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Ranking the best meal replacement shakes of 2023

Written by John Davis

Last updated: October 12, 2022

Do you find yourself resorting to fast food and unhealthy snacks when you’re on the go? If so, try a meal replacement shake instead. They’re a healthier way to get a complete meal without having to cook or clean up.

Whether you’re too “on-the-go” for a real lunch or are looking for a one-stop solution to weight loss, a meal replacement shake is a great alternative to unhealthy foods. Instead of worrying about how to create a balanced meal without overdoing calories, you can just down a shake and be sure it’s going to fuel your body, and help you stay (or get) lean.

Our research team ranked the best meal replacement shakes below:

Why You Should Trust Us

    Our advisory panel and our research team rank the best health products and supplements based on performance, label accuracy, and the efficacy of the ingredients in the products.

At A Glance
our top picks for meal replacement shakes
  1. Best Overall: Exante
  2. Best For Women: ORGANIFI Complete Protein
  3. Best For Men: Ample Meal
  4. For Weight Loss: Vega One All-In-One
  5. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal


Last updated: October 12, 2022
Meal replacements considered: 20
Hours of research: 48
Experts reviewed: 14
Scientific papers referenced: 30

1. Exante
  • Delicious
  • High in protein and multivitamins
  • Allows you to control your hunger and build muscle
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2. ORGANIFI Complete Protein
  • Improves digestion
  • Controls cravings
  • Powers you with protein
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3. Ample Meal
  • Creamy and frothy balanced drink
  • Combines protein, fats, fiber, organic greens, and probiotics
  • Healthiest on the list
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4. Vega One All-In-One
  • 100% vegan pea and hemp protein
  • Plant-based
  • Meets 50% of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals from food powders
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5. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
  • Vegan
  • Certified organic
  • Packed with 100% of your B12 needs
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6. Orgain Organic Protein
  • Derived from peas and hemp
  • Tastes sweet but it’s low in sugar
  • Thick, creamy texture
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7. Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein and Vitamin
  • 100% of your needs for many vitamins
  • Provides digestive health support & immune health support
  • Contains a nutrient blend that address the key nutritional needs of women
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8. Labrada Lean Body
  • Meal replacement solution
  • Targeted for the fitness enthusiast
  • Fiber content is pretty good
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9. Fit & Lean
  • Provides more potassium and fiber
  • All natural ingredients
  • Boosts metabolism
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10. Soylent
  • Food replacement
  • Scientifically constructed
  • Helps you get full and stay full
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1. Exante

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Exante has created the best meal replacement shake for most people because it’s high in protein, packed full of multivitamins, tastes delicious, and will leave you feeling full for hours.

For simple and convenient weight-loss, Exante includes all-natural slendesta for 3+ hours hunger blocking plus 26 vitamins & minerals.

The result: A high protein meal that will boost your metabolism and give you more energy.

(It’s also got the perfect ratio of proteins, carbs, fiber and fats)

This allows you to control your hunger and build muscle.

Like eating a really healthy meal stacked with multivitamins, but on-the-go.

(Plus it’s a delicious, creamy drink…so no “deprivation” feelings)’s #1-rated meal replacement shake.

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2. ORGANIFI Complete Protein

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Note: we reached out to Organifi and they were nice enough to hook us up with an exclusive coupon for our readers: use coupon code BN15 at checkout to get an additional 15% off your total purchase.

Organifi complete protein is a fully balanced organic meal replacement designed to improve digestion, control cravings, and power you with protein all in one supplement.

It’s made with organic pea protein, so it’s an ideal choice for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. It has Quinoa for flavonoids and added protein.  Pumpkin seeds and coconut are added to act as an appetite suppressant and provide magnesium, amino acids, iron, and fiber. Whole food vitamins and digestion enzymes to ensure that you not only get the best ingredients but that your body can make the most of everything.

It has only 2 grams of sugar, it’s instead sweetened naturally with monk fruit and vanilla bean. It’s organic, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, keto-friendly, and vegan-friendly.

It’s a great meal replacement that will keep your body running at peak performance all day to help you either lose weight or simply get in a quick meal.

3. Ample Meal

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Ample is a creamy (and delightfully frothy) balanced drink for the healthy on-the-goers.

Ample combines protein, fats, fiber, organic greens, and probiotics for an all-in-one meal replacement shake.

It tastes a bit earthy, but if you’re all right with that, it’s probably the healthiest on the list.

Made from real foods. 25 g of protein per serving, and only 4 grams of sugar.

A top 3 recommendation, for sure.

4. Vega One All-In-One

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Vega One is the ultimate plant-based, clean-ingredient choice.

