Best Meal Replacement Shakes Australia

Meal or protein shakes are low-calorie, powdered supplements you can add to your food or drink. They contain a formulated ratio of nutrients enough to replace one meal. Aside from the nutritional value, manufacturers claim these products have weight management benefits.

Best of all, prep time only takes mere minutes – perfect for parents or professionals trying to squeeze no-fuss healthy eating into their busy day. Meal shakes have created quite a buzz online, so you probably saw one in an ad or on social media. The problem is you might not know what to look for and which product suits you.

To help, we’ve tested and identified the three best meal replacement shakes you can buy in Australia.

In this review post, we’ll compare them based on the essential product features and buying factors to help you make an informed choice.

Quick Preview of the 3 Best Meal Replacement Shakes in Australia 2024

After evaluating various options in the market, our testing team ended up rating these meal shakes the highest. Here’s an overview of their product features, pros, and cons.

Best for the Health Conscious
PhenQ Complete Meal Shake
  • Nutrient-dense
  • Supports weight loss
  • Improves digestion
  • Controls appetite
  • Vegetarian-friendly, nut-free, and gluten-free
Best for Busy Women
Inspired Mumma Thrive
  • Protein-rich
  • Supports weight loss
  • Boosts energy
  • Controls appetite
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding-friendly
Best for Weight Watchers
Optifast VLCD
  • Low-calorie
  • Supports fast and safe weight loss
  • Induces ketosis or the use of fat stores for energy
  • Works with a weight loss program to control food intake
  • Gluten-free

1. PhenQ Complete Meal Shake

PhenQ Meal Shake

PhenQ Complete Meal Shake is from the UK-based Wolfson Brands Ltd, a well-known and respected wellness company. It works with entrepreneurs, marketers, nutritionists, engineers, designers, and business explorers to formulate science-backed health products.

  • Pros: PhenQ is a nutrient-packed meal shake that improves digestion for better nutrient absorption. Its fibre and protein ingredients also keep you full longer, allowing you to work without interruptions. It also adapts well to most dietary preferences as it is vegetarian-friendly, nut-free, and gluten-free.
  • Cons: It is currently available in three flavours only, which may cause taste fatigue to some users. The slimming and satiety effect of the meal shake could also vary from person to person.
  • Best feature: After the 7-day trial, our product tester, Jessica, noted a body weight loss of 800 g of body weight and 1 inch off her waist. Drinking it lessened her cravings for after-dinner desserts, too.
  • What other reviews say: “I’m obsessed with this shake! I drink it every morning as my breakfast”, shared one PhenQ user. “I used to stop at a gas station on my way to work to pick something up to eat. But now I just sip this PhenQ meal shake as I drive and it saves me time and money. It’s super yummy, too. [The] Taste reminds me of a chocolate doughnut. It’s helped me drop 3 dress sizes and I’m still going down!”
  • Our Take: PhenQ is our best meal replacement shake overall because of its taste, ability to suppress cravings, and slimming benefits. We believe health-conscious users will like its more balanced nutrient content. Its calorie per serving is also nearly sufficient to replace your breakfast or snack.

2. Inspired Mumma Thrive

Inspired Mumma Thrive Meal Shake

Inspired Mumma Thrive is one of the best meal shakes manufactured and packaged in Australia. Founded by mum, educator, and businesswoman Chelsea Harris, it aims to help busy women power through their day while overcoming daily home and work struggles.

  • Pros: Thrive contains premium plant-based ingredients, so you feel nourished without spending hours preparing and cooking. It has protein, vitamins, and minerals that induce satiety and control food cravings. Thrive has no nasties, and it is safe for women and even kids with food intolerances or allergies.
  • Cons: Its one-time purchase deal is slightly higher than the other meal shakes we tested. Also, while it has a creamier consistency, its overall taste is sweet.
  • Best feature: The formula generally suits pregnant and breastfeeding women, which our testing team did not find in similar meal shake products. Thrive also has six flavours.
  • What other reviews say: “I’ve been buying Thrive for about a year now. I’ve had it through my whole pregnancy which is safe and is one big thing I love about it. I especially enjoy buying the two-flavour combo so I can change it up each day”, said one mum. “I love not having to overthink what to eat for brekky, and I also love how quick a shake is that I can take with me to school drop off’s early each morning.”
  • Our Take: Thrive is perfect for all types of women, particularly those juggling mumma and work duties. You can drink it as is when you are too busy to make breakfast or mix it with bits of fruit, nuts, or seeds when you have time to experiment. We like its high protein content as it helps you achieve a healthy weight and build muscles in every gulp.

