Your taste buds have been hijacked.
Like walking, our taste is something we do but can’t describe. Who’s to say that your Aunt Colleen’s love of lobster chunk ice cream is bad. Perhaps her tongue works differently from yours.
There is a tried and true way to make things taste good, and it is being used against you.
Armed with a little knowledge, you can eat healthily and enjoy the taste.
How We Taste
Processed foods taste good because they have an optimized fat, sugar, and salt ratio. The tongue has evolved to direct us to nutritional food. Back ten thousand years ago, fats and sugars indicated that that food source was good.
Now, we can develop food with any content we want. Junk food has been designed to hit the fat and sugar cravings hard and fast.
Taste is a complicated subject. I will give you a brief overview to start your exploration.
Humans can taste five different aspects of food, sweet, salty, umami (Taste for protein), bitter, and sour. Sweet and umami are enjoyable and draw us to eat more. Salty is extremely enjoyable in the right amounts. Bitter and sour tend to be repulsive and warn our primitive brain of poison.
Feel and sound, (Yes sound), also affect the taste.
The holy trinity, sweet, salty, and umami are affected most directly by three things. Fats, sugar, and salt. Ever notice how every junk food is organized into sweet and/or salty?
When you eat, digestive enzymes in your mouth (affectionately known as saliva) break down your food into its parts. Your tongue picks it up from there and tells your brain how it’s going in between your throat and nose.
Because researchers have perfected junk food, your tongue has left a glowing review. Now we study our enemy to see how we can claim back our diet. Sun Tzu would be proud.
Have we been betrayed by food scientists?
Nope. I know what I’m buying when I put another Pringe tube in my grocery basket.
It’s all good news here. Meal replacement shakes are developed by nutritional scientists. You are getting the taste advantage of sweet fat, and the health advantage of protein and minerals.
Sugar in Meal Replacements Shakes
Nutrition is a tricky subject. It is agreed that too much sugar is bad for your health. Why does sugar have to taste so good though?
Sweeteners, including sugar, are a complicated science. There is white sugar, stevia, and many different artificial sweeteners. In our situation, I can say definitively that sugar is a deciding factor in choosing the best meal replacement shake.
With so many meal shake choices available, here’s some straight talk.
There are meal shakes with no sugar, they tend to taste awful. Other shakes use stevia, which causes the price to be higher.
Some shakes are jammed with sugar, taste great, empty calories. And lastly, other shakes use artificial sweeteners. These have dubious effects on health.
Eating fat… is good!
Fat has been craved by our ancestors because of its high calorie per gram ratio. Eating all the fat we could find was good. We would burn it off exercising (hunting) every day.
Now, fat clogs our arteries. That is bad for those taking notes.
Our organs should be protected by a small reservoir of shielding fat. To get to that state we must manage our intake of saturated fats against unsaturated fats. You already know of some polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 and 6. People take them as supplements.
Meal replacement shakes are often made with premium healthy fats.
Fats from coconut oil and sunflower oil are good for you. They aid in lowering cholesterol in your blood. This can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Are you salty?
Your body needs salt to survive. In particular sodium chloride. Salt aids as a moisture regulator in your body. It is vital for muscle function.
Salt also tastes good, in the right amounts. A pinch of salt heightens the perception of sugars and fats.
A cup of salt overrides bitter and sour receptors on your tongue. Sounding the alarm, there is poison in my mouth!
Every meal replacement shake that I know of has salt. It’s listed as sodium in the nutritional label. It is a no brainer, after all, taste and health at the same time.
Meal Replacement Shakes
Meal replacement shakes have a unique problem to solve. They are a drink. Texture and mouthfeel are extremely important to the taste.
Common complaints of meal replacement shakes are that they are chalky, lumpy, and or dusty.
As you already know, taste is a matter of preference as well. Fortunately, meal shakes commonly come in a wide variety of flavors.
A clever chef can also fine-tune the taste with added fruits during mixing.
They taste good, now what?
Years of experimentation has lead to many tasty meal replacement shakes. That’s not what they are known for. Meal shakes help people lose weight, save time, and eat healthily.
Replacement meal shakes have counted calories and proper carbohydrate ratios to ensure that you feel full. They are chuck full of protein powder, and not just whey protein. If you are a vegan you are not excluded from shake replacement meals.
Cooking takes time. Even managing a pantry and refrigerator takes time! What doesn’t take time is pulling an Ample shake from the shelves, filling it, and shaking it until creamy smooth as you charge out the door. Time is short and you need protein to live.
