The Best Natural and Organic Meal Replacement Shakes
What is the best healthy meal replacement?
A question in many people’s minds and probably one with not a simple answer. However, organic and natural meal replacement shakes will likely be up there, since they provide all the benefits of a complete food but from real food ingredients.
This means, that there is no processed or artificial ingredients in the shakes; and thus they are the closest there is to “real food”, but complete (in terms of nutrition).
While it is debatable whether this makes them the healthiest meal replacements or not; it surely makes a good case in their favour. Thus, for those looking for the most natural shakes; I have compiled this list of best organic and natural meal replacement shakes.
Before we move on, I want to make clear that not all natural meal replacements are organic certified.
Latestfuel’s Top 3 Natural and Organic Meal Replacement Drinks
These were the criteria when assessing over 50 different brands and products.
For Organic shakes:
- Organic. All organic meal replacement powders were taken into consideration by default. Only those which have 100% organic ingredients would be considered as such.
- Balanced nutrition. Good amount of calories as well as balanced macronutrients and micronutrients.
For Natural shakes (shakes that are not 100% organic):
- Non-GMO. If it is not organic, it could not list any GMO ingredients.
- Lack of artificial additives. Sweeteners, artificial flavourings, synthetic vitamins and minerals… Any enhancer that had a synthetic origin was ruled off.
- Real food based ingredients. Closely linked with the above, for non-organic shakes it was highly considered to use whole food as source of nutrition.
- Balanced nutrition. Similarly to organic shakes it had to have a well rounded nutrition.
Over 50h of Research
+40 Products Assessed
1. Ambronite CMS
- Real food ingredients, of highest quality
- Worldwide delivery
- Non-GMO, lactose-free, soy free, wheat free, no artificial ingredients
- Not fully organic certified
- Bulk purchasing required for best prices
It is a close call between Ambronite and Ample, two of the biggest brands when it comes to real food shakes; and for many it will come down to personal preference. However, I believe that Complete Meal Shakes is the better of both, due to the fact that offers a full micronutrient profile.
While not all ingredients in Ambronite CMS will be from organic origin; you will get all your nutrients from real food. What does this mean? It means that the prime ingredients used by Ambronite are minimally processed (and as such you will be able to recognize them).
Therefore, each Ambronite shake will provide you with optimal nutrition and healthy nutrients, as well as, other beneficial compounds (like antioxidants) that will improve your gut flora and boost your health.
Ambronite CMS comes in 3 delicious flavours, Original (Ginger & Apple), Banana and Berries; all which have a smoothie like taste and texture. They have handy individual bags (400kcal) and bigger bags (1600kcal).
The best way to purchase Ambronite is in bulk, to make use of the huge savings they offer, paired with the code LATESTFUELS for and extra 25% off.
Ambronite v5 Ingredients: Oat protein, almonds*, oats*, apple, agave syrup*, oat fiber, nettle leaf*, spinach*, flaxseed*, chlorella*, spirulina, cranberry, bilberry, black currant, sea buckthorn, nutritional yeast, mineral salt, natural aromas, guar gum, vanilla. * = organic
Allergens in CMS include nuts and perhaps traces of gluten (cross-contamination).
Other Products from Ambronite
Ambronite also has Balanced Meal Shake, very similar product to CMS but with less vitamins and minerals. BMS is available in Berry, Chocolate and Vanilla flavour.
|per serving||CMS||RI (%)|
Good For: those who want to get their nutrients from real food ingredients.
- Probiotics and prebiotics for optimal gut health
- 3 excellent formulas for different diets
- Bottles to drink on the go or pouches to consume at home
- Only one flavour per formula
- Does not provide you with 100% of vitamins and minerals
Ample is an excellent US based company that focuses on providing you with the optimal meal replacement shake. For that, they use real food ingredients of high quality, as well as, probiotics and prebiotics to help your gut microbiome.
The strongest point of Ample (beside the quality of their products) is that they offer 3 different formulas: Vegan, Original and Keto. Thus, there is a shake for almost everybody.
You will be able to purchase in bottles of 400 or 600kcal (BPA free); or alternatively buy pouches of 15 meals (400kcal each). The bottles are ideal to consume on the go, but the mixing will be better in an actual shaker.
What Ample Product is Right for You?
Honestly, if you are following a standard diet I would recommend you to use Ample O or Ample V. Between this two, Ample O uses whey protein from organic sources, and Ample V uses organic pea and rice protein. Personally, I would go for Ample O.
