- June 14, 2022
- by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
- 0 Comments
The 11 Best Plant-Based Meal Replacements
These 11 plant-based meal replacements are the perfect option when you need a quick and easy option to fuel your body.
There are lots of reasons why you might skip a meal. Maybe you’re too busy to cook, you need to go grocery shopping, you’re away from home and need something quick.
No matter the reason, skipping a meal shouldn’t mean missing out on much-needed calories and nutrients. Plant-based meal replacements can be the solution for those times when a sit-down meal won’t fit your busy schedule.
These plant-based meal replacements have been taste tested and reviewed to make it easier to find the one that’s best for you. Here, we’ll go over the top 11 plant-based meal replacements out there.
A note on taste: A registered dietitian nutritionist taste tested each plant-based meal replacements.
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, may provide a small amount of revenue to support the maintenance of this site. While NOW is a current client, this blog post is not sponsored.
1. Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake
Vega is one of the most recognizable plant-based supplement brands on the market today. Co-founded by former Canadian endurance athlete Brendan Brazier, the brand hit the market in 2001 as one of the first plant-based supplement companies.
Offering a wide variety of products, including protein bars and shakes, the brand also boasts a sports line that includes pre-workout supplements and protein blends.
As well, Vega is certified gluten free, and the sports line is Certified for Sport by NSF International.
We opted for the French vanilla flavor of this plant-based meal replacement. This is tastiest when blended into a smoothie versus mixing the powder into a plant-based milk.
You can also find this shake in berry, mocha, chocolate mint, coconut almond, chocolate, and plain unsweetened. While we enjoyed the taste, it’s probably best to steer clear if you’re not a fan of sugar substitutes because their presence in the shake is obvious.
- Best for: A lower-calorie, protein-based drink with no added sugar.
- Avoid if: You need to replace a full meal—on its own, this drink is only 140 calories. If you need to increase the calories, mix the powder with your favorite non-dairy milk or blend into a smoothie with fruit and nut butter.
- Nutrition facts (per scoop): 140 calories, 3.5 grams (g) fat, 210 milligrams (mg) sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Pea protein, agave inulin powder, golden flaxseed powder, Vega One Veggies And Fruits Blend (carrot juice powder, spinach powder, acerola cherry juice powder, chard powder, kale powder, lettuce powder, pomegranate juice powder, blueberry powder, acai powder), pea starch, natural flavors, spirulina, chia seed powder, maca root powder, quinoa sprouts sprouted in water with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B7), probiotics (Bacillus Coagulans), sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, Sacha Inchi powder, stevia leaf extract, bromelain, mushroom powder, xanthan gum
2. Gnarly Sports Nutrition Vegan Protein
Gnarly is a sports nutrition brand that aims to create products for all levels of performance. The majority of Gnarly products are NSF Certified for Sport, including the Gnarly Sports Nutrition Vegan Protein.
The brand describes its products as “vegan-friendly” and emphasizes transparency about what’s in the products you’re buying. The company also focuses on sustainability and has a plan to remove all plastic packaging by 2025.
We tried the chocolate flavor, which stirred easily into a plant-based milk. You can also pick up this protein powder in vanilla. The flavor of the chocolate is rich and sweet. But if you’re sensitive to the taste of stevia you may want to opt for a different product.
- Best for: Serious athletes looking for an NSF-certified protein supplement.
- Avoid if: You don’t like the taste of sugar substitutes.
- Nutrition facts (per packet): 200 calories, 7 g fat, 400 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Protein blend (pea protein isolate, chia (seed) protein & cranberry (seed) protein, high oleic sunflower (oil) powder, IMO (isomalto-oligosaccharide) (fiber), evaporated cane juice, cocoa powder, natural flavors, guar gum, sea salt, stevia (leaf) extract, calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ferric pyrophosphate (iron), enzyme blend (protease, cellulase, lactase, amylase, lipase), Aquamin red algae (Lithothamnium Calcareum), ascorbic acid, D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, Lactospore (Bacillus Coagulans MTCC5856) 300 million CFU, zinc citrate, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, Bioperin® (black pepper (fruit) extract, manganese gluconate, calcium panthothenate, Vitashine vegan vitamin D3, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine hydrochloride, sodium molybdate, chromium nicotinate, folic acid, biotin, potassium iodide, selenomethionine, cyanocobalamin
3. Ripple Foods Protein Shake
Founded in 2014, Ripple offers a full line of dairy-substitutes. This includes dairy-free milk, dairy free half-and-half, and kids’ milk in addition to plant-based protein shakes. The Ripple protein shake is ready to drink and easy to carry on the go.