Meal shakes are commonly made from premium ingredients from a huge variety of fruits, greens, cereals, nuts, and seeds. These building blocks ensure that you have all the micronutrients a healthy body needs. Some shakes go as far as to supply probiotics, electrolytes, adaptogens, and digestive enzymes.
The Best 13 Tasting Meal Replacement Shakes
There are many shakes that replace meals, these are in my opinion are the best tasting.
1. Ample Original
Ample knows it tastes good. It only has one flavor and is proud of it. I humbly present it as being among the best meal replacement shakes.
There are 400 calories and 4 grams of sugar in each bottle. It gets these naturally occurring sugars from high-quality ingredients. There are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or sugar alcohols. Each ample replacement shake has 25 grams of protein from whey powder.
There are 25 grams of fat sourced from coconut, macadamia nut, and high-oleic sunflower. My mother taught me to cook with coconut oil, it is healthier.
Those two pillars are covered. As for texture, when the ultra-convenient bottles are filled, they will have the correct powder to water ratio. Just shake it up. It mixes into a smooth creamy texture.
Be sure to supplement Ample with other meals, it only has five vitamins and minerals. It is wise to use full meals in addition to any meal replacement shake.
In my opinion, Ample is the most filling meal replacement shake on the market. It keeps me full up to 2 and a half hours.
Be sure to make it yours. Mix it with almond milk, coffee, or any of your favorite drinks.
- Best Taste
- Less customization
I love dark chocolate. My friends don’t understand me. Let’s review Owyn’s meal shake, in particular the dark chocolate flavor.
In case you don’t understand me, I forgive you. Owyn also has shakes in chocolate, chai, vanilla, and cold brew coffee.
All of these are their premixed shakes. Owyn’s meal powders come in vanilla and chocolate.
Owyn adds a small amount of sugar in the form of organic cane sugar. There is a tiny amount of monk fruit extract. This is a high-quality plant-based sweetener. This attention to quality sweetening places this meal replacement shake high on this list.
On salt. Owyn decided to treat all of us with Himalayan Pink Salt. I haven’t been able to tell the difference, but maybe you can.
Owyn meal replacement shakes are plant-based.
There are fewer vitamins and minerals in Owyn’s meal replacement shake compared to products like Ka’Chava and Huel.
Owyn takes pride in their allergen-friendly drink. Their shakes are free from the top 8 allergens.
Most reviews deem the taste good. Very few mention the blending consistency. As they say in the papers, no news is good news.
- Good flavor variety.
- Mixes well.
- Allergen Friendly
The plant-based Ka’Chava meal replacement shake is one of the most comprehensive meal replacement shakes that money can buy. Its only problem is it takes a lot of money to buy it. Still, it is one of the best meal replacement shakes.
This shake has a lower amount of fat. Most of it is polyunsaturated fats. Delightfully tickling your tongue and helping your body.
It has a higher amount of sugar, 8 grams per serving. Since the sugar comes naturally from the ingredients it isn’t empty calories. Every Ka’Chava meal replacement shake has 220 calories, 8 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein.
Let’s talk about ingredients, but first, get your rare plant bingo card out. You will be filling in every square there is.
It has the most diverse set of ingredients I know in meal shakes. Everything from Sacha Inchi all the way to Spirulina.
This blend of ingredients allows Ka’Chava to boast the best list of vitamins and minerals I know of.
There are also adaptogens, antioxidants, super-greens, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Why isn’t this at the top of the list?
Despite its delicious natural chocolate taste, heightened with cinnamon and stevia, its texture is below average. It clumps slightly.
This shake comes in chocolate or vanilla.
Ka’Chava is a proud supporter of the Rainforest Trust. Every package you buy you are saving the rainforest one acre at a time.
- Great Taste
- Extremely Healthy
- Supports the Rainforest
Huel meal replacement shakes come in two different flavors of powder. I will be discussing their Huel Powder v3.0 Vanilla. It also comes in Chocolate, Berry, and Unflavored and Unsweetened. Along with gluten-free varieties of each.
Huel is not a weight-loss shake. It is the potatoes and roast beef meal equivalent of the meal shake replacement world.
Despite its goal of being a meal, it has very little sugar. It has a high amount of fat, 13 grams per serving. Most of those grams are polyunsaturated, 8 grams. It tastes good, with the help of the artificial sweetener sucralose.
