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Diet Breakfast Shakes

by Maggie McCormick, studioD

When you're a busy mom who wants to lose weight, diet breakfast shakes -- either commercial products or homemade -- can seem tempting. Low in calories, yet packed with nutrition, a diet shake claims to have everything you need to lose weight. But like many weight-loss products, diet breakfast shakes work for some, but not for others.

Diet Shakes Explained

Most diet shakes are nutritionally sound, but contain 300 or fewer calories. When you replace a higher-calorie breakfast with a meal-replacement shake and continue to make healthy food choices throughout the day, you experience an overall calorie deficit and lose weight. You would experience a similar effect by changing your breakfast meal to another low-calorie option, but diet breakfast shakes offer convenience.

Types of Shakes

Naturally, the most convenient form of diet shake is the most expensive. These are ready-to-drink shakes that come in a can. The shakes are typically shelf-stable, but you may want to refrigerate them overnight if you prefer them cold. Another option is to purchase a diet shake powder and mix it with milk. Powder mixes are convenient and slightly less expensive than shakes in a can, but may leave a grainy sensation in your mouth. Make your own diet breakfast shakes in a blender, using whole foods and a liquid base. This allows you to customize the taste and get your nutrients from the source rather than a science lab.


Although low in calories, a diet shake is still only a liquid, which can make you feel hungry soon after you drink it. You may be better off eating a bowl of oatmeal or a few pieces of fruit, which have similar calorie counts and added fiber to help tide you over until lunch. Additionally, part of maintaining weight loss is eating sensibly over the long haul. Diet shakes don't necessarily help you follow good eating habits. If you switch back to eating doughnuts after you've lost weight, you may find the weight creeping back on.

Diet Shakes and Kids

Diet shakes are typically formulated nutritionally for adults and may not be a smart choice for your child. Check with your child's doctor if you want to serve diet shakes for weight loss. It is generally a smarter move to feed your child healthy low-calorie foods rather than diet shakes. If you do want to use a meal-replacement shake for a child, consider purchasing brands that are specially formulated for use by children.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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