11 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss for 2024

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If you don’t have time to read the entire review and just want to find out what best meal replacement shake is, then we recommend Ample Original as the best choice for men and IdealShake Meal Replacement Shake as the best choice for women.

It’s hard to stay consistent with eating well-balanced meals, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Meal preparation is a great habit, but it also takes up a lot of time. And sometimes you just don’t have time for a lengthy daily workout.

That’s why you might consider supplementing your diet with a meal replacement shake that can help with your weight loss efforts.

When used occasionally, meal replacement shakes can help you drop the pounds faster and safer because they are specially formulated to meet your nutrient needs while cutting back on calories.

In this article, we've reviewed the five best meal replacement shakes, their pros and cons, how to choose the best one for your needs, and our top five recommendations. We will then dive deep into our meal replacement reviews so you can pick one that is right for you.

Let's get to it…

Don't have time to read the entire review?

If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything.

Here is a table that provides you with a quick rating of the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss.

Best for Men's Weight Loss: Ample Original CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Women's Weight Loss: IdealShake Meal Replacement Shake CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Customer-Rated Meal Replacement Shake Best Customer-Rated Meal Replacement Shake: 310 Shake Chocolate CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Most Filling (No Hunger Pangs): Organifi Complete Protein All-in-One Shake CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Value for the Money: RSP TrueFit – Lean Meal Replacement Protein Shake CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Customizable Meal Replacement Option Best Customizable Meal Replacement Option: Gainful CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Organic, Natural Option: Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Popular, Budget-Friendly Option: SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix Powder CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Low Carb Option: BioTrust Low Carb Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Coffee Lovers: Click All-In-One Protein and Coffee Meal Replacement Drink Mix CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Natural Meal Replacement Powder with No Additives Best Natural Meal Replacement Powder with No Additives: Naked Meal Replacement CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

The 11 Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss

1. Best for Men's Weight Loss: Ample Original

Most Filling Meal Replacement Shake No Hunger Pangs Ample Original

Ample Original

Ample Meal is a highly nutritious and meal replacement powder that is very high in quality. This original formula started as a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo in 2015 and has been keeping travellers, athletes, and busy professionals full and satisfied ever since.

By using only the best ingredients from real foods and a smart ratio of macronutrients inspired by the latest nutritional research, Ample has made optimal nutrition accessible for people leading busy lifestyles who also want to lose weight.

This complete meal replacement shake comes in powder form and is offered pre-bottled or in a bulk pouch. As with other meal replacement shakes, all you have to do to prepare this is to simply add cold water or another beverage of your choice and mix it up. 

This meal alternative is derived solely from whole foods, making it a high-quality option. It keeps users full with a protein blend that includes grass-fed whey protein concentrate, pea protein, grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen protein in addition to a fiber blend sourced from chicory root, acacia, sweet potato powder, and organic psyllium husk.

The whey protein is a grass-fed protein isolate and whey concentrate. The protein isolate has fewer impurities (i.e. lactose), but also doesn’t have all of the micronutrients that whey concentrate has to offer.

Ample comes in two sizes, a 400-calorie option and a 600-calorie option. These shakes feature a well-balanced macronutrient profile, including 25 grams of fat, which comes from coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, and macadamia nut oil, 25 grams of protein, and 11 grams of net carbs if you’re opting for the 400-calorie shake.

The 600-calorie shake will give you 40 grams of healthy fats, 34 grams of protein, and just 14 grams of net carbs.

Ample intentionally adds high-quality food-grade nutrients (namely, calcium and vitamin D3) because many Americans are deficient in these. They also add in probiotics, including B. coagulans, L. rhamnosus, B. infantis, L. acidophilus, B. lactis, and L. paracasei to support a healthy gut.

Many enjoy this meal replacement shake to the point of subscribing to a monthly delivery.


  • Contains high-quality ingredients that will keep you full for the longest amount of time
  • Offers a superior balance of macronutrients
  • Comes either pre-bottled or in a bulk powder pouch, allowing you to choose which is more convenient for you
  • Each bottle has 4 billion CFU of probiotics to support gut microbiota
  • Come with a 30-day, money-back taste and quality guarantee
  • You can get a 15% discount if you subscribe to receive these shakes monthly


  • Only comes in vanilla
  • There are not many micronutrients, meaning you still have to supplement with a multivitamin 
  • Contains milk, so this may not be a good option for those who are lactose intolerant

2. Best for Women's Weight Loss: IdealShake Meal Replacement Shake

Best for Women's Weight Loss IdealShake Meal Replacement Shake

IdealShake Strawberry – Meal Replacement Shake

IdealShake meal replacement powder is part of a larger line of products aimed at helping people lose weight while still giving their bodies the nutrients that are needed.

