Meal Replacement Metrics | How We Choose Our Top 5 Shakes
Top 5 Meal Replacement Shakes

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The Meal Replacement Mindset

      For an adequate meal replacement drink, you need a well-rounded supply of vitamins and minerals. Everyone’s always worried about getting their MACROS, but what about your MICROS.

      Macronutrients like amino acids, saturated fats, and carbs are prioritized because they directly affect short term changes in our muscle and fat. However, over your lifetime, proper consumption of micronutrients like Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin E have the most to do with our overall health & wellness.

      Obviously, the best sources of micronutrients are fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and organ meats, but not everyone can make these a part of your daily intake. Living in inner-city “food deserts” or colder climates can make it really hard to find consistent sources of these foods. Also, the higher consumption of processed foods, that are stripped of many micronutrients, can compound the issue. Besides a good multivitamin for insurance, a good meal replacement shake can round out your daily needs.

      If you don’t work out regularly, excess protein can actually be bad for you. Besides causing you to gain weight in the form of fat, excess protein can also cause high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and more. However, if you’re replacing one of your meals with a shake, then protein content should be a top priority. This is because it’s one of the main nutrients that keep you feeling full.

      One thing that we see a lot of confusion on is the recommended amount of protein we need daily. For most people, it’s pretty hard to consume too much protein, so that’s why we concentrate on at least getting the bare minimum. We want to see at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Unless you’re working out 10-20 hours a week, 15-20g should be enough for a meal replacement shake, especially if you pair it with a meal bar or protein bar.

      Between the Adkins diet and the Keto diet, fats have become even more of a hot-button issue. Gone are the days of recommending a low-fat diet. When Fat=Flavor, processed foods that are labeled low-fat have to make up for the loss of flavor somehow. They do this by adding salts and processed sugars, which can cause people to gain MORE weight over time.

      Without getting too much “into the weeds” on fats, one of the main reasons we have them as a top metric is that fats play the biggest role in keeping you full. You can easily pair your meal replacement shake with a handful of nuts to increase your fat intake, but we really wanted to find “complete” shakes. If you pick a shake that’s lower in fat, just pay attention to your overall macros.

      The other main reason it’s one of the top 4 metrics is that healthy fats can improve memory and other brain function. This should be very important for people in Active Mode. From students to business owners, it’s in our best interest to keep our body AND brain running at peak performance, especially when skipping meals.

      If you want to learn more about how the right fats can improve your overall health and wellness, take the 28-Day Keto Challenge. Especially for beginners to nutrition and fitness, it’s a great foundation to build on. Even if you don’t fully stick with the lifestyle, your understanding of basic nutrition will positively change the way you look at what you consume.

      In our quest to find the purest meal replacement shakes, many big names in the industry were easily eliminated simply for poor choices in ingredients. From preservatives to processed sugars, many companies put shelf-life and taste above proper-nutrition.

      Instead of calling them out, we put the spotlight on the companies that put the customer first. Using premium ingredients and transparent labeling is the best way companies get into our Top 5 list.

TOP 5 MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKES

Key Features:

  • Flavors: Chocolate & Vanilla
  • Serving Size: 39g
  • Calories: 170
  • Healthy Fats: Total 6g (9%); Saturated 4g (20%)
  • Protein: 20g
  • Sweetener/Sugar: 2g (Natural Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia, & Organic Coconut Sugar)
  • Vitamins and Minerals: 20+ (including K, B6, B12, and more)
  • Special features: Organic; Enzyme Blend; Plant-Based; Dairy-Free; Non-GMO; Gluten-Free; Soy-Free; Vegan; BCAA’s; No Artificial Ingredients

Conclusion:

     KOS takes meal replacement shakes to another level. Free from dairy, gluten, soy, and GMO’s, this powder is healthy for your body and the environment. It made the top of our list because it has all the essential nutrients for sustainable energy without sacrificing taste. At 170 calories per serving, you may want to pair this with your favorite Meal Bar if you’re activity level is above average.

Key Features:
  • Flavors: Chocolate & Vanilla
  • Serving Size: 50g
  • Calories: 280
  • Healthy Fats: Total 22g (28%); Saturated 11g (55%)
  • Protein: 16g (Grass-Fed)
  • Sweetener/Sugar: 1g
  • Vitamins and Minerals: 10+ 
  • Special features: Organic; Certified Keto & Paleo; Probiotics & Prebiotic fiber; Gluten Free; Non-GMO; Grass-fed Protein & Butter
Conclusion:

     The Garden of Life family of products, as a whole, is one of our favorites. They dominated in our review of multivitamins, but they missed out on the #1 spot on this list because of the lower protein content. The things that got them to #2 are the overall fat and calorie content. This meal replacement powder is Keto and Paleo certified, so it’s low glycemic index is perfect for diabetics also.

Key Features:

  • Flavors: Chocolate (Raw Cacao)
  • Serving Size: 53g
  • Calories: 205
  • Healthy Fats: Total 7g (11%); Saturated 4g (18%)
  • Protein: 26g
  • Sweetener/Sugar: No added sugar (sweetened Organic Monkfruit)
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Only 3 Labeled
  • Special features: Organic; MCT Oil Powder; Plant-Based; BCAA’s Dairy-Free; Non-GMO; Gluten Free; No Artificial Ingredients
Conclusion:

     Pure Food’s Real Meal Powder made it to the #3 spot mainly because of the 26g of protein per serving. Another plus is that there’s no sugar, gluten, dairy, or soy, so it’s one of the best choices for diabetics and allergies.

Key Features:

  • Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon Churro, Vanilla, & Unflavored
  • Serving Size: 49g
  • Calories: 170
  • Healthy Fats: Total 3.5g (4%); Saturated 2.5g (13%)
  • Protein: 25g (Grass-Fed)
  • Sweetener/Sugar: 2g
  • Vitamins and Minerals: 7+
  • Special features: MCT Powder; Probiotics & Prebiotics; Non-GMO;  All-In-One Fiber and Superfood Blend; No Artificial Ingredients; Grass-Fed
Conclusion:

     RSP’s TrueFit Meal Powder has the best selection of flavors, with the Cinnamon Churro being our favorite. There’s also an unflavored version if you plan to add it to smoothies, hot cereals, or juice. It has plenty of protein (25g) and superfoods, but it lacks calories and fat per serving compared to the other choices on our list. This is another meal replacement shake you would want to pair with a meal bar if you’re at an above-average activity level.

Key Features:

  • Flavors: Chocolate & Vanilla
  • Serving Size: 57g
  • Calories: 220
  • Healthy Fats: Total 5g (8%); Saturated .5g (3%)
  • Protein: 20g
  • Sweetener/Sugar: 1g sugar & 5g Erythritol
  • Vitamins and Minerals: 8+
  • Special features: Organic; Vegan; Soy Free; Gluten Free; Non-GMO

Conclusion:

     Rounding out our Top 5 Meal Replacement Shake list is Orgain’s Organic Meal. They have one of the best varieties of superfoods and the most grams per serving (57g) out of the top 5. The one thing that put it at #5 is that it’s sweetened with Erythritol. It’s great if your Keto, Paleo, or diabetic, but the undigestible Erythritol doesn’t settle well in some people’s stomachs. If you’re one of those that it doesn’t negatively effect, then this meal replacement powder is the best value out of the top 5.

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