Best Meal Replacements For Recovery & Weight Loss (Updated 2021)

athletic performance plant-based weight loss protein rich high protein recoveryThese meal replacement products are great for recovery and weight loss while aiding in high protein diets to boost athletic performance.

Meal replacement shakes have great power over our athletic performance by providing high-protein sources of fuel for recovery and weight loss. As an efficient system to load up on the essential nutrients and pack us full of those vital macronutrients, the benefits of meal replacement supplements are hard too ignore for a well-balanced diet. Portable and accessible options, these are great tasting options to substitute for a meal, some being a plant based vegan meal replacement and some not. It should be said that the best way to get all these essentials is from whole foods, but for those who struggle with this, protein rich, whole food meal replacements are a solid option to get all the macronutrients you need, especially with weight loss, digestion, and recovery out of plant-based sources.

We’ve put together a list of the Best Meal Replacements for 2021 to make your choice a little easier when it comes to your nutritional needs. These products taste great, contain solid macronutrients and ingredients, and can offer the benefit of really enhancing your gains and athletic performance and aiding in a better lifestyle and whole food diet.

Best Meal Replacement Products Of 2021


Best Overall Meal Replacement

Finding a good overall option is essential for covering all of your bases and making sure all goals are met. With something like Kaged Muscle Clean Meal, you get a great balance of macros, better absorption, and great taste.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal

Calories 240
Protein 28g
Carbs 18g
Fat 4.5g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Snickerdoodle, Vanilla Cake
Best Way To Take Mix 2 scoops with 10-12 ounces of cold water.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is for those active individuals who want to prioritize nutrition while still getting a complete and convenient meal for those on-the-go needs. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, this meal replacement has 123% better amino absorption to help build muscle and strength while also keeping you full throughout the day. Fueled with a formula including whey protein isolate, clean carbs, BCAAs, MCT oil, and zero added sugar, this meal replacement is perfect for fueling athletic performance while providing for a protein rich option for weight loss, digestion, recovery, and other nutritional needs.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is a great meal replacement for those looking to prioritize nutrition while still getting a solid on-the-go meal. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, all of the essentials are covered.

Pros

  • Whole food ingredients
  • 21 organic vitamins and minerals
  • Quick and nutritious meal replacement
  • $2.25 per meal

Cons

  • Slightly low on number of servings

Price: $44.99

Use code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Also, check out our individual review for Kaged Muscle Clean Meal here!


Best For Muscle Building

Meal replacements should also aid in things like muscle growth and while they are great for replacing a meal, other areas of your performance should be enhanced. It is possible with the right amount of protein and protein source to achieve this.

Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Mass Gainer

Calories 790
Protein 53g
Carbs 114g
Fat 14g
Sugar 17g
Flavors Chocolate, Cookies ‘N Cream (Not Gluten Free), Sweet Vanilla, Chocolate Glaze
Best Way To Take Mix with milk or water.

This pure, protein rich formula from Transparent Labs is loaded with essentials to give you serious growth and better overall health and wellness. Designed to enhance lean muscle growth and athletic performance, this is a safe and effective way to pack on muscle and healthy weight. With 750 calories for a two scoop serving size, this mass gainer is loaded with 53 grams of protein per serving. With no artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or harmful additives, this product is transparent with its label and high quality with ingredients great for pairing with whey protein or other protein drinks so you feel full while getting the right protein content with this powder for recovery and a well-balanced diet.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Mass Gainer is great for packing on muscle and healthy weight. Perfect as a meal replacement or a mass gaining supplement, this product is pumped with protein and no added artificial substances.

Pros

  • Great for lean muscle growth
  • Perfect for a meal replacement or paired with a grass fed whey protein supplement
  • Great ingredients and no artificial additives for a transparent label
  • From a reputable company in Transparent Labs

Cons

  • A premium priced option only available directly through their site

Price: $65.00

Use the promo code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Check out our individual review for Transparent Labs ProteinSeries Mass Gainer here!


