You’ve read the diet blogs, created your Instagram vision board, and memorized the mantra for living life the high fat, low carb way.
You’ve finally found your groove on the keto diet, and you’re a lean, mean, fat-burning machine - except when you’re not because you had take-out the other night, which was a far cry from the high fat, low carb meals your body needs to maintain a keto diet.
If this sounds like your life, don’t fall victim to the ketosis roller coaster.
There is a better way for those times you just can’t get a properly prepared meal, and it’s called keto meal replacement shakes.
Not to be confused with its older sister, protein powder shakes, which have been on the market for ages, keto meal replacement shakes (when done right) can be a healthy, satisfying, full meal replacement that your body will love.
With a ketogenic diet, the critical balance between high fat and low carb is everything to your success. When done right, a keto diet will make a fundamental change to the way your body creates energy, by using fat to fuel your body instead of carbs to send your body into a fat burning frenzy called ketosis. While keto diets are not for everyone, the raging popularity of this diet continues to grow with a force and every day new products are developed specifically catered to the keto dieters’ market.
For those on a keto diet, finding foods that keep your body in a constant state of ketosis is the holy grail. But just one misstep or making small mistakes on the keto diet with foods that are slightly higher in carbs or with hidden sugar contents can throw you right off the wagon, forcing you to start your diet over again and waste time and effort in the process.
That’s why the evolution of the keto meal replacement shake has become so popular. With one simple keto-friendly shake (ok, simple is quite the understatement, as these things come packed to the brim with nutrients), you can keep your body in a constant state of ketosis and can give your body tremendous benefits, without the time or the hassle of cooking an entire meal.
Keto meal replacement shakes, when done right, offer an entire meal’s worth of perfectly calculated calories, fat, and protein to fuel you with energy but keep you in a state of ketosis.
Now the most important thing to understand is that not all keto meal replacement shakes are created equal. You’ve got to learn to look beyond the deceptively healthy sounding names of some of these products and look at the actual ingredients on the back. We’ve done the research and while many keto-friendly shakes boast incredible benefits like high level fat burning, improved energy levels and mental focus, and even healthier skin, hair and nails, the most critical factors you need to look at when choosing a keto meal replacement shake are:
Remember, you are trying to effectively replace an entire meal’s worth of calories. In this case, low calorie products are not your friend because they will only leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied, causing you to overeat later. Instead, aim for shakes that include between 400- 600 calories per serving for a drink that will help you burn fat but still properly satiate your hunger.
Aim for keto shakes that include a good serving size of protein, as these bad boys are critical to building lean muscle and will keep you feeling satisfied longer. However ensure that you are considering your protein intake for the day, as studies have shown that too much protein can be potentially harmful to your health.
Fat is your new best friend on a keto diet, because it serves as your fuel and the main energy source for your body. During ketosis, 75% of your calories comes from fat, so ensuring your keto meal replacement shake has ample premium, high fat is essential.
Carbohydrates are the virtual enemy of a keto diet, so ensuring the carb count is low in your keto shake is critical. But as you read the labels on many of these keto-friendly shakes, don’t be alarmed at the amount of carbs listed. Most keto meal replacement shakes contain high amounts of fiber, which helps maintain healthy digestion, but automatically increases the amount of carbs in turn. Therefore, what you need to do is be sure to calculate the total net carbs in order to properly evaluate how many carbs your keto shake will actually have.
The market is now full of keto meal replacement shakes with delicious flavors like salted caramel, chocolate brownie, and French vanilla latte. And while we all want our keto shakes to taste good, it is essential to understand where all that flavor is actually coming from. It’s great that the label says “sugar-free”, but choosing products that use natural sweeteners like Stevia is far better than shakes sweetened with sugar alcohols (like Erythritol), Xantham Gum, or Corn Fiber.
Now that you know what will make or break your success using a keto meal replacement shake, let’s look at our top picks. We ranked these keto shakes according to the most popular attributes keto dieters look for, including natural ingredients, flavor, convenience, and more.
If you read the label on a bottle of Ample K Ketogenic Shake, you will see things like organic wheatgrass, barley grass, chicory root, acacia, and green banana. You won’t find artificial flavors, sweeteners, or other hidden offenders which can increase the carb count and knock you out of ketosis.
Ample K Keto Shakes boasts an excellent macronutrient profile that offers the right blend of high-quality proteins, carbs, and premium fats, which includes the all-important MCTs to give you a mix of mono, poly and saturated fats that keep in you rocking in ketosis. One bottle delivers 400 calories (or 600 calories, depending on which portion you choose) which equates to a fully balanced meal in a bottle.
Ample K also places a heavy emphasis on delivering essential fiber and probiotics in every bottle, giving you more than 4 times the amount of probiotics in yogurt, which ensures you get both high energy and a healthier gut.
Hailing from the immensely popular diet that introduced the world to the concepts of ketosis and a low-carb lifestyle, the Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Keto Meal Balanced Shake delivers a keto-friendly shake that’s super convenient to take with you on the go.
Boosting stats that include the right macro combination of high fat, low carb, and high protein, each shake gives you 16 grams of protein and just 5 net carbs per serving. Premixed and packaged in a easy-to-make package, the Garden of Life shakes are the perfect keto-friendly shake to drink in the car on the way to work or to tuck in your bag for a convenient, mid-day snack.