We sampled the vanilla. And oh, is it tasty! The flavor reminds us of creamy vanilla milk, with a smooth texture and delicious flavor with no strange sugar substitute aftertaste.
After all, it’s sweetened with just cane sugar and monk fruit extract. The drink also comes in chocolate and coffee. Plus, it’s dairy-, gluten-, soy-, and nut-free—making it an allergen-friendly option.
- Best for: On-the-go nutrition that’s budget-friendly and available in national grocery store chains.
- Avoid if: You’re looking to replace a full meal. Compared to other plant-based meal replacements, this protein shake is relatively low in calories. For this reason, it may be best as an accompaniment to a meal or as an on-the-go snack between meals.
- Nutrition facts (per bottle): 200 calories, 7 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Water, pea protein, cane sugar, sunflower oil, natural flavor, contains less than 0.5% of dipotassium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, salt, mixed tocopherols (to preserve freshness), sunflower lecithin, monk fruit extract, gellan gum, guar gum
4. Orgain Vegan Organic Nutrition Shake
Orgain was founded by Andrew Abraham, MD, an integrative medicine specialist. The brand makes plant-based protein shakes and drinks, as well as a line of nutritional powders that includes a greens powder and a probiotic powder.
Most of the product line is certified organic, made without artificial ingredients, and gluten free. However, if these features are important to you, be sure to check the labels. Thus, not all the products carry these attributes.
We tried the smooth chocolate, which is perfect if you’re craving the rich taste of sweet chocolate. This ready-to-drink shake also comes in a vanilla bean flavor.
- Best for: Tossing in a gym bag or backpack to drink on the go.
- Avoid if: You need to limit added sugar. One carton contains 10 g of added sugar, approximately two and a half teaspoons. This is 20 percent of the daily recommended cap for added sugar.
- Nutrition facts (per carton): 220 calories, 7 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein
- Ingredients: Filtered water, Orgain Organic Protein Blend (organic pea protein, organic chia seeds), organic rice dextrin, organic cane sugar, organic natural flavors, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic alkalized cocoa, organic sunflower lecithin, tripotassium citrate, tricalcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, Organic Vitamin & Mineral Blend (sodium ascorbate, zinc gluconate, D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, manganese sulfate, niacinamide, beta carotene, potassium iodide, calcium-D-pantothenate, biotin, chromium chloride, copper gluconate, ergocalciferol, sodium molybdate, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, sodium selenate, methylcobalamin), sodium bicarbonate, natural flavor, gellan gum, Orgain Orgainic Fruit & Vegetable Blend (organic apple fiber, organic acai, organic beet, rganic kale, organic raspberry, organic spinach, organic tomato, organic banana, organic blueberry, organic carrot), sea salt
- Buy here: Orgain’s website or Amazon
5. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
Garden of Life is a well-established wellness brand offering a wide variety of products. This includes supplements, probiotics, herbals, and protein powders.
Because it’s both Informed Sport Certified and Certified for Sport by NSF International, this plant-based protein shake stands out. These third-party testing agencies are considered the gold standard when testing for purity and potency of a product.
We tried the chocolate cacao flavor of this plant-based meal replacement, which easily stirred into plant-based milk without leaving chalky clumps.
This is the kind of shake you choose when you’re craving something sweet that’s also better for you. You can also purchase this protein powder in a vanilla flavor, as well as an unflavored variety.
- Best for: Blending into a smoothie or adding to a shaker with water for drinking on the go. If you’re looking for an Informed Sport Certified and Certified for Sport by NSF International supplement, this shake is a great choice. It’s also gluten free and certified organic.
