There are times when keeping up with your daily meals proves to be really challenging. Your busy schedule and other priorities could get in the way, and that’s not good at all when you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle. In such situations, considering meal replacement programs may be your best solution.
What are meal replacement programs, really? These are meals that are carefully and specially planned for specific dietary needs. Most of the time, the meals are intended for weight loss but they can also cater to other medical issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
How Do Meal Replacement Programs Work?
These programs can also be referred to as weight loss programs. Under these programs, you no longer have to plan for your own meals, which is a good thing if you’re always on the go.
The idea is that you’ll need to enroll or subscribe to one of these meal replacement programs and then choose which package or plan you’d like to have.
There are plans wherein you no longer have to worry about your meals for an entire week. They would even deliver the foods right at your doorstep. It’s less hassle plus you’re sure that you will be getting the right amount of nutrients to guide you through your weight loss journey.
Why Consider Meal Replacement Programs?
Perhaps this concept is something unfamiliar to many. Not a lot of people know that it’s possible to pay for a program and allow someone else to prepare and deliver their daily meals.
Nevertheless, such programs exist and are actually gaining momentum. People just love the idea of having healthy and portioned meals delivered straight to wherever they want.
Aside from the convenience it brings, the bigger benefit is its weight loss contribution. The meals are particularly designed to reduce hunger and to make you feel fuller for longer periods of time, without sacrificing your need for energy.
The meals are often low in fat, calorie, and carbohydrates. This is an advantage if you’re trying to lose unwanted pounds or to maintain your current weight.
These are actual and real meals that we’re talking about, only with a special formulation and prepared by experts in this particular field.
How To Choose The Best Meal Replacement Programs?
There are only dozens of meal replacement programs, yet choosing only one can still be daunting and difficult. To choose the best one, you may follow these simple guidelines:
The plan should be easy to follow. This is crucial to those who are new to weight loss and meal replacement programs. You would surely appreciate following a program or meal plan that’s easy to understand and won’t require too much difficulty on your part.
Meals should be balanced and still taste good. Of course, you want your food to taste like you’re not on a diet at all if that’s possible. Don’t forget to check if the meals will meet your nutrient requirements. It should also cater to your specific dietary needs, like if you’re vegan or diabetic, etc.
Will you be able to financially sustain it? Your financial capability should also be considered. This is especially true if you plan on using the program for a long time. Ask yourself first if you can maintain it until such time that your weight loss goal is finally achieved
While there are plenty of meal replacement programs available on the market today, we’ve narrowed down the list of the best meal replacement programs that you can choose from. Check out our best reviewed meal replacement programs below.
Nutrisystem is one of the best meal replacement programs that you can find. It’s a comprehensive diet plan that helps you achieve weight loss without the need for meal planning or counting your calorie intake meal by meal. All you have to do is just order and eat your meals.
You will be buying or ordering most of your food and meals from Nutrisystem. They will ship it to your home which sounds really convenient. Your meals for the whole day will be from this program and you can also opt to add other items such as snacks, fresh fruits and veggies.
What’s good about this system is that it offers various plans and programs for different age brackets. They have programs that can be used by teens who are 14 to 17 years old. However, Nutrisystem is not for pregnant women and for people with strict diet needs, allergies, and chronic kidney disease.
You are also discouraged from eating out and consuming alcohol. This is actually considered as an advantage by those people who want to stay out of these habits. Eating out can be expensive if you’re doing it on a regular basis, while alcohol is generally not advised while on a diet plan.
They have different meal plans that run for an average of 28 days. You can extend this time period if you wish so, or until you have achieved your target weight. Their foods mainly focus on providing you with a variety of nutrients, smart carbohydrates, as well as limited amount of calories and sodium.
- Around 150 foods are available for you to choose from.
- You can buy a lot of items on your own.
- No cooking required, only reheating most of the time.
- No personal meeting or coaching is needed.
- Meal plans are available for diabetic and vegetarians.
- No meal plans for vegan people
- Not for individuals with certain food allergies like peanut or soy allergies
- Not gluten-free
2. South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet was created by a cardiologist named Dr. Arthur Agatston. According to him, the principle of this diet was from when he was treating patients who were combating heart disease. Through the help of this program, his patients were able to lose weight easily and safely.
Through his patients’ recommendations, the South Beach Diet gained popularity and in 2003, his first best-selling book was published. Today, it is recognized as a home delivery program that’s divided into three phases.
The first phase is what they call Body Reboot and will run for 7 days or 1 week. The foods will be gluten-free, healthy fats and high in protein.
You will have 3 meals and 2 snacks each day. There will be no starchy and sugary foods as this phase aims to lessen sugar cravings. This is also where your body will be prepared for Phase 2.
Phase 2 is where you will be losing more weight steadily. After Phase 1, you’re expected to have reduced cravings and you’ll continue to eat lean proteins and healthy fats. As you lose weight, feel free to involve yourself in some activities that can help in toning and shaping your body.
