15 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss in 2023

Best replacement meal shakes

For anyone on the go or for fitness enthusiasts looking to make a diet change, meal replacement shakes can help, but there are several options depending on your fitness goals.

In the hustle & bustle of today’s fast-paced world, meal replacement shakes have become a staple in the diets of millions of Americans. The allure of meal replacement shakes abound: complete nutrition, convenience, and no meal prep are just a few reasons why health-conscious individuals have turned to powdered meals to power their daily wellness routines. 

One of the primary reasons that more people are flocking to this product category is for the nutritional benefits they provide. Despite what seems like a limitless supply of food-on-demand, the average health (and nutrition) of the population is declining. 

Some, meal replacement drinks are an excellent option for weight loss, while for others can help with muscle or weight gain. Besides these objectives, they can also help in adding nutrients and vitamins to your diet in a manner that is easy yet sustainable. 

Meal replacement shakes are also great ways to introduce roughage, amino acids, and healthy fats to your diet. However, depending on your budget or objectives, finding the best meal shakes is a potential challenge. Depending on your dietary needs and preferences, you must find ingredients and options that are most suitable. 

To make things easier, this article dives into some of the best meal replacement shakes that can help you add nutrients that benefit your lifestyle. 

What is a Meal Replacement Shake?

Meal replacement shakes are shakes that may replace meals or supplement nutrient intake. Depending on your dietary goals, meal shakes can replace meals, supplement meals, or add additional nutrients to your diet.

For a well-balanced meal replacement shake, some aspects to consider include calories, nutrients, and antioxidants. One major reason people want breakfast replacement shakes is due to time constraints and their effectiveness in aiding weight loss

It also helps those looking to gain weight, as you may consume meal replacement shakes in between meals or help in cases where you would usually skip meals. For many individuals, it’s quite common to skip breakfast, and meal replacements serve as a nutritious and time-effective solution to ensure they get an adequate amount of calories and nutrients. Besides being practical for individuals on the go, it was estimated that the meal replacement shake market will reach US $18.9 billion by 2032. 

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Nutritional Facts to keep in Mind

While having a quick thick shake on the go is convenient, making sure that you’re aware of the nutritional value of your meal replacement shakes is crucial. 

Calorie Content

Depending on your dietary requirements, calories in drinks have a vital role to play. Keeping your meal replacement shakes between 150 to 250 calories is a healthy range of calories for individuals. That said, for anyone looking to gain weight, it’s advisable that you select an option that at least has upwards of 300 calories.

Vitamins and Minerals

When it comes to vitamins and minerals available with each meal replacement shake, you must ensure it has at least one-third of your daily nutritional requirements. Nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and calcium along with a variety of vitamins help keep your immunity and resistance intact.

Additives

When it comes to additives, you must keep an eye out for added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and fillers. Besides this, thickeners and gums, vegetable oil, vegetable fat, and soy protein are also items to spot before taking any drinks. Other things worth keeping an eye out for are artificial sweeteners. While many products have them, these can cause gastric distress, migraines, headaches, depression, and weight gain.

Macronutrient composition

When it comes to macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are important to consider. Good meal replacement shakes at least have 15 grams of protein per serving. Besides this, making sure that it has no more than 25 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat is also essential.

11 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For those on the Go

1. LyfeFuel Essentials Nutrition Shake – Best Shake for Weight Loss

LyfeFuel Essentials Nutrition Shake - Best meal replacment shake for weight loss
LyfeFuel Essentials Nutrition Shake. Image credit: LyfeFuel

This product stood out to us for a handful of reasons. First off, unlike most products in the category, it is both low in carbs and low in calories. Now, one could argue that anything under 200 calories doesn’t constitute a meal but that’s exactly what makes this product one of the best out there for improving metabolic health and anyone looking at using meal replacement shakes for weight loss.

The LyfeFuel Daily Essentials Shake provides more nutrition per serving than any product in the category. Providing 50+ whole foods and nutrients and paying close attention to the micronutrients that tend to be the lowest in modern diets – Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, choline, magnesium, Co-Q10 makes this easily the hands-down winner for complete daily nutrition.

Lastly, what really stood out for us about this product is the company’s commitment to sustainable ingredient sourcing and social responsibility pledge. It’s obvious that LyfeFuel isn’t just trying to capitalize on the hungry meal replacement market but are doing their part to uplift both personal and planetary wellness.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories

110 calories

Protein 

18 grams

Carbohydrates

6 grams

2. PhenQ Complete Meal Shake

PhenQ Complete Meal Shake

 

 

PhenQ Complete Meal Shake. Image credit: PhenQ

When it comes to a shake that’s effective for weight loss and meal replacement, PhenQ is one of the best options available. With 16 grams of whey concentrate and 320 calories per serving, this meal replacement shake has 13 key vitamins for your nutritional needs.

