A healthy diet should consist primarily of fresh, whole, unprocessed foods, yet there are times when work, soccer games and travel can get in the way of this ideal. If you’re caught in this dilemma and find yourself skipping meals, zipping in and out of fast food joints, or scraping together coins for the vending machine, you may want to consider a high-quality nutrient shake instead
With hundreds of products out there vying for your dollar, I teamed up with our local experts at Felton Nutrition, and set out on a quest to find three superior shakes. I wanted to pinpoint formulas made with plant-based ingredients, soy/dairy-free, and which pack a strong nutritional punch with protein, fiber, healthy fats, green blends, antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins and minerals.
After scrutinizing more than 25 product labels, and putting more than 12 formulas to the taste test (sudden death for some), I found exactly what I was searching for. These three products met every criteria and ranked highest in taste: Vega One by Vega, Maximum Vibrance by Vibrant Health, and Amazing Meal by Amazing Grass.
Each formula can be mixed with 1.5 to 2 cups of plain water, but in my opinion taste better with one cup of unsweetened almond milk and the remainder water. One cup of unsweetened almond milk will add approximately 30 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram fiber, 2.5 gram fat, and zero sugar.
The optimal time to drink a nutrient shake depends on your lifestyle. For those who tend to skip breakfast or like to head out for an early morning workout with minimal digestive overhead, consider mixing a shake first thing in the morning. Lunchtime is ideal for those who often find themselves tied up in meetings at work or stuck in the car shuttling kids. One half serving can remedy the all-too-common 4 p.m. energy slump. Evenings may be best, if you hit the gym after work and don’t want to eat a heavy meal late at night.
Though these hand-selected shakes are superior to fast food, candy bars, skipping meals, most snack foods, and many other nutrition products out there, they are still no match for fresh foods. Nutrient shakes should not be used for more than one meal per day. Your other two meals should be made with fresh, whole, unprocessed foods and should include a large serving of vegetables (ideally organic and seasonal).
Felton Nutrition has graciously agreed to offer readers a free sample of VegaOne or Maximum Vibrance when you mention this column. They always provide complimentary nutrition consultations. Special thanks to Felton Nutrition staff Mike Stokan, Bauman College Certified Nutrition Consultant, and Richard Goldberg, PhD Holistic Nutrition and local legend, for their help with creating this column.
Vega One, by Vega
135 calories, 15 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 3 grams fat, 2 grams sugar.
Protein sources: pea protein, SaviSeed (sacha inchi) protein, hemp seed protein, sprouted whole grain brown rice protein.
Maximum Vibrance, by Vibrant Health
176 calories, 23 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 2.3 grams fat, 3.4 grams sugar
Protein sources: yellow pea protein, alfalfa protein, organic rice protein, organic spirulina, L-Lysine, L-Threonine, L-Valine, L-Methionine.
Amazing Meal, by Amazing Grass
90 calories, 10 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 2 grams fat, less than 1 grams sugar
Protein Sources: organic rice protein, organic hemp protein.