When it comes to protein powders and meal replacement shakes, sometimes taste isn't the most important factor. If you have a doctor's note requiring a minimum amount of protein intake for wound healing, or a vitamin deficiency that needs to be accounted for in either pill or powdered form, then taste is a secondary concern. However, for those looking for a daily meal replacement shake to replace a high-calorie breakfast, you'll want one that tastes good—not chalky, not metallic, and not bland. Here are our top eight recommendations for the best-tasting meal replacement shakes for weight loss and workout support, delicious and nutritious.
Why Meal Replacement Shakes Work for Weight Loss
While meal replacement and protein shakes can't replace every meal of the day, they do work for weight-loss support and help busy people achieve and maintain their bodyweight goals. The studies are clear:
- Meal replacement shakes are effective for both men and women. This 2018 study shows that meal replacement intake combined with a sensible, healthy dinner helped improve the body composition of women and men by reducing body fat ratios and the metabolic markers associated with obesity.
- Meal replacement shakes support long-term weight-loss maintenance. A study from 2017 evaluated whether meal replacement tactics lead to meaningful and efficient effects over a 36-month period. As a therapy for obese adults, a meal replacement-based protocol not only worked, but it did so under national and international safety guidelines.
- These positive results are not isolated instances. In this 2019 meta-analysis of 23 distinct studies, researchers concluded that meal replacement programs led to greater weight loss sustained at the 1-year mark and that a meal replacement method is valid in a healthcare setting for treating overweight and obesity cases.
The science is in: meal replacement shakes can safely help you maintain weight loss if used effectively, which not only improves your figure and your self-esteem, but can also help you avoid significant medical conditions related to obesity like metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular consequences, and the development of type 2 diabetes.
The Top 8 Best-Tasting Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
The first priority in selecting brands and products for this list was to find truly nutritional shakes meant to replace a full meal, which means they need to have protein, fiber, and whole-food vitamins and minerals, not just sugars or fillers that give you a brief rush but no real energy. Products like SlimFast Original, though well-known and highly marketed, are too heavy in sugar and too light in fiber and protein to make the list. Such products are more likely to spike your blood sugar levels than serve your workout or weight-loss goals. The macronutrients matter most, then the taste of a protein drink.
We also took care to eliminate weight-loss shakes full of preservatives or artificial flavors. The more natural the better when it comes to what your body needs from a pre- or post-workout meal replacement shake.
Without further ado, here are the tastiest meal replacement shakes with high-quality nutrients you can trust.
1. VeggieShake All-in-One Superfood Shake
Non-GMO, organic, vegan, halal, gluten-free, and with no artificial colors or sweeteners, the VeggieShake brand's comprehensive All-in-One formula includes more than just flavor variety—you can target multiple needs with one holistic blend.
For improved digestion, we've included probiotics, ginger, fiber, digestive enzymes, and the superfood spirulina.
For heart health, powerhouse greens like kale and broccoli, plus proven natural herbs and ingredients like turmeric, chia seed powder, and pomegranate to reduce inflammation.
Do you need an immunity booster? The blend includes powerful antioxidant berries with 100% of all your essential vitamins for the day.
Anti-aging support for youth and vigor? How about milk thistle, astragalus leaf, and Rhodiola rosea root.
For building muscle there's a protein component of pea protein, adzuki bean, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, and, of course, lastly for weight loss, the metabolism-boosting energy of matcha green tea leaf, apple fruit powder, and maca root. There's a little something for everyone and every need all in one amazing blend.
- Vanilla Bean
- Spiced Chai
- Mocha Latte
- Fresh Greens
2. Vega One All-In-One
Made from green veggies and superfood ingredients, Vega One is full of completely vegan hemp and pea protein. Specifically, it's 20 grams of plant protein per serving, with 6 grams of fiber (including inulin sourced from chicory root, which is a prebiotic fiber for gut health) and only 1 gram of sugar. This option has probiotic content as well, and digestive enzymes sourced naturally from plants like papayas. With 50% of the recommended daily value of vitamins and minerals, your next meal after this one will have a lot to live up to.