- Avoid if: You need a higher-calorie option to replace a meal. One serving has 130 calories, which is much lower than you’d expect for a meal replacement.
- Nutrition facts (per scoop): 130 calories, 2.5 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Organic sprouted protein blend: organic pea protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic amaranth (sprout), organic buckwheat (sprout), organic millet (pearl & sprout), organic quinoa (sprout), organic chia seed (sprout), organic adzuki bean (sprout), organic flax seed (sprout), organic garbanzo bean (sprout), organic lentil (sprout), organic pumpkin seed (sprout), organic sesame seed (sprout), organic sunflower seed (sprout), organic fiber blend: organic tapioca fiber, organic chia seed, organic flax meal, organic flavor blend: organic cacao, organic chocolate flavors, organic erythritol, sea salt, organic stevia (rebaudioside A from Stevia rebaudiana leaf), organic vanilla flavor, organic fruit & vegetable blend: organic spinach (leaf), organic baobab (fruit), organic apple (fruit), organic beet (root), organic vroccoli (stalk & flower), organic carrot (root), organic tomato (fruit), organic green bell pepper (fruit), organic Brussels sprout (leaf), organic ginger (root), organic garlic (bulb), organic onion (bulb), organic strawberry (fruit), organic cherry (fruit), organic parsley (leaf), organic cauliflower (flower & stem), organic blackberry (fruit), organic cabbage (leaf), organic blueberry (fruit), organic raspberry (fruit), organic kale (leaf), organic cucumber (gourd), organic celery (stalk), organic asparagus (flower & stem), organic greens blend: organic alfalfa grass juice, organic spirulina, organic barley grass juice, organic oat grass juice, organic wheat grass juice, whole food vitamin & nineral blend: [(from culture of Saccharamyces cerevisiae: vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin A (beta-carotene), biotin, vitamin B12 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin D, vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin), vitamin K], vitamin E (from sunflower oil), zinc and chromium (from brown rice chelate), probiotic & enzyme blend: lipase, protease, aspergillopepsin, beta-gulcanase, cellulase, bromelain, phytase, lactase, papain, peptidase, pectinase, gemicellulase, xylanase, [Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus] 1.5 Billion CFU
6. Shaklee Life Shake
Another well-established wellness brand, Shaklee has a long history. It dates back to 1915 with the creation of Shaklee’s Vitalized Minerals.
The company offers a range of products from supplements to protein shakes, prenatal vitamins. It also sells products specifically targeted for the aging population.
The Shaklee Life Shake plant-based powder is made primarily with the Shaklee proprietary blend of pea protein, chia seed protein, and pumpkin seed protein.
We enjoyed the French vanilla because of its light vanilla flavor that easily mixes into water or plant-based milk. You can also buy the plant-based shake in rich chocolate.
This shake doesn’t have any sugar substitutes, which may make it easier to enjoy for some people.
- Best for: A fiber boost. One serving has 6 grams of fiber, 22 percent of the daily value, from a blend of grains and seeds.
- Avoid if: You’re following a lower-sodium diet. One serving contains only 160 calories but has 400 mg sodium. This is almost twice the amount of what’s found in other protein shakes on this list. Also, the lower calories make this plant-based shake more like a snack than a meal.
- Nutrition facts (per 2 scoops): 160 calories, 4 g fat, 400 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Shaklee Proprietary Protein Blend (pea protein, L-leucine, organic chia seed protein, organic pumpkin seed protein), proprietary fiber blend [soluble corn fiber, organic ancient grains blend (organic amaranth, organic buckwheat, organic millet, organic quinoa, organic chia)], cane sugar, sunflower oil powder, natural flavors, proprietary vitamin and mineral blend (dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, niacinamide, zinc oxide, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, biotin), salt, guar gum, milled golden flaxseed, rebaudioside M, digestive enzyme blend (papain, bromelain)
7. OWYN Complete Nutrition Shake
OWYN is relatively new to the plant-based protein market. It’s reported to be one of the fastest growing plant-based beverage brands, per Vending MarketWatch. All OWYN products are free of the top eight allergens.