Ample K is for those following a ketogenic diet. This diet requires very low carbohydrate income during the day; thus, I would only suggest buying it if you are on the keto lifestyle.
The exact ingredients will depend on the formula, however, the main shortcoming is that neither of them will be able to provide you with all the micronutrients that your body needs.
Ample O: Grass fed whey protein concentrate, coconut oil, tapioca dextrin, macadamia nut oil, pea protein, organic psyllium husk, grass fed hydrolazed collagen protein, dried honey, organic sweet potato powder, acacia fiber, sunflower lecithin, chicory root fiber, zuvii green banana powder, organic wheatgrass, sea salt, organic cocoa powder, organic barley grass, nautral flavour, omega-3 chia seed extract, lemon juice powder, probiotic blend (L. acidophilius, L. paracasei, B. lactis, L. rhamnosus, Bacillus coagulans), cinnamon, organic chlorella, monk fruit extract, stevia extract.
Ample V: Organic pea protein, coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, whole grain oat powder, acacia fiber, organic rice protein, raspberry powder, macadamia nut oil, sunflower lecithin, tapioca dextrin, pure maple sugar, carront powder, organic wheatgrass, sea salt, natural flavours, lemon juice powder, organic guar gum, organic kale powder, organic barley grass, probiotic blend (L. acidophilius, L. paracasei, B. lactis, L. rhamnosus, Bacillus coagulans), monk fruit extract, stevia extract.
Ample K: Coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, grass fed whey protein isolate, acacia fiber, egg white protein, tapioca dextrin, chicory root fiber, medium chain triglycerides, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, dried honey, sea salt, organic wheatgrass, natural flavour, cinnamon, organic barley grass, omega-3 chia seed extract, probiotic blend (L. acidophilius, L. paracasei, B. lactis, L. rhamnosus, Bacillus coagulans), organic chlorella, monk fruit extract, stevia extract.
For the more in-depth analysis, please read the Ample review.
The vegan variation contains nuts and macadamia nut, while the Original and K have milk, macadamia nut and egg.
Nutritional label for Ample V. The other two will have a different profile.
|per serving||Ample V||DV (%)|
Good For: those looking for a healthy and convenient alternative.
- One of the few with fully certified organic ingredients only
- 3 different formulas
- Affordable pricing
- Multiple flavours
- Low protein shakes (Active, extra protein, at a premium)
- Slightly confusing shop
Bertrand is special. I say so, not only because it offers one of the few certified organic shakes; but also because it has a unique biodegradable bottle. You read well, they use bioplastics that can be composted within 90 days in your backyard!
In fact, Bertrand is all about organic, sustainable and enviro-friendly business. Their meal replacements are some of the “cleanest” you will be able to get.
They offer Bertrand Original, Bertrand Vegan and Bertrand Active; all organic formulas. The first two are fairly low in protein, and quite high in fat content (although not as much as Ample); while Bertrand Active, packs extra protein at a premium (€1.43 per bag).
All 3 are available in four flavours: Nature, Vanilla, Bilberry and Baked Apple & Cinnamon. Both Vegan and Classic are available in pouches or the green bottles I have previously mentioned; whereas, Active is only available in bags.
Which Bertrand Product is for You?
The choice is clear is you are somewhat sporty: Active. Even if it cost a little extra, the other two offer way too little protein to support a more active lifestyle. Only inconvenient is that you will not be able to purchase it on the biodegradable bottles.
Classic (Version 2.6): gluten free whole grain oats*, canola oil powder* (carrier:maltodextrin*), powdered milk*, ground almonds*, ground flaxseed*, agave powder*, ground sunflower seed*, ground walnut*, locust bean gum*, sea buckthorn powder*, rock salt, coconut powder*, nutritional yeast*, algae powder (porphyra)*, mushroom powder* (shiitake), algae powder* (chlorella), guava extract*, lemon peel extract*, basil leaf extract.
Vegan (Version 1.2): gluten free whole grain oats*, canola oil powder* (carrier:maltodextrin*), almond*, ground flaxseed*, agave powder*, rice protein*, ground sunflower seed*, ground walnut*, sea buckthorn powder*, locust bean gum*, coconut powder*, algae powder* (porphyra), rock salt, natural flavor, nutritional yeast*, algae powder (lithothamnium calcareum), mushroom powder* (agaricus bisporus), algae powder* (chlorella), guava extract*, lemon peel extract*, basil leaf extract* .