It costs around $2.99 per meal, and this meal replacement option comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberries & Cream flavors which can help make the meals seem less monotonous. With helpful digestive enzymes, PhenQ is one of the best meal replacement shakes available.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 269
Protein 15.52 grams
Carbohydrates 4.98 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 6

3. Orgain Organic Meal Replacement Shakes

Orgain Orgnic Meal Replacement Shake

 

 

Orgain Organic Meal Replacement Shake. Image credit: Orgain

Orgain organic meal replacement shakes help provide users with 230 calories which is a great light meal for anyone trying to lose weight. It is complete with beans, sprouts, and other vegetables, the organic vegan meal replacement provides a variety of vitamins necessary for good health.

It is dairy-free, making it suitable for vegans. It is also simple to prepare, making it ideal for on-the-go consumption. It also has 20 grams of protein per serving, which ensures your muscles get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and retain firmness.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 230
Protein 20 grams
Carbohydrates 25 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 7

4. Huel Powder v3.0

Huel Powder v3.0

 

 

Huel Powder v3.0. Image credit: Huel

Huel powder is a meal replacement shake that offers complete nutrition. With carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, and vitamins, your body gets all its nutritional requirements. With vegan ingredients sourced from plants, Huel does not make use of dairy or fats sourced from animals, making it suitable for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

Huel also has Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids which are healthy for your brain’s functions. With over 40% of its mix as low-glucose oats, Huel manages to help you feel full without overloading your calorie intake.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 400
Protein 30 grams
Carbohydrates 46 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 8

5. Exante

Exante Meal Replacement

 

 

Exante Meal Replacement. Image credit: Exante

Exante features a unique blend of Slendesta and Digezyme, which keeps you from feeling hungry for at least three hours. This meal replacement shake is high in protein but is only 110 calories per serving. This meal replacement solution can also work as a supplement to meet your caloric or protein requirements.

With over 26 vitamins and minerals, this product also comes in a variety of flavors to keep things interesting. You may create a shake with one scoop of Exante and 80 ounces of water or as the base for a smoothie or protein shake.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 110
Protein 35 grams
Carbohydrates 11 grams
Nutrition Facts Table 9

6. Labrada Whey Protein Meal Replacement Shakes

Labrada Whey Protein Meal Replacement Shakes

 

 

Labrada Whey Protein Meal Replacement Shakes. Image credit: Labrada

The Labrada meal replacement shake comes with 35 grams of protein per serving, which makes it perfect for anyone looking to look lean. Labrada is available in over eight flavors and comes with 22 vitamins and minerals to help you meet your nutritional needs.

Whether it’s for someone looking to get trim or even maintain their physique, Labrada makes use of whey protein which ensures you maintain your figure or reach the one you want. It is perfect for professionals on the go, athletes, students, and children (so long as their pediatrician approves), Labrada is a great quick and nutritious meal. 

Hitting the gym after a long day at work can be an exhausting workout, and this lean body protein shake helps keep you from feeling depleted after.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 140
Protein 35 grams
Carbohydrates 40.4 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 10

7. Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes

Ripple Vegan Protein Shake

 

 

Ripple Vegan Protein Shake. Image credit: Ripple

When it comes to the best vegan meal replacement shake that comes in bottles, Ripple is among them. With 12 grams of protein, Ripple is a vegan meal replacement that is both lactose and soy free. Ripple also avoids the use of any nuts, so it’s also suitable for anyone with a nut allergy.

With 200 calories per serving, it comes with essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Ripple is perfect for anyone trying to lose weight, as it is dairy-free and comes in gluten-free options for anyone looking to stay trim or get additional nutrients. Besides this, you should also check out our article on the best vegan protein powders.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 200
Protein 20 grams
Carbohydrates 13 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 11

8. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal

Garden of Life Organic Plant Based Protein
Garden of Life Organic Plant Based Protein. Image credit: Garden of Life
Garden of Life Plan Based Protein. Image credit: Garden of Life

Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal is a meal replacement shake that comes with 44 superfoods as part of the nutrition plan. With 20 grams of protein per serving, this organically sourced meal supplement is suitable for anyone hitting the gym to burn off that winter weight.

Garden of Life comes from 14 organic grains, seeds, and legumes, which gives it over 21 vitamins and minerals to keep your body in tip-top shape. It also helps you feel full so you avoid overeating or having unhealthy snacks throughout your day.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 130
Protein 20 grams
Carbohydrates 12 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 12

9. Ensure® COMPLETE Nutrition Shake

This Ensure high protein nutrition shake is an excellent meal replacement for calories and protein. As anyone on the go knows, having a full meal in the morning is difficult when working with limited time.

