I arise around 5 am. I am out of the house by 5:20 am. That means a quick "setup" and breakfast. For some time, I have been relying on Equate Diabetic Chocolate meal replacement drinks. At 237 ml (8 fl oz), it's an inexpensive way of getting nutrition and out the door quickly. These are the Walmart house brand. They retail for $6.47 for a six-pack. The two closest competitors (Boost, Glucerna) cost about $9.50 for a six-pack.
Walmart has some issues in keeping these in stock. It is fairly consistent now that Walmart will have these out of stock regularly. You cannot count on supply meeting your needs. To offset the issue, I have been collecting coupons for the two other competitors that brings the price down ... still not as inexpensive as the Equate brand, but acceptable.
For many months, I have had this desire to come up with my own recipe for a meal replacement drink. That's mainly for two reasons: 1) get better quality ingredients with no preservatives; and 2) to get the cost down even lower. There's a third reason too: most of the commercial products use sugar alcoholds and "sugar-free" ingredients that I find objectionable – if you drink more than one per meal, you will likely end up with diarrhea.
I have achieved both goals. The third is a non-issue with my recipes, I use stevia as the sweetener and absolutely no sugar-alcohols.
I came up with two recipes. Both share all ingredients except one: buttermilk powder is an extra in one of the recipes (makes it similar in taste to milk chocolate).
The main one, Dark Chocolate, is based on these ingredients:
- 2 ½ tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 ½ tbsp cocoa
- ⅓ tsp ceylon cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp stevia
- ⅙ tsp nutmeg
The next recipe is the Milk Chocolate version. That is based on these ingredients:
- 2 tbsp buttermilk powder
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ¾ tbsp cocoa
- ⅓ tsp ceylon cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp stevia
- ⅙ tsp nutmeg
The instructions are the same for both, with one note at the bottom.
Mix this together to end up with a 300 ml drink (10 fl oz). To blend this without clumping and with a good consistency, boil one-third of the water and blend with the drink ingredients in a blender. Fill a measuring cup with ice cubes to the 600 ml balance of water needed and top it up to the 600 ml mark with cold running water. Add that to the blender and finish your mixing. And, please use good water. The water I use is pH neutral (chlorine removed, hardness neutralized, and with all minerals intact).
You then have a ready-to-drink chocolate meal replacement drink with a hint of some nice cinnamon spicing.
Costs are considerably less than the commercial versions, plus use organic and fresh ingredients. The Dark Chocolate version is is about $0.54 cents for the 300 ml dirnk. The Milk Chocolate version is about $0.62 cents for the 300 ml drink.
The only change you might want to consider is to add the ceylon cinnamon and nutmeg after you pour the finished blend into a glass. The reason for that is for you to adjust the spices to your tastes. Just keep in mind that you might want to get used to a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg. Both are extremely friendly to glycemic control ...
PS. Here's the Nutrition Facts as best as I can figure them out:
I wanted all the ingredients to be "dry" with the exception of the water. That was so that I could prepare a bulk mix in advance without having to bring every container with me. Ingredients explained:
- Flaxseed. I use only ground flaxseed. For fiber and glycemic control. That is the only way to get the full benefit from the flaxseed. If it is whole, it will not provide any glycemic control (will not digest properly). I also chose ground flaxseed instead of chia seeds. Both are an excellent source of fiber. Chia is considerably more expensive and does not provide glycemic control.
- Cocoa. I just use the "no name" brand to keep costs down. My last purchase was 454 g (1 lb) for $5.47. Dutch processed with potassium carbonate.
- Ceylon Cinnamon. Also called "True Cinnamon". There are two types of cinnamon: ceylon and cassia. Cassia is the most common and widely available. It is also quite inexpensive. I had to order Ceylon Cinnamon through the internet. I did find out that unless it says "Ceylon Cinnamon" on the package, you will be getting the lower priced and lower quality cassia type. The cassia type has known irritants that have negative impact on liver and kidneys. The Ceylon type has better sweetness and taste (as well as a very nice aroma).
- Stevia. Be careful here. Read any label very carefully, most stevia products contain sugar alcohols – avoid. I pay a bit more and get mine from the health food store, look at th elabel and choose the one that is 100% pure stevia with NO other ingredients.
- Nutmet. This was a last minute addition to add a bit of a spicy taste to the chocolate. It's mainly for glycemic control.
- Buttermilk Powder. The main blend has a Dark Chocolate taste. I wanted to try to get to a bit more of a Milk Chocolate taste too. I tried different types of powdered milk (skim, whole milk) and found that the one that provided a taste closest to Milk Chocolate was the butter milk powder. The other distinct advantage of using buttermilk in the blend is that you can lower the cocoa powder and lower the flaxseed – and still end up with more fiber overall. If you are ok with lactose, try the Milk Chocolate recipe – otherwise stick to the Dark Chocolate.