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Top 8 Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes

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For this review, I have compared the top 8 vegan meal replacement shakes on the market, including Ambronite, Ample, Huel, Soylent, Super Body Fuel and more.

Product Comparison
Ambronite (4.5/5)
Ample V (5/5)
Garden of Life (2/5)
Huel (4/5)
Soylent (3/5)
Super Body Fuel (4.5/5)

Benefits of Meal Replacement Drinks

While I am not vegan, I often consume meal replacement drinks when I don’t have time for a proper meal. That’s usually when I’m traveling and don’t have access to healthy sources of food. Others may leverage such products to lose weight or if they are on a special diet, such as Keto. Whatever your reasons might be, meal replacement shakes can offer a convenient alternative to solid food or food delivery services.

Vegan vs. Traditional Meal Replacement Drinks

In case you are new to the vegan lifestyle, let me clarify what the characteristics of a healthy vegan meal shake are. In a nutshell, vegans don’t use products from animal sources. From the perspective of a plant-based diet, that means, avoiding such things as:

  • Animal protein (Whey, beef or egg white),
  • Animal-based sweeteners, such as honey, etc.

In comparison to traditional meal replacement drinks, vegan meal shakes contain plant-based protein from soybeans, brown rice, or peas, as well as alternative sweeteners, such as maple sugar.

What Makes a Vegan Shake Healthy?

Manufacturers have saturated the market with mostly unhealthy products. So when you look for healthy meal replacement options, make sure to check the label for the following ingredients:

 Should have
  • Balanced macro-nutrients (fat, protein, carbs)
  • Essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals
  • Essential Amino Acids (Vegan protein) to provide fuel for your muscles
  • Healthy Fatty Acids (Fat) to keep you satisfied
  • Slow-digesting carbohydrates to control blood sugar levels
  • Dietary Fiber to help your digestive system
 Should not have
  • Artificial sweeteners, such as Sucralose or sugar alcohols
  • Soy and soy-based ingredients (see Is Soylent Healthy?)
  • Added sugar

Top 8 Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes

Given the size of the table and the available screen space, especially on mobile devices, I decided to create a more detailed PDF that you can request via email using the form below. If you prefer the on-screen version instead, you’ll have to scroll horizontally to see the full table.

Ambronite Ample V Garden of Life Huel Soylent Drink Soylent Café Soylent Powder Super Body Fuel Super Fuel
True Meal Replacement Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ready to drink With Water With Water With Water With Water Yes Yes With Water With 2 Tablespoons of Oil and Water
Calories 400 400 120 500 400 400 400 500
Protein 25g 20g 20g 37g 20g 20g 20g 25g
Fat 15g 26g 2g 16g 21g 21g 20g 31g
Carbohydrates 42.5g 23g 8g 47g 36g 37g 39g 31g
Sugar 12.5g 4g Less than 1g 1g 9g 9g 15g 0g
Artificial Ingredients No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Non-GMO Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Protein Source Oats, Almonds Pea, Rice Various (plant-based) Brown Rice, Pea Soy Soy Soy Oats, Brown Rice
Fat Source Sea-buckthorn, Flax Seed, Almonds Coconut Oil, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Sunflower Lecithin Various (plant-based) Sunflower Lecithin, MCTs from Coconut, Flax Seed Sunflower Oil Sunflower Oil, Canola Oil Canola Oil Added oil
Micronutrient Density ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★
Vitamin Density ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★
Probiotics No Yes Yes No No No No No
Paleo rating ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★ ★★★★
Gluten-free No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes
Lactose-free Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unit Price $23.40 $42.00 $22.60 $78.00 $31.97 $38.59 $60.80 $50.00
Cost per serving $5.85 $7.00 $1.61 $2.79 $2.66 $3.20 $1.74 $2.50
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Ambronite – Drinkable Supermeal

Ambronite Drinkable Supermeal

Ambronite Drinkable Supermeal

 Pros
  • Organic and non-GMO
  • Nutrient-dense
  • Paleo-friendly
 Cons
  • Requires 2.5 servings to replace a meal
  • High in carbs and sugar

Try Ambronite

If you would like to give Ambronite a try, make sure to use code MK and get 25% off your purchase.

Ambronite is a plant-based meal that consists entirely of organic, whole food ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, digestive enzymes, and other superfoods. Ambronite is also relatively Paleo-friendly and contains oats and guar gum as the only non-Paleo ingredients.

While Ambronite delivers the right amount of protein per serving, it’s a little light on fat. As a result, you need 2.5 servings to get sufficient calories and fat out of it to replace a meal. That’s perfectly fine, but keep in mind that it increases the cost per serving by the same factor, bringing it to the level of Ample. To let Ambronite qualify as a meal replacement drink, I have assumed 2.5 servings in the table below.

