When it comes to weight loss, meal replacements can be a real lifesaver. Even though a nutritional and varied diet is essential to stay healthy, sometimes it’s just really complicated to figure out how many calories and nutrients are in a meal, how much is too much for one portion, and how to stay on track with your diet without going crazy from all the counting. Prepping meals is also pretty time-consuming, and if you happen to have a busy day and no time to actually cook something, it’s always good to have a replacement meal that you can grab, eat and be on your merry way.

It’s a good way to prevent yourself from reaching for greasy snacks because it’s the only thing you have lying around. But as great as they are, replacement meals can be a little repetitive. Unless you learn how to change it up and keep the taste different, you might quickly get bored with your diet. Well, to help you keep your weight loss on track and make sure your replacement meals are delicious every time, here’s how you can change it all up and make it interesting.

Use different kinds of liquids

A lot of replacement meals require you to add water to them, but instead of regular bottled or tap water, why not switch it up with sparkling water and make your own version of a healthy fizzy drink? Even better, why not add some freshly squeezed orange juice? It would only add about 100 more calories to the meal, but it would give you a wonderfully fresh, different taste. When it comes to meals that require milk, you can experiment there as well. Soy milk, or even better, almond milk or coconut milk can be used as a replacement, and in a lot of cases, you can also use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt. You’ll be changing both the texture and the taste that way.

Make your own homemade replacement meals

What a great way to bring variety to the table! Homemade meals are great because you can make them exactly to your taste, and as long as you follow a few rules, they’ll be just as healthy and low in calories as the ones you buy at the store. The easiest thing to make is a shake, and to make a good shake you’ll need a liquid (dairy-free milk, coconut milk, fresh juice, yoghurt, or water), some fruits (bananas and berries work well), some nuts or seeds for the protein (walnuts, almonds, chia seeds), and leafy greens because they’re healthy and usually contain a very small number of calories (broccoli, kale). If you want to make it sweeter, you can add some goji berries, cranberries, maybe a spoonful of honey. If you want more suggestions and recipes, you can look here.

Switch up the types

The easiest thing you can do is find a good brand that offers a lot of different replacement meals instead of sticking to just one thing. You want to get shakes, bars, soups, and desserts all in there, and Optifast range of replacement meals can serve as a great way to get much-needed variety. Change up the flavors, and make sure you keep them on some sort of a rotation during the week. It’s especially good to find desert flavors that you like and use them to treat yourself whenever you’re craving something sweet.

Supplement with low-cal food

Low-calorie food can be a great way to supplement your replacement meal, and eating things like baby carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks, radish or grapefruit, honeydew melon, blackberries, and strawberries is a great idea. If you’re on an all-liquid diet, then fresh juice can be used, or a glass of yogurt or low-fat milk.

Change up your other meals

Replacements should be used along with normal food, and they give the best results when you combine them with a healthy diet. Learning how to cook and prepare your meals in advance will help you stay on track with your weight loss, so check out some easy beginner recipes that you can try that are healthy, tasty, and nutritious.

With a little creativity, your diet doesn’t have to be a chore at all. Enjoy these tips and make sure to create a satisfying meal plan that you’ll be able to stick to.

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