are great for Weight Loss

Chia seeds

Chia, chia, chia… we love you so! Okay, while that might sound a little OTT, these wonderful tiny black seeds are pretty damn awesome as a breakfast shake ingredient.

In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that chia seeds are amongst the healthiest foods in the world. They’re absolutely jam-packed with nutrients and boast an endless list of health benefits, including but not limited to:

And, just like oats, chia seeds are a fantastic weight-loss aid. With almost 10 grams of fibre in just 2 tablespoons, as well as a good portion of plant protein, they can help you to feel full until lunchtime without needing to snack. Winner.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is often overshadowed by chia, but they shouldn’t be – although slightly different nutritionally, they’re both equally as beneficial and nutritious! Let’s take a quick look at a few of flaxseed benefits:

  • Lowered cholesterol and boosted heart health due to high fibre, phytosterols, and omega-3 content.
  • Menopause symptom reduction due to lignans (pretty cool, huh?!), as evidenced in a recent study.
  • Reduced chronic inflammation, which could help to reduce the risk of numerous diseases including arthritis, Parkinsons, asthma, heart disease and, of course, cancer.

Plus, flaxseed is another incredible source of soluble and insoluble fibre, with 2 tablespoons packing in 6 grams of the good stuff. We won’t bore you with the same ol’ message, but along with its superfood friend oats and chia, you’re gonna feel full up for quite some time!

Seeds like Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds can help with Weight Loss

Matcha green tea

Keep seeing matcha latte in your local quirky coffee shop, but feel clueless as to what this mysterious green drink actually is? Well, all you need to know is that, other than water, it’s probably the world’s healthiest beverage! Here’s a little bit of insight into what this Japanese superfood drink is actually capable of:

And you know what’s coming next – matcha green tea is an amazing weight-loss tool. The green stuff is well-known for its super ability to boost fat burning and speed up metabolism – and all this is backed up by numerous studies. A review of 11 green tea for weight loss studies concludes that drinking green tea is able to reduce body weight and help maintain weight loss.

So, whether or not you’re looking to lose weight, it makes sense to opt for a breakfast shake with matcha green tea for its health benefits alone.

Green Tea for Weight Loss

The 4 Breakfast Shake Ingredients You Need to Avoid

We’ve covered the reigning champion ingredients of breakfast shakes – so now you need to learn the ones we’re not so fond of:

Artificial Additives

You’re probably already aware that artificial additives aren’t exactly ideal – but did you know that many breakfast shakes are actually chockablock with them? Nope, not good.

Artificial additives are man-made chemicals which keep products fresh or artificially enhance their flavour, colour or texture. Put simply, additives are any substances which don’t occur naturally within the product’s ingredients.

Under EU law, all additives have to be thoroughly assessed for their safety and approved before they are legally allowed to be used in a food product. And while that does mean they won’t cause any immediate serious problems, it doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

Additives have the potential to cause a myriad of health problems if consumed regularly; from allergies and asthma to an increased risk of cancer (many are highly carcinogenic) and cardiovascular disease.They typically add no nutritional value to your food, either.

So what’s the point? Breakfast shake brands may well pack their shakes with additives to mask an otherwise foul taste or colour, make the texture smoother or ensure it lasts for years without going off.
They also tend to be cheaper than natural wholefood ingredients, meaning brands can pocket from using them, too.

Ultimately, it’s in your best interests to opt for a natural, chemical-free shake like the Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake – after all, our bodies were made to consume the goodness which comes from nature, not a lab!

You’ll be able to decipher whether a product contains additives by analysing the ingredients list. Additives are likely be impossible to pronounce or listed as ‘Colouring’ or ‘Preservative’. No thanks!

Synthetic vitamins

Vitamins are an essential building block of any healthy diet. They’re fundamental to your body’s day-to-day functioning and health, but your body can’t actually produce them – instead, you have to keep them stocked up through the consumption of healthy food.

But nowadays, many food brands make up for a lack of real, wholefood nutrition by incorporating synthetic vitamins into their products instead. Synthetic vitamins are made artificially, whereas natural vitamins are obtained through whole food sources alone.

So what’s the problem? Well, our bodies are designed to absorb the nutrients found in whole foods. When you eat natural food, you’re consuming a huge range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which all work together to allow optimal absorption by the body. Studies have concluded that the body doesn’t absorb synthetic compounds as well as naturally-occurring vitamin and that natural vitamins are generally a far superior to synthetic ones.The bottom line is that a well-rounded, quick and healthy  breakfast shake shouldn’t need to incorporate synthetic vitamins, as the product will provide full nutrition through natural foods alone.

woman looking concerned

Laxatives

Senna, a natural (and therefore fools many into believing it’s healthy) laxatives which is, sadly, often included in breakfast shakes and other diet supplements. Laxatives should only be used to treat constipation and shouldn’t be used regularly. However, many believe that laxatives are an effective weight-loss aid – but this is a complete myth.