This shake uses an all-natural formula that was made to specifically block hunger for three hours using Slendesta, a “hunger-busting” element, as the main ingredient. 

Slendesta is a potato protein extract called proteinase inhibitor. This hunger-blocking element is made from the extracted protein from potatoes, and it is able to promote and extend your body’s release of cholecystokinin, which is one of the hormones that signals to your brain that you’re full.

Unlike other hunger-reducing products, Slendesta is not a stimulant, and therefore will not conflict with your metabolism or cause you to feel jittery. It's manufactured in a certified NSF GMP facility using a water-based process, and there have been no reported side effects to date.

In addition to this hunger blocker, these shakes contain whey protein to help fight hunger, as well as fiber, which isn’t metabolized by your body moves very slowly through your system, keeping hunger and cravings at bay.  

Each shake is only 110 calories and 2 grams of sugar, but offers 11 grams of high-quality whey protein, which can keep you feeling full for hours. This helps users cut down on their daily caloric intake, while still offering the macro and micronutrients that are needed to maintain proper health.

There are 18 vitamins and minerals in each IdealShape meal replacement shake, including Calcium, Chloride, Zinc, Potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin D, Niacin, Iron, Sodium, Vitamins C, E, B6, and B12, Folate, Biotin, Magnesium, Riboflavin, and Pantothenic Acid.

Users love mixing this powder with water or milk, and some even add it to their morning smoothies.


  • Great for women’s weight loss
  • Comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream, strawberry, mocha, chocolate peanut butter, and mint chocolate chip
  • Inexpensive compared to other options 
  • Contains digestive enzymes to help your body process the shake and properly absorb the nutrients
  • Out of the vitamins and minerals included, most are dosed at 70 to 80% of the RDI per serving


  • Contains Splenda, an artificial sweetener
  • Doesn’t contain some lesser known micronutrients such as choline, Vitamin K, manganese, chromium, and selenium, and it only has 3% of the RDI of potassium– so while it’s nutritious, it is lacking in complete nutrition
  • Contains milk and soy, and is processed on equipment that comes in contact with dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts–so this might not be the right choice for you if you have food allergies

3. Best Customer-Rated Meal Replacement Shake: 310 Shake Chocolate

Best Meal Replacement Shakes | Best Customer-Rated Meal Replacement Shake | 310 Shake Chocolate

310 Shake Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake

This plant-based protein option helps satisfy your sweet tooth with an indulgent chocolate shake.

With just 90 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, you will stay full for hours after drinking this without consuming excess calories. You will also be giving your body a serving of balanced nutrition without GMOs, dairy, or gluten.

These shakes are convenient, in that they’re easy to take with you on-the-go, easy to mix, and easy for your body to digest. 310 Shakes are offered in a variety of blends and flavors. Two of the most popular blends include:

TRI-PLEX Protein Blend

  • Protein blend of pea, rice, and hemp
  • Fiber blend
  • Yerba Mate

Greens Blend

  • Organic fruit and vegetable extracts
  • Grape seed and dandelion root extract
  • Beet and pomegranate juice

In addition to the widely-loved chocolate option, 310 Shakes also come in vanilla, whey vanilla, vanilla chai, mint chocolate, salted caramel, mocha, strawberry, and toasted coconut.

Users love these shakes because their proprietary blends help boost your energy and metabolism, reduce your appetite and cravings, and give you the necessary nutrients to help complement your weight loss efforts.

The shakes include ingredients such as amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and superfood greens to supplement your daily diet and ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to work at its best. Finally, one serving has 1 billion CFUs of probiotics to ensure proper gut health.

Another unique thing about this meal replacement shake is that the company behind it has created a community of people who are on a journey to improve their health.

Taking the challenging (yet necessary) steps to building a healthy lifestyle is not something that is easy to do alone, and the 310 nutrition community allows consumers to interact with others who are also making the efforts to become healthy.

This online community offers helpful health advice and resources that can boost your results.

