Last Updated on March, 2023
While running, the entire body gets worked, and a lot of effort goes into the process. That’s why professionals or even runners in training need a lot of practice to achieve their goals.
On top of that practice, care is also essential. This includes maintaining a healthy diet filled with lots of nutrition.
But, in the middle of training and all, it can be challenging to prepare meals for yourself. Sometimes, it can even be challenging to eat a full meal if it’s already in front of you. That’s why some runners opt to drink meal replacement shakes instead.
If you’re looking to do the same but don’t know how to get started, we’re here to help. We’ve prepared a list of reviews for the nine best meal replacement shakes for runners based on testing and research by our team.
Check it out to learn more about each one, including how they can help and which one suits you best.
9 of the Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Runners
- Top Choice to Cut Fat but Retain Muscle Mass – Instant Knockout Complete
- Best Choice for Weight Loss Journey – HLTH Code Complete Meal
- 2-In-1 Meal Replacement Shake – Ambronite Complete Meal Shake
- Easily Absorbed and Easily Digestible – Kaged Clean Meal
- Best Choice for Taste and Nutrition – Kachava
- Cleanest and Most Fulfilling Shake – Transparent Labs MRP
- Top Pick for Both Internal and External Body – Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
- Top Pick for Fat Burn and Digestion – PhenQ Complete Meal Shake
- Best Choice for a Complete Nutrition Shake – Lyfefuel Daily Essentials Shake
1. Instant Knockout Complete (Top Choice to Cut Fat but Retain Muscle Mass)
Overall Score: 5.0
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Most of you athletes focus on building muscles and cutting down on the unhealthy fats deposited all around the body, right? Do you know what the perfect choice is for this? Instant Knockout Complete.
This is one of the best meal replacement shake as it specializes in assisting with this goal by keeping the nutrients the body needs without it being cut off.
For better results, you can pair up this shake with Instant Knockout Cut to speed up the progress. They are specialists in catering to professional athletes in this regard; therefore, no worries.
Most MMA fighters and boxers use this to keep their muscles and weight management in check. (And here’s me wondering if Khabib used this). It also follows a legal and safe procedure, as most users are professionals.
It consists of a balanced ratio between Carbs and Protein on a 1:1 basis, with 35 grams of Protein to 35 grams of carbs. This allows you to have consistent energy and keep up your strength. Furthermore, it helps you build and retain the muscles you worked on.
The protein blend derived from peas and soy plays a crucial role in promoting gut health while preventing bloating. They are also a source of BCAAs, which helps muscle growth and increase one’s metabolism rate.
The 13 grams of fiber contained in Instant Knockout Complete works on supporting digestion and providing slow-release energy that increases your stamina. The core ingredients of the meal replacement are Plant-based Protein, MCT, Chia seed, etc.
MCTs, also known as Medium Chain Triglycerides, are fatty acids converted into ketones, promoting weight loss and controlling cravings during conversion. These ingredients make it a suitable choice for vegans as well.
Instant Knockout contains vitamins A, D, and E. These are a boon for your immune system and improve the condition of your skin.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for Instant Knockout Complete Vanilla-flavored shake (400 Calories):
2. HLTH Code Complete Meal (Best Choice for Weight Loss Journey)
Overall Score: 4.9
A runner can even be someone on the go surviving through busy days (I mean, give the busy folks some credit too). This is a perfect option for those who are in need of a healthy concoction to keep them on their toes even when they are too busy to have a proper meal.
The reviews are astounding when they talk about the taste of it. We have to give it to HLTH to capture our tastes even though they have only two flavors.
HLTH Code has no GMOs or other artificial additives. It is solely made up of an array of nutritious blends. Each time you have a shake, it gives you 27 grams of non-grainy Protein derived from whey, egg whites, and hydrolyzed grass-fed collagen.
The grass-fed collagens will improve your joint, cartilage, and bone health while keeping your skin pristine and glowing. A usual problem elders have is joint pains and other ailments that come with age, which may alleviate them by providing you with the right nutrients.
It also has a 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to Protein while including an array of 25 essential vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it includes an optimal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. The vitamins included range from A, B, B6, B12, C, D, E, to K.
HLTH Code Complete meals also have Folic acid, Zinc, Magnesium, and other ingredients to ensure a complete package. The Magnesium will keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for HLTH Code Complete Meal Chocolate Macadamia-flavored shake (400 Calories):
3. Ambronite Complete Meal Shake (2-In-1 Meal Replacement Shake)
Overall Score: 4.9
What if I tell you that there is a meal replacement shake that acts both as a plant-based meal shake and a green juice? Doesn’t it sound convenient? Ambronite Complete Meal Shake is a 2-in-1 that does just that.
