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Fuel Up On the Go with These Meal Replacement Shakes

Woman in sportswear drinking a healthy shake
eldar nurkovic/Shutterstock

Meal replacement shakes can be an excellent option for anyone with a busy schedule who doesn’t always have time to meal prep or cook full meals for themselves regularly. Sure, you can always grab takeout from your favorite restaurant, but this habit is very expensive in the long run and not always the healthiest option. A meal replacement shake can be a viable alternative for anyone with a busy lifestyle. As the name suggests, meal replacement shakes come in a milkshake or smoothie-like form. Unlike regular shakes and smoothies, however, they’re intended to provide not only the calories of a full, solid-food meal but key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well. This also makes them different from protein shakes, which are meant to provide extra doses of protein alone to build muscle and enhance athletic performance. Some people find meal replacement shakes a useful weight loss or weight control tool since they offer controlled quantities of calories in each serving while also helping you to feel full and satisfied. Here are a few meal replacement shakes we recommend.

Purchasing Meal Replacement Shakes

Here are a few things to think about before buying a meal replacement shake:

  • Type: There are two main types of meal replacement shakes: those that come pre-prepared and those that require some mixing. Pre-prepared meal replacement shakes are especially useful for anyone with a busy lifestyle, as they don’t require any sort of prep or measuring. These types of shakes come in cans, bags, or bottles. The alternative is a meal replacement shake that comes in powdered form. These need to be mixed with the appropriate amount of milk or water. While not quite as convenient as pre-prepped shakes, this type offers a bit more customization since you can mix it with your favorite type or flavor of milk. They also tend to be sold in larger quantities, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Dietary Restrictions: If you’re someone who has any sort of dietary restrictions, whether for health, religious, or personal reasons, you may think that a meal replacement shake isn’t a viable option for you, but you don’t need to worry. With a higher awareness of allergies and dietary restrictions out there than ever before, there are plenty of meal replacement shake options that are allergen-friendly or suitable for different eating habits. Whether you’re gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, or following the keto diet, you should be able to find a meal replacement shake that fits your needs. Some are even suitable for more than one of these types of diets at once, which is handy for anyone who has multiple allergies or restrictions.
  • Flavor: The days of chalky, bland diet-friendly drinks are in the past. There are plenty of different meal replacement shakes in a variety of tasty flavors. Chocolate, chocolate blends, vanilla, coffee or mocha, caramel, and various fruits are some common flavors for meal replacement shakes. These aren’t the only options on the market, either. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding one you enjoy. If you’re someone who likes to mix up your tastes and flavors on a regular basis, there are also variety packs of pre-prepared meal replacement shakes available.

Most Flavor Options: Soylent Complete Nutrition Meal Replacement Shake

This meal replacement shake provides you with eight different flavor options, so there’s plenty of variety for every tastebud and palate. Whether you enjoy fruit, coffee, chocolate, or blended flavors, there’s a shake to suit your tastes. Regardless of your flavor choice, each shake in this 12-pack comes ready to drink and is made of plant-based proteins. They’re loaded with 28 vitamins and minerals, 20 grams of protein, nine amino acids, and two healthy fats to provide you with nutrients and antioxidants and boost your immune system and heart health. Each 14-ounce shake contains 400 calories and only 1 gram of total sugar, with no artificial flavors or colors. Since the shakes come pre-made and pre-packaged in bottles, just grab one from the fridge and drink or sip as you go. These make a great substitute for breakfast or lunch if you ever find yourself running late. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, as well as kosher and vegan-friendly.

Most Flavor Options

Soylent Complete Nutrition Gluten-Free Vegan Protein Meal Replacement Shake, Banana, 14 Oz, 12 Pack

Pre-made, bottled meal replacement shakes with enough flavor choices to satisfy all tastes.

Best Powder: Garden of Life Meal Replacement Powder Shake

You may prefer to make your meal replacement shakes from powder rather than buying them premade. Maybe you like to blend the powder with different kinds of milk or water for different occasions, or maybe you prefer the higher or more varied quantities offered by buying them in powder form. Whatever your reasons, this plant protein-based powder makes for a great choice for your meal replacement smoothies. Available in four different flavors and eight different quantities, including one made up of packets that make it easier to measure out exact servings, this powder offers options for everyone. It’s free of gluten, dairy, and soy, is non-GMO, kosher, and, since it’s made from organic plant protein, vegan-friendly. It’s also loaded with probiotics and enzymes that aid in digestion. Those aren’t the only nutrients this meal replacement powder brings to the table, either. Each serving contains 20 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 21 other vitamins and minerals. The plant protein comes from a mixture of grass juices, fruits, and vegetables. In addition to serving as a meal replacement, this powder makes for a great post-workout snack when mixed into a shake.

Best Powder

Garden of Life Meal Replacement Vanilla Powder, 28 Servings, Organic Raw Plant Based Protein Powder, Vegan, Gluten-Free *Packaging May Vary*

A nutrient-loaded meal replacement shake powder for mixing and blending with your milk or water of choice.

Best Value: SlimFast Ready To Drink Meal Replacement Shake

This meal replacement shake was made with anyone trying to lose or manage their weight in mind. Each premade bottled serving contains only 180 calories, but the 20 grams of protein will help you feel full and keep your hunger satiated for longer. As a bonus, there’s only 1 gram of sugar per serving and only 7 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone trying to live a low-carb lifestyle, even if they’re not trying to lose weight. As with all good meal replacement shakes, each bottle is packed with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, including fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. And even though they’re healthy and weight-loss friendly, these shakes taste delicious, no matter if you choose the strawberries and cream, bananas and cream, creamy chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, rich chocolate royale, or vanilla cream flavor. The sweet, creamy flavors will also help to satisfy any cravings for chocolate or sweets while still aiding with weight loss and providing you with nutrients. These meal replacement shakes are gluten-free and 99.8% lactose-free, pantry-friendly, and shelf-stable for extra convenience. They’re available in five different quantities.

Best Value

SlimFast Advanced Nutrition Meal Replacement Protein Shake - Ready To Drink, Pink, Strawberries & Cream, 4 Bottles (Pack of 3)

A pack of 12 creamy, satisfying premade meal replacement shakes for one reasonable price.

Best Organic: Orgain Organic Nutritional Meal Replacement Shake

If you’re someone trying to benefit from eating more organic food, this meal replacement shake allows you to enjoy convenience while still maintaining this lifestyle. This pack comes with 12 premade shakes: each is 11 ounces and contains 250 calories per serving. Besides being USDA-certified organic, these shakes are non-GMO and free of carrageenan, antibiotics, hormones, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They’re a great source of vitamins A, C, D, E, B12, and other 21 other minerals and nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and many more. Each serving has 16 grams of organic protein, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and 10 fruits and vegetables, including spinach and kale. And if you’re a vegetarian or eat kosher, gluten-free, or soy-free diets, these meal replacement shakes are suitable for your dietary needs. These make for healthy, on-the-go nutrition available in three different flavors. Be sure to refrigerate them after opening.

Best Organic

Orgain Organic Nutritional Shake, Vanilla Bean - Meal Replacement, 16g Protein, 20 Vitamins & Minerals, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, 11 Ounce, 12 Count (Packaging May Vary)

A pack of organic meal replacement shakes that are free of antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »

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