For the best results, mix one scoop of this powder with water or your favorite beverage and drink 1-2 times per day. 310 Nutrition offers other weight loss supplements as well that can help you achieve optimal results.


  • Highly rated by customers
  • Contains a high-protein tri-flex blend to ensure satiety
  • Comes with a 100% money-back guarantee
  • Free from artificial sweeteners, sugar, soy, and caffeine
  • Most find this protein powder to be easy to digest
  • The company offers a community of online users to help you gain resources and tips to optimize your results


  • Some find this powder to have too few calories to replace a meal by itself, so they add it to more calorie-dense smoothies
  • At $68 for 30 servings, this is more expensive than other options, however, if you subscribe for auto-delivery, you can save 25%, bringing the price down to $1.82 per meal
  • As with most other protein powders, not all users are satisfied with the flavors

4. Most Filling (No Hunger Pangs): Organifi Complete Protein All-in-One Shake

Organifi Complete Protein All-in-One Shake

Organifi is a supplement manufacturer that made its debut in 2015. They make several powdered superfood supplements that are used to reduce body fat and promote wellness.

The Complete Protein All-in-One Shake is especially good for those who want to lose weight because they’re quick and convenient and replacing your meals with them doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

This allows you to have an entirely balanced, organic meal in a matter of minutes after blending the powder with the liquid beverage of your choice. 

This Organifi product contains 20 grams of a 100% plant-based and organic protein blend in each serving. This can provide you with the energy that you need to get through the day–in addition to a metabolism boost to help support your weight-loss efforts.

Contrary to what you may believe, plant-based protein can be equally as effective as whey protein in keeping you feeling full and building muscle (if that’s your goal).

But it doesn’t come with the potential side effects that accompany consuming whey protein (gas and bloating, cramps, diarrhea, indigestion, and excess mucus production–which are mainly due to whey’s lactose component).

While you may be concerned that plant-based meal replacement shakes lack the amino acids that can be found in whey products, Organifi’s Complete Protein All-in-One Shake contains all nine amino acids and branched-chain amino acids.

Let’s look a little further into the ingredients found in this product:

  • Pea protein – Contains amino acids that help with cellular repair, as well as lysine, which promotes stronger, firmer skin. 
  • Quinoa – Contains a lot of nutrients, including flavonoids, which help reduce inflammation
  • Pumpkin seeds – Packed with iron, magnesium, amino acids, and fiber (which will help keep you full)
  • Coconut – Full of MCTs, which are healthy for your heart and brain and can increase your metabolism while fighting off cravings
  • Vanilla bean – Adds great flavor in addition to potassium, calcium, and magnesium
  • Enzymes – Helps your body break down and digest the nutrients it needs to survive
  • Monk Fruit – Adds sweetness without the extra calories or increase in blood sugar

Because of the protein and natural fats found in Organifi protein powder, you can go on with your busy day feeling full for hours and without experiencing unwanted food cravings.

Nothing in this meal replacement mix is created in a lab–all of the nutrients come from whole foods, ensuring you’re giving your body the highest quality of nutrition. This is a great-tasting option that contains all-natural fats and sugars from sources like coconut oil and monk fruit.

Moreover, Organifi adds enzymes to these meal replacement shakes to prevent potential bloating and support healthy digestion. 


  • Offers a high quality mixture of plant protein to boost your metabolism and your energy 
  • This meal replacement shake is easily digested, so you won’t feel bloated after you drink it like you may from other options on the market
  • Includes vitamins and minerals to support healthy skin, bones, and teeth, as well as various ingredients to help fight cravings and keep you feeling satiated throughout the day
  • Offers a complete nutritional profile for a low calorie, yet highly nutritious meal replacement 
  • Certified organic by the USDA, and free from soy, dairy, and eggs, making this a great option for those who are vegan, vegetarian, or lactose intolerant. It is also keto-friendly and gluten free
  • Available in chocolate and vanilla
  • Contains 5 digestive enzymes to help your body digest this shake and absorb the vitamins and minerals, which ensures your body benefits from these nutrients as it's supposed to 
  • Supports immunity, cellular activity, concentration, sleep, proper energy, and overall health and nourishment
  • Comes with a 100% money-back guarantee


  • While there are no side effects reported by users, it’s best to ease into replacing your meals with this product. Start by replacing just a few meals before increasing your usage.
  • More expensive than other options
  • Some users do not like the taste
  • Some users report that the powder does not blend well into liquid–so using a high-speed blender may be the best option

5. Best Value for the Money: RSP TrueFit – Lean Meal Replacement Protein Shake

RSP TrueFit – Lean Meal Replacement Protein Shake

The superfood blend contains only ingredients from real food, and it provides you with 16 essential vitamins and minerals.

