Vegan shakes are not just for vegans anymore. The plant-based protein revolution has picked up many followers. With widespread sensitivities to whey and soy, plant blends are often the best option for most people.
Here at AltProtein, we are definitely on the bandwagon! I’ve been taking plant-based supplements for over 5 years, so I know a thing or two about them. They have also come a long way. Gone are the days of grainy, foul-tasting, green mush drinks that you have to hold your nose to get down! Still, not all vegan meal replacement shakes are created equal. There are some fly-by-night operators who get buy with shoddy ingredients.
In this Best Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes guide, I’ll break down my personal buying criteria and make specific recommendations on which is best, depending on your needs.
What Makes a Good Vegan Shake
So what actually qualifies as a “good” vegan shake? Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about them. Here are my criteria:
The bottom line is if it isn’t palatable or even slightly nice to drink, it’s going to be hard to keep going with it every day. This varies from person to person, but make sure you are honest with yourself about where your “bar for taste” is upfront.
It always amazes me how many shakes don’t actually have significant protein. Protein is the difference between late morning (or mid-afternoon) crashes or remaining satiated until your next meal. Anything less than 15 grams per serving is really unacceptable in this day and age.
Quality of Ingredient
Personally, I’m biased toward non-GMO Certified Organic supplements. At a minimum, I look for an organic seal. Put simply, many companies get away with putting filler ingredients and various artificial sweeteners to mask tasks.
Above all else, quality is key. I’m even willing to sacrifice some “taste” if the right quality ingredients are there. Related to this is the issue of transparency. Everything should be clearly labeled and easily understandable when it comes to ingredients. Don’t get tricked by “proprietary formulas”.
Too much salt is a big red flag for me. Sodium is often used as a cheap way to make a shake taste better. Since most of us already consume more sodium per day than we should, there is no need to douse salt when you take your shake. I like to stay under 150mg per serving, ideally less than 100mg.
If you think the only choice is a supplement like Shakeology, you are wrong. As I’ve documented previously, high-priced supplements do not necessarily equate to a better end result. The most important metric I look at is “cost per serving”. I like to stay under $2.50, ideally less than $2.00 per serving. Being healthy doesn’t have to break the bank.
Types of Vegan Protein
Whey protein isn’t the only option anymore. There are a half dozen different protein sources out there, many of which are non-dairy.
- Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Pea Protein
- Rice Protein
- Hemp Protein
- Soy Protein
My Top 3 Recommended Vegan Shakes
1. Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder
The Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder is wonderful plant-based protein powder to use if you are looking to lose weight. Not only is this protein powder low in sugar, but it’s also low in carbohydrates, which is great if you have to worry about your blood sugar levels.
Garden of Life uses a lot of blend pea, brown rice, chia, buckwheat, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seed protein, as well as a blend of 44 superfoods, and all of your essential minerals and vitamins in this powder. Additionally, this plant-based protein powder is made in the United States, is USDA Certified Organic, NSF Certified gluten-free, and is non-GMO.
This is also a wonderful protein powder to include in your diet if you are interested in including probiotics in your diet, but don’t want to go out of your way to take probiotic supplements.
Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder also contains live probiotics, protein-digesting enzymes, and fat-soluble vitamins. You can choose between Vanilla, Chocolate, unflavored, and Vanilla Spiced Chai. No matter what flavor you choose, each protein powder flavor is made from 13 raw sprouted proteins that will deliver at least 20 grams of protein per a serving.
Here is the nutrition information (per a serving) for the Vanilla Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder.
Capture the power of the sun with raw organic perfect food, packed with the power of nutrient-dense, raw, organically grown greens, sprouts and vegetable juices for the raw energy you need. Raw organic perfect food is the convenient, delicious way to get your Veggie Juice every day. No artificial flavors, sweeteners.
- 110 calories
- 5 g of fat
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- 50 mg of potassium
- 2 g of total carbohydrates
- 1 g of dietary fiber
- 0 g of sugar
- 22 g of protein
This Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder has 25% of your daily fiber intake, 1.5 grams of omega-3s, antioxidants, and probiotics all inside of one serving. In addition, you get your blend of minerals and vitamins from a mixture of strawberries, kale, broccoli, and spirulina. All of your plant-based protein will be coming from hemp, peas, saviseeds, and flax seed.
