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We updated this article in January 2023 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team.
When you’re pressed for time but don’t want to indulge the temptation of fast food for dinner, grabbing a meal replacement shake isn't the worst idea. In fact, some of these grab-and-go drinks offer a good balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, making them a good solution when you're pressed for time. That said, they shouldn't be seen as a go-to meal or a diet solution; rather, they should be seen as a way to shore up nutritional deficits or to keep your body revving when back-to-back meetings prevent you from sitting down for something more substantial.
“If you’re an athlete or very active and require more calories and protein throughout the day, they can also be useful to meet your nutritional needs,” adds Amy K. Fischer M.S.,R.D.N., C.D.N., registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Also, since there is no prep involved, they can come in handy when traveling.”
However, it’s important to note that that lots of store-bought drinks and homemade smoothies are high in sugar and don't have enough protein, fat, fiber, or even calories to constitute a real meal—let alone keep you feeling full until your next nosh. This could lead to an inadvertent overconsumption of calories later on, which you likely want to avoid. That’s why it’s important to choose shakes that have as many nutrients as possible. It’s also worth noting that most pre-made shakes aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as they're often considered supplements, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the ingredients and look for third-party seals that indicate they've been tested for quality.
Our top picks
Here are 12 store-bought meal replacement shakes that stack up nutritionally. Plus, exactly what you can pair them with to make them more filling on-the-go.
1. Premier Protein Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST OVERALL
4.6 out of 5 stars
148,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews
With mouthwatering flavors like caramel, chocolate, cookies & cream, and vanilla, there’s something for every sweet tooth out there. And as a recipient of the American Master of Taste Gold Medal for superior taste, Premier Protein’s shakes are so smooth and delicious that you’ll probably mistake your drink for a milkshake. One Amazon reviewer says, “Love these shakes. I’m doing Weight Watchers and these have been a huge tool in my weight loss.”
Make it a meal: Since these shakes are only 160 calories, you want to bulk up with another snack. Consider having a banana (105 calories) with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter (188 calories).
Nutrition info for chocolate: 160 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 180 mg sodium, 30 g protein
2. SlimFast Advanced Nutrition Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST VALUE
4.5 out of 5 stars
8,200+ 5-star Amazon reviews
SlimFast’s meal replacement shakes are packed with 20 grams of protein and five grams of fiber, helping you stay fuller longer. Plus, they offer 24 different essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iron, calcium, and zinc to fuel your body. Enjoy them in a variety of flavors like rich chocolate, vanilla, and orange cream swirl. Reviewers particularly love the chocolate flavor: “The Creamy Chocolate reminds me of a milkshake. It is very filling and delicious with no aftertaste,” says one Amazon customer.
Make it a meal: Save these drinks for when you can pair them with something small—like 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese and one cup sliced strawberries—to turn them into a complete meal. This way, you’ll add about 150 extra calories, 13 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, and 2.5 grams fat.
Nutrition info for chocolate: 180 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 7 g carbs (5 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 180 mg sodium, 20 g protein
3. Orgain Organic Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST ORGANIC
4.5 out of 5 stars
7,600+ 5-star Amazon reviews
If you’re looking for an all-organic meal replacement shake, look no further than Orgain. All four flavors—creamy chocolate fudge, sweet vanilla bean, strawberries and cream, and iced café mocha—pack 16 grams of grass-fed whey protein powder. “I love Orgain. I recommend it to everyone. I use the shakes as a meal replacement on busy days, and the protein drinks as nutritional supplements to keep up my protein levels. My elderly father has thrived since Orgain has become a staple of his breakfast meals,” one Amazon customer says.
This drink is also a little more substantial than some of the other meal replacements on this list, offering 250 calories. But 250 calories still doesn't constitute a whole meal, so be sure to pair it with something extra (like the suggestion below) to help keep you satiated until your next real meal.
Make it a meal: Supplement this sweet drink with about 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup raspberries for an additional 105 calories, 10 grams protein, 2 grams fat, and 4 grams fiber.