Each serving of this meal replacement powder will give you 25 grams of whey protein, 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids, 3 grams of ealthy fats, and 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid, which makes it a complete meal. It also includes probiotics, enzymes, and fiber from sweet potato powder to ensure healthy digestion.

TrueFit meal replacement shakes are ideal for men and women who are on the go. It is a clean source of energy that will keep you satisfied until your next meal. Because it is high in protein and filling, this meal replacement shake will help you meet your weight loss goals.


  • Low-glycemic carb
  • Free from added sugars, artificial ingredients, and maltodextrin
  • Tastes great
  • Dissolves easily


  • Some people find this powder upsets their stomachs
  • Some users are disappointed by the size of the container vs. the amount of product Line 1

6. Best Customizable Meal Replacement Option: Gainful

Best Meal Replacement Shakes | Best Customizable Meal Replacement Option | Gainful

Gainful Meal Replacement Shake

Gainful offers consumers a protein powder subscription that is customizable to your unique diet, activity level, and long-term goals. With your subscription, you will receive 28 servings every 4, 6, or 8 weeks, in addition to online access to a registered dietitian who can answer your questions about nutrition and fitness.

You can choose four (out of the six options) of flavors per shipment. The flavor options are: chocolate fudge, cookies and cream, mocha, peanut butter cup, strawberry, and french vanilla. Having access to a variety of flavors is a major advantage because users won’t get tired of drinking the same thing every day.

The ingredients in this shake vary based on your unique needs, which are determined by answering a few initial questions (your sex, current weight, height, goal weight, current activity level and what form of exercise you prefer, any dietary restrictions you have, etc.).

So, for example, if you want a protein powder that is free from lactose and gluten and your fitness goal is to gain muscle and reduce body fat, Gainful will recommend and create a blend for you that contains a certain percentage of whey protein isolate in addition to other ingredients that will meet your needs.

While the ingredients and ratios vary depending on your needs, Gainful protein powder offers the following ingredients:

  • Whey protein isolate
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • A complete organic protein blend of pea and brown rice protein (which offers all 9 essential amino acids)
  • Micellar casein
  • Organic tapioca maltodextrin
  • Organic tapioca dextrose
  • Green tea extract
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • A flavor stick (the flavor sticks are sweetened using organic stevia and monk fruit extract, which are both natural and calorie-free sweeteners)

You can choose to have your customized mix made without any of the above ingredients.

For example, many people blend their own smoothies with a variety of fresh ingredients from home and then want to simply add in a protein powder. In this case, the flavor sticks can be omitted if you believe they won’t complement the natural flavor of your smoothie.

Whey protein concentrate is included in every mix by default, but if you’re trying to limit your lactose intake, you can have your protein made exclusively with whey protein isolate. Or, if you follow a completely dairy-free diet, you can swap the whey protein for the organic pea and brown rice option.

Depending upon your choices, your blend will give you 20-30 grams of protein per serving. If you want more protein, you can email the company and they will increase the amount for you.


  • Completely customizable based on your personal needs and goals
  • The whey is non-GMO
  • Very convenient in that you don’t need to shop around and guess which protein powder is best for your needs if you use this service
  • Your individual protein powder packs come with your name on them in each shipment, so you can be sure they’ve been personalized for you
  • Contains all-natural, wholesome ingredients
  • Great for people with dietary restrictions


  • Green tea extract can potentially cause liver damage
  • Users can’t receive all six flavor options in a shipment
  • While having access to a dietician may be helpful at times, it’s built into the subscription price for all users, and most of the information offered is available online, making this a seemingly unnecessary expense

7. Best Organic Natural Option: Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake

Best for Organic Natural Meal Replacement Shake Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake

Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake

If you follow a vegan diet, this might be the right meal replacement shake for you. It is ideal for a healthy, on-the-go meal for men, women, and children with its 21 grams of organic, plant-based protein.

It contains a blend of pea, chia, and brown rice proteins, along with five grams of fiber and three net carbs. This meal replacement shake contains no sugar and is only 150 calories per serving.

