What to Look for in an Effective and Safe Meal Replacement Shake

by | Apr 9, 2020 | Last updated Feb 28, 2022

Author: Mary Kate Murphy

Experienced protein drinker or novice, we’ve got the breakdown of what you should look for in your next meal replacement, protein shake. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a scientist to know the research behind what makes a quality protein shake versus a “run of the mill” protein shake — we’ve got that covered

Before we get into the nit and gritty of what to look for, let’s first start with the benefits of drinking a protein shake versus making yourself a meal. The “no brainer”: meal replacement shakes save you time in the kitchen. They also can take out the guesswork as far as meal planning and getting in a certain amount of protein, minerals and vitamins because many meal replacements already come with these properties. It also makes it easier to plan other meals when you know one is already taken care of! Convenience and saving time can be priceless for many. So while we don’t think anyone should rely on meal replacement shakes alone (that’s probably not sustainable!), for some people, incorporating meal replacement shakes into their weekly menu can be helpful to nourish themselves in a quick, convenient way.

When it comes to choosing your next meal replacement protein shake, don’t be dissuaded with fun marketing ploys to grab your attention based off of the look or the advertisement. It’s important to look into the following when looking for your next meal replacement protein drink.

  1. Healthy number of calories that fits your budget. If you’re aiming for a 1200 calorie range, then drinking a meal replacement shake that is less than 200 calories may make it more challenging to fulfill your budget. It is effective to look at the calories per serving and make sure it aligns with your daily calorie budget. Bear in mind that if your meal replacement shake is too low in calories, then you may be more prone to overeat at your next snack or meal time.
  2. Protein content. Protein has been known to be a far more effective appetite suppressant than fats and carbohydrates. The amount of protein in your meal replacement shake can play a role in keeping you more satisfied longer.
  3. A range of micronutrients. If you’re going to be replacing a whole meal with this shake, then it’s important that the shake consists of healthy fats and complex carbs as well, since these nutrients are required for our bodies. 
  4. Amount of added sugars. Take a peak and see how many sugars are added and in many cases, some of these added sugars are artificial. No matter what your health goal is, having additional sugars in your diet is not the best option.

It’s also important to ask yourself, what are my expectations with this meal replacement shake? Am I looking at this meal replacement shake to help me lose weight, gain weight or to fuel my body with the right nutrients? Take this into consideration when choosing one, and remember no one food or meal is the magic pill! Building healthy, sustainable habits is the best way to reach your goals long-term.