It provides 20 grams of hemp and pea protein plus six grams of fiber, including the prebiotic-rich fiber chicory root inulin, and only one gram of sugar.

This focused and simple formulation makes Vega One a solid choice.

5. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal

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Garden of Life offers a raw, vegan, certified organic meal replacement shake with its hallmark 44-superfood blends mixed in.

Each 115-calorie serving is packed with 100% of your B12 needs and 20 grams of protein, making it a perfect choice for vegetarians and vegans.

The low caloric content and added fiber make it a great meal replacement for weight loss, too.

6. Orgain Organic Protein

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Orgain is a good option if your normal go-to meals are weak in the fiber or protein. With pea protein, hemp protein, chia seeds, inulin, and rosemary extract, Orgain pumps in some plant power to boost your overall health.

Thanks to its all-natural creamer base, it blends up particularly well, either with water or milk or a milk substitute, making it ideal for shakes and smoothies.

7. Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein and Vitamin

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Nature’s Bounty is another in the “protein powder plus a multivitamin” genre, meeting 100% of your needs for many vitamins and using soy and whey protein for nutrients.

However, the ingredients don’t go above and beyond just checking boxes on the nutrition label. It’s okay for meals here and there, but it’s a bit lacking in substance when it comes to everyday use. 

8. Labrada Lean Body

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Labrada has a careful balance of amino acids and delivers some of the most effective protein sources (whey protein isolate and concentrate and milk protein isolate).

The fiber content is pretty good, with 7 grams per serving, but it’s a little disappointing to see “corn syrup solids” (read: sugar!) high up in the ingredients list.

The sugar content offsets some of the benefits of the high fiber content, which pushes it further down in the rankings.

9. Fit & Lean

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Fit & Lean has everything from superfood powders to weight loss supplements like garcinia cambogia, plus a protein blend from multiple different protein sources in each two scoop, 140 calorie serving.

However, its inclusion of ingredients like sucralose and acesulfame potassium lands it lower in the rankings.

Higher-ranked competitors lean on all-natural non-caloric sweeteners, and aren’t as bloated with additives. 

10. Soylent

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Soylent promises not just meal replacement, but food replacement.

However, for weight loss, it’s a bit carb- and sugar-heavy.

Soylent is higher in calories than other meal replacements (at 400 calories per bottle), but lacks fruit and vegetable ingredients and is far too light on the fiber content.

Despite its popularity, it’s hard to rank this meal replacement much higher. 

Category winners

Best meal replacement shake overall: Exante

Exante takes meal replacements to the next level by bolstering its excellent protein and micronutrient content with powerful bonus ingredients like sledesta, which give this meal replacement an unparalleled ability to make you feel full.

Best meal replacement shake for weight loss: Vega One

If you are swapping out a low-quality lunch or breakfast with a meal replacement shake to lose weight, Vega One is a great choice thanks to its high fiber content and its near-zero sugar content. With plenty of vitamins and minerals, you won’t be lacking when it comes to micronutrients, either.

Best meal replacement shake for weight gain: Orgain Organic Protein

If you are trying to gain weight, you want high-quality protein that’s both healthy and palatable. Orgain wins in both departments, delivering high-quality plant-based protein from multiple sources, while using Stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners to avoid the chalky taste you get from lower-quality meal replacement shakes.  

Best meal replacement shake for women: Organifi

Organifi is vegan-friendly, low in sugar, and a great source of both vitamins and minerals. It’s a great choice for women who want to replace a meal, but don’t want to skimp on nutritional quality.

Best meal replacement shake for men: Ample Meal

Men are prone to snacking on unhealthy foods if they skip meals, which is why Ample Meal is such a great meal replacement shake for men—it delivers a high dose of protein alongside organic greens and probiotics to boost the overall quality of your diet. 

Best meal replacement shake with protein: Organifi

Organifi’s plant-based protein is a great fit for just about everyone, and thanks to its ultra-low sugar content and use of all-natural ingredients for flavoring, it’s our favorite pick for protein-focused meal replacement shakes. 

Who should buy a meal replacement shake?

Meal replacement shakes are great choices for two categories of people.

People trying to lose weight. Are you looking to lose weight, but having having a tough time with healthy food choices? If so, you’re a great candidate for a meal replacement shake.

By providing a balanced source of macronutrients as well as micronutrients, you can just swap out a meal every day that you have a hard time eating healthy food at for a meal replacement shake.

Breakfast and lunch are prime examples—work schedules can make it difficult to get a high-quality breakfast or lunch, so many people resort to processed foods, which are high in sugar, low in fiber, and typically have lots of refined carbohydrates.