This USDA organic product is free from GMOs, gluten, dairy, and artificial ingredients. It is a great option if you want to replace a light meal but can also be used as a pre- or post-workout shake.


  • Contains a complete amino acid profile
  • Budget-friendly
  • Non-gritty


  • Doesn't keep you full for as long as other products
  • Some find it to be too sweet
  • May be harsh on the stomach

SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix Powder

This classic meal replacement shake choice has stood the test of time with consumers. It is certainly one of the best-tasting meal replacement shakes for weight loss. It is part of the SlimFast plan, which offers flexibility and simplicity to your weight loss.

This meal replacement shake tastes great and will keep you full for up to four hours. With just 200 calories in each eight-ounce serving, it is an ideal way to give your body energy while you're trying to lose weight.

SlimFast meal replacement powder has 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 24 essential vitamins and minerals to assist your body in burning fat and aiding you in your weight loss efforts.

However, you won't feel like you're drinking something that will lead to weight loss results because its award-winning taste is nothing less than indulgent.


  • Has received the Chef’s Best Taste Award
  • Low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals
  • Budget-friendly


  • Some users have found variability in taste from batch to batch
  • Can be grainy if not properly mixed
  • Higher in sugar than other products

9. Best Low Carb Option: BioTrust Low Carb Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

BioTrust Low Carb Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

If you are on a keto diet or trying to limit your carbs, this might be the right option for you. It is made with high-quality ingredients to offer 24 grams of grass-fed protein. It has no artificial ingredients and is tested by a third-party, independent lab for purity, quality, and potency.

This meal replacement shake uses a time-released protein powder blend that is made up of four different proteins to keep you full for hours. The proteins include whey protein isolate and concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and micellar casein. This is great for weight loss because it will reduce your urge to snack during the day.

The proprietary ProHydrolase® enzyme blend in this meal replacement shake doubles the protein absorption of the powder compared to its competitors and eliminates the gas and bloating that is often associated with whey supplements.


  • Certified hormone (rBGH/rBST) free
  • GMP certified
  • For every order placed, the company donates a nutritious meal to a hungry child


  • Higher in price than other options
  • Relatively low in fiber
  • Some people find it to be too sweet

10. Best for Coffee Lovers: Click All-In-One Protein and Coffee Meal Replacement Drink Mix

Click All-In-One Protein and Coffee Meal Replacement Drink Mix

If you are a coffee lover, this is the meal replacement shake for you. You can drink it hot or cold to curb your appetite throughout the day, help you burn fat, and keep you energized. It is a great low-calorie breakfast meal replacement or midday pick-me-up.

This product comes in several coffee-house flavors, including vanilla latte, mocha, and caramel. It also has 150 mg of caffeine per serving from a real double-shot of espresso coffee (not artificial flavoring or factory-made stimulants).

The slow-releasing proteins will keep you satisfied for hours while providing you with the energy that you need to get you through your workday.

This product will help you boost your metabolism to aid in achieving your weight loss goals by providing a great-tasting coffee that you already love. It is one of the best meal replacement shakes for men and women to be able to grab in the morning on the way to work.


  • All-in-one drink mix of coffee and protein
  • Has 23 essential vitamins
  • Contains real gourmet espresso coffee


  • Some find the taste to be strong
  • Difficult to dissolve completely
  • Some users find that they are hungry sooner with this product than with others

11. Best Natural Meal Replacement Powder with No Additives: Naked Meal Replacement

Best Meal Replacement Shakes | Best Natural Meal Replacement Powder With No Additives | Naked Meal Replacement

Naked Meal Replacement

This unflavored option is the most natural protein powder that you can use to add to your usual shakes or smoothies, or simply drink it alone for a quick boost of protein.

The Naked Meal replacement powder shake is simple in that it contains only 15 natural ingredients, including grass fed whey protein from California-based dairy farms, organic fiber, organic fruits and vegetables, probiotics, and coconut cream to add in some healthy fat.

This well-rounded option provides your body with the nutrients that you need without adding unnecessary and unnatural ingredients. The rest of the ingredients include:

  • Organic guava extract
  • Organic mango, annatto (which is a tropical fruit), Indian gooseberry, and lemon
  • Organic herbs and spices including mustard seed, wild sage, and curry leaf
  • A probiotic blend (which includes L. Rhamnosus, Acidophilus, B. Breve, and Bifidobacterium Animalis)

One recipe option you can use to turn this protein powder into a great meal is to blend two scoops of Naked Meal, one cup of spinach, a small handful of almonds, a frozen banana, one tablespoon of cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla, half of an avocado, a tablespoon of avocado oil, and 8 ounces of cold almond milk.

