Whether you are looking to manage your weight, are on a keto diet, or you are heading out the door in a hurry, meal replacement shakes can be a great alternative to consuming whole meals.
The most common question I had when considering a meal replacement was whether or not I would gain weight or if I was going to stay full long enough until my next meal.
So I went on a hunt to find the best low carb meal replacement shake that can help manage my weight, and provide the best nutritional value while keeping me full throughout the day.
Below, We reviewed some of the best products to help you with your weight loss and nutritional goals.
Lets dive right in!
Reviewing The Best Low Carb Meal Shakes
OUR TOP PICK
Complete Plant Based Protein Meal Replacement
This is meal replacement shake is manufactured by an American company that gives its fullest attention to quality and uses ingredients derived from natural gardens around the world.
The 1:1 ratio blend helps you stay fuller for longer, and doesn’t contain any GMO’s, along with a certificate to back it all up. The product supports easy digestion, is free of nuts, artificial flavors, colors, and does not use any whey protein which eliminates extra sweeteners and the need for preservatives.
Customers have reported this product being really effective for weight-loss and for helping you stay fuller between meals. Many also love using this as a keto meal replacement shake due to its choice of ingredients and since its completely plant-based.
Garden Of Life
Plant Meal Replacement
Garden of Life contains only 115 calories per serving, and 8g of net carbs, making it exceptional if you are trying to lose weight or if you are on a keto diet. It also delivers 21 whole food vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of fiber to help you feel full while increasing energy levels throughout the day.
Many who have used this full meal replacement have experienced better digestion after using it for a while. However, the taste can take time to get used to.
Overall, This is a great option for anyone trying to lose weight, or for those who are looking for a keto meal replacement alternative.
BRL Sports Nutrition
INVIGOR 8 Superfood Keto Meal Replacement Shake
INVIGOR8 is a plant-based veggie complex that is made up of kale, spinach, broccoli, and a variety of greens. It also contains plant-based fiber, as well as omega 3.6 and 9 to help you stay fuller for longer.
This product contains all-natural sweeteners, and they also threw in theanine and bacopa monnieri, which can help with concentration and focus, making it a great option for athletes or for anyone on a keto diet.
A big upside to this product is it has no GMO’s and has an FDA Approval certificate. You can add water when mixing it in a blender, or any beverage of your choice and it takes almost no effort for it to dissolve without leaving those lumpy chunks in your shaker.
We found that this product is expensive when comparing to other similar protein shakes, but the quality and taste can certainly justify this cost.
All-In-one Natural Meal Replacement
Vegan Smart’s all in one nutritional meal replacement shake comes in multiple flavors, including chocolate, chai, wild-berries, cookies, and cream. You will find 22 vitamins and minerals, and over 200mg of omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart and brain support.
The whole food plant-based complex also contains prebiotics which helps stimulate growth. Its also 100% vegan-friendly and can be combined with a ketogenic diet. We loved the flavors, however, there seems to be a strange aftertaste due to stevia being an ingredient in this shake.
Essentials Nutritional Shake
With 15g of net carbs per serving and 170 calories, this product is perfect for losing and managing weight. It contains all-natural sugars and its ingredients are primarily made up of whole vegetables, making it a great choice for weight loss.
This full meal replacement shake provides you with all your essential omega-3 fatty acids, and 25% of your daily vitamin intake. You can mix it easily in either cold water or a blender. Many people say this shake is easy on digestion but may taste too sweet for some.
Meal Replacement By Nutrilite
This scientifically formulated meal replacement shake has a higher calorie and carb count than most competitors, but the plus side is the brand behind this premium product.
Nutrilite is an American company that owns its organic farms, and controls the entire process from the time the seed is planted, to when the product is ready to ship.
This blend contains 5g of fiber and helps you stay full while losing weight. You get 25 essential vitamins and minerals, is naturally flavored, and has no added preservatives. You also get 20g of non-whey protein, which eliminates the number of sweeteners in the product.
Our Top Pick, And Why!
After reviewing several meal shakes, the winner that came out on top was Plant Fusions Plant-Based Blend. This product qualified as our number one due to its low carb count and the use of quality ingredients. In addition, its a great keto meal replacement shake due to its low carb count.
Who Needs Low Carb Meal Replacement Shakes?
There are many reasons why you would want to go with a meal replacement shake with minimal net carbs. Depending on your fitness goals, this alternative can serve you in multiple ways.
Below are some key reasons as to why you may want to replace full meals with protein shakes that contain fewer carbs:
If you are anything like me and are finding yourself regularly rushing out the door, then meal replacement shakes can be your saving grace.
It is common in today’s day in age to unintentionally neglect health due to lack of time. Having a plan B which you can whip up in a blender or shaker in under a few minutes can help you stay moving at times where it is difficult to plan an entire meal.
You can take your meal replacement wherever you go, whether its to work, traveling, or running out the door, it is a quick and seamless process. Whichever case it may be, the bottom line is meal replacement shakes can save you a ton of time when struggling to keep up with your hectic lifestyle.
