Meal replacement shakes are increasingly becoming a great dietary tool to help people lose weight. As a certified fitness trainer, for a long time, I didn’t recommend these to my clients as they often lacked essential nutrients.
While things have changed for the better, many vegans are still struggling to find shakes that are both plant-based and contain the right macro and micronutrients to support weight loss.
After several months of extensive testing, we have managed to come up with a list of the best vegan meal replacement shakes that might just help you avoid all those crappy ones out there.
The Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes
- Best Overall Vegan Meal Replacement Shake: Instant Knockout Complete
- Cheapest Vegan Meal Replacement Shake: Garden Of Life
- Best Vegan Shake With Vitamins and Probiotics: Ample Meal Shake
- Best Vegan Zero Sugar Meal Replacement Shake: Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake
- Best Vegan Nutritional Shake for Weight Loss: Instant Knockout Complete
- Best Natural Meal Replacement Shake for Vegans: Instant Knockout Complete
- Best Organic Shake for Vegans: Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake
- Best Gluten-Free Nutritional Shake for Vegans: Garden Of Life
- Best Tasting Vegan Meal Replacement Shake: Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake
- Best Low-Carb Nutritional Shake for Vegans: Organifi Complete Protein Meal
Our Top Plant-Based Meal Replacement Shakes (December 2023)
1 - Instant Knockout Complete (Best Overall, Natural & for Weight Loss)
We love Instant Knockout Complete because it covers 100% of your daily nutrition. When I took Instant Knockout during the testing phase, I personally felt an energy burst and the feeling of fullness which helped power me through my workouts.
It only boasts 400 calories per serving but is high in protein and packed with 26 critical vitamins and minerals for fat loss and muscle gain.
Complete uses plant-based protein and other vegan-friendly ingredients like golden flax seed. These nutrients allow you to remain energized while suppressing your appetite.
The best part about the latter is the cholesterol control, allowing you to maintain a healthy heart.
One notable advantage of plant-based proteins is their superior environmental friendliness when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions compared to animal-based proteins.
- All-natural ingredients packed with the most nutrients
- Slow-release carbs for whole-day energy
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for cardiovascular health
- Only one flavor (even if it tastes great)
2 - Orgain Organic Nutrition Shake (Best Tasting & Zero Sugar)
Orgain Organic has been one of our favorite companies for various supplements. I still remember the first time I took this shake after a morning run, it was quite refreshing, and I didn't need to snack until lunch.
What I love most about this brand is the transparency and integrity in its labeling. We confirmed with our nutritionist that indeed, the shake did not contain sugar at all. This advantage is great for people with diabetes and other sugar-related issues.
As a ready-to-drink protein shake, I like that it fits into my bag so that I can drink it when it suits me. It beats having to prepare a protein shake before I leave home in the morning. It gives me more energy to sustain my daily activities.
Check out our review of Orgain Organic protein powder here.
- Comes in a pre-mixed bottle making it convenient for on the go
- It’s the only zero-sugar product we could find
- There are good discounts available with subscriptions
- Not dairy-free but gluten-free and 99.7% lactose-free
You can choose from four flavors namely Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Sweet Vanilla Bean, Strawberries & Cream, and Iced Cafe Mocha. They all taste good, but I tend to get bored with the same taste all the time so I usually buy several flavors.
It's also gluten-free, GMO-free, and soy-free, making it a perfect meal replacement for a vegan diet.
3 - Ample Meal Shake: High-Protein, Low-Carb (Best With Vitamins and Probiotics)
Ample meal shake is one of my go-to shakes on those busy mornings when I have back-to-back client sessions.
While it usually takes a UN resolution for our team to agree on supplements, it only took a few days and a vote from our dietitian to come to an agreement that Ample is the meal replacement drink we will all recommend to our vegan clients.
First of all, Ample comes in large enough portions to actually become a meal replacement for breakfast or light lunch.
And many people commented that the 20 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving might be the reason it keeps them full .
- 11 grams of fiber per serving to help with digestion
- Contains vitamins A, B12, and C to specifically benefit vegans
- Provides an organic pea and rice protein blend to cover the full range of essential amino acids
- Added probiotics may help balance your gut flora
- Gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free
- It’s not the cheapest option available
4 - Organifi Complete Protein Meal Replacement (Best Low-Carb)
This was the other product in our hot debate, and it would be our top organic choice for a meal replacement shake to lose weight.