Laxatives stimulate the large intestine and will make you, y’know, use the toilet. This causes a loss of water, minerals and electrolytes from the colon, which does tend to cause a drop in weight. However, this weight-loss contains little to no actual food or calories and will be regained as soon as a regular meal is consumed.

Yep, laxative weight loss is basically a facade – but one which comes with scary side-effects, such as:

  • Severe dehydration which can cause weakness, fatigue, kidney damage and even death.
  • Internal organ damage.
  • Increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Laxative dependency – basically you’d need to take them in order to ‘go’!

Nope, using laxatives for weight loss is no joke. If you spot a breakfast shake which lists ‘senna’ as an ingredient, even if packed with ‘all-natural’ health claims, run a mile and look elsewhere.

senna leaves are natural laxatives
Senna leaves are natural laxatives

Questionable sweeteners

Recently, the health and fitness world has gone totally anti-sugar, leading endless diet brands to follow suit and sweeten their products with artificial sweeteners instead. These sweeteners give the sweetness provided by sugar, without the calories and, of course, sugar content.

Five artificial sweeteners – saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame and sucralose – are approved by the FDA. But whether they’re actually safe, by your own standards, is questionable. While the FDA has ruled out cancer risks in these five sweeteners, the studies conducted only tested very small amounts of sweetner in comparison to the amount people could actually consume of the long-term.

It’s ultimately your choice as to whether you consume these somewhat controversial ingredients, but there is another option available. The FDA has approved one natural sweetener, which goes by the name of stevia and comes from the leaves of a plant. 

Several studies have concluded that stevia is a safe sugar alternative which even touts some health benefits. Right now, we’d say it’s your healthiest and most trustworthy choice other than sugar itself (which is totally fine in moderation) – which is why we use it to sweeten our 100% natural Breakfast Shake.

Ultimately, it’s best to do your own reading around sweeteners, read up on studies and weigh up the pros and cons. The most important thing is that you’re aware of what you’re consuming and understand the potential risks involved.

sweeteners for meal replacement shakes

Vegan vs Non-Vegan Breakfast Shakes: Which are Most Effective?

In 2018, the UK released more vegan products than any other county in the world – crazy, huh? It should come as no surprise, then, that the breakfast shake market is now jam-packed with interesting new dairy-free/vegan products to satisfy the market demand.

But are vegan breakfast shakes as effective, tasty and filling as non-vegan breakfast shakes? Well, truthfully, you simply can’t go group all shakes into these categories – it all comes down to a product’s unique ingredients and nutritional values. However, vegan meal replacement shakes can be just as effective, equally as tasty and often even healthier than their non-vegan cousins.

The key difference here is protein. Non-vegan breakfast shakes are likely to gain their protein content from an ingredient called whey, which is a by-product of cheese and derived from cow’s milk. The best thing about whey is that it;s a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Essential amino acids play a critical role in the day-to-day functioning of your body – basically, we can’t survive without ‘em!

But here’s the thing – vegan protein can provide all those amino acids and extra nutrition to boot! Most plant-proteins aren’t complete proteins, but eating a combination of them throughout the day, provides all the essential amino acids your body requires. Plus, plant protein also comes packed with additional vitamins and fibre, whereas whey protein is pretty much just protein. Go figure!

The Nutribuddy Shake Complete is a great option for vegan’s seeking a high-protein breakfast shake. It packs in 7g of plant protein per serving, along with a great amino acid profile and plenty of slow-release, low-GI carbs to keep you full till lunch. Perfect!

Nutribuddy Shake Complete review by Laura Kate Lucas
Nutribuddy Shake Complete by Laura Lucas

Breakfast Shake Nutrition: Meal Replacement Shake vs Protein Shake

One of the most common misunderstandings of breakfast shakes (and meal replacement shakes in general) is whether or not a protein shake is the same thing. After all, they’re both a powder which you add milk to, so they must be pretty similar… right?

Actually, that’s totally wrong. While they may look and even taste similar, protein shakes and breakfast (or meal) shakes have completely contrasting nutritional values:

Meal replacement shakes and breakfast shakes are designed to replace a meal and contain a varied nutritional profile, including fibre, protein, carbohydrates and fats, as well as a good range of vitamins. Protein shakes, on the other hand, are designed to aid fitness regimes or simply to complement a high-protein diet – so they pretty much just contain protein.