Huel mixes well enough, but there will still be tiny semi-hard bits of oats in the drink.
Reviewers recommend using a mixer ball inside a shaker bottle.
The options for taste don’t end with the four. Chocolate, vanilla, berry, and unflavored. They also add the option to add 13 different flavor boosts.
Some of my favorites are peanut butter, and mint chocolate. They currently have two limited-edition flavors, chocolate cherry, and gingerbread.
- Extremely Filling
- Tastes good
- Options for taste and diet
- Artificial Sweetener
Isagenix offers many products, the one that tastes best is their Isalean meal replacement shake line. These are excellent weight loss shakes.
With one look at the nutritional label, you will know it will taste great. It has 12 grams of sugar.
It is basically candy!
But I have to warn you, that is 12 grams up fructose sugar as an added ingredient. It is empty calories that will do nothing for your health. As such, I can’t place it on the top of the list despite it tasting fantastic.
Overall, it is a fine shake. It has 8 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber is essential to feeling full. Coupled with its low calories this weight loss shake does exactly that.
Each Isagenix meal replacement shakes has 24 grams of protein (whey protein). It is high in protein.
Reviewers only have positive things to say about the texture. It is easy to blend. There are some complaints about the smell.
It comes in three flavors, chocolate, vanilla, and birthday cake.
Don’t get this meal replacement shake as a birthday gift. Weight loss gifts never send the right message.
- Tastes magnificent
- Aids Weight loss
- Lots of added sugar
Katefarms Komplete meal replacement shake has a flavor that grows on you. It is available in chocolate, vanilla, or coffee.
It has 18 grams of sugar per serving. Tasty, but that’s a lot. Fortunately, it isn’t added sugar.
As for fats, it has 5 grams of saturated fat and 7 unsaturated. There are 5 grams of fiber in every serving. In addition, there are 300 calories and 16 grams of plant-based protein.
Katefarms in the past two years changed the formula. The old formula tasted better. However, it is still good enough to be on our list.
Despite having a good taste, it is gritty. Perhaps try a blender ball if you try this one.
It is an excellent source of protein. Many of the positive reviews are from folks with complicated health problems that needed a liquid meal that would work with their new needs.
This is one good shake to add to your every day routine.
- Treat quality taste
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- New formula worse
Ever wonder what your crazy cousin was up to after he crashed his truck into the family barn?
He was busy at work perfecting the chocolate peanut butter madness, or cacao mania.
I like the taste of Powerootz’s meal replacement shakes. Their branding is childish. But I can get past that as long as it blends into a creamy shake.
And it does. It has dodged the kiss of death. Mixed well, it isn’t gritty.
Despite the low sugar amount, 3 grams, it is quite sweet. Perhaps your cousin has been adding some stevia extract to the mix. He has.
If you are a sweet tooth, or perhaps still a child at heart this is likely the best meal shake for your dollar.
- Lots of minerals
- Quality organic ingredients
- Very sweet…
- …Maybe too Sweet
8. GNC Total-Lean
GNC has been in the nutrition game for a long time. They are professional and have a large group of people that trust their expertise.
There weight management meal replacement shake Total-Lean carries on their tradition of trustworthy products.
Per serving, it provides a fantastic 25 grams of protein. A full profile of vitamins and minerals, and little saturated fats. Every serving of the GNC meal replacement shake has 3 grams of fiber and 170 calories.
This shake is one of the best tastings as well. Surprisingly it only has 2 grams of sugar. There is added sucralose and artificial sweetener.
If you like the GNC meal replacement shake be sure to check out their expansive catalog of products.
Reviews suggest that chocolate peanut butter is the best flavor.
- Established Company
- Low sugar
- Artificial Sweeteners
9. Premier Protein
Technically Premier Protein sells its shakes as a protein drink, not as a meal replacement shake. But due to their high fiber content, I am willing to include them in this list.
Fiber helps satiate the stomach.
They have a lot amount of sugar and fat and still taste great.
The only catch is there is added Sucralose.
In my opinion, this shake has the best texture available. Some reviewers find it too thick but I disagree.
- Low fat and Sugar
- Best Texture
- Artificial Sweetener
Yumtrition whole food meal replacement shakes come in three flavors. Vanilla Cream, (Because who would ever just serve vanilla), Caribbean Sunrise, and the best of the lot, dark chocolate.
The taste is fine, what Yumtrition does well is the mixability.
It has 6 grams of sugar naturally from the other ingredients. There is only half a gram of fat.