Nutrients in Ambronite

Nutritional Information
Calories 400
Protein 25g
Fat 15g
Carbohydrates 42.5g
Sugar 12.5g
Artificial ingredients No
Non-GMO Yes
Paleo rating 4
Gluten-free No
Price $23.40 for ten servings
Cost per serving $5.85

After I published this review, Ambronite was so kind to send me some samples to try and taste. While Ambronite tastes entirely different from most of the other meal replacement drinks I have tried, I liked it. When I mixed a single serving of Ambronite with water, I noticed that it was not as thick as Ample, Huel or Super Body Fuel. That makes sense because a single meal has 2.5x fewer calories and is thus less dense. From a taste perspective, imagine Ambronite to taste like a mix of oatmeal with fruits, finished with water instead of milk. Of course, you can always use coconut milk, almond milk or something else to tweak the taste and thickness of Ambronite.

I like Ambronite because it can be both a snack or a full meal, depending on how much powder you use. The single serving packs are incredibly practical for traveling, just don’t forget to bring a shaker bottle to mix it.

Ample V – Vegan Meal Replacement Formula

Vegan Meal Replacement Shake

Ample V

 Highlights
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs
  • Gluten- and Lactose-free

Try Ample Meal

To save an additional 15%, you can use discount code MK15 upon checkout. You can combine my code with Ample’s subscription option, which saves you an additional 10%.

Nutrients in Ample V

Nutritional Info
Calories 400 (600)
Protein 20g (35g)
Fat 26g (33g)
Carbohydrates 23g (42g)
Sugar 4g (6g)
Artificial ingredients None
Non-GMO Yes
Paleo rating 4
Gluten-free Yes
Price $42.00 ($51.00) for 6 bottles
Cost per serving $7.00 ($6.65)

I’m not a Vegan, but I recently had the chance to try Ample V 2.1, and while the taste was OK, I prefer the Ample Original or Ample K. The major difference between Ample V and the original formula is the source of protein. The human body absorbs plant-based protein, including Pea protein slower than animal protein. Plus, plant-based protein has, on average, a weaker amino acid profile than Whey or egg white protein. That said, Pea and Brown Rice protein are viable choices, and they are certainly healthier than Soy.

Update: Since publishing this roundup, Ample Foods has released version 3.0 of its vegan formula. Check out what’s new in this article.

Garden of Life – Organic Shake

Garden of Life Meal Replacement

Garden of Life Meal Replacement

 Pros
  • Plant-based protein shake
  • Raw organic, gluten- and lactose-free
  • Rich in micronutrients
 Cons
  • Does not replace a meal
  • Contains sugar-alcohol as a sweetener
  • Low in fat and carbs

Try Garden of Life

I’m a fan of Garden of Life products, especially their probiotics they developed together with Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. As far as their Organic Shake & Meal Replacement powder is concerned, I think it’s a good protein shake, but it doesn’t replace a meal due to lack of calories and fat. You’d have to consume five servings to get the same amount of fat than other meal replacement shakes. To work around that issue, you can certainly add a few teaspoons of olive- or avocado oil. That will increase both the fat and calories to acceptable levels.

Nutrients in Garden of Life Organic Shake

Nutritional Info
Calories 120
Protein 20g
Fat 2g
Carbohydrates 8g
Sugar Less than 1g
Artificial ingredients No
Non-GMO Yes
Paleo rating 1
Gluten-free Yes
Price $22.60 for 14 servings
Cost per serving $1.61

Huel – Vegan Meal Replacement Powder

Huel Vegan Meal Replacement Powder

Huel Vegan Meal Replacement Powder

 Pros
  • High in protein and low in sugar
  • Non-GMO
  • Low cost per serving
  • Gluten- and Lactose-free
 Cons
  • Contains artificial ingredients
  • No organic ingredients

Try Huel

With 500 calories per serving, Huel, one of the primary Soylent competitors, offers filling meal replacement drink that is vegan-friendly and doesn’t contain lactose. Huel also provides a gluten-free formula, which is the one I reviewed. The primary sources of protein in Huel are oats, peas, flaxseed and brown rice, which reduces its Paleo score slightly.

If mixed with water, the unflavored version of Huel tastes like oatmeal (made with water). I consider the taste of oats to be somewhat neutral, but I appreciate that others may want to add some flavor by blending Huel with fruits or cocoa powder. You could also use nut milk instead of water, but, of course, that decreases the convenience factor of using Huel while traveling. The Starter Kit comes with a booklet that some a couple of recipes on how to add different tastes to Huel.

Speaking of traveling – I’d highly recommend bringing the shaker (or something similar) you get as part of the Huel Starter Kit on trips. I had Huel this morning in my hotel in Zurich and tried to funnel the powder into a regular water bottle using a sheet of paper. It was a bit of a mess, and I’ll bring a shaker or container with a wider mouth next time.

Huel is also available with flavors, but I prefer the unflavored and unsweetened version of Huel because the flavored versions have Sucralose. Both flavored and unflavored versions also have:

  • Artificial flavors
  • Guar and Xanthan gums

Here is a detailed list of Huel ingredients for the unflavored and gluten-free version, and here is a list of Huel ingredients for the vanilla-flavored version.

