Ample Meal is a nutritious and high-quality meal replacement powder made by Ample Foods. The powder is available in an original, ketogenic and vegan formula named Ample O, Ample K and Ample V, respectively.
This Ample meal review focuses on Ample O — the original formula that began as a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo in 2015.
I love to use Ample when I travel or don’t have time to prepare a proper meal. In this review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the pros and cons of this delicious meal replacement drink.
I ordered my first few bottles of Ample meal replacement drinks in May of 2017, and have been using it ever since. Adding up all my past orders shows that I’ve consumed over a hundred bottles of Ample while traveling, before workouts, and when I don’t have the time to cook.
I should note that while I started out with Ample O, I’ve since transitioned to Ample K — the ketogenic (low-carb) version of Ample.
If you’re not sure which of the three Ample flavors you would like best, you can now also order a variety pack*, including:
- 3x Ample Vanilla 400 cal meals
- 3x Ample V Berry 400 cal meals
- 3x Ample K Vanilla Cinnamon 400 cal meals
- 3x Ample K Chocolate 400 cal meals
To learn more about how Ample compares to other meal replacement drinks, check out these reviews:
- Best 12 Keto Meal Replacement Shakes [Ultimate Guide]
- Top 10 Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes
- Meal Replacement Drinks Review (non-keto or vegan)
What Is Ample Meal?
Back in 2015, Connor Young founded Ample Foods with the goal of creating a convenient and super-healthy drinkable meal that would take only a minute to prepare.
The first product was what we know today as Ample O (aka Ample Original), followed by a vegan-friendly version (Ample V), and last but not least Ample K — a low-carb ketogenic formula.
Ample is a complete meal replacement shake that comes in powder form, either pre-bottled or in a bulk pouch. To prepare Ample, all you have to do is add cold water, milk, or your favorite nut-based milk alternative.
I usually consume Ample with water because I like how it tastes and I usually don’t have access to other liquids when I’m traveling.
One of the big benefits of Ample is convenience, as it takes less than a minute to prepare. And unlike other meal replacement shakes, Ample contains only carefully selected ingredients of the highest quality.
That doesn’t mean you should use Ample to replace all of your regular meals, but if you have no other choice, Ample is one of the healthiest real-food alternatives there is.
Ample O offers a very well-balanced macronutrient profile consisting of 25 grams of fat, 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of net carbs in the 400-calorie version. The 600-calorie version has 40 grams of healthy fats, a whopping 34 grams of protein and only 14 grams of net carbs.
What are net carbs?
Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates minus those carbs your body cannot use for energy (i.e., fiber). Anything your body can’t use for energy doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels.
In the case of a 400-calorie bottle of Ample O, you’d subtract 10 grams of fiber from 21 grams of total carbohydrates to get to the net carb content (11 grams).
Besides the balanced macronutrient count, Ample O includes:
- 10-15% of your daily potassium
- 20-25% of your daily calcium
- 8-10% of your daily iron
- 20-25% of your daily vitamin D3
- 20-25% of your daily magnesium
Also, every bottle of Ample O has 4 billion CFU of probiotics to support your gut microbiota.
What you won’t find in Ample O are any artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners, soy, gluten or GMOs.
The first few versions of Ample O didn’t offer significant amounts of vitamins and minerals because the company didn’t see the value in simply stuffing the product full of lab-grown vitamins.
I agree with that perspective and wrote about the pros and cons of synthetic (and real-food) vitamin supplements in this article; check it out if you want to learn why synthetic vitamins are relatively useless.
In a nutshell, your body can’t absorb and use most lab-made vitamins, which renders them fairly ineffective.
However, I’m glad to see that Ample decided to add high-quality versions of certain minerals and vitamins to Ample O — specifically, those that many Americans are often deficient in, including calcium and vitamin D3.
Below is an overview of the main ingredients in Ample O, followed by a deep dive that explains their benefits (and why Ample Foods added them).
- Fats: coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, macadamia nut oil, sunflower lecithin.
- Proteins: grass-fed whey, grass-fed collagen protein, pea protein.
- Carbohydrates: whole grain oat flour, tapioca dextrin, sweet potato powder, tapioca dextrin.
- Sweeteners: dried honey, monk fruit extract, stevia extract.
