Weight loss is a complicated process, and it has to fit into your lifestyle too.
It’s no good attempting a weight loss plan that means you need to spend endless hours weighing out ingredients and planning out your meals, if you simply don’t have the time.
By choosing the wrong type of weight loss plan or regime, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
The single best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy and balanced diet, cut out the bad stuff, and get plenty of exercise.
That’s a truth, but sometimes we don’t have the time to sit down and eat a full meal, especially when so many of us live fast and stressful lives.
In that case, a meal replacement shake is a great way to ensure you’re still getting the nutrition your body needs, in a healthy and balanced manner, and you’re not committing the big sin of missing a meal.
This also means that you’re far less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks to tide you over, e.g. crisps, chocolate, and sugary drinks, which will only serve to give you those sugar highs and lows that are so detrimental to health and weight.
What is a Meal Replacement Shake?
A meal replacement shake basically does what it says on the tin.
This is a shake, usually a delicious one, which contains the nutrition your body needs for that meal, whilst ensuring that calories are kept low.
For this reason, meal nutrition shakes are a great idea for weight loss plans.
These shakes usually come in a pre-prepared can, or they come in a powder which you simply add milk or water too and combine well. This shake gives you the same nutrition as if you ate a solid meal.
If you want to use meal replacement shakes for weight loss, rather than simply because you didn’t have time to eat, you can replace anything up to two meals per day with a shake, ensuring that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need, but limiting your calorie intake to a low enough level to be able to lose weight quite easily.
These shakes are also ideal for managing cravings and hunger pangs, because they contains a carefully balanced amount of fiber and protein.
This helps you to stay full and not reach for snacks in-between solid meals.
Put simply, you will feel full after you have consumed a meal replacement shake, and you will not want to eat until the next meal time rolls around.
Whilst there are many meal replacement shake products on the market which vary quite wildly, an average shake will contain anything between 200-400 calories per drink, as well as the aforementioned protein, fiber, and other nutritional content your body needs.
These are also low in carbs and calories, to help prevent diet sabotage occurring.
Aren’t Protein Shakes And Meal Replacement Shakes The Same Thing?
No. There is quite a large difference between the ingredients in these two products, and protein shakes are designed to help deliver a big hit of protein, e.g. for body builders and those looking to build muscle quickly, or for those looking to repair their muscles after a workout, due to the high amino acid content.
A protein shake also doesn’t contain the rest of the vitamins and minerals required to substitute a meal, so they are an option to be consumed as well as a meal, not instead of one.
In that case, if you are trying to lose weight, a meal replacement shake is a far better option than a protein shake.
The latter will still leave you hungry, and in that case you may end up overeating, and consuming too much protein as a result.
Meal Replacement Shakes Pros And Cons
Before you decide to try anything, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of going down that route.
Meal Replacement Shake Pros
- A good choice for either busy people who don’t have time for breakfast or lunch, as well as being ideal as meal replacement for those looking to lose weight through a low calorie diet
- Full of nutrition, enough to replace a full meal
- Helps you to avoid missing meals altogether or reaching for unhealthy snacks
- A large range of flavours available, and they’re really quite delicious!
- Can be consumed entirely on the go, e.g. during a commute or even walking down the street
- May help you to lose weight faster and more effectively
- Countless products on the market, so it is easy to find one which suits your tastebuds and your budget
Meal Replacement Shake Cons
- There are so many meal replacement products on the market that some do have ingredients which aren’t so healthy, e.g. extra sugar, preservatives and additives. It’s important to read the label
- A band-aid for unhealthy habits. Rather than helping you identify an unhealthy habit and change it, you’re simply getting around it
- Not a long term answer. You can’t use meal replacement shakes as a very long term solution, as they’re simply not sustainable. In this case, you do still need to learn how to make healthy meals and understand what is and isn’t nutritious
- Over time, purchasing these shakes can become quite expensive
What to Look For in a Quality Meal Replacement Shake
There are so many meal replacement shakes for weight loss on the market that it can become confusing in terms of which one to buy. Look for the following.
- A good proteins to carbs ratio – It’s important to read the label and understand what to look for. A quality meal replacement shake needs to have a ratio of 2:1 of proteins and carbs.
- Calorie content – There should also be between 200 and 400 calories per serving, and no more.
- A range of vitamins and minerals – The label will also tell you the different vitamins and minerals contained within the product, so make sure that you see a good list, to ensure overall nutrition.
- Fiber content – You should look for a minimum of 3g of fiber per meal replacement serving. This will ensure you remain full until the next meal and you don’t go snacking between.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – The label should also contains some omega 3 fatty acids to give you heart health protection.
- Low sugar content – There should be less than 10g of sugar in each meal replacement shake; anything more and you’re going to put weight on and not lose it.
The 7 Best Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss Reviewed
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If you’re looking for a true powerhouse of a meal replacement shake, this is a good option to go for, and contains a huge 16 vitamins and minerals per serving.
The ingredients are also derived from actual food, so you know you’re not getting anything false or synthetic added in.
You will also receive a huge 25g of whey protein as part of your serving, 5g of amino acids, and 3g of the healthiest types of at around.
In addition, there is a dose of probiotics in there for gut health and a good boost of fiber, which is derived from sweet potato.
Basically, you’re getting digestion aid here too, as well as a great replacement for a full meal, such as breakfast or lunch.
