The 7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Your Needs

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Meal replacement shakes are among the most popular dietary supplements on the market today, as they allow you to consume all the nutrients you need, without having to worry about stopping to eat a nutritious meal or raising your calorie intake too much.

The problem is, with so many different options available, it can be hard to know what the best meal replacement shakes are. Even if you can work that out, how do you narrow it down to the best meal replacement shake for you?

Well, we’ve spoke to our favorite nutritionists to pick their brains for their professional know how to try and help you out. We have identified the best meal replacement shakes currently available for all of the most common requirements people have, to make choosing the right one for you as quick and easy as possible.

What Is A Meal Replacement Shake?

A meal replacement shake is pretty much what it sounds like, a perfectly balanced meal in a shake. They’re often mixed up with protein shakes, which are similar in that they’re quite nutritious in terms of getting protein, but the main difference is that a meal replacement shake has all your mineral and vitamin needs added as well as the right amount of calories to replace a full meal. Whereas protein shakes are typically lower calories as they’re designed to replace a snack rather than a full meal. Meal replacement shakes also typically have a complete amino acid profile, this means that you get all the different types of proteins that your body would get from a healthy meal. This is quite important for vegans as there are very limited vegan foods with complete protein balances in terms of amino acids. This is accomplished by blending different protein sources together to function as a complete meal.

OK, So Can I Live Off Meal Replacement Shakes?

In theory you can live on meal replacement powders, but we wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not a question of if meal replacement shakes are healthy, the problem is that your body isn’t really designed to do nothing other than drink meal replacement shakes. Typically speaking consuming nothing but meal replacement shakes will give you a bit of an upset stomach.

The Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Every Need

Rootana – Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shake

Instant Knockout – Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss

Huel – Best Meal Replacement For Variety

Jimmy Joy – Best Budget Meal Replacement Shakes

Purition – Best Keto Shakes & Best Meal Shakes For Diabetics

Kaachava – Best Meal Replacement Shakes (Gluten Free)

Rootana – Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shake & Best Meal Replacement Shake Overall

Meal Replacement 1

Rootana is a vegan meal replacement shake featuring a blend of 27 different vitamins and minerals. Every one of its ingredients is scientifically proven, and it contains no artificial colours, flavors, or sweeteners of any kind and it still manages to taste great. Not overly sweet, but yet still with an incredibly enjoyable flavor.

Each Rootana shake has 400 calories and features 43 to 44% carbs, 20 to 21% protein, 14 to 16% fat, and 7 to 9% fibre, so is perfectly balanced to offer a genuine complete meal replacement.

Rootana uses pea protein isolate as its vegan protein source. This boasts a fantastic amino acid profile, so it is ideal to keep your body strong and healthy. Its other core ingredients include oat flour, sunflower seed oil, golden milled flaxseed, sunflower lecithin, and coconut sugar.

Its complex carbohydrates, protein sources, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals will all release gradually into your system. This will prevent bloating, offer numerous mental and physical health benefits, and help to keep you feeling full and healthy in the long run.

The omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids and various antioxidants will keep you supple, repair and prevent damage to your body, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and even slow the signs of aging and protect you from certain medical conditions and illnesses (1).

The use of coconut sugar even helps to regulate blood sugar instead of spiking it, like normal sugar would. Also rich in antioxidants and minerals like calcium, potassium, and zinc, this allows it to be incredibly healthy throughout, despite its wonderfully natural flavour as you’d expect from the winner of our best meal replacement shakes award,

Made in either original, vanilla or cacao flavour and easily mixed in as little as 10 seconds, Rootana is a quick, convenient, great tasting, well rounded meal replacement shake. It can help everyone from vegans to professional athletes hit their daily calorie and nutrient needs, even on the go. The cacao is more of a hot cocoa flavor and in terms of vanilla think luxury gelato, rootana could well be a contender for the best tasting meal replacement powder.