I tried it in a week-long cleanse and loved its delightful taste and the energy it provided me to stay active and focused.
It is also formulated with essential vitamins and minerals that some vegans could become deficient in.
This is also one of the favored products for some of my keto clients as it contains MCT oils that may help boost your ketosis .
- Low in fat and carbohydrates to not mess up your diet
- Covers the most important vitamins and minerals
- Contains MCTs that may help with mental energy and clarity
- Currently only available in vanillap
One of the main reasons we bumped it down to second place is that the flavor choices are a little bit limited. It only has a vanilla flavor, which can still be a good addition to a meal replacement shake.
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5 - Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake (Best Organic)
Vega One claims to be one of the few available meal replacement shakes that contain only organic and essential nutrients. During the testing phase, I felt a noticeable difference in my recovery period and energy levels after incorporating it into my post-workout routine.
I like that it covers many of the important nutrients like B6 and B12 that many of my vegan clients often need to supplement.
Along with a good dose of plant-based protein powder, this vegan meal replacement shake is a great source of digestive enzymes that can enhance your nutrient absorption speed. This contributes to enhanced gut health and supports a well-balanced digestive system.
- One of the few all-organic options available
- Offers a good selection of important micronutrients to become a good meal replacement
- Perfect for a vegan diet
- Contains probiotics and fiber to help with digestion
- It’s not the cheapest option
It has a good range of micro and macronutrients which makes it an excellent meal replacement shake to lose weight.
Just keep in mind that because it’s based only on organic ingredients, you will need to pay more than most other products, but your body might just thank you for that.
6 - Garden Of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement (Cheapest & Gluten Free)
I've always been wary of additives in meal replacement shakes, but I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried Garden Of Life Raw Organic powder. Not only does it offer quality protein, but it also eliminates unwanted sugars and additives that are often found in shakes.
By combining pea and brown rice protein, Garden of Life has also ensured that your body may get the full range of essential amino acids to support weight loss and muscle recovery.
We found that Garden Of Life works well as a protein powder shake, but also as one of the best vegan meal replacements for smaller snacks.
- Very low in fat per serving making it a heart-healthy option
- Low net carbohydrates as it contains 7 grams of fiber
- Contains 20 grams of pea and brown rice protein for balanced amino acids
- Probably more suitable as a snack replacement
7 - PlantFusion Complete Meal
I was expecting just another vegan protein powder when I first tried PlantFusion, but there's more to it than meets the eye.
First, the inclusion of organic superfoods not only gives you an energy boost on a lazy day, it can also enhance your immune health significantly.
I also liked that it comes with 20 grams of protein per serving, which is a suitable option for non-vegan athletes who are looking for more diverse protein sources in their diet.
- Uses only natural flavors for a more enjoyable shake
- Claims to contain less than 1g of sugar to not mess with your diet
- Offers a lot of important vitamins and minerals for vegans, including B12
- Only available in chocolate and vanilla flavors
The only improvement I would suggest is a wider range of flavors, but that’s just because I'm a pain in the backside when it comes to needing different flavors.
8 - Soylent Meal Replacement Shake
Soylent is another Meal Replacement Shake product that stood out in our tests. With 400 calories per serving, this product is suitable for anyone looking for a go-to shake in those hectic mornings when a full breakfast is not available.
What we liked most about it is that along with a good macro balance, it might provide a good boost in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
It happens too often that we see clients deficient in nutrients because their meal replacement shake doesn’t make up for the food they aren’t eating.
It’s also not a powder but a ready-to-drink meal replacement shake, which is convenient if you plan to drink it later in the day.
- Pre-mixed shake to make it more convenient on the go
- Claims to have slow-releasing carbohydrates to avoid blood glucose spikes
- Many positive comments that it may help with hunger cravings
- It does contain some artificial flavors
The one thing I don’t like about it is that it does list some artificial flavors on the label. It can be a great addition to a vegan diet.
9 - Complete Start Meal Replacement Shake
We got a good few positive comments about this plant-based protein powder and meal replacement shake, with folks saying that it seemed to keep them full for longer.
With 20 grams of protein per serving, it should give you what your body needs to help with muscle recovery and building.
One thing we did notice is that you might notice a slight stevia aftertaste, but it doesn’t last too long.