Nutrition info for iced café mocha : 250 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 32 g carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 11 g added sugar), 260 mg sodium, 16 g protein
4. Labrada Whey Protein Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST HIGH-PROTEIN
4.6 out of 5 stars
4,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews
This meal replacement shake is relatively low calorie at 280 calories per drink, and it also boasts 40 grams of protein and five grams of fiber, making it one of the most filling choices on this list. It also has zero grams sugar and is lactose-free, making it an excellent pick for people who are sensitive to dairy or who steer clear of added sugars.
While many high protein drinks don't have the best flavor, reviewers regularly mention the better-than-expected taste. “With 40 grams of protein and zero sugar, I wasn’t expecting much from this. Wow was I wrong! The cookies & cream is delicious!” says one Amazon customer.
Make it a meal: Snack on some celery sticks (30 calories) with a tablespoon of almond butter (98 calories).
Nutrition info: 280 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 9 g carbs (5 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 600 mg sodium, 40 g protein
5. Ripple Vegan Protein Shakes
✔️ BEST VEGAN
4.6 out of 5 stars
1,400+ 5-star Amazon reviews
These plant-based shakes from Ripple are packed with nutrition, thanks to their minimal ingredients list that includes pea protein, cocoa powder, water, and monk fruit extract. One shake contains 20 grams vegan protein and two grams fiber. They’re also soy, lactose, and nut-free, low in sugar, and free of that gritty texture that most plant-based protein shakes have.
One Amazon reviewer writes: “I have tried literally every plant-based protein drink or shake on the market and none of them compare to Ripple. Ripple Chocolate is the closest-tasting product to a high-quality whey protein drink that I’ve found.” Which is saying a lot—it's hard to find a good-tasting protein drink that's vegan-friendly.
Make it a meal: Paired with one sliced hard-boiled egg (Prep a bunch on Sunday and keep them in your fridge for the week!) on a piece of multi-grain toast, you’ll down an additional 147 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat, and 2 grams fiber.
Nutrition info for chocolate: 200 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 370 mg sodium, 20 g protein
6. Iconic Grass-Fed Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST LACTOSE-FREE
4.5 out of 5 stars
2,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews
With 20 grams of grass-fed milk protein, four grams fiber, and zero grams sugar per bottle, these shakes are a great choice in a hurry. While they’re packed with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12, they are low in fat and are only 140 calories, so you’ll definitely need to pair this meal replacement drink (available in flavors like chocolate, coffee, and vanilla bean) with something extra to help keep hunger pangs at bay. The great news is that they're made with lactose-free protein, so they won't upset your stomach if you're sensitive to milk products.
“This brand is by far the best protein drink I've ever had. I have tried so many different whey protein powders and pre-mixed drinks, and I can never get more than a few sips down, if that. I decided to give these a try and I am so happy I did,” a happy customer says.
Make it a meal: Simply snack on 1 ounce almonds to help boost the calories (164 more) and healthy fat (14 grams more) this drink lacks.
Nutrition info for chocolate: 140 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 8 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 105 mg sodium, 20 g protein
7. Evolve Plant-Based Protein Shakes
✔️ BEST HIGH-FIBER
4.3 out of 5 stars
5,900+ 5-star Amazon reviews
This pea-derived plant-based shake contains 20 grams of protein and is dairy, soy, and gluten-free so it can meet a lot of dietary needs, especially for those who have allergies, explains Fischer. It also provides a good source of calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and zinc. Grab it in vanilla or caramel chocolate. One other standout feature? This protein drink includes 10 grams of fiber per serving. That means it'll help keep you full (and regular) when it's tough to make time for a standard meal.
“THE BEST PLANT BASED SHAKE I’ve found,” one Amazon reviewer raves. “As a vegan with allergies, this drink is a life saver. I was having health issues and not able to eat a lot and this shake kept me alive. The flavor is so much better than other plant-based ones that taste like chalk or grass.”
Make it a meal: Fischer says this shake is lower in calories and fat, so pairing it with a snack such as a 1/4 cup serving of nuts would boost satiety.