- Chocolate Mint
- Coconut Almond
- French Vanilla
- Plain Unsweetened
- Vanilla Chai
The high-protein options from Idealshake smoothies contribute to feelings of fullness and satiety, with a balanced meal-style ratio between protein, carbs, and healthy fats. With fiber content and multivitamin support, this is one of the best meal replacement shakes for when you're on your way to the gym.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Pumpkin Spice
- Cookies 'N Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Coconut
- Men's All-in-One Chocolate
- Key Lime Pie
- Vegan Vanilla Chai
- Vegan Mocha
4. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
This vegan option is a certified organic meal replacement shake full of valuable vitamin B12 for non-meat eaters and made with a blend of 44 superfoods. While the flavor options aren't too varied, it's still a tasty choice sweetened with natural Stevia instead of refined sugar, has 20 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per scoop, and is particularly valuable to anyone worried about nutrient deficiencies as they lead a vegetarian or vegan life.
- Lightly Sweet
- Vanilla Chai
5. ORGANIFI Complete Protein
Made with pea protein and an excellent choice for vegans and omnivores alike, Organifi has all-in-one protein shake options, plus unique tea and juice powders for sleep, detox, and energy. For an on-the-go variety in healthy meal replacements and superfood booster drinks that could help you quit coffee for good, Organifi leads the pack. The food sources of its protein products include quinoa, pumpkin seeds, monk fruit, and vanilla bean for amino acids, iron, sweetness, and fiber. Dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and keto friendly, this may be the low-carb brand you're looking for.
- Red Juice
- Green Juice
- Gold (Chocolate Turmeric Blend and Pumpkin Spice)
6. Labrada Lean Body
This option is presented with a caveat because it does contain corn syrup solids, which are indeed the kind of refined sugars you may be working to avoid. If this is a deal-breaker, skip this option, but as this list is about best-tasting meal replacement shakes, this is a tasty pick (perhaps because of its reliance on sweeteners like sucralose). It also has a full balance of amino acids targeted more towards workout and muscle-building support than weight loss alone. Made with milk protein isolate and whey protein, it's not for the vegan or the lactose intolerant either, but it does have 7 grams of fiber in each serving and a different protein profile than the other products on this list, plus several unique flavors.
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Bun
- Molten Dark Chocolate
- Power Latte
- Salted Caramel
While it's hard to find a health care professional who will advise you to replace all your meals with protein blends, Soylent has given it a try by manufacturing soy protein formulas meant to replace all your nutritional needs. While we here at VeggieShake never recommend you forgo whole foods completely, Soylent nevertheless offers a unique product that may occasionally suit your meal replacement needs, especially as a quick fix in the morning instead of stopping for fast food on the way to work.
- Mint Chocolate
8. Orgain Organic Protein
Let's get back to basics: how about a product that's vegan, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, non-GMO, kosher, and with no sugar added. Orgain products are made with fiber from chia seeds, protein from pea and brown rice, sweetness from Stevia, and if you are looking for a whey protein powder option, they have that as well from grass-fed protein sources.
- Creamy Chocolate Fudge
- Vanilla Bean
- Peppermint Hot Cocoa
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
Replace Meals, Not Nutrients
If you're looking to control your calorie intake with the aid of protein drink shakes, they can absolutely be effective. If you're looking for shakes and smoothies you can enjoy the taste of, we've sought out the best on the market, trying to balance your low-calorie goals with the understanding that a meal replacement shake should truly take the place of breakfast or lunch without leaving you feeling famished.
There are vegan protein sources and sustainable animal-sourced ones, options with and without known allergens like soy, gluten, dairy, and nuts. Make a list of what's most important to you in a meal replacement shake, and never compromise—the market is huge, and somewhere there's the exact right product you're looking for. We hope you'll give ours a try on your search!