Between early mornings and late nights, grabbing a satisfying, complete meal isn’t always easy to do. Too often, hectic schedules mean scarfing down junk food or eating fast food that leaves you wishing you ate something else, making you victim to a food void. (Food voids are when you eat something you’ll regret because you just need fuel for your busy day.)
Instead of eating half a granola bar you found in your purse for breakfast, or a wilted $10 salad for lunch, you can sip a ready-to-drink meal in a bottle—and the only thing you have to do is twist off the cap.
Look for brands that deliver 20 grams of plant-based protein, a mix of vitamins and minerals, omega-3s, and slow-burning carbs that give you energy and keep you feeling full until your next meal. And when you finally have time to enjoy a meal you want, you’ll appreciate it all the more knowing you made better choices throughout your day.
Rather than whey or casein, some ready-to-drink meals use soy as a protein source, meaning they are vegan and the protein is plant based.
Did you know soy is one of the best protein sources? It’s one of the best because of its bioavailability, meaning it’s easily absorbed by the digestive system, according to the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), a system which gauges how well certain proteins are digested. Soy protein isolate scores a highest possible score of 1.0—it’s the only plant-based protein to achieve this score!
Soy has a smooth, consistent texture, which gives you a better flavor than pea, rice or hemp protein-based drinks. In addition, ready-to-drink meals that use plant-based protein use fewer resources and less water than protein shakes with animal-based proteins.
Carbs You Can Rely On
Carbohydrates fuel your body throughout your day—and lasting energy is all about the right amount and mix of carbs. While simple carbs digest quickly and provide quick boosts of energy, complex carbs digest more slowly and provide more sustained energy.
Look for a ready-to-drink meal with an engineered mix of both types of carbs to give you sustained energy without an energy “spike” and “crash.” After all, you’ve got stuff to do.
Fat is a slow-burning, long-term energy source that helps keep you feeling satiated for longer—meaning less snacking between meals! Look for ready-to-drink meals that use sustainably-sourced sunflower oil, provide omega-3s and omega-6s, plus low saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat per serving.
Vitamins and Minerals
The FDA has identified a mix of vitamins and minerals as essential for an average person’s diet. While everybody’s dietar
y needs vary, vitamins and minerals assist the body in key functions and biological processes. The ready-to-drink meals you choose should provide vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and more in every bottle.
Drinking a meal replacements doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice flavor. Find meal replacements with flavors you want like rich chocolatey cacao, fruity berry taste or oaty, light flavors that won’t overwhelm your palette.
Some meal replacements offer caffeine with the added bonus of l-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid typically found in green tea and shown to have calming effects when paired with caffeine—so you can enjoy the kick of coffee and cut down on the jitters.
There are already a million things on your plate, why spend time worrying about your next meal? Next time you’re at the edge of a food void, just grab a ready-to-drink meal replacement and get on with your day.