Best Low Carb Meal Replacement

The right balance of macros is essential but sometimes products contain too many carbs. Finding a low carb, high protein product is possible and will work wonders for you.

HLTH Code Complete Meal Replacement Shake

Calories 400
Protein 27g
Carbs 13g (4g net carbs)
Fat 27g
Sugar 2g
Flavors Chocolate Macadamia, Creamy Vanilla
Best Way To Take Keep in a cool, dry place and add water

HLTH Code Complete Meal is a protein rich nutritional shake made with real whole food ingredients to give you a real meal in the simplest way possible for a well-balanced diet and all nutritional needs. Formulated by a top metabolic scientist, this meal replacement has the right combination of macronutrients at the right ratios to make every ingredient count. With 27g of protein and a 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to protein, this meal replacement will keep you full while providing you with the best macronutrients possible. Also included are grass-fed collagen, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and fiber to help your gut, and the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. With a great taste, no GMOs or artificial ingredients, and an awesome taste, HLTH Code is exactly what you need out of a top meal replacement for athletic performance, weight loss, digestion, and recovery.

HLTH Code Complete Meal is a protein rich shake made with real whole food ingredients to give you a real meal in the most simple way possible. With the right combination of macronutrients, as well as collagen, digestive enzymes, and probiotics, this meal replacement is perfect for any on-the-go needs.

Pros

  • A 1:1 ratio of healthy fats to protein packed with amazing macronutrients to help you succeed
  • Digestive enzymes and probiotics, as well as collagen and a great ratio of omega-3 to omega-6
  • No artificial and non-GMO from a reputable and honest company in HTLH Code

Cons

  • A premium product, it is a bit expensive.

Price: $59.95

Check out our individual review for HLTH Code Complete Meal Replacement Shake here!


Best For Weight Loss

Losing weight is still possible with the right meal replacement and will prove to be highly effective in the long run. Even with a higher calorie count, the right ingredients can promote the desired weight loss you want most.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal

Calories 240
Protein 28g
Carbs 18g
Fat 4.5g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Snickerdoodle, Vanilla Cake
Best Way To Take Mix 2 scoops with 10-12 ounces of cold water.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is for those active individuals who want to prioritize nutrition while still getting a complete and convenient meal for those on-the-go needs. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, this meal replacement has 123% better amino absorption to help build muscle and strength while also keeping you full throughout the day. Fueled with a formula including whey protein isolate, clean carbs, BCAAs, MCT oil, and zero added sugar, this meal replacement is perfect for fueling athletic performance while providing for a protein rich option for weight loss, digestion, recovery, and other nutritional needs.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is a great meal replacement for those looking to prioritize nutrition while still getting a solid on-the-go meal. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, all of the essentials are covered.

Pros

  • Whole food ingredients
  • 21 organic vitamins and minerals
  • Quick and nutritious meal replacement
  • $2.25 per meal

Cons

  • Slightly low on number of servings

Price: $44.99

Use code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Also, check out our individual review for Kaged Muscle Clean Meal here!


Best For Women

While meal replacements can work for both men and women the same, sometimes a product does work better for women. The ingredients, dosages, and effectiveness are what separates this.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal

Calories 240
Protein 28g
Carbs 18g
Fat 4.5g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Snickerdoodle, Vanilla Cake
Best Way To Take Mix 2 scoops with 10-12 ounces of cold water.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is for those active individuals who want to prioritize nutrition while still getting a complete and convenient meal for those on-the-go needs. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, this meal replacement has 123% better amino absorption to help build muscle and strength while also keeping you full throughout the day. Fueled with a formula including whey protein isolate, clean carbs, BCAAs, MCT oil, and zero added sugar, this meal replacement is perfect for fueling athletic performance while providing for a protein rich option for weight loss, digestion, recovery, and other nutritional needs.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is a great meal replacement for those looking to prioritize nutrition while still getting a solid on-the-go meal. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, all of the essentials are covered.