I can swallow the artificial ingredients and gums (pun intended), but I have an aversion against artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose. Unlike public opinion and previous research, sucralose may change how the body reacts to glucose, for example after eating carbohydrates. I have written about that already in my review of natural pre-workout supplements, but here is the link to an abstract of the study I referenced in that article.

As a result, I have based my review and rating on the unflavored, unsweetened, and gluten-free formula of Huel. To see how Huel vs. Soylent compares at the bottom of this review.

Huel Drink

It’s worth noting that Huel launched a ready-t0-drink version to complement its powder cousin. I haven’t tried that yet and I probably won’t because, much like the flavored Huel powder, the pre-bottled drink has Sucralose.

Is Huel non-GMO and Organic?

Huel is transparent about the fact that they use conventionally grown, as opposed to organic, ingredients. The primary reason why the company decided to go the conventional route is cost. Huel’s goal is to deliver a nutritious meal at a low price. By using only organic ingredients, Huel would have to charge more for their product. I appreciate that not everyone can afford pasture-raised meats and organic produce and, thus, consider Huel an excellent alternative. It’s also worth noting that Huel is non-GMO, even if they don’t advertise it as such.

Nutrients in Huel Powder

Nutritional Info
Calories 500
Protein 37g
Fat 16g
Carbohydrates 47g
Sugar 1g
Artificial ingredients Yes
Non-GMO Yes
Paleo rating 3
Gluten-free Yes
Price $78.00 for 28 meals
Cost per serving $2.79

Soylent

Meal replacement drinks: Ample vs. Soylent

 Pros
  • Low cost per serving
  • Available ready-to-drink or as powder
 Cons
  • Soy has nutritional disadvantages
  • Contains artificial ingredients
  • High in carbs

Try Soylent

The mission of Soylent is to expand access to quality nutrition through food system innovation.

It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but everyone feels like they could be eating better. If you’ve ever wasted time and energy trying to decide what to eat for lunch, or have been too busy to eat a proper meal – Soylent is for you.

Soylent offers its meal replacement drink in liquid or powdered form. Plus, Soylent is available in three different flavors and a caffeinated version:

  • Original
  • Nectar
  • Cacao
  • Café Coffiest (Original + coffee)

The powder comes either in resealable pouches and contains five 400-calorie servings or in a tub that includes twelve 400-calorie servings. For traveling by plane, the powder would be my first choice as I could not bring liquids in my carry-on luggage. But for other types of travel, I could comfortably bring the bottled version of Soylent as it doesn’t have to be refrigerated before opening it. For this comparison, I have tried only the Original formula.

Nutritional Facts

Meal replacement drinks: Ample vs. Soylent

Soylent ingredients

Soylent is very transparent when it comes up their labeling. Soylent spells out what rules and regulations its ingredients are compatible with and which ones aren’t.

  • Vegan, animal-free
  • Lactose-free: Soylent doesn’t use milk protein
  • Nut-free
  • Uses Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
  • Made in the USA

Soylent is not:

  • Organic
  • Certified kosher
  • GMO-free
  • Free of artificial flavors
  • Allergen-free: It contains soy and gluten, albeit less than 20 PPM of gluten

Unfortunately, and despite all their transparency, Soylent is not a health product as you can read here.

Soylent Ingredients

Soylent includes a balanced mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates with too much added sugar in my opinion. A bottle of Soylent Original contains 9 gram of added sugar.

Looking at the label, Soylent contains the following sources of protein, fat, and carbs:

  • Protein sources: Soy Protein Isolate
  • Fat sources: High Oleic Algal Oil, Canola Oil, Soy Lecithin
  • Carbohydrates sources: Maltodextrin, Isomaltulose, Rice Starch, Oat Fiber, Isomaltooligosaccharide, Gellan Gum

Other Ingredients: Filtered Water, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Salt

Vitamin Blend

Soylent has a complete and potent blend of vitamins. Each bottle delivers 20% of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamins.

Paleo compatibility score

Soylent contains some ingredients that are not Paleo-compatible, including:

  • Soy protein
  • Canola Oil and Soy Lecithin
  • Maltodextrin, Isomaltulose, Rice Starch, Oat Fiber, Isomaltooligosaccharide, Gellan Gum

Despite what the food industry wants to make you believe, soy is not healthy food. It contains lectins that negatively influence your body’s leptin sensitivity. That, in turn, confuses your body’s hunger and energy expenditure signals. PaleoLeap has an excellent article about the disadvantages of soy. A more scientific explanation is available on thepaleodiet.com. Also, nearly all of Soylent’s sources of carbs are Paleo-incompatible.

Pricing

Soylent is relatively inexpensive because its ingredients are inexpensive. Soy is one of the cheapest sources of protein, and it is comparatively simple to process. The Original 400-calorie formula of Soylent costs $2.66 per bottle. The Café, Strawberry and Cacao flavors cost $3.09 per bottle, regardless of how many bottles you order, and seven pouches of the Soylent powder cost $60.80. If you subscribe, you get an additional 5% off.

More information

More information about Soylent is available via the following links:

Soylent – Drink

Soylent Drink: Original - Cacao

Soylent