What Is The Best Time To Drink Meal Replacement Shake?

What is the Best Time to Drink Meal Replacement Shake?

Last Updated on May, 2024

Meal replacement shakes have been around for a while now, but they’re now more popular than ever. They’ve become an excellent option for weight loss programs, muscle growth, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general.

These shakes come with all the nutrients one needs to maintain a healthy, regular diet. Not only that, they’re great for reducing your daily calorie intake too. Overall, they’re what you need to build muscle and lose weight.

But, you can’t keep drinking meal replacement shakes whenever you want. Just like with anything else, there’s a right time to take meal replacements. Unfortunately, many people don’t know about the best time to drink meal replacement shake, which is why we’re going to cover the topic in this article!

Things to Know Before Drinking Meal Replacement Shakes

meal replacement shake on the table and human touching it

The first thing that you need to know about meal replacement shakes is that they’re entirely different from protein shakes. Drinking a protein shake helps your body with metabolism and muscle building. It also enables you to get a proper protein intake for the day.

On the other hand, meal replacement shakes are meant to replace meals. They contain many essential nutrients you’d get from full meals. But, they cut down on calories, which makes them great for losing weight.

But, do keep in mind that this can also be a disadvantage. A meal replacement shake usually only has around 200 calories. These are fewer calories than what you’d get from most meals you eat. 

If you’re looking to gain weight or maintain your current muscle mass, you’ll have to get extra calories from other foods. Some meal replacement shakes also use a lot of artificial additives. Make sure that you find shakes that don’t include any of these.

Another thing you need to know is that you can’t use these to replace every meal of your day. So while it could be tempting to drink your favorite meal replacement shake instead of taking time to prepare an entire meal, it’s just not an option.

While they are loaded with nutrients, they aren’t miracle shakes. If you drink only meal replacements, you’ll miss out on too many calories and start becoming weak.

It’s essential to regulate their consumption. That way, you get your daily protein, essential amino acids, and other nutrition regardless of your goals. So, whether you’re trying to drink the shakes for weight gain or weight loss, it’s vital to know when to consume them. So, let’s dive into this!

Best Time to Drink a Meal Replacement Shake

meal shake on the table

You have to plan when to drink a meal replacement shake carefully, just like you would while consuming protein powder mixtures. Luckily, there are a lot of options. Here’s a bit more detail on each of them:

Try it as Breakfast

Sometimes you don’t have any energy to get up and make breakfast for yourself. A meal replacement shake is the ideal source of protein consumption and all the energy you need to kickstart your day in situations like these.

They’re straightforward to make, so you don’t have to spend ages in the kitchen. This makes them great for when you’re in a hurry too. Whenever you’re about to be late for work and need a quick boost to help you start your day with enough protein and energy, try a meal replacement shake.

That way, you won’t have to prepare breakfast for yourself. But, despite that, you’ll still get the nutrition you need, and you’ll be able to save a lot of time while you’re at it.

Since most of these shakes are light, you won’t feel bloated either. It lets you keep clear of that dreaded hunger danger zone, letting you spend the start of your day to its fullest and enjoy healthy foods at lunch.

It’s also great for those trying to lose weight but rely on a cup of coffee for an energy boost in the morning. Meal replacement shakes get enough grams of protein in your body to keep you going while having fewer calories than some cups of coffee.

Take it During Lunchtime

Lunch is usually the time when some people are most busy. Whether they’re at work, in class, driving around, or occupied because of anything else, it’s a hectic time of the day. Unfortunately, because of this, it’s also the time of day when people tend to eat all kinds of unhealthy foods.

This includes things like quick stops at coffee shops, fast food restaurants, chips, and other snacks that are high in calories. But, of course, instead of trying all these, you can always keep a meal replacement shake on you!

It’s an ideal snack for anyone busy because it doesn’t take time to prepare and is very healthy. Also, it’s great for anyone on an empty stomach and goes along with the weight loss goals of most people.

Instead of taking the time to get something from the store or restaurants, keep some meal replacement powder on you and a bottle. You can also get tasty meal replacement shakes that are already prepared. 

Either way, they’re a much healthier option than others. Plus, they can keep you fueled until you have the time to eat food.

Pre or Post-Workout

One of the best times to drink meal replacement shakes is before or after a workout. The main reason for this is that they include a lot of whey protein. For those who aren’t familiar with this, it contains more leucine than any other form of protein. 

Leucine is one of many kinds of amino acids, and it helps with muscle protein synthesis. That means it’s a great way to boost your performance in the gym if you drink it before a workout. (1)

Whey protein is excellent for regaining muscle strength and muscle repair as well. That means you can also use it as a post-workout protein shake and drink it afterward. That way, you’ll feel energetic and relaxed after every single workout. (2)

Since they don’t have many calories, you don’t have to worry about your body weight either. So, if you regularly exercise, we recommend taking these shakes before or after each workout as they’ll help you perfectly.

Replace Your Dinner With it

For most people, dinner is the last meal after exercise and work are done. While it’s arguably the best mealtime of the day, there’s no denying that it’s also the most tiresome. In addition, it can be stressful after a long day to step into the kitchen and prepare something for yourself.

That’s exactly why so many people drink a meal replacement instead. It’s much easier to prepare than an entire 7-course meal, and it still gets you just as full. Besides, it’s a great way to give yourself the iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients you need at the end of a tiring day.

The best part is that it’s pretty flexible too. For example, you can drink an entire bottle to replace your dinner entirely. Alternatively, there’s also the option to drink a glass or less to give yourself a boost of energy for later.

When you’re feeling hungry after drinking only a bit of the shake, you’ll be relaxed enough to go into the kitchen and make a meal for yourself.

Somewhere Between Meals

For some people, the weight between meals can be a bit much. That’s especially true if you live through a hectic schedule. Instead of taking the time to make something, a quick meal replacement can be all you need!

It’s one of the healthiest snack options for those looking to lose weight and eat responsibly. Just keep some on you for when you get hungry and take some sips now and then. That way, you’ll stay full between meals and get the energy you need during every part of your day.

Just remember to drink an adequate amount. If you overdo it, you might not have room left for proper meals later on. Also, that’ll stop you from getting the nutrition a full meal will offer you instead of a few sips of meal replacement shakes.

Recommended reading: How Many Meal Replacement Shakes Can You Take Per Day?

Is it Possible to Drink Them Anytime of the Day?

a man having meal shake

Based on all the details we’ve discussed so far, you might’ve guessed that the answer to this question is yes. It is possible to drink them at any time of the day. But, make sure that you’re careful with the amount that you take.

If you rely only on these drinks, that could lead to issues with your diet. You could also get sick due to a lack of calories and start yo-yo dieting. Make sure to eat a fruit or two along with the shake and eat a full meal at other times. Once you keep that in mind, you can drink these shakes at any given point throughout the day!

Worth reading: Why Are You Still Hungry After Meal Replacement Shake?


A meal replacement shake can last for up to four hours and provide satiety for over three hours.

It is recommended to only have one or two meal replacement shakes per day and no more than that as per the manufacturer’s advice.


Now that we’ve gone into detail about some of the best times to drink meal replacement shakes throughout the day, it’s up to you to decide which one suits you best! Of course, it’s possible to take these shakes at any time. But, you should be responsible and drink them according to your diet.

We hope that the details we shared were able to help you out and that you’re able to make the right decision regarding what time you should be taking these shakes!


  1. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/supplemental-leucine-how-it-powers-muscle-growth.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5667622/

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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband whom she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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