There is a great mix of whole ingredients in this product. There is nothing questionable or controversial added.
This shake is better than others nutrition-wise but isn’t a leader.
There is some stevia extract to sweeten the deal.
- Smooth Texture
- Sugary taste
- Average nutrition
Herbalife isn’t a NASCAR sponsor. Their Formula 1 is a top competitor in pleasant-tasting replacement meals shakes. Available in 12 flavors.
With 9 grams of added sugar, it tastes fine. The texture is fine, thicker than other shakes on this list. Every serving there are 90 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.
There is nothing particularly special about this shake other than its taste.
It does have a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
In short, it works.
Avoid the strawberry flavor, most reviewers agree they didn’t get that right.
- Variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Fine texture
- Nothing special.
At the best of times, Orgain is one of the best meal shakes for taste.
This is no surprise with their 9 grams of added sugar. It is organic cane sugar, one can do worse.
They have 6 grams of fat per serving. With no trans fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat.
One of the problems with their company is of bad quality control. At times you will get a product that has sour curds in it.
Keep on eye on this company, if they get their quality consistent, they will rank much higher on this list.
- Great taste and texture
- Affordable depending on where you get it
- Bad quality control.
13. Keto Chow
Keto Chow shines among other meal replacements for its taste. They did this despite having low fat and sugar.
There is some sucralose, be mindful about that if you are avoiding artificial sweeteners.
It has particular instructions on how to prepare its powder. This includes putting it in the fridge for 30 mins or overnight. This is less convenient than other available shakes.
They recommend you eat it with lots of butter and/or cream.
Keto Chow comes in a vast assortment of tastes. Cookies and Cream, Orange Cream, Pumpkin spice Caramel, Root Beer Float, and Snickerdoodle stand out as some of their most unique flavors.
- Good taste without sugar or fat
- Keto diet, its in the name
- Artificial sweetener
What is the best meal replacement shakes for weight loss?
Garden of Life is my favorite meal replacement for weight loss. It’s produced with high-quality ingredients and has a fantastic ratio of calories, fiber, and protein.
Another option to Garden of Life that helped me lose weight is Ample, which as well provides a fantastic ratio of calories, fiber, and grams of protein (whey protein) that helped me lose weight.
Are meal replacement shakes good for weight loss?
I don’t know about you, but at home, I don’t have any issues with eating healthy since I started avoiding putting in my shopping cart the wrong things (and avoid temptations at home.)
What is tempting for me is when I’m at lunch-break, and I didn’t have time to prepare a meal the night before. I often had to resort to fast-food for this, which put my weight loss goals at stake. That’s when I decided to give meal replacement shakes a try, and to my surprise, it tasted great! I felt much more energetic after the first two weeks. It undoubtedly helped me a lot to lose weight while eating good ingredients and the right amount of calories not to get hungry.
What are the best meal replacement shakes?
The best meal replacement shake is Ample, at least regarding this list and our option. That’s because it’s the most balanced option out there (in terms of calories, fiber, grams of protein, quality of ingredients, and taste.)
However, it’s tough to say because it mostly depends on your goals.
If you’re doing bodybuilding, check the grams of protein as they will help you build muscles. For overall health, check the fiber content. I’m personally conscientious about the quality of the ingredients. Or you might have some preferences such as vegan-options or keto.
How do you make meal replacement shakes taste better?
That’s a great question because I tried a lot to make meal replacement taste better.
Meal replacements have already everything you need not feel hungry (i.e., calories, fiber, grams of protein powder) and taste good. However, sometimes you’re in for something different (despite some brands like Garden of Life offer several taste options). My favorite options are adding coffee, unflavored chocolate, MCT oil (which is flavor and order-less but still add something for me somehow), and vanilla extract.
Which one will you choose?
Ample checks off the taste test. It has healthy fats, responsible levels of sugar, and salt. In my opinion, it has a perfect consistency. Consistency only Premier Protein matches. It isn’t thick like coconut hand cream, and it isn’t thin like a dusting of water. The confident vanilla taste demands no sequel. Ample is among the best meal replacement shakes. Every bottle is high in protein and provides 400 calories.
You deserve the strength to push through obstacles and pursue your dreams. Its time to get your tongue on your side. Armed with knowledge, you can choose the best meal replacement shake that fits your palette.
A happy stomach causes a happy life. I don’t have a citation for that, I just believe it.
Find the Best Meal Replacement Shake for Your Needs, read our in-depth buyer’s guide:
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