Food is an essential part of life; it supplies all the nutrients the body needs and keeps it functional.
A balanced diet includes all the classes of foods, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, beverages & vegetables, fats, and oil. Nutritionists suggest that one should consume each class of food in appropriate proportions.
However, there are instances where eating can be challenging. It could be a result of an illness, depression, or anxiety. Staying away from food may also be a deliberate decision for spiritual reasons.
So how can a person get nutrients without eating? Is it possible? Yes! There are many ways of getting all the nutrients your body needs without eating. Let’s look into how to do that.
Use Meal Replacements
Meal replacements are drinks or bars that are intended to replace solid food. They are carefully formulated with approved quantities of nutrients and calories.
They sometimes come in powdered or pre-mixed shakes and are more affordable than solid foods with equivalent nutrient value. Meal replacement drinks, mainly when prescribed by a doctor, give your body all the crucial vitamins, minerals, calories, and nutrients it needs to survive.
Bodybuilders and athletes consume these meal replacements not just for weight loss but also for overall health.
Rather than preparing meals multiple times a day, they opt for meal replacements to balance out their nutrition requirement.
It is essential to read the labels on meal replacement drinks. This is because some drinks are exclusively meant to replace solid food and supplement it, while others are meant to replace solid foods.
How Many Nutrients Should A Meal Replacement Contain?
Based on governmental policies, a meal replacement is expected to provide the minimum quantity of all vitamins and minerals. It must also contain at least 200 to 400 calories, with less than 30% derived from plants.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that these supplements should not be consumed for more than 21 days. This advice is to protect consumers from being overdependent on supplements.
Although meal replacement bars are a good backup option when you do not have time to make a balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, they are not as good as natural food sources.
Disadvantages of Using Meal Replacements
There are a few drawbacks to meal replacements. Let’s look at them:
First, there is a risk of gastrointestinal distress.
Many bars contain sugar alcohols (for instance, xylitol, mannitol, or isomalt). These alcohols resist digestion naturally and may result in bloating and stomach pain in some people.
Similarly, the bars may have certain fibers like chicory root, a prebiotic fiber that could result in gastrointestinal distress.
Overall this may not sound like a weighty issue, but it can still make you feel uncomfortable and lead to other severe health issues in the future. The key is to take the meal replacement bars in moderation.
These supplements can lead to addiction in no time.
It is important to note that eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies is key to a healthy body, and consuming meal replacement bars and drinks will not give you that.
After a point of time, meal replacements will stop working on your body, and you’ll have to eat the good stuff.
Homemade smoothies are another option and are much better than meal replacement bars.
They can be easily made at home with fresh and healthy ingredients, so there’s no risk of health issues. You can also save yourself a lot of money in the long run that you would otherwise spend on expensive dietary supplements.
If you are someone who experiences trouble chewing, smoothies are your best option. They not only have higher nutritional value than meal replacement bars but are also easy to consume and taste way better.
How to Make Homemade Smoothies
- Take a container and add a bunch of leafy vegetables such as Kale or spinach (these vegetables work as antioxidants).
- Next, add some fresh fruits like oranges, mangoes, pineapples, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, guava, etc. These fruits will not only make your smoothie taste super delicious, but they will also add all the vitamins and nutrients to it.
- Try scooping in a bit of protein powder for added nutrition, and fill up the remaining container with water, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or any other milk you prefer.
- You can also add superfoods like flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp hearts. They would make up some great extras before you start blending.
Other Kinds of Smoothies
There are lots of meal replacement smoothies you can make at home.
- You can try a combination like adding 3 tablespoons of honey for sweetness and some bananas for potassium. You can also add antioxidants, Vitamin C, and pea protein to spice up and enrich the smoothie.
- If you’re a chocolate lover, making a smoothie with some cocoa powder would be a great option. Mixed with foods like almond butter, peanut, and nut butter, it’ll create a taste you don’t want to miss.
- You can also add protein, avocados, and greek yogurt.
- Vanilla is another popular smoothie ingredient you can try out.
The problem with consuming smoothies as meal replacements are that you can’t go everywhere with your blender. But considering how fast you can make it, it is something that should be on the list.
Soups and Bone Broths
Many have debated that soups and broths would make up some friendly meal replacements. Could this be true? Or are soups and broths only an excellent way to detox and lose weight?
Whether you want to categorize them as meal replacements or not, you should try to add them in one of your daily meals as they benefit the body and provide your digestive system with vital food nutrients.
If you can’t drink soup or broth for the day, there are many other meal replacements you could try. Some people enjoy meal replacements by only switching out 1 meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) with a meal replacement.
If you’re new to the idea of meal replacement and want to try something new, making a big batch of soup is not a bad idea to keep in the fridge during your journey.
Consuming meal replacements, smoothies or soups offer you an excellent opportunity to take in protein, consume fiber, and meet your body’s nutrient needs.
Day by day, these methods of consuming food are getting popular, and if adopted early, many people might get used to them, which will entirely change how we see food.
We would be able to spend less money on food items which would save us a lot. Hopefully, as this idea broadens, more and more people will come to accept and use meal replacements instead of solid foods.