- Probiotics: bacillus coagulans, lactobacillus rhamnosus, bifidobacterium infantis, lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium lactis, lactobacillus paracasei.
- Fiber: organic psyllium husk, chicory root fiber, acacia fiber, guar gum.
- Flavor: vanilla (I expect a chocolate-flavored version soon).
For those of you who are interested in learning more about Ample and its ingredients, I decided to pick apart the nutrition label on the back and take a closer look at every ingredient.
So let’s dive into it!
Whey is a fast-absorbing milk protein that many athletes consume to build lean muscle mass. Ample uses grass-fed whey protein isolate and whey concentrate. The former has fewer impurities (such as lactose) but also fewer micronutrients than whey concentrate.
Pea protein (which is typically derived from split peas) is plant-based and thus often included in both vegan and vegetarian products. The body absorbs pea protein slower than whey, and it also has a lower bio-availability score.
The pea protein in Ample is low in lectins, which are a known antinutrient. Pea protein has naturally low concentrations of the amino acids cysteine and methionine, but it’s high in lysine.
Collagen peptides are the precursor to complete protein compounds, and they contain many essential and non-essential amino acids.
While collagen doesn’t have a complete amino acid profile — unlike whey, pea or rice protein — it helps your body with building tissue and repairing joints. Also, the body absorbs collagen peptides incredibly fast.
Macadamia Nut Oil
Macadamia nut oil is an incredibly healthy cooking oil with a favorable omega 3 to 6 ratio of about 1:1. It consists of 85% monounsaturated fats and is loaded with oleic acid and other antioxidants.
Macadamia nuts and their oil are incredibly expensive. So I really appreciate that Ample contains this healthy type of oil.
Coconut oil is an excellent source of saturated fats, and it’s loaded with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). If you’re familiar with the keto diet, you might have heard that some MCTs are a great source of energy.
Sunflower lecithin is an emulsifier derived from the sunflower seed. In your body, lecithin is responsible for keeping cells healthy by preventing cell membranes from hardening.
Ample uses this lecithin to allow the fats in the powder to properly mix with water when you’re preparing the meal.
Whole Grain Oat Powder/Flour
Before the latest update to its formula, Ample relied heavily on tapioca starch as a source of carbohydrates. With the updated Ample meals, the company introduced whole grain oat powder and flour as a slower-digesting (and ultimately healthier) alternative.
I appreciate that change because it leads to a slower spike in blood sugar (and insulin) after consuming a bottle of Ample.
Tapioca starch is a paleo-friendly carbohydrate extracted from the cassava root, native to the northeastern region of Brazil. Tapioca starch has a moderate glycemic index (GI) of 70, which indicates how quickly the body converts it into glucose. For reference, glucose has a GI of 100 and whole-grain oats have a GI of 55.
Tapioca is a long-chain starch, which makes it an excellent prebiotic material to promote gut health.
Sweet potatoes are paleo-friendly starchy tubers that have a GI of 46 to 94, depending on how you prepare them. The sweet potato starch in Ample Meal is on the lower end of that scale.
Acacia fiber is water-soluble and comes from the sap of the acacia Senegal tree. Studies have demonstrated the numerous benefits of Acacia fiber in the areas of stabilizing blood lipid levels, blood sugar and digestion.
Chicory Root Fiber
Chicory root is an excellent source of inulin, a soluble and prebiotic fiber that you can also find in other plants, such as Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, asparagus and more.
Inulin is also used as a plant-based sweetener. Note that some people may suffer from excessive gas if they consume too much inulin — myself included.
Psyllium husk is a prebiotic derived from the outer layer of the plantago ovata plant’s seeds. In a nutshell, it’s a bulk-forming laxative, which increases the volume of your stool while also making it softer.
From experience, I can tell you that psyllium husk, unlike other types of fiber, doesn’t make me bloated. So I wish Ample would add more of it.
Unlike the wheat kernel, wheatgrass does not contain any gluten and is thus paleo-friendly. The bitter-tasting wheatgrass is an excellent source of chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
Similar to wheatgrass, barley grass is loaded with micronutrients and antioxidants.
In Ample’s continued effort to keep its meal replacement drinks as filling and satisfying as possible, guar gum has been a useful tool to improve the texture of the meals and add fiber without adding grit.
