If you're concerned about getting enough nutrition and you're unable to spend the time necessary to cook your own fresh, healthy meals, one option you have is drinking meal replacements like Ensure. While these drinks contain very few natural ingredients, they do have a number of synthetic macro and micronutrients that can help you balance your diet. You can add these drinks to a diet of nutritious, real food to replace one meal a day, but beware of making them a replacement for all your food.
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Things you need
Determine your nutritional goals. Ensure and other meal replacement drinks have different formulations, and some will be more ideal than others. For example, if you're looking to lose weight, you will want a product with many nutrients, but low in calories. If you're looking for something to boost your workouts, you might want something with more protein.
Read the labels carefully. Ignore the way the product is marketed, like "high protein." Instead, look at the nutrition facts on the back. Based on which nutrients you're looking for and which are listed on the back label, pick out a meal replacement drink for you.
Add Ensure to your daily routine, drinking up to one a day. But remember, it's a meal replacement, not a meal addition. Unless you're looking to bulk up, you shouldn't be adding Ensure to your meals, it should replace a meal. If you find you're still hungry after drinking a bottle, feel free to chomp on a piece of fruit to make you feel fuller.
Eat healthy, nutritious meals the rest of the day. Taking into account your caloric and other nutritional needs, plan healthy meals. Drinking a nutrient-dense meal replacement shouldn't give you a reason to eat junk food the rest of the day. These drinks only give you some, not all, of your daily nutritional requirements.
Give your meal replacement about a month or so of regular use, and ask yourself how you feel. As with all supplements, different people may have different reactions, and while you may feel healthier and more energised with this product, you may not notice any difference at all or you may even feel worse.
Tips and warnings
- Nutrition labels can be surprising, especially with products claiming to be nutritious. Ensure Plus, with vague labelling about reaching weight goals, is actually intended for weight gain, not loss. And while Ensure High Protein has 12g of protein per bottle (the same as in two eggs), Ensure Plus contains slightly more protein. Read labels to make sure you're getting what you want from a meal replacement.
- While many people feel more energised with Ensure, part of this is dependent on your body's response to sugar, the product's second ingredient. You should check with your doctor before regularly using Ensure, especially if you are diabetic.
- The ingredient list on Ensure drinks looks complicated, with maltodextrins and protein concentrates. That's because Ensure (and most meal replacements) rely on synthetic ingredients. If you're a fan of natural, unprocessed foods, replacement drinks may not be for you.
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