This will turn out tasting like a chocolate smoothie that will really seem more like a treat than a healthy meal.

In one serving, you will get 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fat, and 4 grams of fiber. There are also vitamins and minerals and pre- and probiotics to support digestion and ensure optimal gut health.

This protein powder contains additional macro- and micronutrients that your body needs, such as fat and carbs, which makes it appropriate to use to replace an entire meal.


  • Has no added colors, sweeteners, or flavors and is GMO, soy, and gluten free. It also contains no growth hormones such as rBGH or rBST
  • Keto-friendly
  • Offers a great base for a smoothie because this powder is unflavored, so you can make it taste however you want
  • Contains high-quality ingredients
  • Good source of vitamins and minerals from whole foods


  • Doesn’t easily mix or dissolve
  • Some find this to be too low in calories
  • Contains lactose, so it may upset your stomach

What are Meal Replacement Shakes?

Meal replacement shakes are healthy food products that are prepared in a can, bottle, or in powdered form that can be mixed with milk or water to give your body the same nutrition that a small meal would.

People often use meal replacement shakes for weight loss purposes, or to gain weight in a healthy way. This is done by either decreasing or increasing one's caloric intake.

For weight loss, you can replace up to two meals per day with a meal replacement shake to give your body the nutrition it needs while limiting the number of calories you consume.

Because meal replacement shakes help maintain your blood sugar level and contain protein and fiber, you will not feel the need to snack between meals after you drink one. This will help prevent you from overeating and keep your waistline in check.

In fact, one study showed that people who replaced one to two meals each day with a meal replacement shake for three months lost almost six pounds more than people who simply altered their diet to be generally low in calories.

Further, the study noted that at the one-year mark for the participants, significantly fewer people who were drinking the meal replacement shakes had dropped out of the study compared to those on a low-calorie diet.

This suggests that this method of healthy eating is more sustainable than cutting calories.

If you are trying to gain weight, you can add a meal replacement shake into your daily diet routine as a snack. Doing this is a healthy way to gain weight because you are giving your body nutrients that it can use through a method that is calorie-dense.

Do meal replacement shakes really work?

Meal replacement shakes are healthy food products that can be mixed with milk or water to give your body the same nutrition that a small meal would. 

If you were to eat the same number of calories in a snack each day, it would technically be possible to find healthy options—but if you were also aiming for convenience, you would likely end up eating a snack with trans fats and artificial ingredients in it.

Meal replacement shakes can also be consumed to give you a quick and easy concentrated dose of vital micronutrients, or to save you time during your busy day. This is great for people who are on the go and often find themselves grabbing junk food instead of eating whole foods.

In order to eat a more balanced diet, packing a meal replacement shake to drink during the day is a much better option than relying on vending machines.

Generally, meal replacement shakes contain between 200 and 400 calories per serving. They also have a variety of nutrients, such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are low in calories and carbohydrates, but high in protein, which creates the ideal midday nourishment option for your body.

The protein and fiber will help keep you full during the day because eating protein can slow down the process of the emptying of the stomach, and reduce levels of ghrelin in your body, which is a hormone that is responsible for stimulating hunger.

Meanwhile, the fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract to encourage satiety and has even been associated with a lower risk of weight gain.

How are Meal Replacement Shakes Different from Protein Shakes?

The main difference between meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are the ingredients.

Typically, a protein shake consists of mostly whey protein, without including the vitamins and minerals that are needed to make a well-rounded meal. This is due to the fact that protein shakes are designed to be taken as a supplement to a balanced meal, not a replacement.

Protein powder also doesn’t include enough carbohydrates or fiber to maintain your energy in the way that a meal can.

They typically just have a high protein content (about 25 grams per serving), while meal replacement powders can have varying levels of protein content, ranging from 10 grams to 40 grams per serving.

What to Look for When Purchasing Meal Replacement Shakes

The first thing to do when looking for the best meal replacement shakes is to read the nutritional label. You want to see if there is a good balance between the number of carbs it contains as well as fats and proteins. It should also come in convenient packaging.