While I’m not a huge fan of gums, guar gum is safe and offers numerous benefits due to its high fiber count.
Chlorella is an alga that contains a ton of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that chlorella can enhance immune function, normalize low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and more.
Honey is a paleo-friendly and natural sweetener that consists of 30% glucose, 40% fructose and 20% other sugars. One of those “others” is dextrin, a starchy fiber that slows down digestion, making honey an overall better option than plain sugar.
Monk Fruit Extract
Monk fruit extract is a natural and paleo-friendly sweetener that doesn’t have any calories and thus has a GI of 0.
Similar to monk fruit, stevia — which is extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant — is a zero-calorie, paleo-friendly sweetener.
Other Real-food Ingredients
Other ingredients in Ample include Himalayan sea salt, natural flavors, and lemon juice powder.
What’s Not in Ample O
Ample O contains only high-quality ingredients and avoids any of the irritating and potentially inflammatory components that you might find in lower-quality products, including:
- Grains and gluten
- Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)
- Artificial sweeteners, such as erythritol
Since the above holds true for all three Ample meal replacement drinks, I won’t repeat here what I’ve already written in my Ample K review — so check it out if you want to learn more about these unhealthy ingredients you can often find in other products.
Taste and Texture
Ample O has a rich and creamy taste and texture, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
The first few evolutions of the Ample Original formula tasted really sweet, which I think turned some people off. In contrast, the new Ample O 4.0 mixes smoother than ever and has a more natural sweetness and creamy flavor.
I like the taste of Ample O but I’d prefer a version with chocolate instead of vanilla. The good news is that Ample Foods is already working on a chocolate-flavored Ample O and I hope they’ll release it sometime early 2020.
For reference, below is a comparison table that shows the flavors Ample is currently available in, across the three formulas.
|Flavor||Ample O||Ample V||Ample K|
Price and Promo Code
Ample’s price varies depending on the serving size, the flavor, the number of bottles you order and other factors. Ample O costs between $5.00 and $8.50, depending on the calories per serving.
I created the following comparison table to make the Ample meal price more transparent.
|Ample O Pricing||Ample O|
|Ample O 400cal (12 bottles)||$84.00|
|Ample O 600cal (12 bottles)||$102.00|
|Ample O Bulk Pouch (15x 400cal)||$74.00|
Get an Additional 15% Off
Use code MK15 or the link below to get an additional 15% off your purchase.
You can also find Ample O on Amazon*, but you won’t be able to use my Ample discount code if you purchase it there.
Overall, Ample isn’t the cheapest meal replacement shake on the market. But as is so often the case, you get what you pay for. In the case of Ample, you get only the highest quality ingredients in a convenient package.
Ample takes only a minute and some water (or nut milk) to prepare — a fact that I appreciate greatly when I don’t have time to prepare a real meal.
To me, price isn’t an issue because I only use Ample (mostly Ample K since I started a Paleolithic ketogenic diet early in 2019) when I travel a few times per month.
If you need a healthy meal replacement shake more frequently (i.e., daily), I recommend combining the subscription with my discount code for maximum savings.
How to Use Ample Meal Replacement Shakes
Preparing Ample is just a matter of opening the bottle and adding liquid. I usually have Ample with water, but a friend of mine recently told me that she has her Ample V with almond milk.
Whatever liquid you choose, I recommend filling the bottle about halfway before putting the lid on and shaking it vigorously to dissolve the powder. After that, add more liquid until it reaches the top of the label.
The whole process should take less than a minute.
Most of the time, I use cold water to prepare Ample, but I recently experimented with adding a shot of espresso or even an Americano. I tried that because I didn’t have time to drink both Ample and a cup of coffee before leaving for a trip.
The mixture tastes surprisingly delicious and could be my favorite breakfast replacement shake.
In case you’re wondering, the shelf life of an unopened bottle of Ample Meal is somewhere between eight and 10 months. But once opened, you want to refrigerate the bottle or drink it within an hour or so.
When to Use Ample Meal
There are dozens of use-cases for Ample, and I keep discovering new ones every few weeks. Some of the more obvious ones include when:
- I don’t have access to healthy sources of food.
- I’m traveling.
- I don’t have time to prepare a balanced meal.
- Before a workout.
Additionally, I think Ample is a great choice for:
- Office workers, instead of cafeteria food.