If you are someone who is looking to go with this most affordable option out there, the Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder may not be the best option for you to get with (in terms of affordability), because you only get ten servings out of a container that costs $22.
This protein powder is made in the United States, is non-GMO, Vegan Certified, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and has a low glycemic score, meaning that it won’t cause too large of a blood sugar spike.
Here is the nutrition information (per a serving) for the Chocolate Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder:
- 170 calories
- 5 g of fat
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- 242 mg of sodium
- 13 g of carbohydrates
- 8 g of fiber
- 1 g of sugar
- 20 g of protein
3. Orgain Plant-Based Organic Vegan Nutrition Shake
Substituting a protein shake into your lifestyle can be a great way to gain weight, especially if you’re looking to increase your muscle mass. Gaining weight isn’t always a bad thing, but adding a nutritional shake such as the Orgain Plant-Based Organic Vegan Nutrition shake into your diet can help you to gain a healthy weight.
This nutritional protein shake comes in a 12-pack, with ready-to-drink cartons. This means that you can bring one of these shakes with you to work or just grab one out of the fridge and not have to worry about any prep work.
With 18 grams of plant-based protein from hemp, brown rice, chia, and flax seeds all included in one serving without including any soy, animal by-products, GMOs, or gluten.
- 220 calories
- 6 g of fat
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- 190 mg of sodium
- 25 g of carbohydrates
- 2 g of fiber
- 9 g of sugar
- 16 g of protein
Best Vegan Protein Powder to Lose Weight
Losing weight can be tricky to do with protein powders, but even more so if you’re only looking to consume plant-based protein powders. This is because there are a lot of protein powders have filler in them, which just means extra fat, extra sugar, or extra carbs for you.
The Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder is low in carbs, low in sugar, low in fat, and low in calories, which are all sneaky factors that can get in the way of your weight loss if not consumed in moderation. If you follow along with a healthy lifestyle, including diet modifications and exercise, you may find that you will lose weight with this vegan protein powder.
Comparison Chart – Side by Side
|Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder||Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder||Orgain Plant Based Organic Vegan Nutrition Shake|
$1.59 a serving
$2.22 a serving
|$38.99 (for 12 shakes)
$3.24 a serving
|Protein||20 grams a serving||20 grams a serving||16 grams a serving|
|Pros||- Popular manufacturer|
- Dairy free
- Soy free
- Certified gluten-free
- Certified organic
|- Includes probiotics and antioxidants |
- Made in the United States
- Soy free
- Dairy free
|- Great if you are looking to have a protein drink that doesn’t require prep work
- Comes in a pack of 12
- All essential vitamins and minerals included
- Gluten free
|Cons||- Some users have reported a bad taste with this protein powder||- Only has ten servings per a container|
- Very sweet taste, which can encourage sugar cravings
- Very expensive if you’re looking for long-term use
- High in calories if you’re looking to lose weight
Wanting to consume more plant-based protein doesn’t mean that you need to start chugging down green smoothies. As protein companies have started to evolve, there are more options available for people who are wanting to consume vegan protein.
When you’re shopping around for vegan protein, just be careful to look at all of the nutritional information and not just the amount of protein that’s in a serving. Keep an eye out for extra sugar, extra carbs, and even extra fat, as these are often used for filler to make the overall formula cheaper. Good luck and have fun on your vegan protein journey!
- Vegan Protein Ice Cream Recipe You’ll Love
- How to Find the Best Protein Powder: The Full Alt Protein Guide
Alt Protein Team is a team of professionals and enthusiasts committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information on alternative protein, health and wellness, workouts, and all things health-related. We’ve reviewed a lot of products and services so you don’t have to guess when you spend your hard-earned money on them. Whether you want to shed some pounds, build lean muscle or bulk, we can help you figure out what you need to do and what you need to have to achieve your goals.