3. Optifast VLCD

Optifast Meal Shake

Optifast VLCD is a Nestle replacement meal shake product that has been helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight for over 40 years. Among the best meal replacement shakes in Australia, this one is clinically proven and widely researched.

  • Pros: Optifast primarily aims to help people manage their weight, particularly those with a BMI over 30 or weight-related comorbidities. It is not only a meal shake. It also works as a holistic weight management program with four levels. Each program phase is flexible to suit individual dietary needs and lifestyles.
  • Cons: Its satiety and slimming effect may not be the same for all. Also, some people may find the Optifast program challenging to follow and stick to. While gluten-free, it also contains milk, soy, fish, and phenylalanine.
  • Best feature: Optifast is available in a wide range of flavours to counter the taste fatigue effect, particularly for users planning to take the product for an extended period. The meal shake is also in individual sachets for faster prep and consistency. It’s readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies in Australia, too.
  • What other reviews say: “Taste is so good with vanilla fragrance”, shared one verified buyer from Amazon Australia. [I] Can stay long hours to control craving food. I am using [it for] breakfast and dinner almost every day. Good for weight management.” Another Amazon reviewer also said “Excellent product as long as you follow the directions exactly.”
  • Our Take: Optifast is low in calories yet fortified with balanced macro and micronutrients, allowing you to shed the extra pounds without depriving the body. We like that it is healthcare professional recommended. The specific program that complements the meal shake also lessens the time and effort typically involved in weight loss planning.

Breaking Down the Best – Meal Shake Comparison

Buying the perfect meal shake for you can be difficult even after knowing what the product is all about and what it can do for you. After all, the best meal shake should match your preferences, busy schedule, and dietary needs.

So, in this section, let’s zoom in on the factors you should consider when choosing a meal shake.

Here’s a table summarising how well these best meal replacement shakes in Australia likely meet your standards.

For the Health Conscious
PhenQ
For Busy Women
Thrive
For Weight Watchers
Optifast
Meal Shake Brand
Meal Shake Brand
PhenQ
Thrive
Optifast
Brand Reputation
Brand Reputation
Established UK-based wellness company
Australian-made product with good reviews
Global brand with years of experience
Ease of Use
Ease of Use
Ready in minutes; easy to store; no mixing machine required
Ready in minutes; easy to store; no mixing machine required
Comes in travel-friendly individual sachets; easy to mix and store; some meal planning required
Taste and Texture
Taste and Texture
Not too sweet with a slightly grainy but smooth texture; available in 3 flavours
A little sweet with a velvety texture; available in 6 flavours
Sweet with a slightly thick texture; available in several single or assorted flavour packs
Nutrient Info per Serving (mixed with water)
Nutrient Info per Serving (mixed with water)
185 calories, 21 g carbs, 16 g protein, 3 g fat, 1.5 g sugar, 4.3 g fibre
121 calories, 4 g carbs, 22 g protein, 2 g fat, 0.4 g sugar
85 calories, 7.7 g carbs, 8.4 g protein, 1.9 g fat, 4.3 g sugar, 1.5 g fibre
Money-Back Guarantee
Money-Back Guarantee
60-day money-back guarantee
30-day money-back guarantee
Not available

Based on the product features and buying considerations described, we conclude that meal replacement shakes have distinct qualities that suit specific users.

PhenQ Complete Meal Shake

PhenQ Complete Meal Shake fits those who want quick, nutrient-dense meals on the go. It’s easy to prep and has a flavour profile that suits most people’s preferences.

The nutrient and calorie content of PhenQ makes it an excellent solution to acclimate the body to controlled food intake without depriving it of its daily nutrient needs. It’s a good option if you are new to the meal shake habit. This meal replacement shake is also higher in fibre, which fits busy individuals who want to feel full and satisfied longer.

Inspired Mumma Thrive

On the other hand, Thrive is a protein-rich meal shake that fits those who want to lose fat and build muscles, like fitness enthusiasts. Because of its low carb and sugar content, mixing Thrive with healthy add-ons like fruit and nuts is easy.

This is especially for mums who love to work in the kitchen and try various flavours. Also, among our best meal replacement shakes in Australia, Thrive is the most allergen-free, making it a good fit for pregnant or breastfeeding mums, kids, or people with food restrictions.

Optifast VLCD

Finally, Optifast VLCD has the lowest calorie content, which explains why it suits individuals with a BMI higher than 30. As it comes in individual packets, this meal shake product is best for people who travel a lot and want to stick to a particular diet wherever they go.

