Feeling self-conscious is human nature but looking in the mirror and noticing that extra weight is very frustrating. After scrolling through my social media newsfeed and being bombarded with images of models I knew it was time to make a change and alter some of my lifestyle habits. Seeing these same women promote many different brands of nutritional care had me asking, “Does meal replacement shakes work?” 

There are of a lot of different variations on the market and it can be a daunting task to select meal replacement shakes that actually taste good. I turned to my friends and asked what they have tried and gave those a whirl first. I started by replacing snacks, especially after a workout. Eventually, I started replacing my breakfast with the shakes as well. 

Let’s start with some facts.

Meal Replacement Shakes cut down Calorie Intake Helping achieve Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

Meal replacement shakes often contain anywhere from 200-400 calories. This is significantly less than a standard meal. For example, according to the dietary guidelines published by health.gov women ages, 19+ should take in approximately 1,800-2,400 calories in a day dependent on their activity level each day to maintain a healthy weight. If this count were divided into three equal meals you would be looking at 600+ calories per meal. By replacing your breakfast, lunch, or dinner you are looking at an instant deficit leading to aid in your weight loss journey.  

Meal Replacement Shakes can Provide Missing Nutrients and Extra Protein.

These shakes often come packed with nutrients, especially protein and fiber. On top of these two substantially filling nutrients, they can be jam-packed full of vitamins to help fill the nutrient gap from replacing solid food such as vitamin D, iron, and potassium. However, keep in mind that not all meal replacement shakes are made equally. Be sure to look for ones that contain three grams of fiber or more, at least 15 grams of protein, at least 30% of your recommended value for vitamins and minerals, and try to find shakes that are low in refined sugar. 

Meal Replacement Shakes Offer a Healthy Alternative to Grab and go Snacks that are Full of Sugar. 

Not only are meal replacement shakes beneficial to our health, but they are also incredibly convenient. Rather than being tempted to grab the snack size bag of chips or candy bars, it is incredibly easy to grab a pre-made shake or even mix one up. If opting for the powder, you simply mix the recommended amount with water and you’re done! Pop a straw in and you are set to go with your portable meal. 

My Experience with Meal Replacement Shakes:

After I selected my chosen brand, it was time to start my journey. I started small with replacing my post-workout snack with a meal replacement shake.

I figured this was a good place to start as when you complete a workout your body has an anabolic window. The anabolic window is when the cells in your body are undergoing a cellular process that promotes the healing and growth of your muscles after your workout. This process feeds on protein, making it a crucial addition to your post-workout routine as it aids your body in absorbing the necessary nutrition, all while encouraging healthy exercise, strengthened muscles, and meal consumption. 

I wanted to make sure I was building my muscle back up and getting the most of my workouts while also getting full in a healthy way. 

Doing this, I started to lose weight at a decent rate as I wasn’t reaching for chips and salsa as soon as I got home and devouring half the jar only a few hours before dinner. Does meal replacement shakes work? I was starting to think they did. 

Replacing the snacks was easy, however, I wanted to try swapping them for a whole meal to see if they could truly keep me full and help further encourage my body into a calorie deficit. The next food I swapped out for meal replacement shakes was breakfast.

I have never been a big breakfast eater, which often led to overeating at lunch. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is also having a balanced diet that depends on routine and adequate servings. 

Coffee is also life- I swear my brain doesn’t function properly until I have had my daily dose. The thought of drinking both my coffee and a shake, however, was daunting. Then, it hit me! Why not combine my coffee and meal replacement shake? 

My go-to flavor for any brand of shake is always vanilla; it is a great neutral base. I also always use vanilla creamer in my coffee. Rather than trying to consume a copious amount of liquid first thing in the morning (because you also need plenty of water) I opted to replace the water with coffee and throw it into the blender with some ice and my meal replacement shake base. It was like a DIY Frappuccino-style coffee without all the unnecessary sugar.  

What I discovered is that this meal replacement kept me substantially full for many hours past my usual early lunch. Due to the fact that I regularly skipped breakfast, I often would take my lunch incredibly early. With the breakfast meal replacement shake, I was able to postpone my lunch breaks to a much more reasonable hour and they helped to control my appetite so that I wasn’t so hungry and could avoid overindulging on unnecessary calories when mealtime came.


Overall, there are a lot of benefits to utilizing meal replacement shakes. They can help with weight loss, nutrition gaps, convenience, and to help build healthy eating habits. While using meal replacement shakes I found myself eating healthier, eating less often, and feeling more energized due in part to the healthy habits they were helping me to develop. 

Also, while the weight loss wasn’t entirely due to the utilization of meal replacement shakes as I was pairing them with workouts, I was definitely able to experience the difference when I didn’t use them. I was hungrier, slower, and generally less productive. Meal replacement shakes helped me to treat my body with respect and give it what it needed to perform at its best. So, the answer to the question, “Does meal replacement shakes work?” The answer is a firm, “Yes!”