It is packed in green, looks green, and is also vegan, which makes you feel like you are not straying off toward anything other than ‘greens.’ It is made up of 9 veggies, berries, and fruits, along with 29 food-based vitamins and minerals.
Ambronite Complete Meal Shake is free of many ingredients; dairy, wheat, rye, barley, artificial flavoring, and preservatives. Remember that it has no GMOs as well.
Each serving gives you 24 grams of plant-based Protein derived from oats, almonds, nutritional yeast, and greens.
They mention that this provides your body with a complete range of amino acids, including BCAAs, which promote muscle growth and increase metabolism.
A blend of prebiotics and fiber-rich carbs ensures that your insulin level is balanced. They are also inclusive of healthy fats and plant-based omega-3s.
These greens are the prime reason that facilitates; the alkalization of your body, strengthening of your bones, and improvements to your gut health.
Abstaining from dairy products, wheat, and GMOs, the Ambronite Balanced Meal Shake is powder-based. Although they have three flavors, there are reviews that this shake doesn’t taste as good, which is a slight deterrent for users with sensitive taste buds.
The ingredients also consist of blends of greens, berries, and Micro – phytonutrients too. These play a major role in ensuring that the body is alkalized, bones strengthened, and gut health is improved for the better.
Furthermore, your immunity and blood sugar and cholesterol levels are boosted.
Here’s some nutritional information and key facts for Ambronite Balanced Meal Shake Vanilla (400 Calories):
4. Kaged Clean Meal (Easily Absorbed and Easily Digestible)
Overall Score: 4.8
A perfect concoction for athletes to rely on is the Kaged Clean Meal, one of the best meal replacement shake.
All of the ingredients are tested by a 3rd party which reiterates the beneficial fact that it is safer for the users, both athletes, and non-athletes. This ensures that it is tested for banned substances for the safety of athletes by ‘Informed Sport.’
For athletes who are following either a keto or paleo diet, this one’s for you. Kaged is a perfect fit for both of those diet styles.
Kaged prides itself on abstaining from any form of MALTODEXTRIN, which may cause a spike in blood sugar levels due to the quick process during digestion. Therefore, Kaged is cautious about keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
This meal replacement shake is made up of real whole foods and 21+ vitamins and minerals, a surefire way to know that this meal replacement ensures that your health and digestion are at optimum levels.
Kaged includes 16g of Carbs derived from real food carbohydrate sources like organic quinoa and Swedish oats, providing your body with high-quality carbs.
These slow-burning carbs ensure that your energy is conserved and sustained. It allows you to keep on going even past your usual limit. This meal replacement shake is free of gluten and has no GMOs.
Another factor that plays a crucial role in an athlete’s or fitness enthusiast’s journey is the building of muscles. The 6.5 grams of BCAAs in each serving of this shake help muscle growth and increase one’s metabolism rate.
A special technology called the ioWhey™ Technology is used on their premium whey protein isolate, which increases a person’s essential amino acid absorption by 123% compared to regular whey.
This allows your body to digest, absorb and use up the Protein consumed efficiently.
Yes, the names of its flavors are straight out of a Café down the road vibes; Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Cake, and Snickerdoodle. Although it is limited to three, it tastes great.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for Kaged Clean Meal Chocolate Peanut Butter-flavored shake (260 Calories):
5. Kachava (Best Choice for Taste and Nutrition)
Overall Score: 4.8
Anyone who is planning to keep up their cardio schedule at the top of their game is in need of a convenient meal replacement shake suited for it; Kachava has got you covered in terms of that.
This meal replacement is perfect for vegans due to its plant-based ingredients and 85+ natural superfoods. It consists of ingredients like organic ginger, açai berry, organic maitake mushroom, spinach, flax seed, and other organic vegetable produce, to name a few.
The 25 grams protein blend derived from pea protein, sacha inchi, brown rice, amaranth, and quinoa ensures that you are both energized and also receive the nine essential amino acids your body needs.
A runner is someone who is in need of a consistent flow of energy without being burnt out at random intervals. Kachava covers this by keeping you full and sated without sudden bouts of hunger in between meals.
For optimum use of Kachava as a runner, it can be taken either as a pre-workout shake or a post-workout meal shake. This depends on your schedule and meal plans.
Taking this meal replacement shake an hour or so before your race practice or immediately after a session will keep you at the top of your game.
A reason that we are invested in running stems from the desire to lose weight through cardio exercise. A helpful hand towards that goal would come from this meal replacement due to its calorie-to-satiety ratio.
It is done by optimizing the Protein, fiber, and healthy fats included in the ingredients to control your quick bouts of hunger in between.