People who need convenient, healthy meals when they’re on the go. Travel can make healthy eating a real pain, so packing a meal replacement shake can be a real lifesaver.

Thanks to the balance of both micro and macronutrients in a good meal replacement shake, you can feel energized and full throughout the day, even if you can’t find the time to cook a healthy meal.

How we ranked

When ranking the best meal replacement shakes, we focused on six major criteria:

No sugary fakes: First and foremost, our meal replacement shakes had to be a true meal replacement, not just a sugary drink.

We discounted anything that was too high in sugar and too low in more sophisticated ingredients like high-quality protein and fiber.

Meal replacement shakes like SlimFast Original didn’t make the cut for this reason: way too much sugar, and almost no protein or fiber.

A real meal, not a watered-down drink: We next eliminated products that didn’t provide enough substance for a real meal replacement.

Options like Cute Meal Replacement Shakes, which have very low caloric content, won’t be filling enough to act as a true meal replacement. While low caloric intake is clearly a goal for weight loss, you won’t be able to skate by with a lunch of only a hundred calories—chances are you’ll end up overeating at your next meal, or snacking between meals.

Natural ingredients only: After this, we cut products that relied too heavily on artificial flavoring and coloring. Given how many top-notch products there are on the market that rely primarily on natural ingredients, there’s no real excuse anymore, other than cutting corners, for heavy reliance on synthetic ingredients. Some popular products, like FitMiss Delight, didn’t make the cut for this reason.

High-quality protein content: protein has been scientifically proven to be a far more effective appetite suppressant and thermogenic than fat or carbohydrates.

These two properties make protein ideal for weight loss and for suppressing hunger. We followed specific recommendations from nutrition research on ideal protein intake for optimal weight loss and appetite control.

Solid fiber content: Fiber also has a satiety-inducing effect, so we sought out meal replacement shakes that used high-quality sources of fiber to keep you feeling full for hours. 

Broad-spectrum micronutrient content: If a meal replacement shake is going to stand in for a healthy meal, it’d better deliver a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. That’s why we only kept products that kept their vitamin and mineral content high.


Q: What should you look for in a good meal replacement shake?

A: There are a few primary components that make a high-quality meal replacement shake.

The first thing to look for is its protein content. Is it high enough? Aim for at least ten grams, and ideally more. 

Second, keep the sugar content low. Cheaper meal replacement shakes are little more than a multivitamin in a milkshake, with loads of sugar and very little else in the way of caloric content.

These will likely lead to weight gain, not weight loss. Keep the sugar content below ten grams.

Third, look for good sources of dietary fiber—you’ll notice that our top ranked meal replacement shakes have a good chunk of fiber added to improve their satiety-inducing effects and slow the rate at which your body absorbs the caloric content of the meal replacement shake.

Finally, make sure your meal replacement shake has a solid amount of micronutrients like B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.

If you are replacing a meal, you need to make sure you still get the essential nutrients you would have gotten from regular food.

Q: What is the best meal replacement shake for diabetics?

A: For diabetics, the sugar and carbohydrate content are going to be critical components. To keep your blood sugar levels under control, you want a meal replacement shake high in fiber and with very limited amount of sugar.

Vega One and Exante both shine in this regard. Both of these meal replacement shakes have three grams of sugar or less per serving.

Of course, if you are prescription medication for diabetes (or anything else, for that matter), it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor first.

Q: What is the best meal replacement shake for a woman?

A: Women may want a slightly lower caloric content in their meal replacement shakes, and a focus on nutrients that are important for women’s health, like folate and other B-vitamins, as well as calcium and vitamin D. In this respect,

Organifi, our pick for women, is a great choice thanks to its high calcium, vitamin D, and B6 and B12 content. 

Q: What is the healthiest raw meal replacement shake?

A: From a raw nutrition perspective, we love Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal. The vast majority of the ingredients are organic, and moreover, all of the micronutrients that are included come directly from fruit and vegetable extracts.

So, instead of synthetic vitamins and minerals, you get an organic blend of spinach, beet, broccoli, carrot, and much more.

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The best strategy for using meal replacement shakes for weight loss is to replace one to two meal per day with a meal replacement shake, and choose the one you tend to eat most poorly at: it’s probably going to be either breakfast or lunch.

Choose one of our top-ranked meal replacement shakes, which provide a solid amount of protein and fiber, without overloading you on sugar.

These types of formulations will have the biggest effects on suppressing appetite and increasing energy expenditure, and with a product that has adequate micronutrient content, you won’t be missing out on any essential components of overall daily nutrition.

For BodyNutrition’s #1-rated meal replacement shake, click here.


John Davis