Comparing Meal Replacement Shakes

If left to my own devices for a quick breakfast on a workday, I would typically order something from Starbucks to go with my coffee, grab a donut on the road, or just go without until lunchtime. Obviously, none of these options play nice with the whole ‘let’s get healthy’ thing I’m working on right now. So, bring on the morning meal replacement protein shakes!

When I did the 21 Day Fix a couple years ago, I tried the Shakeology shakes for the first time. They are super yummy and good for you, but HOLYWOW are they expensive.  A bag of 30 servings is $130, which breaks down to $4.33 per serving.  Also, to purchase Shakeology you get it shipped to you automatically each month, so if you fall behind you end up with a big o’ bill and a lot of bags of the powder to go through. So, yeah… super delicious but quite pricy.

With that in mind, I decided to go on the hunt for another brand of meal replacement protein shake. My main goals were:

#1. A shake that I can buy easily, whether it be in a nearby store or online.
#2. Something that isn’t super expensive.
#3. It MUST taste good.
#4. There has a be a good mix of protein and nutrients, while also being relatively low in calories, sugar and sodium.

After trips to GNC, Target and the Vitamin Shoppe, I ended up trying 6 different shakes in my ‘research’ phase: Labrada Lean Body (chocolate), GNC Lean Shake 25 (french vanilla), GNC Lean Shake 25 (rich chocolate), plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein (chocolate), plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein (vanilla) and Vega One Protein and Greens (coconut almond).

All of the shakes I tried were in powdered form, except the Labrada Lean Body. That one was premixed in a tetra pak and I have to say that I hated it. It had a thick chocolate milk flavor with a slight bitter tinge. I had to choke it down, so that one was immediately disqualified.

For the other 5 shake options, I would make the same recipe to compare them:

1 scoop protein powder
1 ¼ cups water
Handful of ice
1 banana (super ripe and/or frozen)
1 tbsp peanut butter

Blend it in my Nutra Ninja for about 40 seconds and throw it in a cup for breakfast.

Out of the remaining 5 shakes, only one of them did not pass the taste test… the plnt by V Meal Replacement Plant Protein in vanilla. No matter how much it was blended, it still had that chalky taste. So that one was disqualified too.

Based on taste, I was left with 4 pretty great options, so I went ahead and did a comparison chart for their nutrients:

After comparing each of the protein shakes and keeping in mind the flavor, I have two favorites:

Vega One Protein & Greens in Coconut Almondyou can find it here on Amazon and here at Target (when I bought mine at Target, they had an added bonus where you receive a $5 Target gift card with purchase!) The cost is $24.99 for 16 servings, which breaks down to $1.56 per serving. The flavor is so good that it’s like a morning pina colada. Since it already has a nutty flavor, I could skip the peanut butter and it still tastes really good. It’s low in calories, has 20 grams of protein and keeps me full until lunchtime.

GNC Lean Shake 25 in Rich Chocolateyou can find it here on Amazon or at GNC stores in-person or online here. The cost is $29.99 for 16 servings, which breaks down to $1.87 per serving. This one is also super tasty and when it’s all mixed up it’s basically like a milkshake. This one is a little higher in calories, but is also higher in protein with 25 grams.

I decided to get a tub of each shake so that I don’t burn out on one of the flavors. I like that I can order them both online through Amazon, or pick them up at my local GNC and Target. Also, I feel like I’m drinking a milkshake for breakfast, but it’s a heck of a lot better for me than a piece of lemon pound cake from Starbucks!

So there you go, after lots of tasty research I have two favorite protein shakes. I typically will have a shake on my ride into work 5 days a week and then a non-shake breakfast on weekends.

I’d love to know if you have a favorite shake or if you have any questions for me on my taste testing extravaganza!


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8 thoughts on “Comparing Meal Replacement Shakes”

  1. How long have you been doing these shakes and is it helping with your goals? Weight loss at all? Do they keep you full until lunch? Are you replacing lunch too or just breakfast?

    1. I’ve been doing the shakes 5x a week or so for the last 6+ weeks. My goal isn’t really weight loss, but to be more active and eat better. I like the shakes for breakfast because it’s an easy no-brainer way to get something healthy in my stomach first thing in the morning. I do find that the shake keeps me full until lunch and I only replace breakfast. In addition the shake in the morning, I also have my typical travel mug of coffee.

  2. I like to do one scoop of vanilla with almond milk banana and peanut butter. Even creamier.

    This weekend I used 4 strawberries and skipped the peanut butter and that was yummy too.

      1. I tried the coconut almond Vega One and its great! It really did keep me full til lunch. I think I might also try the Vega One chocolate. I like the lower calorie and greens in those. Thanks again!

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