The best meal replacement shakes are a great way to get the nutrients you need on the go. A scoop of powder combined with water or milk will make a delicious drink full of essential vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Meal replacement shakes are not like the best protein supplement. They contain tons of nutrients and functional ingredients that will keep you full and happy even when you don’t have time to cook a meal. These shakes are convenient and quick ways to meet your daily calorie requirements. They can also be low-prep for those who don't like cooking.
The best meal replacement shakes for weight loss can help you reach your goals much easier and faster, and they have lasting effects, unlike even the best weight loss supplements. They also ensure that you get enough nutrients to support your body's needs. Most of the shakes that we tested had at least 50% daily value for essential nutrients.
Some brands can be very low in calories and should not be considered a meal replacement. All of the products included in this guide can be used only 1-2 times daily along with a wholefood diet. It is best to consult your doctor before you start to introduce meal replacement shakes into your daily routine.
Keep reading. We've compiled a list of the top meal replacement shakes, both plant-based and budget-friendly.
The 3 Best Meal Replacement Shakes in 2023
Here is our list of the best meal replacement shakes in 2023. These shakes are ideal for promoting healthy, sustainable weight loss, controlled weight management, and better athletic performance.
#1 PhenQ Meal Replacement: Best For Weight Loss
PhenQ's meal-replacement shake is designed to shed unwanted weight. One serving contains 254 calories, 17g fat, and almost 16g of whey proteins. It also has 5g carbohydrates and 3g sugar. This makes it an ideal choice for those who are following a low carb diet.
The meal replacement shake also contains Innoslim(r), which is a combination of Panax membranaceus and Astragalus membranaceus extracts. These herbal additives are marketed as weight loss aids. It's important to note that these claims are not supported by evidence. This was outlined in a review of dietary supplements published in the journal Nutrients.
The PhenQ shakes contain medium chain triglycerides, two adaptogens (ashwagandha extract and Reishi mushroom oil), but they are slightly less than those in other brands. It's also one of our most affordable products.
PhenQ is hands down the best meal replacement shake for weight loss on the market. Even if your goal isn’t losing weight quickly, it is still a great choice for a meal replacement for those of you who want to have a healthy, low calorie but filling go-to option.
#2 Exante: Best For Women
Exante is a well-known brand when it comes to meal substitute shakes. The UK's National Health Service endorses Exante Meal Replacement Shake and it is often prescribed to patients who are on diets and other obesity prevention programs.
Exante can be used to replace one to two meals per day. Exante is low in fat, carbs, and sugar and contains only 120 calories per serving. A single serving contains approximately 5g of inulin. This fiber has strong prebiotic qualities. Slendesta(r), a special ingredient, is also contained in the product. According to the manufacturer, it can prevent hunger pangs and decrease food cravings for up to three hours after being consumed. It is worth noting, however, that the EFSA panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (opens a new tab) has found no connection between ingesting Slendestar and a reduction in body weight.
Exante shakes can be a good choice for those who are on a restricted calorie diet. Exante shakes can be used as meal replacements, but they are not intended for weight loss. The wide range of flavors and the rich mixture of digestive enzymes, nearly 26 vitamins and minerals can be used by anyone.
Exante, on the other hand, is very low in protein. It only contains 12g per portion. It is therefore not recommended for people who are very active.
#3 Transparent Labs MRP: Best For Men & Weight Gain
Transparent Labs promises to deliver "evidence-based, science-driven formulas". The MRP (meal replacement protein) was created to help you stay on track when time is tight. One scoop provides 24g of protein, which is great for building lean muscle and staying fuller longer. This is a combination of whey proteins isolate and concentrate. They are easy to digest.
MRP provides a balanced mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and slow-digesting complex carbs. It also contains 5g fiber. MRP is a great option for people who are looking to lose weight. It also provides 220 calories per serving, which makes it a great choice for anyone trying to gain weight. Transparent Labs products contain no artificial sweeteners, artificial color, or preservatives. Gluten-free is also possible with the MRP.
Transparent Labs claims that its MRP tastes great when "mixed in water or milk" and "mixes well in a shaker container". This powder was tested and it mixed well in our shaker bottle. There were no lumps or grittiness. MRP is a great meal replacement shake. MRP's chocolate flavor is rich but not too sweet. We also loved the fact that it did not have an artificial or overly sweet aftertaste like many meal replacement powders.
It's expensive at $60 per tub. This is the only downside. However, you get what you pay in terms of quality ingredients, mixability, and taste.
Are You able to live on just meal replacements?
So can you replace a meal with powder ? It all depends on who you ask. Many meal replacements have attempted to replace all food, and encourage people to live off their product.
This has become a rare occurrence, with consensus moving toward It can replace any meal, but not all meals.
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Is this a good idea or not? Although it's complex, there is good evidence that meal substitutes can be useful for some consumers. The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders published a meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials that found that including one of these products in a low-calorie diet "can safely and effective produce significant sustainable weight reduction and improve weight-related risk factor of disease."
Multiple studies, including a 2018 randomized controlled study published in Nutrition & Health have shown that they may be helpful in managing Type 2 diabetes. This could be by controlling calorie intake or blood sugar levels. (4)(5)
Whole foods can still be healthy despite not having any vitamins or minerals. Meal replacements may not contain all of the essential vitamins or minerals, but they will usually have some. Certain antioxidants, and phytonutrients are found in whole foods. Indole-3carbinol is an example of an antioxidant that may balance hormones. It can be found in broccoli.
What's the takeaway? These products should be used as supplements. However, you can still eat real food and meal replacement shakes.
When should I use meal replacements?