The complementary weight loss program of Optifast also makes it more suitable for users with time and access to professional consultation and monitoring. Optifast is the perfect meal shake if you’re keen on safe and efficient weight loss.

Our Winner

Our Winner - PhenQ

All our selected meal replacement shakes have equal abilities to keep you nourished and energised despite your busy day. However, our team thinks PhenQ Complete Meal Shake is the best among our selections.

We agreed that PhenQ has the right flavour and texture that new or regular meal shake users will appreciate. Among our best meal replacement shakes in Australia, PhenQ contains the most well-rounded blend of nutrients and calories per serving. It’s the ideal shake that nourishes yet keeps hunger cravings at bay.

With these qualities, it’s easier to use PhenQ as your quick breakfast on the go, healthy snack, or workout fuel. It fits into people’s shared goals for taking meal shakes, whether to control their food intake, maintain a healthy weight, or improve their eating habits.

Also, this meal shake product is ready in minutes, shelf-stable, and easy to replenish – perfect for individuals who prefer convenient nutrition solutions.


Answering Your Top Meal Shake Concerns

Meal Replacement Shake FAQs

Introducing significant changes in the diet, like drinking meal shakes, can give rise to valid questions and concerns. So, we rounded up a few and answered them based on what experts and scientific studies say.

When is the best time to take a meal replacement shake?

Meal replacement shakes are highly flexible and safe to take at any time of the day. In a FORBES Health article, registered dietitian and nutrition advisor Kelsey Kunik suggested consuming your shake when you have no time to prepare a meal. You can also take it when you are too busy and need to eat on the go. Meal shakes are also good during snack time or whenever you feel like eating something sweet, salty, and processed (Mustad et al., 2020).

Can meal replacement shakes truly aid with weight loss?

Several published studies have suggested the positive impact of meal replacement on weight management. For instance, a group of researchers agreed that meal replacement can be a helpful weight loss strategy, particularly in food portion control (Min et al. 2021).

In an older 2004 research, Noakes and colleagues noted that meal replacement programs are simple, easy to follow, and convenient. The overweight or obese Australian participants of the study shared that these aspects made meal replacements more favourable than conventional weight loss programs.

Is it safe to drink replacement meal shakes only?

Relying solely on meal replacement shakes is not recommended because of their low-calorie content. Insufficient calorie intake can disrupt body and mental functions. Also, while meal shakes contain vitamins and minerals, they lack antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other essential compounds in fruits and vegetables. These reasons explain why meal shakes should complete, not take over, your daily food intake.

Which is better: meal replacement or protein shakes?

The choice between meal replacement and protein shakes depends on your purpose, according to registered dietitian and performance coach Shane Mikesky. Take a meal replacement shake to control your calorie intake and achieve a healthy weight. Drink a protein shake if you need a supplement for muscle building, toning, or repair.


How to Incorporate Shakes into Your Routine

Shakes into Routine

Part of choosing the best meal replacement shake is knowing how to use it healthily and sustainably. Here are a few general tips to help.

Start gradually.

Some meal shake products have different serving options. PhenQ, for example, allows up to 3 servings per day, while Optifast servings depend on your selected program. It’s best to start with the minimum requirement to give your body time to adjust and adapt.

Treat your meal shake as a supplement.

Meal shakes should not replace eating a balanced diet and exercising. Remember that you still need nutrients from whole foods for optimal wellness. To save time, consider meal prepping for lunch and dinner, then take your meal shake for breakfast, or switch based on your schedule.

Enjoy a variety of meal shake flavours.

Drinking the same shake every day can cause taste fatigue. Fix this by trying different flavours. If you like, add ice or bits of fruit to your meal shake for variety.

Consult a dietitian or healthcare professional.

Apply this tip if you plan to include meal shakes in your diet for long-term weight management. It’s better to get expert assistance in planning a holistic nutrition plan along with your meal shake intake for safe, effective, and sustainable weight loss.

Final Thoughts

Although preparing complete meals is the best choice, meal replacement shakes let you meet your dietary requirements despite your busy lifestyle. They are convenient, easy to prepare, and readily available in various flavours. Their ability to suppress cravings and keep you full for longer can help manage your weight, too.

With so many meal replacement shakes in Australia, choosing the best can be difficult. Hopefully, this review gave you an idea of what makes a good meal shake and which option suits you best. Remember to check essential factors like brand, nutrient content, taste and texture, and availability to ensure everything matches your needs and goals.

Finally, incorporate meal replacement shakes into your routine appropriately and responsibly. Seek healthcare professional help if needed, especially if you want to use the product for weight loss or have pre-existing conditions.

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