How To Choose A Meal Replacement Shake? What To Look For?

How to Choose a Meal Replacement Shake? What to Look For?

Last Updated on April, 2024

Busy schedules are just the absolute worst. You don’t get time to meet with friends, talk to people, or enjoy the little things. Some people even have to skip one meal or more because of how busy they are. That’s going a bit too far, though. 

Skipping meals is never a viable option for anyone on a healthy diet. That’s why we have meal replacement shakes to help out. No matter how busy someone is throughout their day, they can’t be too busy to prepare meal replacements.

These drinks have many benefits, such as providing essential nutrients and helping with weight loss. If you aren’t familiar with these supplements and don’t know how to choose a meal replacement shake to try in the first place, keep reading to learn every important detail.

What are Meal Replacement Shakes?

meal replacement shakes on the table

For the odd few that might not be familiar with the concept, meal replacement shakes are supplements that help you maintain a healthy diet. They’re very similar to protein shakes. But, a big difference between them is that a healthy meal replacement has a lot more nutritional value than protein shakes.

They provide essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, help you maintain a high-protein diet, dietary fiber, and many other nutrients, unlike protein shakes. In addition, they can help with losing weight, muscle gain, and replacing meals. 

This is all because of how nutritionally dense and filling they are while offering fewer calories than some “light” snacks would.

In short, a meal replacement shake is the perfect “on-the-go” meal. Most of these shakes help with body weight management, such as helping you lose weight or helping you with weight maintenance.

Some are also meant to help counteract lousy eating habits or prevent blood sugar spikes.

Major Things to Look Out for Before Buying the Best Meal Replacement Shakes

What makes choosing the perfect meal replacement shake for yourself so Complicated? First, there are all these different brands and variations of meal replacements to watch out for. Then you have the flavors and certain other things to keep into account.

This can seem pretty confusing at first, making it difficult to get a suitable meal replacement shake for yourself. But, we’ve done the hard part for you by doing all the research. So, it’s just up to you to read through our findings and use our tips to get the best meal replacement shakes possible.

1. Figure Out Your Needs

To choose meal replacement shakes, you need to figure out what you’re looking for in the first place.

To do this, you have to take two things into account. The main thing is your goals. 

Do you want to lose weight? Do you want something that’ll help maintain weight? Do you want something even more nutritious than an authentic meal, or do you want something lighter? Do you want something that can help you replace one or two meals a day or just something to use as a healthier alternative for protein drinks?

bulk body man and a women looking weight loss

Once you have the answer to this, move on to the next thing; evaluating your body’s needs. You’ll want to avoid anything you’re allergic to while also avoiding ingredients that might be harmful in other ways. 

This includes keeping into account your preferences as well. For example, a vegan will want plant-based protein other than dairy-based products. Speaking of ingredients, this brings us to our next point.

2. Healthy Ingredients

We’ve already mentioned allergens. But, they aren’t the only things that can harm you. There are also other ingredients used in meal replacements that might be harmful if consumed regularly. The most significant example of this is artificial ingredients.

Artificial sweeteners and flavors are used very commonly inside meal replacement shakes, and you’ll find them in just about any protein shake. These are good for weight loss and have certain advantages to them. Unfortunately, however, absolutely none of these advantages are worth it.

Artificial additives in a protein shake and meal replacement shake alike have terrible effects on the body. You’ll indeed run into various issues if you consume them too often. 

Healthy ingredients of meal replacement shakes

So it’s better to get a meal replacement without artificial sweeteners.

3. Nutritional Value

If you’re going to replace a meal, replace it the right way. A healthy meal consists of protein, healthy fats, healthy carbs, the right amount of micronutrients, and more.

So that’s what you’ll want from your meal replacements.

All you have to do is look at the nutrition label. From this little sticker that comes with each meal replacement shake, you can easily tell what each one has to offer.

That way, you can quickly tell which one offers the most protein, which one is unhealthy, which one can help with the specific purpose, and more details.

Nutritional Value

Count the calories, the carbs, the protein, the fats, and every other detail right down to a tee. Then, look online for recommendations based on the specific diet you’re going for, and then choose a meal replacement that’ll help you go according to those recommendations.

