Using a meal replacement shake gives users an easy way to fill their bodies with the nourishment they need each day. While they work for weight loss, they also allow users to grab a quick meal without spending the extra time to prepare one. However, every product is made differently, making the decision of which one to use even more difficult.
Meal replacement shakes often include proteins and superfoods, but these powders as standalone supplements may not have enough nourishment. Finding suitable replacements for a meal have the calories, carbs, fiber, and other nutrition that the average meal has. These shakes need to leave users feeling satisfied instead of still hungry.
This guide reviews the top meal replacement shakes of the year to narrow the user’s options.
The 16 Best Meal Replacement Shakes of 2021
After reviewing the different meal replacement shakes and related products on the market, the top-ranked products on this guide includes:
- PhenQ Meal Shake, as the top best meal replacement for weight loss.
- Golden Superfood Bliss, as the most effective meal replacement with superfood ingredients.
- Exante, as the most popular meal replacement powder.
- Lanta Flat Belly Shake, as the top-rated fat-burning meal replacement formula.
- Organifi Complete Protein is the top complete meal replacement mix.
- Green Regimen Elite Protein, as one of the newest meal replacements with superfood ingredients.
- Vegan Protein Smoothies, as the do-it-yourself vegan protein shake recipe guide.
- 21 Day Smoothie Diet, as the guide on using meal replacement shakes and smoothies to lose weight.
- Ladder Nutrition Shake, as the top plant-based meal replacement blend.
- Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal, which was voted the ultimate meal replacement shake on Amazon.
- Vega One All-in-One Shake, as one of the most trusted brands in the supplement industry.
- Orgain Organic Meal, as one of the best-known and most-respected meal replacement powders.
- NatureFuel Keto Meal Replacement, as a ketogenic-diet friendly supplement with a high-fat, low-protein mix.
- Fit & Lean Meal Shake, as a meal replacement powder for fat-burning weight loss benefits.
- RSP TrueFit, as a high-quality supplement that uses premium ingredients and multiple flavors.
- Ka’Chava Tribal Superfood, as a whole-body meal.
Let’s take a look at each of these formulas for consumers to see what makes them so effective that they earned a spot on this guide.
PhenQ Complete Meal Shake
The PhenQ brand is one of the top companies in the weight loss industry, and their reputation precedes every supplement they make. Their Complete Meal Shake, for example, helps users to improve their weight loss by replacing one full meal per serving with an array of beneficial ingredients. Led by InnoSlim, this formula contains 24 vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens (including MCT oil and ashwagandha).
Though most other meal replacement powders use whey protein, every ingredient in this meal shake is plant-based. Plus, the remedy works for individuals who currently eat the foods recommended in the keto diet. Users often experience improved energy levels and reduced food cravings with one scoop per serving. Mix with water or milk to prepare the shake and use it as a replacement for any meal. So far, this product has been one of the top meal replacement shakes of the year, only costing $49 through the official website.
Earth Echo Golden Superfood Bliss
Earth Echo Golden Superfood Bliss provides users with a meal replacement option with a rich number of superfoods and turmeric. Other ingredients include coconut milk, black pepper, amla fruit, cinnamon bark, and ginger root, but cinnamon bark helps trigger weight loss and blood sugar control. The formula allows the user to get the necessary nutrients each day while relieving inflammation in the gut and body. Plus, they work synergistically to support improved immunity, sleep, and metabolic speed.
Developed by Danette May, the diverse ingredient profile makes relieving stress much more accessible for customers. Plus, the brand already has a reputation for its high-quality products in the supplement industry. This is one of the only formulas on the list that includes turmeric, giving customers the ability to eliminate inflammation. With 12 superfoods to eliminate hunger cravings and provide incredible nutrients, paying $50 is a value-worthy price.
The powder needs to be mixed with water or an existing smoothie to get the vanilla latte flavor for which it receives such praise. The creators at Earth Echo recommend drinking it each day to enjoy the benefits.
Exante Meal Replacement Shakes
Exante Meal Replacement Shakes has quite a few options for consumers that want low-calorie meal replacement drinks. With a creamy texture and tasty flavors, users choose what meal they want to replace with it. Plus, every serving contains 25% of the total vitamins and minerals that consumers need each day. As long as they spread out the remaining 75% through snacks and other meals, Exante is an ideal fit.