- One of the better options with 12g of fiber to make you feel full
- A blender bottle is included
- Seems to mix easily with water or plant milk
- Seems to have a bit of an aftertaste
10 - Oxyfresh Pea Protein
This meal replacement powder is mainly based on pea protein isolate as protein powder source, which has been shown to be rich in arginine . For athletes, this could be a good reason as arginine plays a role in muscle building.
Unlike other vegan protein products, we saw a lot of comments online that this pea protein surprisingly easy to mix. As a result, you shouldn’t end up with a lumpy mess.
That may also explain why this pea protein powder seems to be quite popular with families as well.
- Contains 20 g of organic pea protein, which might also be enough for athletes
- Many reports that the pea protein mixes easily into a smooth shake
- Suitable for kids so might be a good option families
- This pea protein product contains a fair bit of sugar
It also includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens, and any other leafy greens you can imagine.
11 - Huel Vegan Powdered Meal
Huel has created a protein powder that is also aimed at replacing meals rather than snacks with 400 calories per serving.
This also delivers 30 grams of protein, which should be enough for the majority of athletes.
Along with a good selection of vitamins and minerals, you also get some digestive enzymes, which may help to make your digestive system a bit more effective.
Check out our full Huel review.
- Provides a significant amount of nutrients to curb hunger
- Claims to provide plenty of essential minerals and vitamins for overall well being
- Includes pro- and prebiotics to help your digestive system
- We found that the taste was a bit bland and chalky
The main reason this is listed at the bottom of the list is that we weren’t too impressed with the flavor, which is a bit on the bland side.
How We Chose the Products:
At Total Shape, we take the responsibility of choosing the best vegan meal replacement shakes very seriously.
I began our selection process with extensive market research to identify effective and popular products.
Once I had the list, I leveraged the services of a nutritionist who helped analyze the nutritional profiles of each of these shakes to ensure they meet the nutritional needs of the everyday consumer.
I had a bias for factors such as ingredient transparency, brand reputation, and positive customer reviews when determining which product was more effective.
However, what sets our list apart is the hands-on testing approach. In addition to testing some of these products myself, I also teamed up with a diverse group of testers to ensure objectivity and a reflection of a genuine user experience.
During our research, we focused on certain areas that you should always keep in mind before making a final decision among the best vegan meal replacement shakes in this list.
1 - Consider Your Dietary Restrictions
Plant-based protein powders are most often used by vegans, many of whom chose this lifestyle for cultural and ethical reasons such as animal rights concerns. But in addition, many athletes like to use plant products like peas and brown rice to diversify their protein sources.
However, some of the plant-based blends available might not be suitable for all people, as they may contain soy and gluten. These are among the most common food allergies, and, unfortunately, they are common ingredients.
People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity have to avoid wheat and other grains that contain the protein gluten. People with a wheat allergy only need to avoid wheat and can tolerate gluten from grains that don't contain wheat.
Helen West, Registered Dietitian
You should also keep a close eye on sugar as that might not just be a problem for diabetics. Blood sugar spikes might cause problems, including increased hunger cravings.
You might want to consider a diabetes-friendly meal replacement shake to address this issue.
2 - Match Your Meal Replacement With Your Diet Goals
Don’t just grab the first vegan meal replacement shake you find as they all have different macro balances. You’ll even find some that are specifically designed for bodybuilders during a bulking phase.
Yes, that means putting on weight, which for many people, would not be a healthy choice.
So, what you’ll need to do is figure out how many calories you want to reduce through a meal replacement shake.
If your normal breakfast is 300 calories and you’re aiming to lose weight, then you don’t want a shake that provides more than that.
There are some diet apps like Noom that might help you with this, or else it could be a good idea to talk to a dietitian.
Also, note that the nutrition you get from vegan protein powders is different from meal replacement shakes. While some vegan meal replacement shakes can be used as a post-workout drink, doing so will still depend on your dietary goals.
We have a detailed discussion on the differences between protein powder and meal replacement powder that you may want to check out.
If you don't want some shakes, you might also like a meal replacement bar option.
3 - Look Out For Artificial Ingredients
Many people believe that all plant-based protein products are always healthy. Unfortunately, there are too many food and nutrition supplements that use artificial sweeteners and flavors.
Some studies have been conducted that have revealed that these sweeteners could be causing more problems, including problems with weight gain .
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
If a product label doesn’t specifically say that it doesn’t include artificial substances, then the chances are that it does.
And if you see things on the nutrition label that sound like they came out of a chemistry lab, then that’s a good warning sign too.
