Before telling you about the best plant-based meal replacement shakes for weight loss, I want to make the distinction between a vegan meal replacement shake and a vegan protein powder. Many articles confuse the two.
Meal Replacement Shake vs. Protein Shake
Meal replacement shakes and protein shakes are very similar. No wonder why people confuse them so often! When it comes to their nutritional content, the main difference is the number of calories. As the name implies, meal replacement shakes are meant to replace one or two of your meals a day, so they are usually around 200 calories (or at least they should be).
Protein shakes, on the other hand, are meant to be consumed before or after your workouts for extra energy. For this reason, they usually contain less than 100 calories. Both typically contain around 20 g of protein.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX), a body established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations establishes guidelines used as a reference to define the composition of meal replacement shakes. The exact regulations that to meal replacement shakes vary from country to country:
- The protein and fat amounts are calculated from the number of grams in a portion. For example, if a portion is 44g, the protein amount would be between 11g and 22g.
- The vitamin and mineral amounts are specified in the CODEX standard.
I found that most meal replacement manufacturers don’t’ even follow these requirements since most brands don’t have 200 calories. Make a fruit and vegetable shake with your vegan meal replacement powder to increase the number of calories you consume. Use my 101 Smoothie Recipe Template for inspiration and keep reading for one of my favorite vegan meal replacement shake recipes.
Too much of a calorie deficit will slow down your metabolism in the long run. However, I do enjoy drinking a vegan meal replacement shake for lunch on my fasting days when I practice the 5:2 intermittent fasting method for weight loss. Many intermittent fasting methods work great to increase your metabolism rather than slow it down. Read How to Start Intermittent Fasting in 5 Simple Steps.
Top 5 Most Effective Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
Meal replacement shakes are a convenient and affordable way to supply your body with the nutrition it needs. However, you need to know your ingredients and be careful when you pick your brand. Many products are less than subpar.
Why Only 5 Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Brands
If you look online for top vegan meal replacement shake lists, you will find many lists with 10 and up options. I wanted to narrow it down further because I wanted to actually purchase them all and try them. I sure wasn’t going to buy 10 brands!
Why Two MLM Brands
I know many of you are not fans of multi-level marketing companies. That’s why I made sure I tried the 3 most recommended non-MLM brands. However, it has been my experience that when it comes to health and wellness products, most store brands more or less the same. However, MLM companies tend to carry high-end innovative products. If you are open-minded and willing to consider that there might be some benefits to buying from network marketing companies, learn more about my experience and my story with health and wellness products Top 11 Health and Wellness Network Marketing Companies.
If Your Goal Is Weight Loss
As I mentioned already, I don’t recommend using meal replacement shake powders mixed with water only long term if you want to lose weight. Too much of a calorie deficit will not help you sustain weight loss in the long run. Not only it will slow down your metabolism, but many end up making up for the deficit by binge eating junk food. However, alternating low-calorie days with normal calorie days is a very effective approach to weight loss that has yielded tremendous results for me.
For this reason, one of my most important criteria (even over taste) was a vegan meal replacement shake that kept me satisfied longer.
How I Picked My Top 5 Meal Replacement Shake Brands
I simply chose to include MY personal favorite meal replacement shake (Purium), the most well-known MLM meal replacement shake (Shakeology), and the top 3 most recommended non-MLM brands.
What to Look For When Comparing
As you will see in my Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Comparison Chart, I used the following criteria in my comparison:
- Ingredient purity
- How long you feel satisfied
- Taste and texture
Obviously, some of these criteria are subjective. To test how long I felt full, I made sure to experiment with each of the shakes more than once. As far as the taste and texture go, I figured the most objective way to determine the winner would be to have all my children try them and rank them (see the video below).
Top 5 Most Effective Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes for Weight Loss
1. Purium Super Meal LVO
The Purium vegan meal replacement shake cost around $83 for 1320g if order as a preferred customer. I can help you do that if you contact me. It’s made with 30+ organic whole food ingredients that have been dehydrated at a temperature of 80F to preserve as much of the nutrients as possible. It contains 190 calories per serving and 20g of protein.
2. Vega One All-in-One Meal Replacement
The Vega One All-In-One Meal Replacement Shake costs about $60 for 827g. It includes vegetables, sea vegetables, fruits, probiotics, and vegan proteins. One serving has 170 calories and 20g of protein.
3. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
At $52 for over 1000g, the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal is the most affordable of all the vegan meal replacement shakes on my list. It also has one of the worst rankings as far as taste and texture go. It contains a wide array of sprouted grains and seeds dehydrated at a low temperature. Moreover, it includes fruits and vegetables and a probiotic and enzyme blend. One serving has 155 calories and 17g of protein.
4. Shakeology Vegan Shake
Shakeology is the tastiest (in my opinion, but some of my children preferred Purium) and the most expensive option. It cost at least double the price than most of the other options at $130 for 1230g and it’s not even organic! However, the ingredient list is quite impressive! It includes various superfoods and even some adaptogenic herbs. One serving has 170 calories and 17g of protein.
5. Orgain Organic Superfoods All-In-One
The Orgain Organic Superfood vegan meal replacement cost almost $30 for 820g. It includes 50 superfoods including organic berries, veggies, and ancient grains. One serving has 220 calories and 20g of protein.
Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Comparison Chart
Formula to Rank the Texture and Taste
I had eight different people rank the taste and texture of the top 5 vegan meal replacement shakes (my seven children and myself).
The highest number meant the worst taste and texture (I just added up the positions that were given to each of the powders by everyone).
All the shakes had a similar texture except for one or two of them would sometimes be rated as the worst.
Totals for Taste
- Purium: 14
- Vegan One: 32
- Orgain: 29
- Shakeology: 18
- Garden of Life: 30
Most of them had a similar texture and we did not always give them specific rankings. However, the Vega One and the Orgain shakes were consistently rated as “worst”.
Vegan Meal Replacement Shake Recipe
Here’s my favorite smoothie recipe you can try with your vegan meal replacement shake:
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1 scoop of your chosen meal replacement shake powder
- 2 cups of liquid (I like to combine water and full-fat coconut milk or coconut kefir)
Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until nice and creamy.
Most vegan meal replacement shakes don’t have enough calories and nutrients to constitute a meal. Do not rely to heavily on them. However, in some cases, they may be a nutritious and convenient way to nourish your body on-the-go. Keep in mind that it might take you a while to get used to the taste.
My children made comment like: “They all look really gross, no offense!” and “It tastes like dirt!”.