The best part: they don't taste like fruit-flavored chalk!
often get a bad rap. Many people think they're full of bad-for-you ingredients, like excessive amounts of sugar, or that they taste like fruit-flavored, liquefied chalk.
It's true that for the most part, it's better for you to eat a full meal instead of grabbing one in bottle or bar form. But if you’re short on time and need a quick fix, there are some ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes and packaged bars that are good options for immediate fuel. Plus, they're often a far better option than picking up a burger and a shake from the local fast-food chain. Not only are the good ones high in muscle-building protein (be it from whey protein, soy protein, or other vegan proteins), they often offer 400 calories or fewer. Some are even a good source of gut-filling fiber.
But what, exactly, makes for a good shake? “I tend to look for at least 25 grams or more of protein with the fewest ingredients possible,” says Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN. You should also check the label for red flag ingredients, and "avoid flavors that have artificial dyes or coloring in them,” says Shaw. (You can find more information on how to ID a high-quality meal replacement shake here.)
Looking for something that can fill you up on the go? These are a few of our picks.