Nutrition info for vanilla: 140 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 g carbs (10 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 250 mg sodium, 20 g protein
8. Pure Protein Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST KETO-FRIENDLY
4.5 out of 5 stars
13,500+ 5-star Amazon reviews
Pure Protein shakes are loved for good reason: The typical bottle offers 30 grams protein (along with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and D) for only 140 calories and one gram sugar. However, these drinks are low in fiber and fat, so you may want to sip on one with a snack on the side for a complete meal replacement. Still, if you’re craving something sweet, they come in satisfying flavors vanilla and rich chocolate.
“I’ve been drinking this for breakfast for a few months. I find the packaging very convenient for on-the-go breakfast. It’s quite tasty and you really can’t beat the macros.” an Amazon reviewer writes.
Make it a meal: If you’re grabbing this shake for breakfast and know you need to keep hunger at bay until lunch, try pairing it with a piece of whole-grain toast and 1/4 avocado. You’ll boost your meal by 150 calories, 6 grams of filling fiber, and about 8 grams of healthy fats. Add a hard-boiled egg for another 77 calories, 5 grams fat, and 6 grams protein.
Nutrition info for vanilla: 140 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 6 g carbs (4 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 250 mg sodium, 30 g protein
9. Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Shakes
✔️ BEST FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED
4.2 out of 5 stars
Pea and brown rice protein combine to give you 20 grams protein power in one of these conveniently packaged drinks. They also feature organic MCT oil from coconut for natural energy endurance, and they contain zero sugar additives like stevia, which is why Fischer recommends them.
Amazon shoppers love them, too—particularly the coconut flavor. “Our family really likes the coconut flavor of these shakes. They are smooth and taste good. Not to mention all the healthy ingredients it has in them. They are more expensive than other shakes but as my dad always said, 'you get what you pay for!',” one reviewer writes. Other available flavors include chocolate sea salt, vanilla, and iced coffee.
Make it a meal: At 170 calories, these shakes will leave room for a little something else. Pair it with a banana (105 calories) with two tablespoons natural peanut butter (188 calories) to stay fuller, longer.
Nutrition info for coconut: 170 calories, 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 11 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 260 mg sodium, 20 g protein
10. Owyn Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST ALLERGY-FRIENDLY
4.2 out of 5 stars
1,100+ 5-star Amazon reviews
Certified vegan and gluten-free, Owyn’s meal replacement shakes deliver 20 grams plant-based protein—a blend of pea protein, organic flaxseed oil, oat powder, and organic pumpkin seed powder. It also offers 23 different vitamins and minerals and contains zero fillers and artificial sweeteners. And for anyone with an allergy, these are also soy and tree nut-free.
It's also important to note that these have a higher calorie content than most of the products on this list—each shake contains 300 calories. This means it's perfect to pair with something light, like a serving of fruit, or veggies with a couple tablespoons of hummus to help round out your on-the-go meal.
Try it in chocolate, vanilla, or chai, or pick up a variety pack to try all three flavors before settling on your favorite. “I have severe IBS and a number of health conditions that make eating real food difficult. These shakes have helped me significantly, and they taste great!” says a customer.
Make it a meal: Savor this creamy drink with a small snack, like 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries and a cup of dairy-free yogurt.
Nutrition info for chocolate: 300 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 31 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 330 mg sodium, 20 g protein
11. Soylent Meal Replacement Shakes
✔️ BEST ALLERGY-FRIENDLY
4.2 out of 5 stars
2,400+ 5-star Amazon reviews
Soylent’s vegan- and kosher-friendly meal replacement shakes are 400 calories, which makes them a convenient choice for a full-on meal when you don’t have time to pick up breakfast. One shake has 20 grams protein and three grams fiber, plus hefty doses of vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients. Plus, they come in coffee shop-like flavors including chai, cafe latte, and cafe mocha.
“Soylent is pretty good! I love chai so I was excited to try this flavor. You can definitely taste the chai and it doesn’t taste too much like a protein drink. I am excited to try the other flavors and I love that it keeps me full for several hours,” an Amazon reviewer writes.