- Healthcare professionals or flight attendants.
The primary reason I started using Ample was that I had a hard time finding healthy food choices while traveling for work. I’m on a ketogenic paleo diet, and like many others in the IT industry, I travel a lot.
Over the past few years, I’ve struggled to maintain my clean eating regimen while on the road. Many hotel restaurants and airports, especially in rural areas, just don’t offer reasonably healthy food choices — especially when you remove grains and processed carbs from your list of acceptable foods.
I stumbled across Ample in April of 2017 and reached out to their marketing team. They were kind enough to send me a few samples so I could try them and write a review. From that point on, I’ve been hooked.
I know that Ample does not offer a paleo-friendly formula because the company uses whey (dairy) or peas (legumes) as their primary sources of protein, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
As a Pre-Workout Meal
While working on my review of meal replacement drinks, I had so many products at home to sample that I had to find creative ways to consume them without upsetting my wife, who loves to cook.
So I started having the 400-calorie version of Ample Original one or two hours before a workout. I knew that the 600-calorie serving would be too much and could potentially negatively impact my workout performance due to a full stomach. But 400 calories is like a snack for me, and the experiment ended up being a success.
The advantage of a liquid meal like Ample is that your body can absorb it quicker than solid food. Just make sure not to chug it down in one shot; instead, give your stomach a chance to get ready for the liquid calories.
Keep in mind, however, that Ample does not necessarily replace a good pre-workout supplement, which may contain caffeine, creatine and other amino acids your body can use during an intensive workout session.
When I Don’t Have Time to Prepare a Meal
Before I began an intermittent fasting regimen, I used to drink an Ample for breakfast on travel days.
That way, I didn’t have to spend time cooking before heading out the door. I usually get up at 5 a.m., and I’m hardly ever running late in the morning. But I still appreciate having a few extra minutes before hitting the road.
Flight Attendants and Medical Professionals
I often get asked by flight attendants what I’m drinking when I decline the in-flight meal they offer. That made me think that Ample Meal would be a perfect option for flight attendants who may not have the time or the opportunity to enjoy a decent meal (outside of what airlines offer onboard).
Another group that could benefit from Ample is medical professionals, who often work crazy hours and have to rely on crappy cafeteria food. I was thinking about that while waiting for my doctor at my last annual physical. Of course, once he called me in, I forgot to ask him about it.
If you’re a flight attendant or a medical professional, please get in touch with me — I’d love to learn more about your dietary habits while on the clock and find out if and how Ample would be of value.
What I Would Improve in Ample
Without knowing much about the challenges of manufacturing a meal replacement drink, I have a few recommendations for how to tweak the product for optimal nutrition, and I’d love to hear Ample’s feedback on these suggestions.
The items crossed out have already been addressed by Ample in their latest formulas.
- Reduce the amount of inulin and thus the potential for gastrointestinal discomfort (gas).
Remove chia seeds and thus a source of antinutrients. Add natural sources of potassium for a more favorable sodium/potassium ratio. Add more vitamins and minerals, ideally from natural sources.
- Leverage beef and egg protein in favor of milk protein.
Frequently Asked Questions
In my opinion, Ample is one of the healthiest meal replacement products on the market. To learn more about how Ample compares to other products, check out this comparison article. To learn more about ketogenic or vegan meal replacement shakes, click on the respective links.
Yes, I think oats are a better and slower-digesting form of carbohydrates than tapioca dextrin. As such, I appreciate that Ample has reduced the amount of tapioca in version 4.0 in favor of oats.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound that plastic manufacturers have used since the 1960s. Research has shown that BPA can leak into foods and beverages and have a negative impact on your health. There is still more research to be done, but it never hurts to be on the safe side.
Pure protein powders provide protein but not fat or carbohydrates. As a result, they have fewer calories and cannot replace a full meal.
Ample O contains whey protein, which can have residual amounts of lactose. Depending on how sensitive you are to lactose (milk sugar), Ample might not be for you.
Unlike some other meal replacement shakes, including Bear, Ample doesn’t contain any sugar alcohols (such as erythritol).
Personally, I prefer Ample K because it contains the lowest amount of carbohydrates. I don’t think you have to be on a ketogenic diet to benefit from a low intake of carbs.
