What Are The Best Meal Replacements?

Poliquin Wellness Greens

What Are The Best Meal Replacements?

Now a days, everyone is in a rush. We grab food that is quick and easy so we can rush back to work, home or something else.

It’s impossible for the average person to cook before every meal, so we recommend planning and cooking your meals for the week.

But inevitablely I’m always asked the same question: What are the best meal replacements?

That’s a great question.

The answer: it depends.

So first, meal replacements are defined as a protein shake or bar that serves as a quick meal on the run.

There’s two main categories: Bars and Shakes



Honestly, most bars are complete junk. Most are loaded with processed carbs and have little to no nutritional value to them. All of them have protein that is heated up, which reduces the absorption. If you didn’t plan your meals or couldn’t because you flew somewhere, they are probably a lot better than your other options so it’s an okay worst case scenario.

There are exceptions to healthy bars though. For example, we’re a big fan of the Quest protein bars. They are very high in protein (20 g) from a quality source (whey), are gluten and soy free and have 17 g of fiber which is unheard of. Most are 5 net carbs or less and you can get them mixed with Stevia (we recommend avoiding Sucralose or Splenda). That is a fantastic blend of macros that are absolutely delicious. The flavors are out of this world as well. There are other bars that are decent, but nothing rivals Quest Protein Bars.

Tip: Go to Vitacost.com and order 2 or more boxes for free shipping and the lowest cost out there.


Things to look for in a good bar: Low net carbs, whey or rice protein, fiber (not always).

Things that are often in bad bars: High carbs, soy, wheat, high sugar, sucralose, sugar alcohols, other fillers.


If you are going on the road, these are your best friend.

You can make your own bars and these can be superior, but you still have to heat the protein, which lowers the absorption, but it’s still probably better than a store bought version.



A lot of pre-made shakes are also heated up and have a lower absorption than regular protein, but are decent options in the worst case scenarios. For example, Muscle Milk’s are at most gas stations now and a great choice if that’s your best option.

But what about home made shakes?

This is definitely the healthiest way to eat meal replacements.

You take quality whey, rice, egg white, pea or hemp protein (if you have a dairy intolerance then go with one of the last 4) and throw it in a blender with some unsweetened almond milk, fruit, ice, celery or spinach (for your veggies) and top it off with almond butter, cinnamon, cocoa and you’re in business!

If you want the best guide on how to make a delicious healthy shake, check out Precision Nutrition’s Super Shake Guide. You’re welcome in advance 😉

A couple caveats from the previous link: I would avoid soy and flax completely because they are known to increase estrogen’s, lower testosterone, increase leg fat and risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.


So are they are effective as eating a solid meal? Honestly, no, but they’re pretty close. Optimal is a relative thing. They do make it very convenient for you to get quality nutrition in and they are absolutely delicious!

The biggest reason they’re not as good as a solid meal is whey/rice/etc protein doesn’t create the same thermogenic effect that solid protein does, so it increases insulin more than it should, but that really only matters if your trying to get down to single digit body fat levels. So until then: Drink up!

This is essential to vegetarian clients or people who have a hard time hitting their protein goals. And it makes reaching your macro goals for the day easy.


But what if you don’t have time to make a shake in the morning?

You can always go with a series of shakes and add fruit or nuts to it. The same protein with water would suffice, but I wanted to tell you about the newest product from the Poliquin line that many of our members, myself included, are using on a daily basis: Wellness Greens.

Wellness Greens

Wellness Greens is the best greens formula I’ve seen for several reasons. It has the equivalent of 20+ servings of anti-oxidants, is extremely alkaline, has tremendous nutrients from over 90 different sources, has 15 billion Live and Active Cultures (serves as more than sufficient daily probiotic to improve digestion) and has 2 delicious flavors: Strawberry Kiwi and Natural Espresso. And at just over $1 a serving, it’s an unbeatable value.

Id’ recommend mixing this with your protein, as a separate shake, or in your blended shake. This mix is so powerful, it will basically make any meal replacement a perfect meal.

So tell me, what’s your favorite shake recipe?

Please post/link it below.

About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.