Buying Guide for Meal Replacement Shakes
Why buy a meal replacement shake?
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 entire meals for themselves regularly. You can always grab takeout from your favorite restaurant, but this habit is costly 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.
What should you consider in a meal replacement shake?
- Type: There are two main types of meal replacement shakes: those that come prepared and those that require mixing. Pre-prepared meal replacement shakes benefit anyone with a busy lifestyle, as they don’t need any 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 more customization since you can mix it with your favorite kind or flavor of milk. They also tend to be sold in larger quantities, saving you money in the long run.
- Dietary Restrictions: If you have any dietary restrictions, whether for health, religious, or personal reasons, you may think that a meal replacement shake isn’t a viable option, but you don’t need to worry. With a higher awareness of allergies and dietary restrictions out there than ever, plenty of meal replacement shake options 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 diets at once.
- Flavor: The days of chalky, bland diet-friendly drinks are in the past. Chocolate, chocolate blends, vanilla, coffee or mocha, caramel, and various fruits are some common flavors for meal replacement shakes.
What makes a meal replacement shake different from a protein shake?
A meal replacement shake’s total nutritional value differentiates them 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 feel full and satisfied.
Our Picks for the Best Meal Replacement Shakes
Pros: When you need to be mindful of blood sugar levels, skipping a meal or relying on a meal replacement shake can be tricky. This option uses Splenda as a sweetener, a trusted brand by doctors to keep blood sugar levels from spiking. The meal replacement shake also includes 16 grams of protein and six grams of fiber to help you feel full and give your body what it needs to have the energy to carry on with the rest of your day. In addition, the shake packs in several significant vitamins and minerals, while the micro-filtered milk is smooth and delicious. This meal replacement shake is available in three different flavors to help satisfy your palate.
Cons: As a meal replacement shake, the calories are slightly low at 170.
Bottom Line: This may be the perfect trifecta if you’re looking for a tasty drink that could pass as a healthy dessert without a spike in blood sugar. For the 170 calories, it packs a fair amount of vitamins, minerals, six grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein to give your body healthy energy.
Pros: If you’re looking for a true meal replacement shake, this one packs in a whopping 400 calories, making it a substantial option for a convenient meal on the go. The calories come with many benefits, packing plenty of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, omega-6s, and omega-3s to give your body what it needs to stay healthy. Made with 20 grams of plant-based protein and gluten-free, this is a friendly option for those with common dietary restrictions. This meal replacement shake is available in eight different delicious options to satisfy your favorite sweet cravings.
Cons: This is a pricier choice.
Bottom Line: These meal replacement shakes pack in calories and nutritional value, making them a smart choice for those who cannot eat a healthy meal on the go but want to keep on track with their healthy lifestyle. These shakes are smart options for those who cannot eat gluten or follow a vegan diet.
Pros: While some people are looking to lose weight, others are looking to gain it. No matter what type of weight you need to gain (fat or muscle), this shake can help you achieve that goal. It is packed with vitamins and minerals and includes 10 grams of protein to make your added calories beneficial for your body. These shakes are gluten-free and don’t contain any artificial colors or sweeteners. They come in three flavors and are more affordable than other shake options.
Cons: Not enough calories to replace a meal.
Bottom Line: Instead of replacing a meal, this is a high-calorie beverage to enjoy with your meal if you’re looking to add on weight. Instead of empty calories, these delicious shakes pack in vitamins, minerals, and protein to help your body perform its best.
Pros: Mix this shake instead of a plate loaded with an array of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and probiotic foods. The powdered meal shake is packed with 20 grams of protein, 28 fruits and vegetables, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and natural caffeine to boost your body and metabolism. This shake is nutritionally dense and filling, so even though it’s low on calories, it can help rev up your body and help you lose weight when used as intended. It comes in a variety of sizes and up to six flavors.
Cons: This comes as a powder, so you must mix it yourself. Not enough calories to technically replace a meal.
Bottom Line: Grabbing your bottled shake is most convenient, but a powdered version that can be customized to your taste buds isn’t too bad either, especially when it’s full of the good stuff. A serving of this powder packs in protein, fruits and veggies, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and natural caffeine.
Pros: If you’re following the Keto diet, this meal replacement shake powder won’t go against your dietary rules and desired results. This powder includes 18 grams of healthy fats, 10 grams of protein, and only 3 grams of net carbs to help your body maintain its ketosis state. The meal replacement shake includes a variety of vitamins and minerals to make the 240-calorie shake pack nutritional benefit. In addition to being Keto-friendly, it has ingredients supporting the Paleo diet. The Keto-friendly choice comes in two favorite flavors.
Cons: It is a powder, so you must mix your shake. This is relatively expensive for only 14 servings and is not a high-calorie shake option.
Bottom Line: This meal replacement shake is both Keto- and Paleo-friendly. With only 3 grams of net carbs, 18 grams of healthy fats, and 10 grams of protein, it is easier to maintain ketosis without much guesswork.
These options are worth considering if you’re looking to add healthy shakes to your day to help you achieve your health goals. No matter what type of diet you follow or what health concerns you may have, you’ll be able to find an option to use as a complete meal replacement or a nutrition-packed snack.