Pros

  • Boasts a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Contains no artificial flavors, colours, or sweeteners
  • 400 calories and ample healthy fats per serving to fill you up without bloating you
  • Offers a wide range of both physical and mental health benefits
  • Made using a completely vegan meal replacement formula centred around pea protein
  • Incredibly easy to mix

Cons

  • Only comes in a choice of two flavours
  • Can only be purchased directly from the company themselves

Check Latest Rootana Deals

Instant Knockout Complete – Best Meat Replacement Shake For Weight Loss

Meal Replacement 2

There’s a couple of huge selling points for Instant Knockout Complete against the other weight loss focused meal replacement shakes on the market. One it actually tastes good, really good. A creamy vanilla with a hint of cereal.

As for texture it’s also good, it’s not too thick unlike some of the high protein shakes. Most often it will get compared against the market leader for high protein meal replacements Huel black, which is somewhat glue like in terms of texture. It’s still a reasonably thick shake, but more around what you’d want from a shake.

The Instant Knockout Complete meal replacement shake is designed with athletes in mind and carefully tailored to help you maintain muscle while losing fat. This makes it an ideal meal replacement shake for weight loss, as it ensures what you lose is fat, rather than lean muscle.

It contains an equal 35 grams of both protein and carbohydrates in every serving, as well as large quantities of essential amino acids, healthy fats like MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. Having a higher protein balance in a meal replacement is more important for maintaining muscle when you’re cutting calories.

The Instant Knockout Complete meal replacement formula contains pea protein powder, oat flour, organic brown rice protein, chia seed protein, and golden flax seeds.

This blend ensures your muscles have the energy and support they need during workouts, while also keeping your heart, mind, and body healthy as you lose weight. Its natural vanilla flavour then ensures it is a pleasure to drink, rather than a chore.

Despite having all the nutrients your body needs, it contains fewer calories per serving than you might expect, with just 400. This is an ideal amount to replace meals and fill you up, without causing bloating or preventing weight loss.

A 2 week supply (14 meal replacement shakes) is $59 with free shipping, which works out to $4.21 per serving. The price per serving can then be reduced even more by purchasing bundles that have extras like the Instant Knockout Cut fat burner, workout eBooks, and video guides.

Pros

  • Helps to keep your immune system healthy
  • Tastes way better than other high protein meal replacement shakes
  • Enables you to burn fat and lose weight without losing muscle
  • Ideal for use in preparation for combat sports contests
  • Designed for perfect synchronicity with the Instant Knockout Cut fat burner for maximum weight loss
  • Has a very high protein content compared to most meal replacement shakes
  • Includes a wide range of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Only comes in a single flavour, vanilla
  • Must be purchased directly from the manufacturer

Check Instant Knockout Deals

Huel – Most Popular Meal Replacement Shake

Meal Replacement 3

Huel is a popular fitness nutrition system with a range of products that are made to be used in conjunction with one another. It has meal replacement shakes (both powdered and pre-made), protein bars, and even hot, savoury, whole food sachets, giving you total flexibility.

These are all made with whole food ingredients like coconut, cranberry seed protein, rice, oats, flaxseeds, kombucha, peas, sunflower seeds, and tapioca. They are also full of macronutrients, such as amino acids, antioxidants, probiotics, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

The diversity continues with a wide range of flavours, gluten free, soy free, high protein, low carb, low calorie, high fibre, and low sugar products, as well as the ability to buy it in single servings, large tubs, or bulk bundles.

The reason Huel isn’t nearer to the top of our list of the best meal replacement shakes though, is because it is admittedly very expensive. So, while it can definitely offer a great number of benefits and be enjoyable to use, you will need to commit a fair sum of money to go this way. There are also a lot of huel weight loss stories, it’s just not nearly as good a shake for this as Instant Knockout.