4 - Always Check For Hidden Animal Products
Usually, you’re going to be fine if you see a vegan certification. But don’t assume that a label that just makes reference to plant ingredients also means it doesn’t contain hidden animal substances .
And there are two things to look out for most.
Gelatin is one, and it’s most often used as a filler, which is unnecessary to even start with. The other one is Lipase, which is sometimes part of a digestive enzyme blend and often sourced from animals.
Take note, getting vegan protein from these replacement products is easier if you ask your physician for recommendations as well. You could show our list and let them pick the best one for your needs.
Lipase can come from plants but is often derived from the tongues of calves and lambs. Another ingredient often included in enzyme supplements is pepsin, which comes from the stomach lining of pigs.
- Heather McClees, Certified Nutritionist
To be on the safe side, stick with something that is USDA vegan-certified.
5 - Figure Out Which Meals To Replace
One thing many folks get wrong is to just use standard vegan protein powders for snack or meal replacement shake to lose weight. While it may have enough grams of protein, it could be lacking in other essential nutrients.
If you’re aiming to replace breakfast, lunch, or even dinner, then your shake needs to contain the right balance of macros as well as minerals and vitamins.
More on this shortly.
6 - Flavored Vs. Unflavored
Personally, I like flavored meal replacement shakes as I usually drink them on their own. However, if you love experimenting, combining an unflavoured product with DIY ingredients like berries, chia seeds, or almond butter can result in a delicious and nutritious homemade vegan shake
Let’s face it, green superfood powders might not work all that well with a peanut butter-flavored shake. I have tried it, and it’s not a good idea.
7 - Important Vitamins And Minerals
Do not ignore nutritional micronutrients in your criteria. Depending on the brand, you will find some very wide ranges of vitamins.
And here’s the most annoying thing.
Some companies will list minerals and vitamins in small print, but if you look closer, they either contain zero or close to zero mg of them.
They might argue that they have to be listed on nutritional labels, but it might be a little bit deceiving. Make sure to check the amounts of these vitamins and minerals if they meet your daily nutritional requirements.
What Is a Vegan Meal Replacement Shake?
A vegan meal replacement shake is usually a powder and sometimes a ready-to-drink shake that contains an ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to replace a snack or meal. With some essential micronutrients and low calories, most meal replacement shakes aim to help with weight loss.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes?
The benefits of taking vegan meal replacement shakes are mainly down to helping you to suppress hunger. Often high in fiber, they may make it easier to take in fewer calories with less of a temptation to snack on unhealthy food.
Are Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, vegan meal replacement shakes are good for weight loss as long as they are combined with a balanced and healthy vegan diet. You will also need to factor in plenty of physical exercise, as these aren’t some sort of magic supplement to burn away excess fat and lose weight.
How Long Should You Take Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes?
You should take vegan meal replacement shakes for at least the amount of time it might take to get to your ideal weight, if you're trying to lose weight. Some of our clients keep using them indefinitely to replace breakfast or snacks, as this might help to maintain that new weight.
Do Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes Actually Work?
Yes, vegan meal replacement shakes actually work, and people of all fitness levels have been able to achieve great results. The important thing is that you need to make sure that your meal replacement product results in your body having a net negative calorie intake.
Can You Live Off of Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes?
No, you cannot live off vegan meal replacement shakes, and they are not meant to replace all of your meals. It is still going to be important to get energy and nutritional value from eating normal cooked and raw foods.
How Often Should Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes Be Taken per Day?
Vegan meal replacement shakes are usually taken one to two times a day, but it depends on your diet and fitness goals. Even if most of these contain protein and essential nutrients, they are not designed to replace all meals in a day so you still have to eat regular healthy solid meals.
How Do You Know if Your Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Is Healthy?
Your vegan meal replacement shake is healthy if it contains a good amount of protein, a high-quality blend of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, and other superfoods. You would also want to avoid too much sugar and artificial ingredients like sweeteners, flavors, and additives.
Which Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Should You Pick?
Instant Knockout Complete’s sustained energy and outstanding nutritional profile made it one of the best vegan meal replacement shakes. Its 26 vitamins and minerals ensure your body has enough nutrition without consuming too many calories.
Aside from losing weight and gaining muscle mass, your heart health will improve thanks to its Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
While some people think the lack of flavor options is bothersome, I think it’s a strength. It isn’t sweet, and mixing it with milk has always been a delight.
Put an order now and tell us about your experience with this excellent vegan meal replacement shake.
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