Pros

  • Whole food ingredients
  • 21 organic vitamins and minerals
  • Quick and nutritious meal replacement
  • $2.25 per meal

Cons

  • Slightly low on number of servings

Price: $44.99

Use code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Also, check out our individual review for Kaged Muscle Clean Meal here!


Best Plant-Based Meal Replacement

With protein coming from dairy and non-dairy sources, finding a good plant-based option is possible and is conducive to any diet. Ample has a dairy-free option which will give you the vegan benefits without having to worry about dairy sensitivity.

Ample Complete Meal Shake Bottles

Calories 400 or 600
Protein 25g or 34g
Carbs 11g or 15g
Fat 28g or 45g
Sugar 2g or 3g
Flavors Vanilla (high protein), Berry (dairy free), Chocolate (keto-friendly), and Vanilla Cinnamon (keto-friendly)
Best Way To Take Shake and enjoy.

Ample brings this protein rich, low-carb, complete meal shake to you made from whole food for the optimal breakfast or lunch replacement shake to maximize your nutritional needs. Made from 20+ superfoods, this shake can pump you full of premium fats, proteins, fibers, antioxidants, electrolytes, and probiotics for gains to a well-balanced diet. There are two options for this product including a 400 calorie bottle and a 600 calorie bottle. Ample Complete Meal Shakes are gluten, soy, and BPA free and contain zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, or sugar alcohols. A great plant-based product for muscle growth and athletic performance, increased focus, weight loss, digestion, and gut health, this is one of the best meal replacements for a whey protein shake to drink without sweeteners for your diet.

Ample Complete Meal Shake Bottles are protein-rich, low-carb, complete meal shakes made from whole foods to optimize your nutrition. Made with 20+ super foods, these will pump you with all the essentials for performance and overall health.

Pros

  • A solid balance of macronutrients and no artificial ingredients is a huge plus
  • Good probiotic bacteria for gut health and amazing choices for ingredients to give you what you need
  • Low calories with nutrient value

Cons

  • Lacks some vitamins and minerals we would like to see
  • No mention of omega-3’s is disappointing
  • It is also a fairly expensive product

Price: Two options: 400 calorie bottle is $90.00 for 12 meals and the 600 calorie option is $108.00 for 12 meals.

Check out our individual review for Ample Complete Meal Shake Bottles here!


Best Whey Protein Meal Replacement

While non-dairy sources exist, having a good whey protein meal replacement is perfect for your gains. The many benefits of whey protein will prove to be excellent for everything you’re looking for.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal

Calories 240
Protein 28g
Carbs 18g
Fat 4.5g
Sugar 1g
Flavors Snickerdoodle, Vanilla Cake
Best Way To Take Mix 2 scoops with 10-12 ounces of cold water.

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is for those active individuals who want to prioritize nutrition while still getting a complete and convenient meal for those on-the-go needs. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, this meal replacement has 123% better amino absorption to help build muscle and strength while also keeping you full throughout the day. Fueled with a formula including whey protein isolate, clean carbs, BCAAs, MCT oil, and zero added sugar, this meal replacement is perfect for fueling athletic performance while providing for a protein rich option for weight loss, digestion, recovery, and other nutritional needs.

Code GENIRON10 For 10% Off

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal is a great meal replacement for those looking to prioritize nutrition while still getting a solid on-the-go meal. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, all of the essentials are covered.

Pros

  • Whole food ingredients
  • 21 organic vitamins and minerals
  • Quick and nutritious meal replacement
  • $2.25 per meal

Cons

  • Slightly low on number of servings

Price: $44.99

Use code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Also, check out our individual review for Kaged Muscle Clean Meal here!

athletic performance plant-based weight loss protein rich high protein recovery

Benefits Of Meal Replacement Shakes For Gains

The benefits of meal replacements, plant-based vegan meal replacement or not, can seriously affect our gains inside and out of the gym and lead us to living healthier lifestyles with a well-balanced diet from whole food to tackle all our nutritional needs.