Pros

  • Has gluten free, soy free, low fat, low carb, low calorie, and high protein options
  • Features a range of different products and flavours
  • The diversity can make it easier to stick to a healthy diet

Cons

  • Very expensive when compared to other meal replacement shakes
  • Many of the products need to be used in conjunction with another to work best

Jimmy Joy Plenny Shake V3.0 – Best Budget Meal Replacement Shake

Meal Replacement 4

Jimmy Joy Meal Replacement shakes feature 400 calories, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of plant based protein, 15 grams of healthy fats, and more than 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving. This makes it a more than viable substitute to a traditional nutritious meal.

The shakes are made with things like oat flour, soy flour, rice flour, sunflower oil, soy protein isolate, inulin, golden flax seeds, and bacillus coagulans. Boasting a wide range of amino acids, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals, it provides numerous physical and mental health benefits.

It also comes in a range of 11 different flavours, which includes apple cinnamon, banana, caramel sea salt, coconut, coffee, chocolate, passionfruit, pistachio, strawberry, vanilla, and wild berries. This offers users an incredible deal of variety.

With a very low price tag, Jimmy Joy meal replacement shakes are a great choice for those on a budget. However, with less rigid quality controls in place, the use of allergens, and some lower quality and artificial ingredients, it may not be ideal for those with very strict dietary needs.

Pros

  • Features a very low, affordable price tag
  • Comes in a great range of flavours
  • Has a generally good nutritional breakdown

Cons

  • The amount of protein per serving is a little less than ideal
  • Contains some artificial ingredients and allergens
  • No third party quality checks have been undertaken

Abnormal – Most Customisable Meal Replacement Shake

Abnormal is a unique meal replacement shake system that allows you to develop your own supplements from scratch. By filling out their questionnaire, their team of professionals will be able to establish everything you need and want and make the best product for you.

Using information like your goals, foods you are allergic or intolerant to (or simply like to avoid), your current weight and body composition, and flavours you enjoy, you will be given a shake that is as enjoyable and beneficial to you as possible.

Meals are ordered in bulk, which not only reduces the cost and emissions from shipping but it also brings the price down as well. The products are even packed and shipped in packaging that is environmentally friendly, to ensure you feel as good as possible about using them.

It must be said that the huge level of customisation isn’t without its drawbacks though. For example, while you can select no allergens, the powder is still made in a factory that handles them, so your shake cannot be guaranteed as allergen free.

The bulk ordering also means if you don’t like a flavour you will be stuck with it for a while. The shakes also strangely seem to be capped at 350 calories per serving, which will be a little low for many people.

Pros

  • Huge level of customisation allows you to find a perfect meal replacement shake for you
  • A massive range of purchase options is available
  • Packed and shipped in the most environmentally friendly ways possible

Cons

  • Bulk orders can cause an issue if you don’t like the flavour you have selected
  • Powder is produced in a factory that uses allergens so they cannot guarantee yours will be allergen free
  • Shakes are capped at 350 calories per serving

Purition – Best Keto Meal Replacement Shake & Best Meal Replacement Shake For Diabetics

Purition make a huge range of meal replacement shakes from plant based protein that come in an incredible 18 flavours. Sold in both one serving sachets and large bags, which start at $2.50 a serving, it is ideal for preventing those who struggle to stick to a diet from falling off track.

Its range includes almond, almond & orange, banana, beetroot, beetroot & chocolate, coconut, blackcurrant, cherry Bakewell, chocolate, chocolate & hazelnut, chocolate orange, hemp, coffee & walnut, peach & apricot, pistachio, strawberry, turmeric, and vanilla flavours.

Each serving has 200 calories and 16 grams of protein, both of which are admittedly a little on the low side. However, with 12 grams of fat and just 2-4 grams of carbs per serving, very little of which is sugar, it is a great choice for those with diabetes or who are following a keto diet.

Purition use ingredients like golden pea protein, hemp seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, sunflower seed protein, and various whole foods, freeze dried fruits, fibres, botanicals, and natural sweeteners. It is also full of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

The formula also contains no emulsifier, fillers, gluten, gum, starch, or sulphate, and is free from artificial flavors, colours, preservatives, and sweeteners.