Gluten-free meal replacement shakes like Ensure Complete Nutrition Shake help ensure you don’t feel bloated after consuming them. Besides this, it’s worth mentioning that it comes with a variety of vitamins and minerals like Zinc, vitamins A, B, C, and D, to help boost your immune system. This is suitable for even anyone who is lactose intolerant. This drink proves that you can have both protein and fiber in protein shakes and have them taste good.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 350 
Protein  30 grams
Carbohydrates 42 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 13

10. Garden of Life – Keto Meal Replacement Shake

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Keto Meal Balanced Shake
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Keto Meal Balanced Shake. Image credit: Garden of Life

In the case of meal replacement shakes for diabetics, the Garden of Life Keto Meal Replacement Shake is an excellent option to opt for. Made with the help of grass-fed butter and whey, this shake offers 16 grams of protein per serving. 

Suitable for weight control as well as a diet that favors weight loss, this meal replacement shake offers individuals clean fat and protein to help them get through the day. Available in both chocolate and vanilla, this is one of the best meal replacement shakes for diabetics looking to have some protein intake.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories

280 calories

Protein 

16 grams

Carbohydrates

5 grams

Nutritional Facts Table 9.

11. Premier Protein Meal Replacement Shake

Premier Protein - ready-made meal replacement shake for weight loss
Premier Protein. Image credit: Premier Protein

When it comes to ready-made meal replacement shakes for weight loss, the Premier Protein Meal Replacement Shake is an excellent choice. Typically sold in a pack of 12, this meal replacement shake comes in an impressive 14 different flavors making it an excellent choice that’s non-monotonous. Gluten-free, Soy-free, and with low-fat content, this shake is keto-friendly and also kosher. 


With 30 grams of protein per serving, but with a low count of 160 calories, this is an excellent meal replacement shake to help fulfill you meet your caloric deficit. Premier Protein also comes with 24 vitamins and minerals to help keep your organs and bodily functions in the best shape.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories

160 calories

Protein 

30 grams

Carbohydrates

5 grams

Nutritional Facts Table 10

 

Which Is Better for Your Health and Wellness?

It depends entirely on your fitness goals. Homemade shakes, while slightly more time-consuming, are easier to digest and less chalky to taste. However, if you’re someone constantly on the go looking to meet your full nutritional requirements, store-bought meal replacement shakes can help provide protein and iron to your diet.

If you’re looking to keep your breakfast nutritious and varied, looking at recipes is the best move. You can still add protein or additional nutrients using meal replacement powder alongside your existing meals.

 

4 Best Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes

Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes
Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes

1. Spinach-Based Meal Replacement Shake 

Spinach-based meal replacement shake with ingredients and calories

 

 

Spinach-based meal replacement shake

Spinach is a great source of iron and vitamin D, and this homemade shake is perfect for those whose goal is health and wellness. Along with the spinach, green apple and avocado come in the mix which helps make it rich in fiber as well!

If you’re someone who likes going for a morning jog or cycling, this nutritious shake is an excellent way to jump-start your day.

Ingredients:

  • Milk / Oat Milk – 1/2 Cup
  • Spinach – 2 Cups
  • Kiwi – 1 chopped
  • Tofu – 85 Grams
  • A Quarter Avocado 
  • Half a Green Apple 

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 338
Protein 14.5 grams
Carbohydrates 40.4 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 11

2. Strawberry Blast Smoothie 

Strawberry blast smoothie with ingredients and calories

 

 

Strawberry blast smoothie

When it comes to refreshing drinks that are tart yet nutritious, this strawberry meal replacement recipe is a great option. It is simple and easy to make, as it relies on only a few components and has oats for fiber. Strawberries are excellent for antioxidants, so they reduce the toxins in your bloodstream and kidneys. It also features peanut butter, oats, and milk as reliable sources of protein.

For anyone looking for a quick meal to grab before your morning yoga or workout at the gym, this strawberry smoothie is a quick thick shake that fits the bill.

Ingredients:

  • Milk / Oat Milk – 1 Cup
  • Strawberries – 1/2 Cups
  • Peanut Butter – 1 Tbsp
  • Oats – 1 Cup

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 345
Protein 15.4 grams
Carbohydrates 46.7 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 12

3. Spinach-Oat Breakfast Shake

Spinach oat breakfast shake with ingredients and calories

 

 

Spinach oat breakfast shake

It’s important to have your greens, and this spinach oat shake helps you do that on the go. While cooking spinach can be time-consuming and not as appetizing for some, including spinach and parsley in your drink adds vitamin E, iron, and even roughage to your diet. Digestion plays a big role in your overall productivity and mood throughout your day, and this shake helps in that factor!

With spinach and milk, you also get vitamin D and protein. For vegans, substituting milk with oat milk or any can make it an excellent vegan meal replacement shake. 