As one of the longest standing low-carb brands in the market and with a dr. formulated recipe and balance, Garden of Life is a name that people trust which makes their shakes a very popular choice. Plus, you can use these shakes with a full range of other Garden of Life products created to support a low-carb, keto-friendly lifestyle.
Garden of Life Keto Balanced shakes also tastes amazing and comes in an incredible 2 flavors selection of vanilla and chocolate. All the ingrediends are from top-notch sources, including grass-fed cows.
Ketologie Chocolate Keto Protein Shakes are one of the most popular keto protein shakes not only because they do their keto magic to help you lose weight, but because these shakes also rank very high for its amazing taste and flavor.
Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, Ketologie Keto Shakes help you kickstart your ketosis and burn fat all day while feeling alert and energetic. Made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, sea salt, and grass-fed bovine collagen protein, these shakes make staying keto a breeze with the right macro ratio of 75% fat, 20% protein, and less than 2% net carbs.
While it’s available in just three ordinary flavors, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, each flavor is anything but ordinary because they deliver an incredibly smooth, rich taste that is neither over the top sweet nor gives you that common chalky, gritty feeling in your mouth as many shakes are known to do.
However, this great flavor does come with a price, and we don’t just mean more money (although it is more expensive than many of its competitors). While it meets the standard macro ratio to achieve fat burning status, the Ketologie Keto Shake is higher in net carbs than most shakes (7 net carbs per serving) and while sugar-free, actually contains sugar alcohols (Erythritol), Xantham Gum and Corn Fiber.
Like the name indicates, the Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder with Collagen Peptides really does seem like the perfect shake, because it combines all the benefits you look for in a keto protein powder, but with the bonus of collagen peptides to deliver tremendous benefits for your entire body.
What makes this protein powder stand out is its all-star line-up of collagen, MCT oil powder, and acacia fiber. We’ve all heard that collagen is good for the skin, however, what most of us don’t know is that collagen is the most important structural protein in the human body. Perfect Keto packs 10 grams of this powerful protein in each serving, which helps offer incredible benefits like promoting a healthy gut and digestive system, strong joints, and bones, as well as glowing skin, hair, and nails. Perfect Keto’s collagen peptides even offer anti-aging benefits.
Perfect Keto also boosts energy, with a powerful combination of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) and acacia fiber, which is metabolized into ketones to give you a boost of energy rather than a boost in blood sugar levels, as many of its competitors tend to do.
Perfect Keto comes in three classic flavors (plus one, unflavored shake) including chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel.
The KetoLogic Keto Meal Replacement MCT Shake is a great option if you’re looking for a shake that will help you suppress your appetite effectively and keep you feeling full longer. Let’s face it - this is essentially why most of us are looking for keto meal replacement shakes anyway.
Featuring grass-fed whey protein, MCT oil creamer, and coconut oil, the KetoLogic Keto Meal Shakes contain high quality MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) which act as the magic bullet to make you feel full in a snap, boost metabolism, and promote fat burning oxidation.
KetoLogic Keto Shakes also feature a higher amount of net carbs (4 grams per serving) and fat (13 grams per serving) than other shakes, which is why it works to satiate your hunger. As if this is not enough, KetoLogic has also packed in a ton of impressive vitamins and minerals that you’d be hard pressed to find in competing brands.
The flavor of KetoLogic shakes, sweetened with all-natural stevia extract, delivers good flavor and comes in the standard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry options. In terms of value, the KetoLogic Keto Meal Replacement Shake container gives you 20 servings, which is more volume than many brands, however, expect to pay for this difference in price, as KetoLogic is quite expensive.
Top Notch Nutrition Keto Collagen Protein Powder is a unicorn among keto shakes because of its unique blend of 3 powerhouse fats - Avocado Powder, MCT Oil Powder, and Grass Fed Butter Powder. Almost all its competitors feature one or two fat sources, but Top Notch Nutrition gives you three to turn your body into a fat burning machine.
While many keto shakes now feature collagen proteins, again Top Notch Nutrition stands out by using 100% freshly caught hydrolyzed Marine Collagen Peptides - that’s right - fish. They’ve blended fish collagen peptides with their Tri-Fat blend of avocado powder and pure C8/C10 MCT Oil Powder and grass-fed butter powder to give you 7,000 mg of premium fats and the biggest collagen bang for your buck to send your body into a ketosis frenzy.
Top Notch Nutrition shakes not only offer high fat and high protein servings in every scoop, it also boasts less than 1 net carb per serving, which is one of the lowest in the market. They’ve used stevia leaf extract to sweeten the chocolate flavor, which makes it taste good, although not as rich or smooth as some of its competitors.
You can use Top Notch Nutrition keto powder in your coffee, smoothies, shakes, but what’s cool is you can even bake it into some excellent low carb, keto friendly recipes.
While we’ve highlighted some excellent choices for keto meal replacement shakes in this buyer’s guide, like the popular Ample K Ketogenic Meal Replacement Shake, you can be confident in keeping up with your keto groove as long as you take the time to read your labels.
Select products with more ingredients that come from plants and less that were manufactured in one. Remember to do the math to ensure your shake is adding the right ratio of proteins and fats, without tipping the balance in favor of hidden carbs.
Most of all, make sure your keto shake can actually do its job and replace your meal, rather than only serve as a delicious snack, and you will be well equipped to curb hunger and supply your body with the high fat, low carb sustenance it needs.