Benefits of meal replacements include:

  • Supporting weight management: High in protein with balanced macronutrients, these are a solid way to track calories and ensure you get something into your body while still promoting weight loss (1,2).
  • Perfect for busy schedules: Great for grab and go options, these can fuel you wherever you are and boost athletic performance.
  • Have amazing ingredients: A variety of whole food ingredients are offered to aid in all aspects of our overall health, digestion, and recovery, some being a plant-based vegan meal replacement and some not. Possible protein sources include whey protein, pea protein, and brown rice protein.
  • Affordable and convenient: A quick source of protein rich fuel at an affordable price for easy convenience and recovery from a well-balanced diet.

athletic performance plant-based weight loss protein rich high protein recovery

What To Look For In A Meal Replacement

Meal replacements and their respective formulas may differ depending on the brand so here are a few things to look out for:

  • Ratio Of Macronutrients: You want to make sure you have enough protein to keep you full and aid in that desired growth and recovery while also having a good ratio of fats and carbs as well.
  • Taste & Sugar: There are some great tasting, protein rich meal replacements that exist without adding in all that extra sugar. Substitutes like stevia and monk fruit are becoming very common.
  • Extra Beneficial Ingredients: Look to see if the formula, either a plant based vegan meal replacement or not, includes things like fiber, omega-3s, collagen, and vitamins and minerals that can really work to add to the benefits, like recovery. Also look at the protein source being something like whey, pea protein, or brown rice protein.
  • Calorie Count: While the calories may still be high since it is replacing a meal, look for ones with lower calories but higher protein. This will help keep you full and assist with weight loss, management and recovery.

athletic performance plant-based weight loss protein rich high protein recovery

How We Choose

We know finding the right supplements and nutritional products can be challenging, but with this list we hope to bring the best meal replacements to the table to put some great products on your radar. We look at quality of the company because honesty and transparency is number one. The formula and ingredients are also very important because you deserve to have the best when it comes to your meal replacement. Looking at the ratio of macros and amount of calories and sugar is something we take into account, as well as if the product is a plant based vegan meal replacement or not. Finally, the price matters. We know it can be expensive to take care of yourself and while some of these options may be higher than you would like to spend, we firmly believe the product is worth the money.

FAQ Section

What is the best meal replacement product?

Kaged Muscle Clean Meal. This meal replacement is for those active individuals who want to prioritize nutrition while still getting a complete and convenient meal for those on-the-go needs. With whole food ingredients and 21 organic vitamins and minerals, this meal replacement has 123% better amino absorption to help build muscle and strength while also keeping you full throughout the day.

What is the difference between a powder and a pre-bottled meal replacement?

The only real difference is convenience and the amount per packaging. With the pre-bottled, you most likely won’t have as much overall as a container of powder. Plus with powder, you can hold off on the liquid until your ready and don’t have to deal with temperature or anything.

Are meal replacements healthy?

On the whole, yes. It is always best to try and get a home cooked meal into you for whole foods are always a plus, but companies have taken meal replacements very seriously and seek to bring you the healthiest option around so you can progress with whatever your health and fitness journey may be along with a whole food, well-balanced diet to also aid in things like digestion. Plant-based protein sources also include things like pea protein and brown rice protein.

Wrap It All Up

Meal replacement shakes are the perfect protein rich solution for many people replacing a meal who need a quick grab and go option with tons of benefits while still getting enough protein. Able to support a healthy lifestyle, these products are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, like protein and fiber, to ensure all of your dietary needs are covered with a low calorie option for fewer calories and muscle building. While it is always best to get these essentials from whole foods, sometimes our busy schedules just don’t allow that. Give these meal replacement products a try and really see what they can do for you and your athletic performance, weight loss, and recovery.

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References

  1. Treyzon, Leo; Chen, Steve; Hong, Kurt; Yan, Eric; et al. (2008). “A controlled trial of protein enrichment of meal replacements for weight reduction with retention of lean body mass”. (source)
  2. Kulovitz, Michelle; Kravitz, Len. “Do Meal Replacements Deliver Results?”. (source)