Ingredients:

  • Milk / Oat Milk – 3/4 Cup
  • Spinach – 1 Cup
  • Oats – ¼ Cup 
  • Parsley – ¼ Cup
  • Honey – 1 Tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 Tsp

Nutritional Facts:

Calories 257
Protein 3.9 grams
Carbohydrates 23 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 13


4. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Shake

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Shake with ingredients and calories

 

 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Shake

In this shake, the Chocolate Orgain Organic Meal powder that helps add a huge amount of protein! For anyone looking to get fit and build muscle in the gym, this drink can help out significantly. 

With an impressive 435 calories this meal shake is filling and great for anyone on the go. Preparing breakfast in your kitchen at the last minute is cumbersome, but this meal shake’s benefits are worth the work.

Ingredients:

  • Milk / Oat Milk – 3/4 Cup
  • Chocolate Orgain Organic Meal Replacement Shake – 2 Scoops 
  • Peanut Butter – 1 Tbsp
  • Oats – ¼ Cup

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 435.25
Protein 26.5 grams
Carbohydrates 47 grams
Nutritional Facts Table 14

 

Who Should Seek Meal Replacement Shakes?

Generally speaking, meal replacement shakes are excellent for anyone looking to control their intake or lose weight. Athletes, cyclists, mountain climbers, and even office workers can also benefit from their easy preparation and portability. For anyone looking to gain muscle, meal replacement shakes are an excellent source of protein when you include them alongside your existing meals. 

Meal shakes are nutritious and as such, they are safe for pregnant women provided they have their doctor’s approval first

Why People May Struggle to Get Proper Nutrition Through Food

Limited Access to Healthy Food

Some people live in areas where access to healthy, nutritious food is limited. This may be due to a lack of grocery stores or supermarkets in their community, or because they live in a food desert where there are few options for fresh produce.
 

Financial Constraints

Many people struggle to afford healthy food because of financial constraints. Fresh produce and other healthy options can be more expensive than processed or fast food, making it difficult for people on a tight budget to get the nutrients they need.
 

Health Conditions

Some people may have health conditions that make it difficult for them to digest or absorb nutrients from food. For example, people with Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease may have difficulty absorbing nutrients from their food.
 

Poor Food Choices

Some people may struggle to get proper nutrition because they make poor food choices. This may be due to a lack of knowledge about healthy eating, or because they are influenced by marketing or other external factors.
 

Limited Time

Many people have busy schedules and may not have the time to prepare healthy meals or find the time to sit down and eat. This can lead to a lack of proper nutrition.
So the question is, are meal replacement shakes a good way to get your daily dose of nutrition without sacrificing on health or convenience? 
 
As you might imagine, it really depends. When you look at the meal replacement market, many of the nutrition shakes and drinks out there are not any healthier than the unhealthy meals they aim to replace. 
 
When evaluating the meal replacement shake market, we took the following points into consideration and ranked each product to how well they adhere to our standards for quality.
 
The main points of consideration were:
  • Overall Nutrition
  • Macronutrients and Micronutrients
  • Quality of Ingredients
  • Scientific Research
  • Consumer Sentiment

Conclusion

Meal replacement shakes are excellent to stay fit on the go. While there is a common misconception that making use of meal replacements or supplements might make you lose weight, they can provide a healthy solution for anyone with a busy lifestyle. 

Depending on your goals, it’s best to correspond with a physician, nutritionist, or pediatrician in the case of children, to ensure you meet your daily caloric requirements. 

These meal replacement options are the best ones on the market and you will see for yourself how they work once you try them and add them to your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best meal replacement shakes overall?

LyfeFuel Essentials Nutrition Shake is the best meal replacement shake overall.

Do meal replacement shakes make you put on weight?

No, so long as you maintain a calorie deficit according to your metabolism. However, if you’re looking to gain weight, then making use of meal replacement shakes as supplements to avoid missing meals can help.

What are some of the bases for replacement shakes?

Traditionally, meal replacement shakes make use of dairy products. However, there are several vegans and gluten-free options available on the market that can help you meet your nutritional requirements.

What’s the best meal replacement shake for weight loss?

The best meal replacement shake for weight loss would be the Exante Meal Replacement Shake that’s low in calories but high in protein.

Is it OK to replace all meals with protein shakes?

Not at all! While protein shakes are excellent sources of protein, you still need to have a balanced diet and consume solid food for your overall health and well-being.

How many meal replacement shakes should I have a day?

It is advisable to have around 1 to 2 meal replacement shakes a day. That said, it’s important for you to consume solid food like vegetables and a variety of carbohydrates.

What meal replacement shake is best for diabetics?

For diabetics the Garden of Life Keto Meal Replacement Shake is an excellent option to opt for.

What is the best ready-made meal replacement shake for weight loss?

Premier Protein Meal Replacement Shake is one of the best ready-made meal replacement shakes for weight loss. With an astounding 12 different flavors, this shake for weight loss comes has only 160 calories.

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