Nutrition info for chai: 400 calories, 24 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 38 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g added sugar), 300 mg sodium, 20 g protein
12. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Protein Shake
4.7 out of 5 stars
173,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews
You'd be hard-pressed to find another meal replacement shake that comes as highly reviewed as Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Protein Shake. This grab-and-go drink has more than 211,000 reviews on Amazon, with an impressive 82% of them registered as 5-star ratings. The drink comes in two standard flavors—chocolate and vanilla—with no added sugars and 24 grams protein. At just 140 calories a pop, one of these drinks certainly needs to be paired with an extra snack to add calories, fats, and fiber, but if you're looking for an easy way to add protein to your diet after a workout, this is a good way to go.
“I've tried a lot of different protein shakes. Some have a chalky taste, some are a little rough on the stomach. This one is one of the only pre-made shakes that tastes good AND is easily digested. The flavor is really good too. I prefer drinking it chilled, it tastes the best that way,” a happy Amazon customer says.
Make it a meal: Pair this shake with 6 baby carrots (24 calories), 3 tablespoons hummus (75 calories), and 11 whole-wheat pita chips (about 120 calories).
Nutrition info for chocolate: 140 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 210 mg sodium, 24 g protein
How to choose (and use) meal replacement shakes
Check the calorie content. In reality, having a meal replacement shake on its own isn’t enough. “The number of calories needed per person varies greatly depending on factors such as height, weight, activity level, age, and health goals,” explains Fischer. “Some adults might require only 400 calories per meal while others may require a lot more than 500 calories. Most meal replacement shakes usually fall in the range of 150-300 calories, so some individuals may need to supplement their shake with other food." But given that calorie content varies greatly from shake-to-shake, it's important to pay attention to how many calories you're consuming. There's a big difference between a shake with 140 calories and a shake with 400 calories, so what you decide to pair with your shake may also need to be adjusted to meet your personal nutritional needs.
Check the protein and fiber content. Beyond just the calories in the shake, it's important to pay attention to the nutrients as a whole. Protein typically varies from 15-40 grams per serving, and how much you need may depend on how active you are (athletes tend to need more protein than those who are inactive). Likewise, fiber and fat can help keep you full between meals, so drinking a shake with these nutrients can be beneficial. "While protein needs vary from person to person, look for a shake that contains more than 15-20 grams of protein, more than 5 grams of fiber, and 10-15 grams of unsaturated fat," suggests Fischer.
Make it a meal. Remember it's important to eat a balanced diet that delivers a wide range of nutrients from a variety of sources. A meal replacement shake may be able to check some of the boxes, but low calorie, fiber, or fat content may make it hard to stay full and energized all day. Depending on the nutritional content of the drink, make sure you add small, healthy snacks alongside it, like those suggested here. Easy, portable options include nuts, fruits, veggies, single packs of hummus, and hard-boiled eggs.
Can you lose weight with meal replacement shakes?
Weight loss depends on many factors, including total daily calorie intake. While it's possible to lose weight with meal replacement shakes if you're reducing your calorie intake to a level where you're burning more calories each day than you're consuming, it's not a foregone conclusion. If you're trying to lose weight, it's important to talk to a registered dietitian to make sure you're setting yourself up for long-term success, as most short-term diets don't lead to sustained weight loss.
Is it okay to only drink meal replacement shakes?
As a general rule, no, you shouldn't consume a diet that solely consists of meal replacement shakes. Fischer says, “food first is always the best policy” and that meal replacement shakes are great for when you’re in a pinch but should be used sparingly. “I would not recommend drinking more than one a day except if there is an underlying reason, like a medical prescription,” she says.
How we chose the best meal replacement shakes
We spoke with Fischer and Wendy Bazilian, Dr.PH., R.D.N., author of The SuperfoodsRx Diet for nutritional insight on selecting the best meal replacement shakes, as well as their product recommendations. We also reviewed customer feedback and highlighted some of the internet’s best-selling drinks.
Why trust us
For more than 70 years, Prevention has been a leading provider of trustworthy health information, empowering readers with practical strategies to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Our editors interview medical experts to help guide our health-focused product selections. Additionally, Prevention also examines hundreds of reviews—and often conducts personal testing done by our staff—to help you make informed decisions.
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