Pros

  • Low carb and sugar, so is ideal for weight loss, diabetics, and those on a keto diet
  • Provides a great range of choice and freedom
  • Made with vegan protein and no gluten or artificial flavors, colours, or sweeteners
  • Provides a good source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals

Cons

  • Will make very little difference to your calorie intake
  • Not made from organic ingredients

Ka’Chava – Best Gluten Free Meal Replacement Shake

Ka’Chava is a vegan meal replacement shake created from a range of more than 85 superfoods. Among its ingredients you will find things like amaranth, organic pea protein, quinoa, Sacha inchi, whole grain brown rice protein, and various green vegetables.

It is also rich in adaptogens, antioxidants, digestive enzymes, fibre, and vitamins and minerals. Despite its incredible range of ingredients though, it is still completely dairy, soy, and gluten free, has no artificial sweeteners, colours, preservatives, or flavours, and is vegan friendly.

A choice of 5 flavours also means that most people will be able to use this shake, no matter their needs. This allows them to take advantage of a list of benefits that includes improved brain, hair, heart, muscle, and skin health, more energy, and improved overall wellbeing.

Containing just 250 calories per serving and being one of the pricier meal replacement shakes around means Ka’Chava wont be for everyone. However, if you are looking for an alternative to eating solid meals and have any food intolerances, it is among the best options you have.

Pros

  • Soy, dairy, and gluten free, with no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavours, or colours
  • Formula has digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, and is completely vegan friendly
  • Offers a range of both mental and physical health benefits
  • Available in a great range of flavours

Cons

  • One of the more expensive meal replacement shakes on the market
  • Has fewer calories than a typical meal replacement shake

What To look For In A Meal Replacement Shake

Most people have a good idea of how much they want to spend on a meal replacement powder and what they are hoping to achieve with it. To make sure your meal replacement shake gives you the results you desire though, there are a few other things you have to be sure to get right.

Nutritional Value

Like with many dietary supplements, the nutritional value of a meal replacement shake is key to making sure you can use it to achieve your goals.

Those trying to lose weight will want a meal replacement shake that is low in both calories and carbs. Reducing your calorie intake below your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is vital for losing weight, while both fat burning and weight loss are easier in the absence of carbs (2)(3).

People looking to build or preserve lean muscle will want a meal replacement shake with high protein and amino acid levels, as these nutrients are what build and repair the fibres (4).

Meanwhile, those who simply need help sticking to a low calorie diet will want a shake rich in healthy fats, as these are the most satiating nutrient (5).

Ingredients

While the ingredients used to create a meal replacement shake will play a huge role in its nutritional values, having a clear understanding of what is in it will also help you ensure that it meets some of your more personal needs.

You may be allergic to something and need to avoid it, have a health issue you are trying to fix, or just be after a high dose of certain micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Making sure to know what is in a meal replacement shake gives you the best chance to achieve these goals.

Taste

The taste of a meal replacement shake may not seem that important in the grand scheme of things, but it will have a huge impact on the effect of the product for many people.

From the flavour itself to how nice it actually tastes, this will determine both your enjoyment of a shake and how likely you are to stick to it. While there isn’t always an endless amount of flexibility, finding a shake you enjoy means you are more likely to continue using it regularly.

Best Meal Replacement Shake: Rootana

All of the shakes on our list of the best meal replacement shakes have lots to offer, but the best meal replacement shake overall simply has to be Rootana. If used right, Rootana is able to offer virtually all of the benefits that the other shakes can, while being available for a very fair price.

Those who have very specific needs, such as a shake that is low in carbs, gluten free, diabetic friendly, extremely cheap, or offers a huge range of variety, may have to go for one of the other meal replacement shakes on the list. However, for everyone else, Rootana is the way to go.

Resources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541064/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017325/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425171/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566799/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53550/
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