Weight-Management or Weight Loss
Reducing the number of carbs and calories is key when trying to lose or manage weight, and staying on top of things can help prevent health problems later down the road, including cardiovascular disease.
Sticking to fewer carbohydrates such as a ketogenic diet can be a challenge when eating full meals, especially when really hungry. You can easily fall into the trap of overeating or miscalculating your necessary calorie and carb intake. This often makes things difficult to manage and lose weight.
Low-calorie meal replacement shakes can help you feel more full while taking in fewer calories or carbohydrates, therefore making it easier to stay on track.
Studies have even shown that people who take protein shakes or meal replacements have a higher probability of losing weight versus eating whole meals.
Not all meal replacement shakes should be treated equally, but the majority of them will have a high protein count. This can help with weight loss since protein can help you eat fewer calories while helping you stay fuller, longer, thus better supporting weight loss.
Lack Of Nutrition
Meal replacement products are designed to provide all the necessary nutritional value that you would find in a healthy and complete balanced meal.
Unfortunately for most of us, it is difficult to get all the nutrition our body needs from whole meals. With meal replacement shakes, you can have better control over how much nutrients you consume.
The Ketogenic diet has its own set of restrictions, and one of these is the demand for low carbohydrates and healthy fats, which is why many people that pursue the diet will turn to a keto meal replacement, or any product with lesser carbs.
Low carb meal replacements are the perfect alternative to eating ketogenic meals without sacrificing the health benefits that you would normally get from plant-based foods.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of Meal Replacement Shakes?
Of course, meal replacements are not for everyone, so we listed some pro’s and con’s to better help you see things from both sides.
- It can save you a ton of time, without the need to cook a full meal.
- Great for athletes who need more f a nutritional boost in their diet.
- Easier to track calories, carbs, and other nutrients.
- It helps you control your portions.
- May contain more nutrients that you might miss in whole foods.
- It helps you stay fuller with fewer calories while using healthy fats, therefore helping you manage or lose weight.
- Can be expensive for a good quality brand
- They don’t teach you how to cook meals
- It can become non-satisfying if overdone.
- May include chemicals to enhance nutritional value.
How To Choose The Best Low Carb Meal Replacement Shake
With all the meal replacement products floating around, it can be difficult to find the right one, without making any mistakes in the process.
So we created a simple guide on what to look for when choosing the best low carb meal replacement shakes.
Typically, people who go for low carb meal replacements have a goal to lose weight, so it’s important to understand the daily limit of carbohydrates you need to take in.
The dietary guidelines recommend that carbs take up anywhere between 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories. (Source)
For a 2000 calorie diet (per day), the rule of thumb is to aim for 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates to maintain current weight. To lose weight, you would want to aim for roughly half of those amounts.
Depending on how many times you eat per day, you can divide the total amount of net carbs by the number of meals you consume. So if you eat 3 meals daily, and your goal is 150 grams of carbs, you would consume 3 meals at 50 grams of carbs each.
A meal replacement shake that contains less than 40 grams of carbs per serving would qualify that product to be part of the “low carb diet” category, so aiming below this target number will help speed up your weight-loss results.
The way you feel after consuming a product for a consistent amount of time will be a direct reflection of the quality that came in the package.
Whichever company you are considering purchasing a product from, they should always provide information about what ingredients they use, and staying transparent. If no information is available, simply move on.
Additionally, make sure to review the ingredients and make sure you can understand the names as described on the label, and that there are no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
If you are not sure about an ingredient, do thorough research on its side effects and whether or not the ingredients are natural, or genetically modified.
This may vary depending on your health goals.
If you are looking to lose or manage weight, it is important to make sure that you can find a product with the fewest amount of carbohydrates, sugar, and calories per serving.
To pick the healthiest and most reliable product according to its nutritional value, ignore the labels on the front and follow these guidelines we found on healthline.com (Source)
- At least 15 grams of protein per serving
- At least 3 grams of fiber per serving
- Less than 10 grams of sugar per serving
- No corn syrup
- No hydrogenated vegetable oils
- At least 33% of the Daily Value for vitamins and minerals.
It is always good to run a background check on the brand.
Evidence of a brand that has been around a long time, has approval from third party regulation authorities such as FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or NSF (National Science Foundation), and has open information about their products, can better help you make an informed decision.
I typically stay away from companies that are new, and who do not have enough of a track record in oe=rder to make a good judgment call.
Often times, you get what you pay for. Although we hear this time and time and again, it isn’t always necessarily true.
Just because that nicely branded meal replacement shake is expensive, it doesn’t mean its the Cadillac of all shakes.
To determine value vs cost, my rule of thumb is to research where all this money is going towards within the company. I look for investments in scientific research, quality control, and third party approval certificates.
If I see more marketing than benefits, that’s usually a deal-breaker for me, so make sure you select wisely.