Active (Version 1.1): gluten free whole grain oats*, canola oil powder* (carrier:maltodextrin*), milk protein powder*, powdered milk*, ground almond*, ground flaxseed*, agave powder*, ground sunflower seed*, ground walnut*, locust bean gum*, sea buckthorn powder*, rock salt, coconut powder*, nutritional yeast*, algae powder (porphyra)*, mushroom powder* (agaricus bisporus).
Bertrand’s organic drinks are fairly complex, due to the fact that they provide you will all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs (including vit B12) from real food ingredients (and no synthetic micronutreint mix).
Allergens that can be found in Bertrand natural shakes are oats (no gluten, though), almond, walnut and milk (Active and Classic, only).
Nutritional information based on Bertrand V. For the other two, please check the Bertrand review.
|per serving||Bertrand V||RI (%)|
Good For: Those who care looking for the ultimate organic shake.
4. Vitaline Daily
- Very natural tasting shakes
- Focus on local, organic ingredients
- Good range of flavours and products
- Starter pack
- Only available in Europe
- Protein content on the lower end
Another very strong contender, Vitaline is a relatively small brand from France with the aim to make the the healthiest meal replacement shakes in the market. They have some of the shakes with the highest Nutriscore values (French system to assess quality of food). On top of that, all their shakes are 80%+ organic, and this number keeps increasing.
In all honestly, you can feel how natural Vitaline is from the taste of their shakes. Very plain flavours, no overly sweet tones and not a hint of any artificial enhancers. They are a pleasure to drink.
They use a diverse pool of ingredients, mostly locally sourced (France), to achieve a rich profile with high antioxidant index. Furthermore, they incorporate probiotics to help with the digestive process.
Vitaline’s Daily range is available in 5 flavours (one of which is vegan); and can be bought in bottles or pouches. The second are more affordable and more environmentally friendly.
The best way to start with Vitaline is by purchasing their Starter Pack.
Take into account that the exact ingredients may vary with the flavour choice (particularly Tomato, which is vegan).
Vitaline Daily (almond): Oat flakes* (gluten-free), yellow flaxseed*, buckwheat flour*, milk protein* (origin: Switzerland), unrefined manioc syrup*, mixed oil* powder (oleic sunflower*, rape*, flax*; carrier: unrefined manioc syrup*, acacia fibre*; antioxidant: natural rosemary extract*), agave*, whole almonds* 3.5%, coconut milk*, pea protein*, maca*, Guérande salt, natural flavouring, acai berries*, lithothamnium, acerola*, moringa*, carrots*, roucou*, rice bran*, curry leaves*, basil*, lemons*, spinach*, parsley*, amla*, green tea*, shitake*, lichens*, spirulina*, antioxidant : natural rosemary extract* . *= organic
All shakes from Vitaline Daily (except Tomato) contain milk.
|per serving||Vitaline Daily||RI (%)|
Other Products from Vitaline
Besides Daily, Vitaline also has another range of powder products: Catalyst. These are goal oriented shakes; one for pre-workout, one for post-workout and the other to help you focus. On top of that, they also have a very unique meal replacement bar.
Good For: People that want a wide array of flavours.
5. Feed Organic
- Great tasting, designed by the chef Thierry Marx
- Savoury, unique flavours
- Bulk discounts
- No standard flavours
- Only available in Europe
Feed. is a giant of the industry, with multiple products from RTDs to bars and powders. However, the BIO range is the most exclusive, most premium of all; designed by the 2 Michelin star chef Thierry Marx.
With all organic certified ingredients; Feed Bio offers some of the most unique flavours; Tomato (a seedy shake with strong tomato soup flavour and some herbal spices) and Strawberry Basil. Unfortunately, this also means, that there is no “safe” option like Vanilla.
The organic meal replacement powder is available in bags of 5 meals (~600kcal) and bottles with powder on them.
Feed. Bio (Tomato): Gluten-free oatmeal*, hydrolysed rice flour* (alpha-amylase), oil-free sunflower flour*, powdered coconut milk (coconut paste*, coconut cream*, coconut flour*), 7% powdered tomato* and tomato chunks*, yellow flax*, rice flour*, sunflower seeds*, agave sugar* (maltodextrin*), natural flavours, powdered onion*, powdered carrots*, salt, thyme*, garlic*, calcareous algae, sea lettuce*, parsley*, pepper*, acerola powder* (maltodextrin*), moringa*, roucou*, rice bran*, curry leaves* , basil*, tulsi*, lemon*, spinach*, amla*, green tea*, shiitake*, lichens*, antioxidant: natural rosemary extract* . * = organic.
