Meal Replacement Shakes vs Protein Shakes?

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Of course you already know I’m a big fan of meal prepping as a way to achieve your health and fitness goals, however, there are times when you don’t have any food prepared or you just don’t feel like it!! (I’ve been there!)

I personally include meal replacment shakes in my diet for those busy times when I need a meal, but have you ever wondered the difference between a “Meal replacement shake”  and a “protein shake?” I have, and was often confused so I did some research and narrowed it down for you.

What type of shake you choose, will depend on your goals. Lets define each one and I’ll give you examples of when you should choose one over the other.

What’s your goal ?

Looking to lose weight ? Scroll to Meal Replacement Shakes section, and learn why it’s an effective way to lose weight.

Looking to gain muscle ? Scroll to Protein Shakes section and find way it the right solution to you.

     1)Meal replacement shakes 

Meal replacement shakes are designed to help you achieve weight loss. You drink one or two shakes per day in place of your normal meal to control your food intake easily and simply. While you can replace several meals per day with a shake, I personally believe no more than two shakes per day should be used, and I still believe other meals or snacks should also be consumed, not just having only shakes each day.

What a meal replacement shake should contain;

Meal replacement shakes are typically low in calories – around 300 or less. They also have several other important characteristics such as protein, carbs, low sugar, fiber (around 5 or more grams per serving), vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

In essence, meal replacements can be a healthy meal in a glass. I like to tell my clients, if I was to come to your house and make you the “perfect” healthy meal with protein, carbs and fats I’d give you one of my meal replacement shakes.

2)Protein shakes

Protein shakes, unlike meal replacement shakes, are not designed to replace a FULL MEAL and are a great addition to include in your diet for muscle gain. When you exercise, your muscles are broken down a little and in order to repair and build the muscles back bigger and stronger, protein is required. Most experts agree that you need around one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight or about two grams per kilogram.

Getting enough protein per day can be tough unless you are able to eat meat, fish, eggs, chicken or dairy at each and every meal of the day – all six of them! Even then, it’s still not easy. (This is VERY difficult, trust me, I did this as a fitness competitor!)

Protein shakes make it easier to get enough protein into your diet as they are easy to drink and require no preparation other than mixing with water. They are a great ADDITION to help you achieve your goals, but are not a substitute for a meal.

Still confused about which one you should be choosing? Send me a reply and I’d love to help or recommend the ones I personally use.

Hope this helped clear up any confusion!

Here is a great recipe to make your own Meal Replacement Shake!


1 cup Unsweetened Almond or Coconut Milk

1/2 Frozen banana

1 scoop plain or Vanilla protein powder

1 tbsp. Natural Nut Butter (Almond, Peanut, Cashew)

1 tsp Hemp Hearts

1 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa powder

345 Calories/25 grams Protein/23 grams Carbohydrates/6 grams Fiber/17 grams Fat


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Lori Faren

Lori Faren

Lori Faren is a health and fitness figure and media personality. Lori enjoys sharing her healthy meal ideas and fitness tips!