Every serving offers no more than 120 calories, which is a bit less than most consumers already have in their meals. However, researchers show that reducing calories is an effective way to promote weight loss. Users need to get enough calories in the rest of their diet with these shakes alone to ensure that they lose weight safely. Luckily, they are rich in protein, reducing hunger quickly.
The prices for these multi-pack shakes start at $30 from the company’s official website.
Lanta Flat Belly Shake
Lanta’s Flat Belly Shake is a relatively new formula, available in powder. However, one of the biggest reasons it secured a spot on this list was the refund policy that lasts for an entire year after the purchase.
This formula’s ingredients help individuals promote a more robust metabolism, better energy, and improved fat oxidation based entirely on plants. All of these changes contribute to better digestion, which is the key to eliminating hormonal weight gain. This remedy’s ingredients for this effect include cinnamon bark, ECGC, mangosteen, Panax ginseng, ashwagandha, and others. The elements have no side effects, but they promote weight loss and improve how users lose fat. Ultimately, the point of these ingredients is to reduce the cravings that users often have while dieting, making the shake an excellent alternative to indulging in a meal.
This Flat Belly Shake offers a scientifically proven remedy for $69 per month to improve the user’s metabolism and weight loss efforts. The creators recommend at least three months of use to start seeing results.
Organifi Complete Protein All-in-One Mix
Organifi’s Complete Protein All-in-One Mix already has a reputation for being delicious and healthy, though some customers might shy away from it with the higher price tag. Still, users get exclusively plant-based protein that only uses organic sources. In total, every serving comes with 20 grams of protein, paired with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It also supports the user with a digestive enzyme blend to make the formula less harsh on the stomach.
Users currently follow the keto diet with no dairy, gluten, or soy to get what they need from this mixture. It is somewhat dense, but only one large scoop offers enough support per serving. Many other products on this list require two scoops, meaning users aren’t getting as much nourishment from other products. At $80 for a 30-serving package, the steep price certainly comes with a lot of nutrition.
Green Regimen Elite Protein
Elite Protein by Green Regimen offers a chocolate flavor and a plant-based list of ingredients, topping it off with 25 grams of protein in every serving. To sweeten the deal, users get the support of superfoods and a complete amino acid profile, supporting individuals who use this formula to work out effectively as well.
The body needs natural nutrition to work at its maximum capacity, which is why Green Regimen includes no sugar, stevia, or artificial flavors that otherwise cheapen the formula. An added benefit is the 4 grams of organic fiber and digestive enzymes, which users only need one serving to get. It promotes better digestion with every single serving, and it is priced at $52 per package.
Vegan Protein Smoothies
The Vegan Protein Smoothies isn’t a meal replacement shake, but it is a massive digital guide that shows users the different recipes they can use. The manual works for individuals with or without a vegan diet, helping them to use natural ingredients to build muscle and lose weight.
The guide is a collection of three different books – the quick-start guide, a book of recipes, and a recipe book for acai bowls. The recipes are unique, but there’s something available for everyone. They include everything from superfoods and berries to fiber and nuts. The total cost to access this content from the official website is $34.
The Smoothie Diet
The Smoothie Diet is another program (rather than a shake), showing users what they need to do to lose weight for improvements in their health. The program has a few different smoothies that are relatively easy for home cooks of any skill level to prepare, and users see a boost in their energy levels and a drop in their stored fat.
Designed to be a 21-day program, users should expect to see a substantial decrease in their weight in a matter of three weeks, though the actual results are unclear. Still, individuals that need to shed some weight at a rapid pace may be interested in what this program can offer them for a one-time charge of $37.
Ladder Plant-Based Nutrition Shake
The Plant-Based Nutrition Shake by Ladder offers users the chance to choose from individual packets or an entire bulk bag. Every serving delivers 20 grams of protein with over two dozen vitamins and minerals for the user. Users get nutritious pea protein without sugar or fillers to destroy it. However, they still get 7 grams of fiber for digestive health.