Meal replacements with high protein and generally low fats and carbs are the most popular option for most. This kind of nutrition gives these convenient supplements the advantage over grabbing a quick bite to eat from some nearby fast food joint.

4. Taste

Now, here’s something that many people tend to forget while searching for meal replacements; taste. That’s a huge mistake, honestly.

You will be drinking these supplements regularly, and making sure they taste good is a big step towards ensuring you stay committed.

If you get something bland or flavorless, you’ll likely grow tired after a while and want to stop drinking. This can mess up your diet, which is a no-go.

There are so many flavor options out there. Indeed you can find one that suits your taste buds. 

a human having meal shake and showing thumbs up

From chocolate to berries, there’s every option you could ask for. There are even fruit-flavored, vanilla-flavored, and other delicious options as well. So go looking for any specific flavor you like most, and you’re sure to find something you’ll love.

Related: How to Make a Meal Replacement Shake Tastier?

A Few Benefits of Meal Replacement Shakes

Here are some benefits you can expect to get from meal replacements if you choose according to the details we’ve shared:

  • Of course, the most significant benefit is the nutrition in these supplements. You’ll be able to get a lot of the macronutrients and micronutrients you need in your daily diet. From protein and fats to vitamins and minerals, they have lots of helpful goodies. This makes them exceptional for maintaining good diets.
  • Since they have so much nutrition, meal replacements have tons of positive effects on the body. The protein in them is excellent for building muscle and it’s also excellent for repairing/strengthening muscle tissue. The fiber helps your gut health, and healthy fats help your body grow healthy.
  • One of the main benefits is weight management and reduced body fat. Drinking these shakes can reduce body fat. And that’s the main reason why most people prefer these shakes. Depending on the shake you buy, you can also use them to gain weight or maintain it.
  • One of their most significant advantages is how easy they are to make. We mentioned how busy schedules could sometimes lead to overworking and skipping meals at the very start. Since you can prepare meal replacement shakes in moments and drink them within minutes, there’s no need to do that any longer.
  • Speaking of preparation, keep in mind that they save you from the hassle of having to prepare/get one meal. That’s especially helpful after a long day at work when you want to get into bed and relax or when you’re late for a meeting and in a hurry.

How to Use Meal Replacement Shakes?

a human preparing meal shake

To get all these benefits from a meal replacement shake, you don’t just need to know how to buy one. You also need to know how to use one.

Many people think it’s as easy as adding some powder to milk and gulping it up. That’s true, but it’s also a vast oversimplification. There are lots of things to watch out for.

The main thing to keep in mind is when you’re drinking them. You can’t have a meal replacement at any time you want. That might make you skip out on important meals because you’re not hungry enough for them and can mess up your diet. 

The easiest way to prevent this is to have a set time every day when you might drink one. Whether that time is during breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. is up to you.

Additionally, make sure that you limit your intake. While they’re nutritionally dense, these drinks don’t have everything you need. A balanced diet is essential, so don’t just keep drinking meal replacements. Stick to one or two at most a day.

As for the rest, the specific meal replacement shake you buy should be able to tell you more. Most manufacturers offer manual or helpful tips with their shakes that cover more specific things you’ll need to know depending on the product, so read those.


Now that we’ve covered what you need to know about choosing meal replacement shakes, keep that knowledge in mind while you’re out shopping. These are the exact things that help us when choosing our meal replacement shakes, and they can help you too!

If you’re a picky eater and want to know which meal replacements taste the best, take a look at our list of the best meal replacement shakes to learn more about our suggested options. You’ll find every specific detail you could want there.

Before you go, leave a comment if you have any questions or thoughts after reading this. We’ll take a look at them and try to help accordingly. 


There is no definitive answer to which meal is best to replace with a shake; it depends on the individual’s schedule and needs.

Yes, there are side effects to drinking meal replacement shakes, including nausea, fatigue, and weakness if consumed in excess. Additionally, side effects can vary depending on the ingredients, such as allergens.

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband whom she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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