The following amounts are what you typically want to see on the label of a potential meal replacement shake for weight loss:

Protein 15-25 grams
Vitamins and Minerals At least 18
Healthy Fats 10-13 grams
Calories Less than 400 per serving

Things to Consider When Purchasing Meal Replacement Shakes

What you want to avoid is a meal replacement shake that is more than 400 calories per serving. Avoid shakes lacking fiber, shakes with artificial flavors and shakes with added sugars.

All the ingredients should be 100% natural and not artificial or chalky at all.

You can also supplement your shake with other ingredients to add even more flavor and other health benefits. For example, adding in some spinach is a good way to help your body absorb all the nutrients, plus spinach is packed full of Vitamin C.

Greek yogurt is another delicious addition and can add some creaminess to the shake in addition to beneficial amounts of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and Vitamins B6 and B12.

If you add in some cinnamon, it can help with inflammation and adds even more flavor you will love. (Side note: If you're looking for the best-tasting protein powders, then check out the review we did here.)

Protein shakes do usually have amino acids in them to help build your muscles and possibly support weight loss.

And when it comes to calories, protein shakes have fewer calories than meal replacement shakes. Protein shakes average about 100-120 calories each, compared to the 200-400 calories in meal replacement shakes.

Having a protein shake allows your body to have amino acids, which can help repair your muscles after a workout. However, meal replacement shakes have a higher fiber content because of the added vitamins and minerals that help create a balanced meal.

In order to know which type of shake you should have; you must understand your needs. High-quality meal replacement shakes, and protein shakes can help you maintain your energy, fight cravings, keep your metabolism up, and help repair your muscles during your post-workout recovery.

Pros and Cons of Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss

Advantages of Meal Replacement Shakes

Shakes are a better alternative to fast food and other unhealthy meals.

For people who are busy, having a meal replacement shake on hand could be a great idea for a quick lunch.

They are definitely more nutritious than a burger and fries or anything you would grab from a vending machine, which is what many people do when they're rushed. These shakes don't have saturated or trans fats than processed foods do.

They are a better choice than skipping meals.

There are a lot of reasons that you should avoid skipping meals—it is not healthy, doesn't provide you with health benefits, and can have major side effects. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar starts going on a rollercoaster ride.

As your blood sugar levels drop, your body doesn't have the fuel it needs, so you may become weak or dizzy. Skipping meals also puts your body into starvation mode, which decreases your metabolism.

Your blood sugar levels will remain constant when you have a meal replacement shake, and your body will get the nutrition that it needs.

Drinking meal replacement shakes is a better choice than skipping meals or eating poorly planned meals. It is a much healthier high-protein meal option to fill your stomach and combat hunger.

Can meal replacement shakes help you lose weight?
Can meal replacement shakes help you lose weight?

Drinking meal replacement shakes is a better choice than skipping meals or eating poorly planned meals.

Save time in food prep and calorie counting.

There is very little preparation involved in making a meal replacement shake. You either buy it pre-made, or you buy the powder and mix it with milk or water. You know exactly how many calories you are consuming for your meal, which will then make it easy to count your calories for the day.

Convenient for people who are always on the go.

If you don't have much time during the week to meal plan or meal prep, you may find yourself grabbing fast food between meetings. Or maybe you keep a granola bar in your bag.

Breakfast may be an especially big issue if you are always rushed because it is tempting to grab a donut with your coffee or a Danish in the employee break room.

However, if you can take a meal replacement shake with you on the way out of the house and drink it during your commute, this will help keep you full until lunch.

Provide all the nutrients regular meals may lack.

If you eat a piece of pizza and have a soft drink for lunch, what nutrients are you really providing your body with?

Maybe some calcium in the cheese on the pizza, and possibly some vitamins if you put vegetables on top, but not much. Meal replacement shakes give you a wide variety of nutrients that many meals may lack, making them equivalent to a well-rounded meal.

Help you lose weight faster.

When you are counting calories and know exactly what is going into your body—and you stick to a routine—you will start to lose weight quickly. There are not many variables involved once you find a meal replacement shake that works for you, so you can predictably lose weight at the pace that you choose.

Disadvantages of using meal replacement shakes

Some shakes have unhealthy ingredients.

Some meal replacement shakes for weight loss contain preservatives, excess sugar, and other potentially harmful ingredients, but every product is different. For example, one shake could have a high amount of sodium, while another doesn't.