While other supplements might prioritize the inclusion of other ingredients, this formula is all about delivering the necessary protein to keep users on track with their health and fullness between meals. For one package, prices start around $66.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
As one of the top meal replacement powders online, Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal is among the many remedies available on Amazon.com. It is one of the best-selling products, only using USDA Organic certified sources for each ingredient. They don’t use whey or any other animal-based protein; instead, they turn to plant-based remedies.
With each serving, users get 20 grams of plant-based protein powder. They also get the support of superfoods, greens, digestive enzymes, and probiotics that a meal replacement powder requires to honestly give users what they need in their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The entire formula is sold in a 20-serving tub of the powder, giving users the choice of Chocolate, Lightly Sweet, Vanilla, and Vanilla Chai for $30 to $40 each.
Vega One All-in-One Shake
Vega One’s All-in-One Shake is one of the top options for individuals who desire to keep a vegan diet. This formula uses vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support the user, though it is loaded with hemp, pea, Sacha Inchi, and flax proteins to make up a 20-gram dose for each serving. Considering the many vegetables used (like broccoli, kale, and spinach), users get half of the total vitamins they need for their daily nutrients in just one serving.
Users that want to pay a little less for their supplement won’t find what they need from this one. Still, users have access to nine different flavors with the Vega One shakes, and users can get their choice for $50 to cover 20 servings. Some of the flavors include unsweetened, berry chocolate mint, and coconut almond.
Orgain Organic Meal All-in-One Nutrition Powder
Orgain’s Organic Meal All-in-One Nutrition Powder is another formula that exclusively uses vegan ingredients, just like Garden of Life and Vega One. It includes vitamins and minerals, but the 20 grams of protein comes from brown rice, pea, and chia seeds. Plus, there are 8 grams of fiber in every serving.
All plant-based ingredients in this formula are USDA Organic certified, including garbanzo bean sprouts, kale, bananas, blueberries, and organic stevia (for sweetness). Users will need to pay $31 for 16 servings, which is available through the official website.
NatureFuel Keto Meal Replacement
NatureFuel’s Keto Meal Replacement may not be well-known yet, but the value with all of the nutritious ingredients could be a game-changer. In every serving, users get 15 grams of fat and about 90% of the micronutrients that users need each day.
Unfortunately, users won’t get that much protein from using these meal replacement shakes at just 8 grams, even by measuring out two scoops of the powder. Individuals who need to improve their protein intake may choose one of the other top products on this list. However, if the user wants to have low-protein and high-fat shakes, then this remedy could help.
The formula includes MCT oil and a protein blend to get the desired results. For 14 servings, users only need to pay $23.
Fit & Lean Meal Shake Fat Burning Meal Replacement
Fit & Lean Meal Shake Fat Burning Meal Replacement focuses on improving fat-burning power using a meal replacement. With two scoops of the powder, users get 20 grams of protein from whey protein isolate, pea protein isolate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, and sodium caseinate. With a fiber blend and a fat blend, users have the added support of probiotics, extracts, digestive enzymes, and more.
Some of the specific ingredients used include green coffee bean extract, green tea leaf extract, and Garcinia Cambogia fruit extract, which are relatively common in weight loss. Plus, a little bit of caffeine is used, triggering thermogenesis and improved energy with each shake.
Users need to be aware that they only get about ten servings in every tub, costing $22 each.
RSP TrueFit offers reasonable pricing for all of the benefits that they offer. Users get a total of 25 grams of grass-fed protein, which is paired with 12 fruits and vegetables. Plus, the formula includes prebiotic fiber, fat, and probiotics.
Users have their choice of chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla flavors with their order. These flavors and other ingredients are natural so that users won’t worry about artificial ingredients or preservatives. The formula isn’t vegan, but a package of 20 servings is $37.
Ka’Chava Tribal Superfood
Ka’Chava Tribal Superfood is a meal replacement shake, helping users replace the calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals they would ordinarily get from a meal. The many ingredients involved, like the greens, antioxidants, and fruit extract, ensure that users get 240 calories in every serving. Plus, they’ll get 25 grams of protein with 9 grams of fiber.
The price is more than $5 per serving, but over 70 superfoods and other nutrients are in every order. The total cost is $78 for 15 servings.
Who Should Use a Meal Replacement Shake?