- Contains low glycemic carb content
- No artificial ingredients contained, and everything is derived from real food
- Delicious taste, with several flavours available
- Contains a good dose of animo acids and probiotics
- Easy to prepare and dissolves easily
- A few users have stated that this product doesn’t agree with them, e.g. they experienced stomach symptoms
- Quite a small container for the price
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Best Price: Click here to access the product RSP TrueFit Lean Meal Replacement Protein Shake on Amazon’s website
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This is one of the biggest brand names in meal replacement shakes around so you know you’re getting quality from the get-go.
It is also a very delicious tasting option, which comes in several different flavours.
You can use this shake as part of the SlimFast plan, or you can use it on its own, however you see fit.
The shake is designed to keep you full for up to four hours and you will have just 200 calories per shake, so it’s great for weight loss and trying to remain full at the same time!
The powder also contains a huge 10g of protein and 5g of fiber, as well as a massive 24 vitamins and minerals to overall health and wellbeing, as well as supporting weight loss.
Perhaps the best part is that the shake tastes so smooth and thick, you won’t feel like you’re replacing am meal with something ‘less than’, and it tastes like it should have far more calories within it!
- Several different flavours available
- Tastes delicious and seems like it should contain more calories
- Very low in calories but high in every other nutritional aspect you need for health and weight loss
- Big named brand for peace of mind
- Quite low in price compared to other similar products
- You need to stir it very well to ensure everything dissolves, otherwise it may have a grainy consistency
- Batches may vary in terms of taste
- Contains a little more sugar than other similar products
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Best Price: Click here to access the product SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix Powder on Amazon’s website
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For vegans, this is a great meal replacement option to look into, containing completely vegan-friendly ingredients, whilst also being quite low in price.
The shake contains a large dose of protein at 21g, which is organic and plant-based, so no worries in terms of ingredients, with derivatives of peas, brown rice, and chia.
There are also 3g of net carbs, which is important to count if you are following a Keto Diet or other low carb derivative, as well as 5g of fiber to keep you full until your next meal.
There is no sugar contained within this shake, and it has a low calorie amount, at just 150 per serving.
- Can be used either as a pre-workout supplement or as a meal replacement
- Ideal for vegans, contains no non vegan-friendly ingredients
- Contains a full profile of amino acids
- Good price, especially for an organic product
- Low in calories
- Whilst it does keep you full, it probably won’t keep you full for as long as some other similar products
- Some users state that it is quite sweet
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Best Price: Click here to access the product Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder on Amazon’s website
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This is the ideal meal replacement shake for those who love coffee!
The other plus point of this particular drink is you can drink it cold, on the go, or you can warm it up and enjoy it warm.
You’ll get a boost of energy due to the coffee content, and it is also low in calories, so it will help with your weight loss endeavours.
The shake contains 150mg of caffeine in every serving, and this is derived from real coffee.
There are several flavours available, and it is also slow release, so you’ll remain full and energised for a good few hours afterwards.
In addition, this drink will boost your metabolism, so your weight loss goals will be closer to you.
- Great for giving you extra energy, due to real coffee content
- Available in several different flavours
- Boosts your metabolism for extra weight loss
- Contains 23 vitamins and minerals for overall health and wellbeing
- This shake is made of espresso and some users find it a little too strong tasting
- You need to stir it very well in order to ensure it all dissolves properly
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Best Price: Click here to access the product CLICK All in One Coffee & Protein Drink Mix on Amazon’s website
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Available in several different delicious flavours, this is a great choice for anyone who wants to get a good kick of fiber and protein in their shake, but whilst consuming very few calories.
This particular shake has only 120 calories per serving and 2g of sugar.
There is also 11g of whey protein within the shake, which makes it a good choice for pre-workout supplementation, as well as a full meal replacement.
There are 22 vitamins nd minerals within the serving, and 5g of fiber, keeping you full until your next mealtime rolls around.
- Several flavours available
- Can be used as a pre-workout supplement as well as meal replacement
- Contains 22 vitamins and minerals
- Large fiber content
- Quite expensive over the long-term
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Garden of Life is a big brand name in the healthcare world, so you’re getting peace of mind from the start.
This is also a quite low priced product, when compared to many others in the same bracket.
You can chose from several different flavours, and this is a vegan friendly option, as well as being gluten free.
There is 20g of protein contained within the serving, derived from plants, as well as 6g of fiber for fullness. In addition, you’re getting a good dose of probiotics, to help with overall digestive health at the same time.
- Big named brand
- Low priced product
- Vegan friendly and gluten free
- Contains probiotics and 21 different vitamins and minerals
- Some users state that it is quite gritty if you don’t mix the shake together very well
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This meal replacement shake contains a large dose of protein, at 20g, which all comes from pure planet sources, and completely organic ingredients.
There are 5g of fiber and also contains 27 different fruits and vegetables in concentrated form, as well as 19 different essential vitamins and minerals for overall health and wellbeing.
In addition, there are probiotics for gut health, and this is another good option for those following a vegan diet.
- Good priced product
- Contains plant-based products, making it suitable for vegans
- Large protein and fiber content
- Contains probiotics for gut health
- Only available in two flavour
- Some users mention it is quite gritty when not combined very well
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Choosing the right meal replacement shake for you will help you to remain health whilst chasing a weight loss goal, and it will also help you to achieve it far quicker.
Make sure you shop around and find the ideal product for your needs.