This means that if you have issues with your blood pressure, you will want to choose the meal replacement shake with a lower amount of sodium. Other ingredients that you want to look out for include preservatives, excess sugar, and excess carbohydrates.

Don’t help you change unhealthy eating habits.

Just because you are replacing a meal or two with a shake, it doesn't mean it will change your eating and health habits throughout the day and during the last meal of the day. If you drink two meal replacement shakes each day but are still eating a fast food dinner and snacking on candy bars, the shakes will not provide you with the intended benefits.

Plus, becoming reliant on shakes can leave you clueless about how to make healthy meal choices. Traditional diets are more complicated, but they do help you learn about portion control and proper nutrition.

Here are the best meal replacement shakes or diet shakes made of meal replacement powder for weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes don't help you get rid of those unhealthy eating habits. They just provide a healthier alternative, give you the nutrients you need and help you feel fuller.

Remember: Just because you are replacing a meal or two with a shake, it doesn't mean it will change your eating habits throughout the day and during the last meal of the day.

Not a long-term solution.

Just as you likely wouldn't eat the same meal for the rest of your life, you probably don't want to have a meal replacement shake every day for the rest of your life either.

They are a healthy option when you are in a pinch, but you won't want to give up whole foods to drink shakes for an extended period of time.

Can get expensive.

Meal replacement shakes—especially high-quality ones—are expensive. They are not something you can make inexpensively in bulk and spread out throughout the week, only paying pennies per serving.

They are as expensive as eating a small meal out, which also gets expensive if that is what you do every day.

This is why the first tip to saving money often has to do with packing lunch at home or making coffee at home instead of stopping by a café each morning.

How to Choose the Best Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss

Check the ingredients. A good meal replacement shake should:

Be rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates (2:1 ratio).

You want your meal replacement shake to have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats. Excess carbs are transformed into sugar, which can potentially be turned into fat.

While you do want to have healthy fats in your diet to support optimal health, you don't want brown fat that comes from simple carbohydrates.

Contains between 200 to 400 calories.

Anything that provides your body with energy has calories, and anything you consume that your body has a use for contains calories so you can have energy.

If you consume more calories than your body needs, that extra energy will be converted into fat. If you reduce the number of calories you consume, it will force your body to convert stored fat into energy.

Have a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Because you are replacing a meal with this shake, you want to make sure that the shake is well-rounded and includes everything that a healthy meal would contain.

Vitamins are essential to your body, but your body is unable to produce them, so you have to include them in your diet—which means including them in your meal replacement shakes.

Learn your options for the best meal replacement drinks or best meal replacement shakes for weight loss reviews.
You want your meal replacement shake to have a good balance of proteins and carbs, Excess carbs are easily transformed into sugars from where they can be turned into fat.

When choosing your meal replacement shake, check the ingredients. You want your meal replacement shake to have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats.

Have a dose of fiber (at least three grams of fiber per serving).

Fiber gives you energy without adding excess calories. Fiber helps keep you full and reduces the breakdown of carbs in your body, which will help you feel fuller longer. Finally, fiber also keeps the digestive system healthy and reduces bloating.

Have essential fatty acids (some omega-3 fatty acids).

Contrary to popular belief, your body needs fats to work at an optimal level. One of the best reasons to include healthy fats in your diet is that they help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Contain less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

Your liver processes the sugar that you consume. When you have a high level of sugar in your blood, it forces your liver to change that sugar into fat. You should always avoid added sugars in your diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Have no corn syrup and no hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Corn syrup is a very concentrated sugar, and hydrogenated oils are trans fats that lengthen a food's shelf life. Both of these ingredients are harmful to your health, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Now that you know why you would want to consume meal replacement shakes and what to look for when you are choosing one to buy, let's look at the best options on the market today for weight loss. Here are our best meal replacement shakes for weight loss review.

Our Favorite Meal Replacement Shake for Weight Loss

Meal replacement shakes can help you reach your weight loss goals. Choose yours wisely, and don’t be afraid to try different products until you find the best one for you.

To find the success you want, you need to make sure to do your research and know which options will be best for what you are trying to accomplish.

Best meal Replacement Shakes for men | best overall choice
Ample Original Complete Meal Shake

That being said, the best option to start with is the Ample Original. This product will keep you full for hours and contains the vitamins and minerals that your body needs while being low in artificial flavors and sugars.

best meal replacement shakes for weight loss review | best protein shakes for weight loss