Due to how meal replacement shakes benefit so many people, very few people won’t find a way to improve their daily nutrition with a meal replacement powder. Some people choose to lose weight or to save time on their daily schedule.
The efforts to lose weight are often the main reason to include a meal replacement shake during the day. Even with one shake per day, users reduce the number of calories they consume considerably. Users create a deficit with fewer calories consumed during a couple of meals a week, which is the easiest way to shed some weight. Meal replacement shakes sometimes include ingredients that promote improved weight loss (including green tea extract and caffeine). Others include fiber to improve digestion or reduce the appetite naturally.
With all of the current changes today, hardly anyone has time to make a fresh meal when they need to. Skipping a meal is dangerous but using a meal replacement shake as an individual walks out the door ensures that they don’t lose necessary nourishment or productivity. Users can even make some shakes ahead of time to carry along until they plan to consume them.
The best part about using a meal replacement is that it works for almost any situation. College students, executives, busy parents, and every other adult stand to gain a little more time in their schedule without having to prepare all of their meals. Plus, it’s a lot healthier than going to a fast-food drive-thru window that will add more fat and sodium to their body.
Individuals on the keto diet tend to be more willing participants in a meal replacement shake plan. These shakes offer very few carbs, and the straightforward breakdown of macronutrients makes them easier to balance with the rest of their protein, fat, and carbohydrates for the day.
As a post-workout recovery drink, meal replacement shakes support the nutrition that athletes, bodybuilders, and other physically active individuals burn off. Plus, this meal is much more mobile than bringing along something they might have to heat up for the people who have a fourth meal.
Older adults need these types of options just as much as others. When an individual only cooks for themselves or has difficulty getting around, cooking is not a priority. Using a meal replacement is an easier way to get the nutrition they still need but may struggle to give themselves. This audience frequently looks for ways to save money on their budget, and meal replacement shakes typically provide affordable, lighter fare at an age when not as many calories are consumed.
How We Ranked The Best Meal Replacement Shakes
When it comes down to making a decision, meal replacement shakes often have different formulas and ingredients, but they make the same promises. They want customers to purchase their products to forgo a meal during the day with a balance of protein, calories, and other nutrients. This guide considered the following criteria to ensure that users find the kinds of products that suit their needs.
The quality of the protein that users get is a top priority. While vegan and animal protein sources have places in this guide, the shakes that use natural and healthy protein sources ultimately got the top spots. This guide includes plant-based protein, protein from grass-fed animals, and other USDA Organic certified options.
Amount of Protein
As important as the protein quality, these formulas also offered enough protein to meet the user’s nutritional needs at the meal they replaced. This guide includes meal replacement shakes with as little as 8 grams per serving, though other shakes had 25 grams of protein or more.
Amount of Fiber
Just like protein, users need to get enough fiber in their meal replacement shake to keep their digestive system balanced. For this lineup, the minimum fiber content to be met was 4 grams. Anything below that amount shouldn’t even be considered when choosing a meal replacement shake. Fiber is crucial to the user’s health, even though the average protein powder rarely includes it.
Carbs and calories may seem like the fillers that consumers need to meet their meal replacement requirements, but formulas without the right balance of macros won’t help anyone. Protein and fat are necessary for consumers’ health, and a good recipe will include them.
Companies that want to save on the cost of creating a supplement use ingredients like preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors frequently. While these substances aren’t necessarily harmful to the body, they won’t provide users with the nutrients. They also dilute the healthy nutrients included. The formulas made with natural and organic ingredients received top priority, giving the user a more excellent array of healthy nutrition.
Taste, Texture, and Mixability
With the right ingredients, meal replacement shakes also have to taste good and mix well. No one wants a delicious powder that simply stays in clumps. The texture experience of the shake is as necessary as the nutritional value, which is why the mixability of each supplement was also a deciding factor.
Other Active Ingredients
After including all of the protein, fiber, and other ingredients that users need, companies differentiate themselves from other shakes by adding plants, fruits, enzymes, and even probiotics. The formulas on this list show a plethora of active ingredients to stand out and provide additional benefits.
Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes
Scientific research shows that meal replacement shakes help consumers to improve their nutrition, weight loss, and more. The top shakes already have the verification by scientific studies to demonstrate which ingredients are best.
One of the top reasons that consumers integrate meal replacement shakes is to increase their energy levels. In 2020, researchers showed the necessary vitamins and minerals that the body needs to keep active and mentally energized. Without this support, lethargy and tiredness are the most common symptoms.
Antioxidants are another common ingredient for these supplements, providing users with wellness benefits that work in the entire body. Polyphenols and other plant-based compounds reduce the inflammation in the digestive system, muscles, and more, which is particularly helpful to individuals that live actively. After all, this type of movement puts the body through substantial oxidative stress, bringing on inflammation.
Anyone who takes on weight loss endeavors is likely to improve their success by adding a meal replacement shake to their daily routine. The best meal replacement shakes for dieting need to offer high protein and low carbohydrates levels, ensuring that users get the support they need to burn extra calories. Plus, since these shakes have fewer calories than the average meal, they create a deficit, one of the easiest ways to lose weight.
Meal replacement shakes, to appeal to a broader group of consumers, often use vegan ingredients exclusively. They provide the same amount of protein that users need from the top protein powders, but they do it without animal-based products. Both vegans and non-vegans alike consume these foods to give a healthy and balanced supplement to their bodies.
Some consumers prefer to use meal replacement shakes to give them a keto-friendly option that is easy to prepare. Keto diets are highly restrictive, making them challenging to continue. Still, the necessary macronutrient intake requires balance, and the use of a replacement shake helps users stick with their routine without planning at least one of their daily meals.
Fiber is crucial for anyone that wants to improve weight loss and support healthy digestion, but it isn’t typically found in protein powders alone. Replacing meals with just a protein shake is not conducive to the digestive system, and they don’t deliver the fiber that the body needs to keep regular stools. Choosing a meal replacement shake is much more effective.
FAQs About Meal Replacement Shakes
Q: What is a meal replacement shake?
A: Meal replacement shakes allow users to consume a beverage with the vitamins, minerals, calories, and other nutrients they would ordinarily get from food. The majority of these products have more nutritional support than a protein powder alone.
Q: What’s in meal replacement shakes?
A: One of the most critical components of a meal replacement shake is protein, though every formula varies. While some use pea protein or chia, others use animal-based protein like whey. These shakes may also include nutrients for other benefits, including digestive enzymes, probiotics, amino acids, and plant extracts.
Q: Can an individual survive on meal replacement shakes alone?
A: Most of these meal replacement shakes have anywhere from 200-400 calories, and they do not offer every single nutrient that the body needs daily. They are not intended to replace every meal. Users shouldn’t replace more than two meals with these shakes, though using once daily is recommended.
Q: Are meal replacement shakes beneficial for people who want to lose weight?
A: The key to stimulating weight loss is creating a deficit with the individual’s calories. For instance, using a 200-calorie shake in place of a 600-calorie lunch reduces the typical calories the body expects from a meal, allowing it to burn more calories. Some shakes also use fiber or protein to push along the weight loss.
Q: Who is a good candidate for meal replacement shakes?
A: As long as no medical condition prevents users from consuming this kind of drink, anyone could benefit. From working professionals to young students to senior citizens, a meal replacement shake is suitable for anyone who needs to save money, lose weight, or get a boost of protein with extra nutrients.
Q: Are meal replacement shakes safe for individuals with lactose intolerance?
A: The majority of these types of products have no dairy-based or lactose-based ingredients. While users will know if a product is vegan, they also control what they mix into the shake.
Q: How should a meal replacement shake be prepared?
A: Users typically mix the powder with milk or cold water. However, as long as the powder’s flavor doesn’t conflict with the chosen liquid, users can combine them with nearly anything.
The 16 Best Meal Replacement Shakes of 2021 Final Thoughts
Meal replacement shakes are convenient, affordable, and helpful to consumers. They have the potential to help individuals with weight loss goals just as effectively as gaining muscle mass. Other people just want to take steps to be healthier and save more time in their routine. With these 16 different options, users have plenty of opportunities to see what these shakes can do. Even if they aren’t the right match, understanding what makes a good shake ensures that new customers get what they need.
The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.
Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.