They come into the market with five flavors so that you can choose what suits you most. Nutritious yet tasty is what I would surmise of it. This shake is gluten-free, dairy-free, and even soy-free as well.
This shake makes it a value of theirs to ensure that it has no added preservatives, artificial flavors, colorings, or artificial sweeteners. It makes you wonder how it tastes good yet stays true to its nutritious and naturalness (I didn’t know that this was a word :D).
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for Kachava Vanilla-flavored shake (240 Calories):
6. Transparent Labs MRP (Cleanest and Most Fulfilling Shake)
Overall Score: 4.7
Transparent Labs MRP is one of the meal replacement shakes that ensures the quality is maintained even if it is used by busy folks who are rushing through the day. This implies to the literal runners as well.
This meal replacement provides you with energy to keep up your metabolism in the face of exercise by including slow-digesting complex carbohydrates and healthy Fats in it.
Through this, there is a conservation of energy, and it also provides your muscles with the right dose to keep building and maintaining them.
Transparent Labs strives to keep a natural profile, which means there are no chemical additives, soy protein, sugars, cheap “creamers,” or fillers. It is purely made using purely natural ingredients.
Furthermore, it has innovative Carb10® Pea Starch, TapiOK® organic tapioca maltodextrin, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), organic flaxseed, and oat bran fiber included in the ingredients.
The MCTs are a huge support to runners, as they promote weight loss and also put a stop to unnecessary bouts of cravings. This is a key to you because I believe at the end of the day, every runner is focused on reducing weight and increasing one’s stamina in the process.
Each serving of this meal replacement shake provides 24 grams of clean Protein that fuels muscle growth and growth and repair. This will give you the necessary building blocks for shaping your body according to your fitness plan.
And Transparent Labs MRP is free of artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners, and artificial preservatives. It is also easily made, and the shake is quite easily digestible as well.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for Transparent Labs MRP Chocolate-flavored shake (220 Calories):
7. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder (Top Pick for Both Internal and External Body)
Overall Score: 4.6
Orgain organic Plant-based protein powder fuels your body with the desirable amount of clean, organic nutrients with a complete amino acid profile.
If you are a vegan on the lookout for a vegan protein powder, this one is for you. It contains organic fruits and vegetables as well as other necessary nutrients to ensure that your body does not regret the meal you are replacing.
Although we are aware of what is used to make this protein powder, Orgain has a list of ingredients that they abstain from. This meal replacement is free of soy, free of dairy, lactose, and even gluten.
Each serving of this shake provides your body with 21 grams of Protein derived from a blend of organic pea protein, brown rice protein, and organic chia seed.
As runners, muscles are usually torn down and healed on a day-to-day basis, and this ensures that muscle repair and muscle growth are promoted.
Among many other meal replacement shakes in the market, Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder comes with a vast array of choices in terms of flavor. Even the choosiest one of us would find one suitable for them.
This meal replacement is a blessing for your taste buds, but the key point here is that they have no added sugars whatsoever. This means that you can enjoy them without the worry of spiking up your blood sugar level.
The best part is that this can be quickly made into a shake if you are on the go, and you can explore other methods of consumption if you have the time to spare. You are free to have them made into brownies or shakes (It doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying them).
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder Chocolate Creamy Fudge-flavored shake (250 Calories):
8. PhenQ Complete Meal Shake (Top Pick for Fat Burn and Digestion)
Overall Score: 4.5
If you are asking for another one of the best meal replacement shakes to assist you in your weight loss journey, PhenQ Complete Meal is the one for you. This meal replacement helps you shed those unwanted pounds and trim down your body through a fitness regime.
PhenQ Complete Meal Shake consists of 13 essential vitamins and 16g of whey protein per serving to help you replace a full meal. They utilize these ingredients to satiate you and control those cravings in between meals.
This meal replacement has a complete micronutrient blend with a rich profile of essential vitamins. This includes Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12.
Most of us have difficulty digesting these meal replacement shakes at times. But, to overcome this obstacle, PhenQ contains the Digezyme Enzyme Complex.
These digestive enzymes guarantee that all nutrients are absorbed and also break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to aid digestion.
The fat-burning metabolism is AMP-activated protein kinase, also known as AMPK in short. This is a unique enzyme that effectively targets and breaks down excess fats deposited around the body. You may call this a “fat-burning machine” for the work it does.
The only downside is that this natural switch slows down with age, but that’s where PhenQ comes in clutch. This shake rekindles these AMPKs to make them work to burn off those unnecessary fats and help you attain a healthy body.