There is some variation on both flavours; particularly when it comes to the herbal spices used.
Feed. Bio contains gluten-free oats, and no other major allergen.
|per serving||Feed. Light||RI (%)|
Other Products from Feed.
In addition to the powder, they also have a organic meal replacement bar in two flavours: Fig & Almond, and Cranberry & Chocolate. Besides their organic range, they offer a huge variety of powders, bars and RTDs.
Good For: People that crave for savoury shakes.
A Guide to: Organic and Natural Meal Replacement Shakes
What Are Organic Meal Replacements?
Organic meal replacement drinks are those that are made of solely ingredients of organic origin. This means that every ingredient found on the organic powder is individually organic certified and comes from certified “bio” agriculture.
Consequently, every ingredient found in the organic shakes have no genetically modified seeds, no chemical inputs (fertilizer, pesticide, additives); or in the case of animals have been feed in a regulated manner.
This laborious regulation is what makes the prime ingredients more expensive, and subsequently the organic meal replacements more expensive.
Organic vs Non-GMO
I thought it would also be useful to make a distinction between organic and non-GMO meal replacements. Once again, it comes down to the ingredients they choose to use and how they have been cultivated.
|Pesticide & Herbicides allowed||No||Yes|
|Sludge & Irradiation||No||Yes|
|Animal Welfare Specifications||Yes||No|
|Lower Environment Pollution||Yes||No|
|Farm to Table Inspection||Yes||No|
|Restrictions on Allowed Materials||Yes||No|
|Crop Rotation required||Yes||No|
From USDA organic legislation.
What Are Real Food Based or Natural Shakes?
Real food based shakes are meal replacements that use no artificial ingredients.
This is particularly challenging when trying to achieve your Daily Values or Recommended Intakes of vitamins and minerals. Thus, in order to provide all the nutrients your body needs they use different foods (usually different vegetables) and avoid using synthetic micronutrient mixes.
In the case of some brands, they will get ingredients of organic origin, but they will not be certified. This is partially due to the fact that monitoring the whole process is costly and hard to do.
What Are the Benefits of Real Food Based Shakes?
1.Real Food Ingredients Are More Than a Source of One Macronutrient.
This, perhaps, is one of the strongest points in favour of using whole food ingredients vs highly processed or synthetic ones. Food sources are more than just calories or just carbs or just fats. They are complex entities formed by multiple nutritents and other compounds, interconnected to create food.
Let’s take oats vs maltodextrin for example.
|Fiber ( % )||11||0|
Percentage of mass for 100g. Oats also contain 4g of beta-glucans and other compounds that make the % that is not displayed.
2.Not All Nutrients and Their Roles Are Known: Meet Phytonutrients.
Following the above example, we know what is in maltodextrin: simple sugars attached to each other to create a complex sugar. We are also aware of most of the compounds that you can find in oats, but not of their role as “nutrients” in promoting healthy living.
“Nutrients” such as carotenoids, polyphenols, isoflavones… are categorized as phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are compounds found on plants that have direct and indirect roles in nutrient absorption, anti-immflamatory responses, and other essential metabolic functions. However, because the health effects are not clearly defined yet; they are not currently considered nutrients.
The lack of understanding is in both their roles and the compounds themselves; raising the question of how many “nutrients” remain unkwnon.
As such, shakes that use real food, particularly plants (vegetables and fruits), naturally rich in phytonutrients, will almost always offer more than just calories.
3. Benefits to Digestion and Health.
Partially, due to the point made above, real food shakes will come with health benefits for most customers.
A good example for this could be beta-glucans. These compounds are type of soluble fiber found in plants like oats and barley. They have been found to be beneficial in many ways; including, reducing the blood cholesterol levels, improving the glucose metabolism by lowering the blood glucose levels.
Furthermore, many of the phytonutrients act as antioxidants (carotenoids, phenolic compounds etc.). Antioxidants are compounds that reduce free-radicals that occur in our bodies through natural processes. Free radicals are toxic compounds that can damage cells, DNA and protein causing various diseases. Thus, obtaining antioxidants through our diet is essential, and this is often better achieved by real food based shakes.
4. Distinctive Flavour Profile.
Straying away from the potential health benefits; there are also certain pros in more subjective areas such as taste.
Standard shakes are dominated by artificial flavours and processed ingredients that give the meal replacement shakes very defined flavour profiles (note: this is a generalization).
On the contrary, brands that opt for whole food ingredients tend to avoid artificial additives (vitamins, minerals, flavouring systems…); which gives their shakes a very natural, food-like taste.
