The ultimate guide to the best vegan meal replacement shakes

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

As plant-based diets continue to gain popularity, more and more people are looking for convenient, nutritious, and delicious vegan meal replacement shakes

There are many vegan meal replacement shakes on the market, but not all of them are created equal.

We've analyzed over 30 different plant-based meal replacement shakes of all different types. From shakes costing just over $1 to shakes costing almost $5 per serving.

From vegan shakes with soy to vegan meal replacement shakes without soy or gluten or any GMO ingredients.

Fortunately, we live in a world where plant-based meal shakes are not the exception but the norm. 

Thus, whatever your reason for needing a vegan meal replacement is (nutritional, environmental, ethical), you will find what you need here.

In this extensive guide, we'll delve into the top vegan meal replacement shakes of 2023, considering their nutritional profile, taste, value, and more.

What to Consider When Choosing a Vegan Meal Replacement Shake

When browsing the extensive range of vegan meal shakes available, it's crucial to remember that not all are created equal. Some may claim to be 100% plant-based but aren't entirely vegan-friendly due to the inclusion of vitamins and minerals derived from animal sources. Here are some key considerations when choosing a vegan meal replacement shake:

  • Vegan Certification: Ensure the product carries a trusted vegan certification.
  • Nutritional Profile: The shake should offer a balanced blend of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and be rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Ingredients: Opt for shakes made from natural, whole-food ingredients, free from artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.
  • Taste and Texture: Reviews and recommendations can help you gauge whether a shake is likely to suit your palate.
  • Value for Money: Consider the cost per serving and what you're getting in terms of nutrition and quality.

Top Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes of 2023

Based on in-depth research and analysis, here are the five best vegan meal replacement shakes to consider in 2023:

  • Lyfefuel Daily Essentials - Best Overall Vegan Meal Replacement Shake
  • Rootana - Best Without Artificial Sweeteners or Stevia
  • Instant Knockout - Best Vegan Weight Loss Meal Replacement Shake
  • Ka 'chava - Most Natural Meal Shake
  • Huel Black - Most Popular Plant-Based Meal Shake

Now, let's dive deeper into the unique features and benefits of each of these top-rated vegan meal shakes.

The Best Plant-Based Meal Replacement Shakes

1. Lyfefuel Daily Essentials - Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shake

Lyfefuel Daily Essentials nutrition shake tops our list thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, high-quality ingredients, and great taste.

Made from real food ingredients, it offers 19g of plant-based protein per shake, making it an ideal option for those looking to fuel their workouts or maintain a balanced diet.

Daily Essentials is 100% plant-based and made with over 50 superfoods. It offers more vitamins and minerals per serving than almost any other meal replacement shake, including vitamins K2 and D3.

It's also boosted with extra vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and magnesium - a few micronutrients that are often lacking in vegan diets (1).

To top it all off, these shakes are delicious. Chocolate is our favorite, but the vanilla one is great. Especially if you plan to mix it with berries or fruit.

Key Facts:

  • Macronutrient Ratio (C/P/F): 19/65/16
  • Serving Size: 110kcal
  • Protein Source: Pea protein and organic rice protein
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate


2. Rootana - Best Value Vegan Shake

Rootana offers excellent value for money without compromising on taste or nutrition.

Their shakes are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and they use real sugar instead of artificial sweeteners, delivering a clean, natural taste.

In fact, Rootana Cacao might be the best cacao-based meal replacement that we've tried. And we've tried a few!

Besides the taste though, this is an excellent vegan drink because it's balanced and made following the American Food guidelines (2).

Furthermore, it's one of the more affordable vegan shakes on this list, in particular, if we consider the excellent taste and nutrition that it offers. For regular consumption, Rootana offers excellent value.

Key Facts:

  • Macronutrient Ratio (C/P/F): 46/21/33
  • Serving Size: 400kcal
  • Protein Source: Pea protein
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Natural, and Dark Cacao


3. Instant Knockout Complete- Best for Weight Loss

At some point in our lives, we've all needed to lose a few pounds.

However, most meal replacement shakes for weight loss are either whey-based, or are filled with crappy ingredients.

Luckily, there's Instant Knockout.

Instant Knockout was designed in conjunction with MMA fighters for weight loss. This vegan meal replacement shake is packed with 35g of protein and tons of fiber. The high protein content keeps ghrelin levels low, thus decreasing your appetite (3).

The combination is ideal to keep you full for longer, while ensuring that you don't lose any muscle.

It still contains all the essential nutrients including omega-3, extra vitamin D and vitamin A, and chromium to elevate your mood while you are losing weight (4).

Even though it's only available in 1 flavor, if you are serious about your weight loss journey, this is the best vegan meal shake for that.

Key Facts:

  • Macronutrient Ratio (C/P/F): 35/35/29
  • Serving Size: 400kcal
  • Protein Source: Pea protein, soy protein
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coconut Acai, Chai, and Matcha


4. Ka'Chava - Most Natural Vegan Meal Replacement shake

Ka'Chava stands out for its incredible taste and nutrient-rich formulation.

It's the plant-based meal replacement shake with most ingredients with over 70+ superfoods. It's made out of whole-foods, fruits and mushrooms. Ka'chava aims to deliver you with the ultimate nutrition disregarding the cost.

Offering 24g of protein and all the essential nutrients your body needs, it's one of the healthiest and most delicious vegan shakes on the market.

Ka’chava also includes a green superfood blend that boosts your immune system, energy levels, improves your digestion, and detoxes your body. This is thanks to greens like kale, spirulina, and chlorella (5).

However, it is also one of the most expensive choices on the list. Thus, it's only perfect for those for whom money is not an issue.

Even then, you might want to consider Lyfefuel Daily Essentials, which is more affordable and has more nutrients per serving.

If you need more than 2 flavors though, then Ka'chava is your answer.

Key Facts:

  • Macronutrient Ratio (C/P/F): 33/41/26
  • Serving Size: 240kcal
  • Protein Source: Yellow Pea Protein, Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Protein, Organic Sacha Inchi, Organic Amaranth, Organic Quinoa
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coconut Acai, Chai, and Matcha

5. Huel Black - Best Low Carb

For those following a low-carb diet, Huel Black is an excellent choice.

Each serving provides 40g of protein, and it's low in sugars. It is also gluten-free and contains no artificial sweeteners.

Unlike some of the vegan meal replacement shakes on this list, it also comes in several flavors, offering variety to your diet. That said, Salted Caramel is the best out of the bunch, and Chocolate is rather disappointing, sadly.

Huel Black is also surprisingly affordable, particularly when you order via subscription.

Key Facts:

  • Macronutrient Ratio (C/P/F): 20/40/40
  • Serving Size: 400kcal
  • Protein Source: Pea protein and Rice
  • Flavors: Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Banana, Coffee Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Cinnamon Roll, Strawberry Shortcake, and U&U.

Closing Thoughts - The Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes

Fortunately, we live in a world where there are tons of vegan meal shakes to choose from.

However, this also means that you need to pay more attention when you buy, since not all of them are equal.

Ultimately, choosing the right vegan meal replacement shake is a personal decision that depends on your dietary needs, taste preferences, and budget.

That said, after testing dozens of plant-based meal replacements, we strongly believe that Lyfefuel Daily Essentials is the best vegan meal replacement shake on the market.

The combination of nutritional excellence, paired with a carefully crafted micronutrient profile to fit vegan diet needs, and superb taste make it a clear winner.


This article was written in cooperation with Derhil Fitness & Nutrition Media