Balancing work, family, home responsibilities, and social time has become more of a feat in recent years. For some, finding the time to do household chores and cook healthy meals has become a challenge.

Eating a balanced diet is vital to maintaining health. Although schedules get hectic, balanced meals should never be forfeited. In an effort to save time, people should refrain from indulging in fast food or meals that lack proper nutrition.

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Another diet-related quote says, “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

Meeting daily requirements for vitamin, fruit, and vegetable intake has become easier in recent years. This is because there are lots of supermarkets, grocery food stores, health food stores, and online venues that sell ready-to-drink (RTD) meals. They’re available at Walmart, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Walgreen’s and online via websites such as and

Defined as a drink (nutrition bar or soup) intended as a substitute for a solid food meal, RTD meals usually have controlled quantities of calories and nutrients. Some are marketed as health shakes.

Beyond the slew of innovative products mass marketed in recent years, there’s also medically-prescribed meal replacement drinks (which include daily vitamin and mineral requirements), that have been around for several decades for those in “institutional” settings (hospitals, nursing homes, and home care).

According to an IBISWorld Report from December 2016, heightened obesity rates and increased demand for convenience are long-term trends that have strongly favored meal replacement goods in this $3 billion market. cited data from market research firm Mintel, which stated that nutritional and performance drinks have become an increasingly popular meal option due to evolving dietary habits of on-the-go consumers and positive functional attributes.

In recent years, increasingly busy lifestyles and a focus on eating well have also fueled the RTD market for nutritional products that are outside of medical settings.

Most of the category’s growth is attributed to convenient, ready-to-drink, moderate- to low-calorie, fortified nutritional beverages rather than the medical products mentioned earlier.

A RNR Market Research report by Technavio (April 2016) stated that the growth of e-commerce is one of the major factors driving the meal replacement market globally, with increased effort by retailers to shift online in an effort to gain more visibility and offer purchasing convenience.

In addition, on-the-go meal replacements will further augment the demand. Analysts forecast the global meal replacement market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.1% during the period 2016-2020. Some key vendors include Abbott Nutrition, Herbalife, Kellogg’s, and SlimFast. Popular products include Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Banana Protein Shakes. There’s also iFIT’s Nourish – a once-a-day customized nutritional drink that contains fruits, vegetables, and protein as well as 25 essential vitamins and minerals.

Another option, Soylent provides 20% of a person’s daily nutritional requirements. Available in the original flavor, cacao, and nectar, the company’s marketing copy states, “When you’ve got too much on your plate, try a meal in a bottle.”

These products certainly offer solutions for those who are pressed for time. Those who yearn for the convenience and boost of health benefits from these products can also opt to make fruit smoothies at home.