Moreover, the lack of sweeteners enhances the natural flavours of the ingredients. While at first they might strike as flat; in the long run you will notice that the flavour profile is more diverse and has more depth.
On Top of That Organic
If we add Organic labeling on top, we will have other indirect positive impact in the environment and agricultural management and sustainability of crops; as pointed out on the images above.
Negatives of Whole Food Shakes
I have been hyping up whole food shakes as the ultimate nutritional meals. However, there are often some flaws with these.
1.Lacking Micronutrient Profiles.
Perhaps, the most common issue with real food based shakes is that they often fail to deliver a fully fledged micronutrient profile.
This is due to the fact that creating a food based complete micronutrient mix is complicated. In fact, you will need multiple plants which will have a knock-on effect on the price and manufacturing process. Also, there are some vitamins, like the aforementioned vit B12, which are scarce in plants and hard to implement in shakes.
Thus, for most is a lot more easier to create a synthetic vitamin and mineral mix (ultra cheap, ultra easy to add) that will fit with the guidelines.
2. Phytonutrients Can Be Negative.
Previously, I have spoken marvels about phytonutrients and how beneficial they can be to our health. However, there are certain phytonutrients that can have a negative effect.
For instance, in the last decades, isoflavones (common in soy) have had a negative press, particularly on males. While the science behind the claims has been lackluster, there is evidence that phytoestrogens like ligans (common in flaxseed) might contribute to increased colorectal cancer risk among women and prostate cancer among men.
Another example is safrole, a potentially carcinogenic compound naturally found in spices, like, nutmeg and cinnamon. However, the level of risk for causing cancer in humans is as low as breathing indoor.
Whether is a marketing strategy or a real reflection of the cost of manufacturing the product, whole food based shakes are more expensive in average.
For example, Ample and Ambronite, two of the best all natural shakes, are among the most expensive with prices up to $6.5/400kcal. On the other hand, you can find “standard” shakes as cheap as $1.4/400kcal.
The flavour profiles for whole-food based shakes is often more limited. While a brand like Soylent offers up to 7 different flavours (including caffeinated options), the options are more limited on natural drinks.
Not only the options are more limited, but the flavours might come accross as flat. Particularly to the average user accustomed to sweeteners and strong flavours, which are achieved with the help of artificial flavourings.
Before You Buy
Prior to making your purchase, I strongly recommend you to look at these characteristics on each shake to decide whether is the ideal one for you.
- Are you looking for a vegan organic shake? This one is straight forward and the one that will help you narrow down the choices significantly.
- Organic or real food based? Hopefully, I have make the distinction clear, but make sure the shake you are buying is what you were looking for. Many brands will trick you into thinking they are organic, when truly are not.
- Macronutrient distribution. Depending your activity levels, personal preferences or health biases you will need higher protein, or lower carbs or more fiber. Look at the macro profile before buying your organic shake.
- Allergens. Many of these shakes use nuts, milk or other allergens that might negatively affect you. Double check before you buy!
- Micronutrients. Perhaps the biggest downside with natural shakes is that some fail to deliver all the vitamins and minerals. Read the description to know if you are getting all you need.
- Calories. Lastly, make sure you are having upwards 400kcal per meal. You will see many products that will provide you with less calories and will be much more expensive. I would avoid these.
Organic does not mean better, but has clear advantages; such a less chemicals in the food, fresher ingredients and a smaller environmental impact. Organic shakes will feel more natural and will have a more “food”-like taste; with less sweeteners and other flavourings to alter the natural taste.
Organic ingredients tend to be more expensive due to the extra nuisances (regulation, less production…) involved in the agricultural production. However, there are few brands that offer organic meals at a reasonable price.
There are plenty of Vegan organic meal replacements, such as Bertrand Vegan.
All organic shakes will be real food based, however, not all real food based shakes will be organic.
Optimally, you will choose something rich in micronutrients, like Ambronite CMS, listed above. Features that you should be looking for include balanced macro profile, plenty of fibers and shakes rich in protein to help you keep full for longer.
It is important to consider that buying organic meal replacement shakes goes beyond committing to your body, but it is also a commitment to the environment. A belief for a more sustainable agriculture with less impact on the crops and the land; as well as, improved conditions for the pastures.
Thus, the main benefit of these products may not be to your health, but to planet Earth.
3. FAO Organic.
5. More in: latestfuels.com/resources. A compilation with different governmental guidelines and references.
6. Ultimate Meal Replacement List. List with all the brands that deliver to the UK.