We all know that a well-prepared, balanced meal is the ideal nutritional choice. We also know that our busy lives don’t allow us the time or energy to prepare them. Luckily, there is a convenient option besides trips to the vending machine or fast food. Meal replacement shakes provide much-needed protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and even digestive enzymes. For this reason, people who might never lift a weight are now using protein shakes as their diet supplement of choice.
One of the most popular—and expensive—options is Shakeology. This article discusses some other great meal replacement shakes on the market. All of these options are comparable to Shakeology.
WHY USE A MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKE TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET?
There are a number of reasons to consider using meal replacement shakes to supplement your diet, including:
Meal replacement shakes are an excellent way to curb cravings and support sustainable weight loss. Look for a good amount of protein, along with healthy fat and minimal added sugars to ramp up your metabolism. Many people recommend replacing 1-2 meals with a shake. Take them after exercise if possible. Since most meal replacements are quite low on calories, they can be an excellent way to lose weight without even trying! The right meal replacements are filling, tasty, and energizing.
Meal replacement shakes are also conveniently packaged and simple to make. They make it so much easier to avoid fast food and vending machines. Unlike a homemade recipe, meal replacement shakes have the calorie count on the back of the package, making it that much easier to keep track of your calorie intake throughout the day. Many shakes contain prebiotics, probiotics, or digestive enzymes, all of which can help you absorb more nutrients out of your food throughout the day. Moreover, they often contain superfoods from around the world that aren’t in the average pantry (amaranth, wheat grass, or alfalfa anyone?).
Supports Muscle Growth
Having a high-protein shake before or after a workout helps repair damaged muscle tissue and can help maintain muscle mass in the long-term. Studies also suggest that this practice helps you burn more calories as you go throughout your day. The bottom line is, taking protein in conjunction with exercise ensures your hard work pays off.
As mentioned before, meal replacement shakes often reduce snack cravings. This is great for your digestive system, as larger meals are easier to digest than frequent snacks. Most shakes also contain digestive enzymes, which help break down food and can aid the digestive process in the long term.
Promotes Mental Well-Being
One of the most reported benefits to meal replacement shakes is also the most mysterious. Many people who consume them report increased feelings of general well-being. One theory is that an increase in vitamins helps the brain function properly. In any case, take excess energy where you can get it!
So Many Choices
One of the most popular (and best-marketed) meal replacement shake options is Shakeology. With several celebrity endorsements and a user-friendly website, it’s easy to see why it is the top choice for many. Unfortunately, a serving costs about as much as a latte at your favorite coffee shop. There are several comparable (and arguably better) shakes out there. Depending on your goals (weight loss, muscle gain, energy, general well-being), some options may be better suited for your particular diet than others.
The following are the best meal replacement shakes comparable to Shakeology on the market.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
- ON THE GO NUTRITION: 20 grams of clean, organic plant protein with 44 superfoods including organic grass juices, fruits...
- POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help build lean muscle and boost energy with this power packed meal replacement
- VITAMINS AND MINERALS: This delicious vanilla protein powder is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals
Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal is unique in that it uses sprouted ingredients (such as brown rice and buckwheat) for its protein source. This makes it an excellent alternative for those avoiding both soy and dairy proteins. It also lacks gluten, added sugars, artificial colors, and preservatives. All of its ingredients are left in the raw—meaning that nutrients normally lost to a heating process are still kicking. While the amino acid profile isn’t displayed on the label, it is available on Garden of Life’s website.
The meal also boasts 1.5 billion live probiotics, 44 superfood ingredients, and 21 vitamins and minerals. Garden of Life comes in four flavors: original, chocolate, vanilla, and chai.
Compared to Shakeology:
While Shakeology and Garden of Life’s Raw Meal each consist of a similar array of healthy ingredients, Garden of Life’s raw approach to meal replacement means that more nutrients make it to the finish line. Garden of Life’s website provides access to its products’ amino acid profiles. This is an important consideration and a move toward transparency.
Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Protein Shake
- Contains (1) jar of 16 ounces of Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix in chocolate....
- Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix contains a nutrient blend that address the key...
- Quality, consistency & scientific research has resulted in vitamins and nutritional supplements of unrivaled excellence;...
Optimal Solutions Protein Shake is part of Nature’s Bounty line of health products designed for beauty. These aren’t lip sticks or shampoos, but rather vitamin supplements designed to keep skin, hair, and nails healthy. Even better, it contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to ensure that vitamins are properly absorbed by the body. While marketed particularly toward women, this supplement can help anyone who wants luminous hair and glowing skin.
The label is refreshingly transparent—it even displays its amino acid profile. This isn’t required by the FDA, but it’s certainly helpful for the health-conscious shopper. However, a closer examination reveals a few undesirable ingredients, such as xanthan gum and fructose. As with all other supplements, take time to get to know the ingredients and decide for yourself.