And this makes them a great choice if you have a food allergy like milk or soy. The product line offers both ready-to-drink and powdered proteins, as well as a gluten-free pancake and waffle mix.
We enjoyed the chocolate flavor because it has the rich chocolate taste you’d expect but without a strong aftertaste. We credit this to the combination of cane sugar and monk fruit.
As well, the smooth texture means no chalky lumps or gritty mouthfeel, making it easy to drink. You can also buy this drink in a chai flavor if chocolate isn’t your favorite.
- Best for: A ready-to-drink plant-based meal replacement that’s higher in calories without a significant amount of added sugar.
- Avoid if: You’re following a strict low-fat diet. Relative to the other meal replacements on this list, OWYN is higher in total fat and may not be appropriate for people following a strict diet that restricts total daily fat intake.
- Nutrition facts (per bottle): 300 calories, 10 g fat, 330 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Water, OWYN Protein Blend (pea protein, organic flaxseed oil, oat powder, organic pumpkin seed powder), tapioca dextrin, sunflower oil, organic cane sugar, cocoa powder, natural flavor, vitamin & mineral powder, sunflower lecithin, himalayan pink salt, monk fruit extract
8. Soylent Ready-to-Drink Complete Meal
Soylent made a splash in the headlines a few years back, initially embraced by Silicon Valley tech moguls who didn’t have enough time to think about preparing meals and eating.
Since then, the brand’s product line and marketing has expanded considerably—and Soylent is widely available online.
While Soylent produces a variety of products, the ready-to-drink options are convenient for folks who need an easy, on-the-go option as a meal replacement. The café mocha flavor is a great morning drink if you enjoy coffee and chocolate.
As coffee fans, we were pleasantly surprised by the rich coffee flavor with a bit of sweetness from the chocolate. You can also find creamy chocolate, mint chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana if coffee doesn’t suit your tastebuds.
- Best for: People who need a true meal replacement (and not a low-calorie alternative) that tastes good.
- Avoid if: You don’t feel comfortable with soy or have an allergy—the protein base is made of soy. It’s also sweetened with sucralose. So if you avoid artificial sweeteners, skip this one.
- Nutrition facts (per bottle): 400 calories, 24 g fat, 300 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Filtered water, soy protein isolate, maltodextrin, high oleic sunflower oil, allulose, canola oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), natural flavors, vitamin and mineral premix, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, cellulose, salt, gellan gum, sucralose
9. Huel Plant-Based Meal Replacement
Huel’s name comes from the combination of two words: human and fuel. Alas, the company’s mission is “to make nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food, with minimal impact on animals and the environment.”
Huel makes a full line of meal replacement products, from ready-to-drink beverages to protein bars and powders. The Huel ready-to-drink meal replacement is sold in two versions (v1.0 and v2.0), with 20g and 22g of protein per bottle, respectively.
All ready-to-drink meal replacements are gluten free and made with a pea protein base.
The chocolate flavor has a rich, creamy texture that’s easy to drink. It isn’t overly sweet and the taste of sugar substitutes isn’t as strong as other meal replacements on the list.
Not a chocolate fan? Well, you can choose from multiple other flavors—including cinnamon roll, iced coffee caramel, salted caramel, strawberry shortcake, banana, vanilla, and berry.
- Best for: A high-calorie plant-based meal replacement that’s also an excellent source of fiber.
- Avoid if: You have a tree nut allergy, as this drink is made with coconut. It also contains sucralose, so if you avoid artificial sweeteners then this product isn’t for you.
- Nutrition facts (per bottle): 400 calories, 19 g fat, 360 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 20 g protein
- Ingredients: Water, pea protein, tapioca maltodextrin, gluten-free oat powder, canola oil, cocoa powder, flaxseed, medium-chain trilyceride powder (from coconut), oligofructose, natural and artificial flavors, brown rice flour, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, gellan gum, sucralose, potassium citrate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, magnesium phosphate, L-choline bitartrate, D-alpha tocopherol acetate, niacinamine, menaquinone-7, retinol acetate, vitamin D2, calcium D-pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, potassium iodide, cyanocobalamin, biotin, selenium yeast, copper gluconate, zinc oxide, L-methylfolate calcium, chromium picolinate
10. NOW Sports Plant Protein Complex
NOW offers a full range of products and supplements, including plant-based proteins.
