If you’ve ever had to choose between a fully cooked meal and getting somewhere on time, you understand the appeal of a meal-replacement shake. Whether you’re drinking a pre-made shake during your daily commute or scooping out a protein-heavy powder after a heavy workout, these shakes let you fuel up without slowing down. The trick is making sure your drink has enough nutrients to keep you going until your next full meal.
We researched more than 100 meal-replacement shakes and talked to nutritionists about what the ideal shake should include. Our experts told us to look for high protein, low sugar, the right amount of calories for your nutritional needs, and as many all-natural ingredients as possible.
We loved Huel for having high amounts of protein and fiber, and for its complete macronutrient profile — but we especially loved that this meal-replacement shake is made out of real food: oats, pea protein, flaxseed, brown rice protein, and more. You’ll be able to taste the difference — it’s like drinking a meal instead of a milkshake. Huel is also designed to fit your individual dietary needs, whether you want a 500-calorie meal or a 250-calorie one. You’ll get an instructional booklet explaining how to determine how much is right for you, as well as recipes to help you add Huel to a berry smoothie, a coffee drink, or even a tasty peanut curry. Plus, it’s vegan — and there are gluten-free and sweetener-free options, meaning there’s a version of Huel for just about everyone.
Need to get protein in your body fast? Grab a carton of EAS Myoplex Shred for 42 grams of protein — 84 percent of your recommended daily allowance — in just 16 ounces of shake. We liked the high protein in this shake, but we also loved the convenience of the single-serving TetraPak carton. Instead of dealing with giant tubs of protein powder, you can toss a carton of EAS Myoplex Shred in your gym bag and go.
Not everybody is the “average American,” and your caloric needs might not hit that 2,000-calorie-per day mark. If you’re petite, looking to lose weight, or just want a low-calorie shake for an afternoon snack, the GNC Total Lean Lean Shake will get you 200 calories, 25 grams of protein, and plenty of vitamins in a sweet, creamy beverage. We’ve recommended GNC Total Lean products before — check out our Best Protein Bar review — and we were glad to see that its shake held up just as well against the competition.