It all depends on the individual's goals. Because they are often on-the-go, it can be a convenient way to eat a meal while you're working. Some people may substitute a low-carb meal substitution for their breakfast or lunch to lose weight or calories. Others may also add a meal replacement to supplement their diet in an effort to bulk up.
You're more likely than not to get a balanced diet from whole foods. However, meal replacements can help you cut calories, increase calories if your goal is to bulk up, boost your energy levels, and keep you on track when you're on the move. Meal replacements are a great tool for any goal.
Meal Replacements: Benefits
Meal replacements, such as protein bars and shakes, can be a great way to get a meal in. Meal replacements are a great way to get a meal in, whether you're trying to bulk up, need quick meals, or just want something easy to eat when you're not feeling motivated.
Bodybuilders who spend a lot of time consuming calories will not want to think about making more chicken breasts or eating more rice after a hard day at the gym. This is one advantage to supplementing with a meal substitute option. It is possible to eat healthy and still have a delicious meal.
You can grab a bar of protein powder or a snack while on the road and have a quick meal. You can get tasty calories and protein while travelling, or running errands.
What Does a Meal Replacement Cost?
Prices for meal replacements will vary depending on the size of the container and what ingredients are used. Meal replacements made with high-quality ingredients and meals that aren't artificial or additive-free are generally more expensive than those made from lower-calorie ingredients. The average cost per serving for our picks is $3.11.
You'll pay more for more containers, but it's important to compare the cost per serving. Because container sizes can vary, so will the cost per order. A container of meal substitutes can cost between $40 and $100, depending on its brand and contents.
How we choose the best meal replacements?
Meal replacement shakes can vary greatly in terms of nutrition -- and humans are very different when it comes to what nutrition they provide. Women may want more vitamin D. Men may want more vitamin D. Others might need a lot of calories. Some people may prefer a healthy snack. These are the criteria that we used to determine the best meal substitute for different needs.
Three macronutrients are required to make a diet: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. This is a good meal substitute, unless it's being marketed for a different type of diet (e.g. ), which has a balanced mixture of all three.
You can look at the five components listed below to determine what makes a diet healthy.
Vitamins are organic molecules an organism requires for the proper functioning of its metabolism , but cannot synthesize by itself. The human body requires thirteen vitamins: vitamins A, C and D, E and K. (6)
Minerals are chemical elements found in the earth that can't be created by living organisms. Minerals are obtained from soil and plants, while animals obtain them from plants. The five main minerals that humans need are calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The sodium and mag are the most important.
Essential fat acids
These fatty acids are not something we can make, so we must consume them. A 2011 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Americans have consumed more omega-6 over the past 100 years. This has been linked to a variety of health benefits including mental and immune health. ( 7) It is important to have a close ratio between omega-3 and omega-6. This is why many people supplement with Fish Oil.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the human body can't digest. It is often categorized as either "soluble" (or "insoluble"), both of which are important for digestion. It is not common for a product's nutritional label to indicate what type of fiber it has.
These compounds are found in plants and aren't essential for human survival. Some are poisonous, but many (like the catechins in tea) have been linked to lower risk of developing various diseases and health benefits.
You're looking for nutrients and vitamins when evaluating the quality of a meal substitute. You might want to consider greens and powders for these types of supplements.
What to Look For Before You Buy a Meal Replacement
It can be daunting to search for products that will replace whole meals, and not just one macronutrient like a protein powder. These are some tips to help you when searching for the next meal.
It is worth looking at the purpose of a meal substitute, its calories and satiety. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions.
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Your Whole Diet Is Not Being Replaced
Never rely on meal replacements for your health. Your body requires phytochemicals, enzymes, antioxidants that can only be obtained from plants. This attitude -- that shakes can be helpful but not all -- should take some of the pressure off finding the perfect option.
Questions about the Calories
People gain weight when they eat too many calories. But if they don’t eat enough calories they can experience fatigue and nutrient deficiencies. If you are looking to lose weight and eat less, you should consider whether the meal replacement is low in calories. Some people will eat a few large meals and then take one or two meal substitutes. This works well for them. Others will eat 90-calorie shakes, and end up feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
Make sure it's satisfying
This won't work if you are trying to bulk and gain lots of muscle. If you want your shake to satisfy hunger, not only should it be low in calories but also have enough protein, fiber and fat. Slimfast is a great meal substitute, but it's very low in fat and protein.
Chat with a Doctor
To ensure that you are comfortable with any changes in your diet or supplement regimen, such as replacing a meal with powdered food, make an appointment with your physician.
Meal Replacement FAQs
Is it healthy to replace meals with shakes?
Shakes can be used to replace a meal, but they don't usually have enough calories to meet your caloric requirements from a traditional meal. If you are replacing whole meals, you will need to replenish your caloric intake.
Why am I not losing weight with meal replacement shakes?
If you don't choose smart food choices, eating solid food can lead to excess weight. You'll also miss out on the health benefits of whole foods if you rely too heavily on protein shakes as a replacement for your daily meals. Too much protein can cause weight gain.
Why am I still hungry after a meal replacement shake?
Many packaged "meal replacement" smoothies and fruit smoothies don't provide enough calories to keep you satisfied for very long. If you have a protein shake every morning, it could be the reason you feel hungry all the time. Liquids empty your stomach in less than a hour.
How many times a day can you drink a meal replacement shake?
This is because there is no limit on how many shakes you can consume in a given day. It's more about how many you should drink. Some meal replacements may have a limit to how many servings you can consume in 24 hours. This will be clearly indicated.
They aren't only for those who are ill or elderly. These products can be used to support a variety of lifestyles and needs. Let's face it, we could all use fewer hours spent prepping meals. These were our top picks out of all the products that we tried.
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