If you’re choosing to replace your breakfast, you’d be best opting for a breakfast or meal shake – your body needs a range of nutrients to kickstart the day! If you’re looking for a shake which is high in protein, such as the Nutribuddy High-Protein Sculpting Shake, you could add additional ingredients such as fruit, seeds or leafy greens to gain a healthy dose of fibre alongside your protein hit.

woman holding vegan berry meal replacement shake

The Minefield of ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Shakes: Look Past The Packaging

By now, you might feel ready to start your search for the perfect breakfast shake. Well, be prepared to be hit with hundreds of marketing claims and sales spiel!

Here, there and everywhere, meal replacement and breakfast shake brands tout their products as ‘natural’, ‘clean’ and ‘nutritious’ – but their words don’t always match up to the product quality. Labels like ‘natural’ aren’t regulated at all. Brands have taken advantage of this; labelling their brands as ‘natural’ when only half or less of its ingredients are, in fact, natural. Confusing, right?!

So how can you separate the good from the bad? Natural shakes are obviously preferable over chemical-packed artificial versions, but the only way you can actually tell what’s what, is by analysing the ingredients and nutritional values.

You may have to become best friends with Google, but lots of it comes down to simple common sense. If the label on a breakfast shake sounds your year-11 chemistry lesson, then it’s probably chockablock with man-made additives and nasties. On the flipside, if you recognise most of the ingredients as wholefoods, then you may have found your perfect quick and healthy breakfast shake!

In terms of synthetic vitamins, it’s pretty easy to decipher. If vitamin C is simply listed as ‘vitamin C’ on an ingredients list, you can bet that it’s synthetic. However, if a breakfast shake has an impressive vitamin content (check the nutritional values label) but doesn’t list these vitamins as an ingredient, it’s real – the vitamins are coming from the wholefood ingredients!

Nutribuddy Shake Complete natural ingredient list
Nutribuddy Shake Complete’s natural ingredient list by Laura Lucas

Breakfast Shake Reviews: Should You Believe Them?

So, you think you’ve found your dream breakfast shake, but there’s one thing left to do: check out those reviews and testimonials! It’s great that you’re a savvy shopper, and reviews totally have their place – but you should be wary of which you choose to trust.

Think about it this way. If you owned a business and sold a product on a website, which reviews would you choose to show off? The good ones. You’d fill your website with your 5-star, gleaming reviews – and if you received a not-so-good comment, you certainly wouldn’t put it front and centre.

Try to find an unbiased source which brands aren’t allowed to toy with. TrustPilot is a great source if you’re UK-based – just type in the name of the brand and you’ll be able to gain a well rounded view of their customer thoughts and feedback.

Alternatively, you’ll always find honest opinions on social media. Type in the hashtag, for example #Nutribuddy, to Twitter or Instagram and have a look at the general consensus of online, non-sponsored reviews.

Nutribuddy Customer Testimonial by @blondepitaya

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Shakes: Our Verdict

It’s clear that breakfast shakes can be an amazing addition to any lifestyle. They’re quick to make, easy to prepare (in fact, there’s pretty much no prep) and can even lend a helping hand towards healthy weight loss.

Realistically, the only real problem is how many there are to choose from. In a saturated market, how do you know which breakfast shake is the right one for you? To round up, here are our top 5 tips to choosing the right quick and healthy breakfast shake:

  1. Look for a shake made with natural, wholefood ingredients for optimal nutrition.
  2. Avoid questionable ingredients, especially laxatives.
  3. Avoid overly-artificial or synthetic shakes.
  4. Focus on reading the ingredients list and nutritional values label, rather than buying into marketing ploys.
  5. Before you spend your hard-earned money, take time to research the product you’re considering and search for unbiased reviews.

So, now it’s time for you to get to work and get shopping for a healthy, nutritious and delicious shake! First, take a look at the Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake, a 100% natural (and we’re not just saying that), fibre-packed shake made with gluten-free oats, seeds, coconut and matcha green tea. With over 150 5-star reviews on TrustPilot, we’re highly regarded for our healthy, wholefood products – why don’t you give them a try and let us know what you think?

Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake by balgarka
Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake by Balgarka

Stock image credit: UnsplashPexels & Pixabay

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nutribuddy Ltd.

Author Bio!

Alice Nutribuddy Author Bio

Post by Alice

After graduating from University with a 1st class marketing degree, I ventured into the world of freelance marketing. I now work as Nutribuddy’s Marketing Assistant on all things content and social media! Originally from North Wales but now based in Chester, I spend my free time writing on my blog, hanging out with my sausage dog and travelling. As a self-confessed animal-lover who’s trying to lead an increasingly eco-friendly lifestyle, I’m super happy to be working with an ethical, cruelty-free and vegan brand like Nutribuddy!