Meal replacement shakes
…are a weight loss surgical patient’s new best friend. In order to help shrink the liver in time for surgery, and for general weight loss leading up to bariatric surgery, I was instructed to go on a two week high protein diet. Also, after surgery, you’ll still be consuming meal replacement shakes for a few weeks so your tummy area will heal!
So, knowing I was going to need about 15 pounds of the stuff in the coming months, I tried a number of different meal replacement shakes.
My favorite: Myology
Available at Puritans Pride
My first purchase, well researched, proved to be a lasting favorite. Being a fan of the online Puritan’s Pride store, I saw that their signature mix, Myology, has a whopping 30 grams of protein per serving (click that link to see the Nutrional Panel), eclipsing practically any other shake mix I found available.
What else I really liked about this brand of meal replacement shakes was it was so tasty. I started with three large tubs of chocolate flavor, and I found the chocolate was so smooth and creamy. While it was sweet and enjoyable, it wasn’t nearly as sweet as another brand to be discussed. It didn’t knock you over the head with a sweet, fake, sugary taste. I actually want to get some more to have on hand, and I’ll be buying some more tubs of this very soon.
For the nutritional quality, taste, and price value, this brand of meal replacement shakes is hard to beat. The link takes you to Puritan’s Pride. Make sure you get the whey protein isolate shake, not simply whey protein. This is actually a harder to find brand, and Puritan’s Pride is out of stock from time to time. Which leads me to my second choice:
It’s Good: Syntrax Nectar
Meal Replacement Shake ‘Nectar’ by Syntrax
The second brand I bought was what Swedish Hospital’s weight loss center recommended and sold at the office. I purchased a 2 pound tub of Syntrax’ Nectar, an Espresso flavor and a Vanilla flavor of each. This brand has ‘just’ 23 grams of protein per serving, and quite frankly I found it to be far too sweet. The instructions say to mix a scoopful with 8 ounces of milk (preferably non fat) but to cut down on the sweet factor, I added some more milk. Now, the good thing about this brand is that they’re sold everywhere and are well known. Also, they’re available in lots of neat flavors (Pink Lemondade?) It’s called Nectar because it tastes like it’s made of honey. The espresso flavor I have pictured here is very tasty, but doesn’t taste like espresso to me; it’s more like a gingerbread latte, or a Chai tea drink.
Like I said, they’re widely available, including Amazon.
Once is enough: Designer Whey
Better as a mixer with something else
In a pinch, I purchased a smaller one pound container of whey protein isolate when I was running low once. I wanted to try another generic chocolate flavor. I went to my friendly local Fred Meyer natural food section, and did a comparison check of what was available on the shelf there. While this brand, Designer Whey, looked impressive on paper (fair amount of protein: 18grams per serving, lower sugar content) over the other offerings that weren’t over fifty dollars, this mix was disappointing when it came to flavor. It says it is chocolate flavored, I say: it’s chocolate cardboard flavored. A fair amount of good whey isolate protein, to be sure, but it’s not in the same league as these first two, and it is not on par as the above two meal replacement shakes.
Now, this was a good item to use when making, say, PB2-banana-chocolate-protein shakes in the blender (as a fantastic snack or desert!) but I would not recommend it with just a glass of milk. My liquid multi-vitamin blend is tastier.
Cheaper, Widely Available…
Target’s whey protein powder
…but with a caveat. Whilst at my neighborhood Target store, I swung down the supplement aisle and was actually surprised to see Market Pantry had a dog in this hunt. For $20 I took a chance.
It’s a heck of a lot better than Designer Whey. Market Pantry provides 25g of protein, 2g of fat, 2g of sugar (total 5g carbs). It does contain wheat, milk, and soy. Whey protein isolate is the second ingredient, following whey protein concentrate. Also, in small text on the front is the caveat: “Use this product as a food supplement only, do not use for weight reduction.” Fair enough. When we get out of the hospital following our bariatric surgery, I doubt that the first meal replacement shakes we’ll turn to is what’s on the aisles of Target. I was somewhat hesitant to buy it when I read that, but thought that 1)it’s widely available nationwide 2) it carries a competitive nutritional label, and 3) it’s inexpensive.
Click to read nutritional label
Market Pantry whey protein powder chocolate was tasty and it mixed well by hand shaking in my trusty plastic container. I think that it would be a great base for a snack or dessert beverage, though I don’t think I’d trust it as my main source of nutrition as a newly released bariatric patient.
Improve on Meal Replacement Shakes
Look for the blue labeled syrups
The companies who make these meal replacement shakes make them pretty tasty on their own – well, with some exceptions of course. But since you’re going to derive most if not all of your nutritional intake for a number of weeks before and after your bariatric surgery, trust me: you’re gonna get sick of plain chocolate, plain strawberry, plain vanilla. How to liven things up?
Have you thought of adding Italian (coffee) syrup flavor shots to your shakes? Starting with Vanilla flavor shake, you could add these flavors:
- orange (Orange Julius, or creamsicle)
- grape (haven’t tried it…)
- lemon (be careful it’s not too tart)
- mint (York Peppermint Patty!)
- orange (great combination)
- raspberry (my favorite como)
And with strawberry base shake, you can add these:
at the same time to make a tropical-ish meal replacement shake! Quite good!
Seriously, there are dozens of flavors you can use to really personalize your shakes to your desires. And, of course, you can add them to coffee in the morning!
My mother-in-law, a fantastic weight loss champion in her own right, suggested to use Crystal Lite mixes to add a little different flavor to meal replacement shakes drinks. A fantastic idea, I haven’t tried it yet, though.