The Optimal Solutions Protein Shake comes in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors.
Compared to Shakeology:
The back of the Shakeology label reads more like an advertisement than nutrition information. Shakeology has several proprietary blends emphasize exotic ingredients without revealing their amounts. Since most nutrients need to be ingested in certain amounts in order to be of benefit, this makes it quite hard to judge the effectiveness of Shakeology. The Optimal Solutions Protein Shake, by contrast, lists amounts for almost all of its ingredients and includes an amino acid profile. From their nutrition information, Optimal Solutions and Shakeology appear to offer similar benefits. Optimal Solutions gets a leg up in this list for having a more complete label.
EAS Myoplex Lite Protein Shake
- Includes 20 grams of protein and 180 calories to incorporate protein while also supporting a balanced nutrition diet
- Only 1.5 grams of total fat per serving
- Provides 23 vitamins and minerals for daily nutrition
Myoplex Lite is a lower-calorie version of EAS’ original protein powder. The lite version made the list because it contains more protein and less fat. If weight loss isn’t a concern, the original blend is another great option. Unlike other meal replacements, Myoplex lite markets itself as an option for those who have several smaller meals rather than three larger ones, so keep that in mind when planning meals.
Myoplex Lite comes in pre-measured packets, making it easy to throw nutrition into a gym bag. EAS even sells ready-to-drink versions of its original protein powder. One of the most highly rated shakes on the market, the taste is highly acclaimed, with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.
An added bonus–Myoplex Lite contains no proprietary blends, so the label displays exactly how much of each ingredient is in a serving. It’s also available at many local retailers.
Compared to Shakeology:
Myoplex Lite is marketed more toward gym rats than Shakeology, but as far as macronutrients go, they come out about the same. A notable difference is that Myoplex Lite contains fewer vitamins, and can’t claim to contain superfoods. If you already have a vitamin supplement as a part of your daily routine, then Myoplex Lite is an excellent alternative to Shakeology.
Orgain Organic Meal Powder
- Includes 1 (2.01lb) Orgain Organic Plant Based Vanilla Bean Meal Replacement All In One Nutrition Powder
- 21 grams of organic plant based protein, 8 grams of organic dietary fiber, no sugar added. Contains Orgain's original...
- USDA organic, vegan, non dairy, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, carrageenan free, non GMO, no artificial...
Orgain Organic Meal Powder, as its name suggests, contains all organic ingredients. Like Garden of Life, it has no soy or dairy products and uses grains as a protein source. This shake has 8 grams of fiber, more than any other on the list. All of the ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable.
This product is a great option for foodies who care about pesticide overuse. It’s also vegan, an added environmental bonus.
While this shake contains more calories than the others on this list, it may be worth it. Its wholesome ingredients make it an ideal meal replacement. If you are looking for a healthy substitute to fast food more than you are weight loss or muscle gain, this is definitely the shake for you. Orgain Organic Meal Powder comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors.
Compared to Shakeology:
Orgain Organic Meal Powder was manufactured as a challenge protein shakes containing cheap fillers, added sugars, and artificial colors. The purity and attention to detail put into this product ought to make any health freak smile. Shakeology simply hasn’t shown the same dedication to ingredients that are responsibly sourced.
Out of all the shakes on this list, the ViSalus Vi-Shape is the most targeted toward weight loss, forming the base of ViSalus’ “Body by Vi Challenge Kit.” It contains less than 1 gram of sugar and even more impressive, contains only 1 gram of fat. It’s also low in carbohydrates (only 7 grams per serving), good news for anyone on a low-carb diet.
Vi-Shape is gluten-free and low in sodium. It boasts 26 vitamins and minerals, albeit in lower amounts than other shakes. And because Vi-Shapes has three protein sources (whey concentrate, whey hydrolysate, and non-genetically modified soy), you can be sure your body is getting everything it needs to repair and maintain your muscles. According to ViSalus’ website, the whey is stripped of fat and carbohydrates, and the soy of isoflavones—leaving only the good stuff. Those looking for an array of products to help with fitness or weight loss will appreciate other products by ViSalus formulated to work well with Vi-Shape. Choose from pre-made kits or mix and match on their website to order just the products you need.
In spite of all of its health benefits, Vi-Shape is also delicious, with a unique cake mix taste and texture that make it an easy diet to stick to. Vi-Shape is one of the most affordable and best rated options on the market. The original Vi-Shape is in vanilla, and ViSalus sells separate strawberry and chocolate add-ins.
Compared to Shakeology:
Shakeology contains 5g more sugar and 70 more calories than Vi-Shape! If weight loss is your main goal, Vi-Shape is a great option. With the flavor of Shakeology receiving mixed reviews, it’s also a good alternative if you need a healthy meal that still tastes good. If Shakeology is the pop star of the meal replacement world, then Vi-Shape is a grunge band that reviewers love. Both are great for their own reasons.