In today’s world, convenience is king. We all want quick, healthy, on-the go options to keep us fueled throughout the day without having to spend hours in the kitchen. As a result, the number of ready to drink shakes on the market has exploded in recent years. Let’s get one thing straight first: just because a company markets itself as a protein or nutrition shake does not mean it’s good for you. Most are full of sugars or artificial sweeteners, refined oils, artificial colors, flavorings and other ingredients that are not real food.
The absolute best shake is one that you make yourself, using a simple protein powder and my easy shake recipe. When it’s not possible to make your own, it’s good to know which grab and go shakes to reach for and which ones to avoid. I tried a ton of shakes and evaluated them based on ingredients, nutrients, taste, consistency, and price, then picked the best of the best to share in this post. Please keep in mind that none of these shakes are perfect and that real food wins over a ready-to-drink shake every time.
Read on to find the best plant based protein shake for you and see if your go-to makes the cut.
I love these! You can get a little caffeine boost along with your 12g of protein (organic and plant based). Rebbl offers an added nutrition boost from ashwaganda and maca extracts plus some healthy fats from coconut milk. There’s no weird artificial sweetener aftertaste or slimy texture from added gums or thickeners.
If you’re not a fan of coffee, Rebbl also has other options with protein like the Dark Chocolate, Banana Nut, or Vanilla Spice. However, they have significantly more sugar than the cold brew (10g vs 17g). Rebbl products are harder to find and are mostly stocked by specialty stores like Whole Foods or Fresh Market. It is also on the expensive end so I’ll only buy one at a time in a pinch, as opposed to keeping them stocked in case of emergency.
Svelte had less of a chemical/metallic taste than many of the other shakes I tried. It has a creamy texture but wasn’t oily. It is soy-based, organic, and sweetened with rice syrup solids, dried cane syrup, and stevia extract. Bonus points for no sucralose (a must for all of the shakes on this list)!
It does have less protein than other shakes at 11 grams for 180 calories, but passes the test of having less sugar than protein (6 grams). It’s easy to find in most grocery stores. Sometimes it’s in that weird “nutrition aisle” with the supplements and sometimes it’s in the drink aisle by the juices and instant breakfast drinks.
Svelte is usually one of the most affordable brands of plant based protein shakes. My favorite flavor is the cappuccino.
Evolve is dairy, soy, and gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and uses no artificial sweeteners. I’m really not sure how they made it taste good under all those restrictions but this one was one of my absolute favorites. The Toasted Almond flavor is a perfect substitute for almond milk (since most almond milks do not contain protein). You could use it as a protein boost for your oats in the morning or as a base for a smoothie.
Evolve has a thinner consistency than some of the other shakes which makes it easy to drink. Target usually carries a good variety of flavors.
Orgain makes a few different types of protein shakes with either plant based proteins or grass fed whey. The Orgain shakes don’t have that filmy consistency (like Muscle Milk or Atkins shakes). The vegan versions have 16g of protein coming from pea protein and chia seeds. They are easy to find in most grocery stores, which is why I usually keep a pack stocked in my fridge at work.
Post by Megan Ware, RDN, LD
Disclosure: I was not paid by any of the companies above to review their products. One or more links are affiliate links. All opinions are my own.