That said, Ample O has very reasonable amounts of net carbs and if you like the taste of Ample O better than that of Ample K, go for it.
If you’re lactose intolerant and can’t handle Ample O or Ample K, Ample V is an excellent choice. Beyond that, I wouldn’t recommend the plant-based formula over the original or keto formula.
Soylent is a low-quality, vegan meal shake that I’ve compared to Ample V in this article. In a nutshell, Soylent is unhealthy and filled with cheap ingredients and I wouldn’t recommend it.
How Does Ample O Compare to Ample K and Ample V?
Below is a detailed comparison table (that you can also download), comparing the three different versions of Ample meal replacement shakes:
If you would like to receive a PDF copy of this table, you can download it here.
Ample O v3.1 vs. Ample O v4.0
If you’re new to Ample, you might not care about how the current formula (4.0) is different from the previous version (3.1). However, since I’ve been enjoying Ample O from its first release, I figured it would be interesting for you to see how the formula has changed over time.
So below is a comparison table showing the differences between V3.1 and V4.0.
|400 Calorie v3.1||400 Calorie v4.0||600 Calorie v3.1||600 Calorie v4.0|
|Protein Source||Grass-fed whey, grass-fed collagen protein, pea protein||Grass-fed whey, grass-fed collagen protein, pea protein||Grass-fed whey, grass-fed collagen protein, pea protein||Grass-fed whey, grass-fed collagen protein, pea protein|
|Fat Source||Coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, chia seed oil, sunflower lecithin||Coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, macadamia nut oil, sunflower lecithin||Coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, chia seed oil, sunflower lecithin||Coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, macadamia nut oil, sunflower lecithin|
|Carb Source||Tapioca dextrin, sweet potato powder||Whole grain oat flour, tapioca dextrin, sweet potato powder, tapioca dextrin||Tapioca dextrin, sweet potato powder||Whole grain oat flour, tapioca dextrin, sweet potato powder, tapioca dextrin|
|Sweeteners||Dried honey, monk fruit extract, stevia extract||Dried honey, monk fruit extract, stevia extract||Dried honey, monk fruit extract, stevia extract||Dried honey, monk fruit extract, stevia extract|
|Sources of Fiber||Organic psyllium husk, chicory root fiber, acacia fiber||Organic psyllium husk, chicory root fiber, acacia fiber, guar gum||Organic psyllium husk, chicory root fiber, acacia fiber||Organic psyllium husk, chicory root fiber, acacia fiber, guar gum|
|Micronutrients||Vitamin C (2%), calcium (4%), iron (10%)||Vitamin D (20%), calcium (20%), magnesium (20%), iron (6%)||Vitamin A (2%), vitamin C (2%), calcium (4%), iron (15%)||Vitamin D (25%), calcium (25%), magnesium (25%), iron (8%)|
|Cost per Serving||$6.50||$6.50||$8.00||$8.00|
As you can see in the comparison table above, Ample has made changes to its 4.0 formula across the board.
In a nutshell, the new Ample Original 4.0 formula features whole grain oat flour, organic guar gum, high oleic sunflower oil, a more potent micronutrient blend, and other improvements.
Ample Meal Replacement Review – Final Words
Ideally, every meal would be freshly-prepared and feature a paleo-compatible mix of animal products, fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, we all know it’s not always possible to find such dishes.
It’s easy to stick to your meal plan when you’re at home, but just as easy to make exceptions when you’re on the road. After all, what’s a few extra grams of sugar here and there, right?
The reality is that a few extra grams of sugar isn’t going to kill you. But once you start leading a healthy lifestyle that makes almost exclusive use of nutrient-dense foods, you won’t want to go back.
If you’re anything like me, you can tell the difference in how your body feels when you make those dietary exceptions — and you want to avoid that feeling. It doesn’t take many weeks of healthy eating to realize just how bad for you highly-processed foods are.
That’s why I use Ample, and why it’s my favorite choice for a meal replacement drink. The bottles offer convenience while traveling, and are an excellent alternative when I can’t find solid food that meets my dietary requirements.
Ample allows me to stay on track in almost any circumstances and helps me avoid making dietary decisions I would later regret.
If you’re aiming to live a healthier life and have never tried Ample meal replacement (or any other meal replacement) drink, I encourage you to give it a shot.