The NOW Sports line consists of a few plant-based options, including hemp protein, pea protein, and the plant-protein complex. Plus, many of the sports line supplements are Informed Sport Certified.
We tried the chocolate mocha flavor, which mixed easily into water. It contains both xylitol and stevia. So if sugar substitutes aren’t your favorite, we recommend steering clear of this one. You can also buy the plant protein complex in creamy vanilla flavor.
- Best for: Adding a boost of protein to a higher-calorie beverage or smoothie to make a true meal replacement. Compared to the other meal replacements on this list, the ingredient list is rather short—a good thing.
- Avoid if: You need a higher-calorie, standalone meal replacement. This is a lower-calorie plant-based protein powder best used in combination with a high-calorie beverage to make for suitable meal replacement.
- Nutrition facts (per scoop): 140 calories, 2 g fat, 290 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 22 g protein
- Ingredients: Yellow pea protein isolate, Dutch cocoa, quinoa protein, natural flavors, xylitol, hemp protein, organic stevia leaf extract, stevia leaf extract (rebaudioside A)
11. Muniq Vegan Protein Shake
Muniq stands out in the crowded plant-based meal replacement space because of its focus on gut health.
This meal replacement features resistant starch as the first ingredient. This results in a single drink providing more than 50 percent of the daily value for fiber.
Resistant starch is an insoluble fiber that passes through the small intestine intact and is fermented in the colon. And most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their daily diets. So if this is you, then you may benefit from adding a fiber-rich drink to your diet.
This shake is thicker than most because of the extra fiber. We enjoyed the chocolate flavor but found the thickness of the shake an obstacle.
However, you can add additional water or plant-based milk to water the beverage down more. The chocolatey taste is pleasant and definitely worth a try if you’re a chocolate fan. You can also pick up Muniq in a vanilla flavor if you’d rather skip the chocolate.
- Best for: A convenient way to increase your daily fiber intake.
- Avoid if: You already eat a high-fiber diet, as this shake provides 15 g of fiber.
- Nutrition facts (per packet): 170 calories, 6 g fat, 200 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 15 g fiber, 15 g protein
- Ingredients: Prebiotic resistant starch fiber blend [green banana powder, high-amylose maize resistant starch, beta glucan (oats), soluble vegetable fiber (maize)], vegan protein blend (pea protein concentrate, pumpkin seed protein, brown rice protein concentrate), natural sweetener blend (allulose, rebaudioside M), creamer blend (high oleic sunflower oil, xanthan gum, guar gum), natural vanilla flavor, vitamin-mineral blend (calcium carbonate, choline bitartrate, zinc Gluconate, D, L-alpha tocopheryl acetate, magnesium oxide, ergocalciferol, potassium iodide, niacinamide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A palmitate, phytonadione, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, sodium molybdate, D-calcium pantothenate, alpha lipoic acid, biotin, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine HCL, copper sulfate, riboflavin, chromium picolinate, reduced iron, cyanocobalamin)
Final thoughts on plant-based meal replacements
Ultimately, there’s no shortage of plant-based meal replacements available today. The wide variety is great for availability and flavor preferences but can be overwhelming when considering the varied nutrient profiles.
Before you choose, decide if you’re looking to replace a meal or if you’re aiming for a protein-rich snack. This will help guide your choice when it comes to total calories and other nutrients like fiber and carbohydrates.
And remember: Plant-based meal replacements and protein shakes should be considered convenient additions to a well-balanced plant-based diet made up of whole foods. Because of this, they should not be the primary source of nutrients in your diet.
- Monash University, Controversies and reality of the FODMAP diet for patients with irritable bowel syndrome
- A 2020 study in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- A 2020 study in The Journal of Nutrition
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