This meal replacement supplement is gluten-free and also has no added sugars. But this shake is a perfect blend of taste that makes you want to drink it without grimacing like some in the market.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for PhenQ Complete Meal Shake Chocolate-flavored shake (180 Calories):
9. Lyfefuel Daily Essentials Shake (Best Choice for a Complete Nutrition Shake)
Overall Score: 4.4
A perfect combo for weight loss and consistent energy without feeling lethargic is Lyfefuel Daily Essentials Shake. This plant-based meal replacement is made up of 25 whole-food ingredients.
First and foremost, all the ingredients are checked and inspected by 3rd party facilities for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbial. Then they are processed accordingly.
The best thing about this meal replacement is that it has a drying process through which they remove water from the real food without diminishing its quality. This allows the shake to retain all the nutrients from the ingredients.
Therefore, this shake allows your body to digest and absorb all the nutrients. The older we grow, the more conscious we become of the world. Knowing that these ingredients are sourced from deserving places plays a hand in uplifting the world.
The plant protein blend, along with prebiotic fiber and flaxseed, allows you to build lean muscles, get a hold of your hunger and improve your body’s metabolism. Having stronger hair and nails as a perk is something that encourages us (aren’t I right?).
The ten super greens included ensuring that your immunity is at its peak while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Unnecessary spikes in blood sugar levels won’t sit well with the elderly.
Another important blend of Lylefuel is the Super-berry blend which contains strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, tart cherries, and elderberries.
This blend increases your cellular generation and metabolism while providing you glowing skin (No, we are not implying Melissandre’s kinda glowing over here).
It is also supported by a digestive blend made up of prebiotics, probiotics & enzymes that enhance your nutrient absorption, improved immunity, and optimize digestion. Bowel issues will be something that you will NOT HAVE TO WORRY about with Lylefuel Shake.
A downside might be the less-than-desirable options in flavors. At least the HLTH tasted too good for a limited flavor options meal replacement.
Here’s the nutritional information and key facts for LyfeFuel Daily Essential Shake Vanilla-flavored shake (110 Calories):
When Should Runners Consume Meal Replacement Shakes?
Now that you know more about all these shakes, you might have difficulty deciding when you’ll need them. Well, there are a lot of situations when runners can drink meal replacement shakes. Let’s cover a few of these now:
When You Need a Quick Dose of Nutrition?
Preparing a whole meal for yourself after a long day at work can be a bit tiring. That’s why runners might not get the time to get their daily nutrition, even when they want to. If that’s the case with you, meal replacement shakes are the perfect options.
These usually come in powdered form and can even be ready to drink. All it takes is a few moments to prepare them for use and chug them up, giving you a good chunk of your daily nutrition.
It’s a convenient and quick way to get that extra nutrition and energy you desperately need as a runner throughout the day.
Perfect Breakfast for Runners
Many people prefer to run before breakfast as it can be a refreshing thing to do during the early morning. If the same can be said for you, meal replacement shakes are a great way to boost productivity.
If you combine these shakes with your breakfast after running, you’ll be sure to get the benefits that your body needs for maximum results and positive growth.
It’ll help you see your running efforts and give you the energy to continue onwards throughout the rest of the day.
For Help With Building Muscle
You can’t build muscles if you don’t consume enough nutrients. Protein, healthy carbs, fats, and more are all crucial pieces of the puzzle. Meal replacement shakes combine all of them and make them fit, helping your body grow better.
If you want running to show its positive effects on you, nutrition is vital. So, consider drinking these shakes around your running routines to give your body the help it needs. They’re an ideal option whenever you want to cut down on weight and grow some muscles.
When You Need Cheaper Alternatives
If you want to make ends meet and aren’t fond of spending lots of money every day on an excellent nutritious meal, meal replacement shakes are a fantastic thing to try.
They’re relatively cheaper and can fill you up just as well while potentially offering even more benefits than a full meal.
They’re a cost-effective option that most can easily fit into their diet. So, if you want to save some bucks every day, try these out.
Should You Drink Meal Replacements Before or After Running?
There are advantages to drinking these both before and after running. At the end of the day, the answer depends on what time you plan to run.
For example, it’s better to drink them afterward if you plan to run around breakfast time. Otherwise, you’ll be too tired at the start of the day.
Alternatively, it can be better to drink them before running if you plan to do so in the afternoon or evening. That way, the meal replacement shake can give you energy and help you with your activities throughout the day, including running.
That’s our list of the best meal replacement shakes for runners and all the necessary details. Now that you know more about them, you can use the information to choose the best shake for yourself to help with your everyday running routines.
Our recommended pick is Instant Knockout Complete because of its unique ingredients and nutrition-dense nature. But, all of the others on the list are great in their way. At the end of the day, as long as you choose one of them, you’ll be satisfied with the results.
Remember everything we’ve mentioned, and it’ll help you lots when it comes to pairing meal replacement shakes with running!
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