As Phase 3 approaches, you are also fully aware of how the South Beach Diet really works. You’re able to moderately enjoy all foods as long as you still stick to the diet’s principles. By this time, you already know how to maintain your weight without depriving yourself or feeling hungry.
- Created by a doctor
- Diet can be enjoyed for as long as you like.
- Eating out is allowed as long as you stick to the guidelines.
- Can be very expensive
- Experts believe that the meals are mostly high in protein which can be bad for people with kidney problems.
- Recipes are also low in potassium.
Next on our list of best meal replacement programs is the BistroMD. This weight loss system is also a meal delivery service that focuses on calorie control. This program was created by a couple named Ed and Caroline Cederquist.
BistroMD can be beneficial for both men and women. They have programs that are customizable so you can easily choose depending on your age, gender, and medical condition.
You will need to select your menu every week. The meals and programs will suit individuals with certain dietary needs and medical conditions.
For the women’s programs, they have the gluten-free, diabetic, menopause and silver cuisine programs. Each program caters to specific needs and preferences of women dieters.
The silver cuisine program is made for senior citizens who may have diabetes or heart conditions. The men’s programs are basically the same except for the menopause one.
To try BistroMD, you just have to register on their official website and make your own account. After that, you can start choosing a plan that you want and customize it however you want to.
- There are lots of meals and recipes to choose from.
- Foods are already pre-packed and pre-cooked.
- Convenient delivery program
- There are programs for seniors and for people who have diabetes and heart issues.
- Some reviews claim that deliveries can take a while to arrive.
- Returns won’t be accepted.
- Membership should be canceled manually or else you will be automatically billed for a new week.
- No plans for vegetarians
- Meals are quite expensive.
WonderSlim is from a company called Diet Direct. This meal replacement program offers kits that you can avail based on your preference. There will be meal plans, a shopping list, a food diary, shaker bottle, some multivitamins and EFA softgels.
The shopping guide or list will be made up of food suggestions so you can add and buy them as part of your weight loss program. It is also recommended that you purchase WonderSlim products such as smoothies, shakes, soups, and puddings.
There are 3 diet kits from WonderSlim. The first one is the basic essentials kit which is also the starting kit. It’s recommended for those who are considered newbies when it comes to meal replacement programs.
For this basic plan, you will be given 4 meals per day and you can choose as to how many days you’d like to have.
The second kit is the core classic. This has 5 meals per day and it’s the most popular kit from WonderSlim. You can now have the liberty to control and increase your meal portions.
The last kit is called the premium complete. If you want to have the best value, the manufacturer suggests that you take this plan. There will be 7 meals included and you can also choose which other products you want to go with it.
- Different kits to choose from
- With money-back guarantee for their unopened and unused products
- With a variety of food options and selection
- Their diet pills may bring some side effects.
- Products contain artificial flavors and coloring.
- Has several negative reviews.
CalorieKing is an online weight loss program wherein you will have access to a variety of recipes, as well as other related information that you need for your weight loss journey.
With its help, you’ll be able to track your progress, pick what food to eat, and select recipes that are suggested by diet experts.
This program is a brainchild of an author and dietitian named Allan Borushek. It first came out as a book in 1970 and still remains to be a bestseller after all these years. For dieters who want more flexibility, CalorieKing may be a good option.
They won’t deliver meals to your home but you can be provided with meal suggestions and recipes so you won’t have to bother planning ahead.
For the best meal replacement programs that offer home delivery, check Nutrisystem and other programs listed above.
However, one downside of this online program is that it’s not accessible if you do not have internet access. This means if ever you’ll be away for a vacation or off to somewhere with poor signal, you will need to prepare because you cannot access the site offline.
A paid account from CalorieKing will include a diary where you can have your personal space to store up your meals, along with other weight loss-related information.
You can access a lot of healthy recipes so you’re still able to keep up with your healthy eating regimen. The apps and tools on their website are also helpful in tracking your progress.
- No need to spend a lot of money
- Convenient yet flexible
- The website is pretty easy to understand and navigate.
- You will still need to prepare and cook your own meals.
- Not for people who are not fond of using the internet
- Not available without internet connection
- No meals or products are being offered.
The best meal replacement programs are not too hard to find if you will look very closely and carefully. You only need to have the right information so you won’t be wasting time trying other programs that will not meet your preferences.
While programs and diet plans like these are not 100% recommended by fitness experts, they still stand a good chance when it comes to helping you lose weight without having to sacrifice nutrition.
With the help of the best meal replacement programs, you’re off to a good start as long as you pick the right program to work with.
As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor first if you plan on trying any new diet program or weight loss plan. This is to ensure that you will know what to expect and that you will not be risking your own wellness while at it.
If you have any medical condition or taking prescription drugs at the time being, don’t forget to let the doctor know. This way, you can be given more comprehensive advice to fully maximize your weight loss expectations.