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Protein Powders Vs. Meal Replacement Powders

Protein Powders and Meal Replacement Powders (MRPs) are some of the more popular supplements sold today, and for the most part, they are above average in terms of quality and value. They also share a number of the same qualities, so I will discuss them together and point out the differences as they come up.

Both products come in powdered form, can be consumed any time during the day, and contain a significant amount of protein. The major difference is protein powders are usually 80-90% protein with few extra ingredients added to the mix. MRPs, on the other hand, typically have around 50-70% protein and have more carbs and other additional ingredients as well.

This makes sense because MRPs are meal replacement powders, so they are supposed to have all the nutrition that would come in a complete meal. As a result, they almost always contain a significant quantity of vitamins and minerals and sometimes other beneficial ingredients as too.

Meal Replacement Powders

MRPs are very useful for people who want a nutritious meal that is transportable and can be fairly quickly prepared (using a shaker). The downsides are some people do not like the taste or texture of powdered food products (different brands and flavors taste differently), and you do pay more for the convenience of a quick and portable meal with added nutrients.

Quality MRPs typically run about $3 each (when not on sale), which many people feel is expensive, but this really depends on your situation and budget. If you are someone who frequently eats out, then $3 is probably much less than you would typically spend on a meal and the MRP is likely healthier as well.

On the other hand, you can prepare a healthy well-balanced meal at home for significantly less and bring it with you instead of using a MRP. The important thing to realize is most meal replacements don’t provide too much more than you would get from a healthy balanced meal, so they are definitely not a necessity. This is especially true if you take a daily multi-vitamin/mineral.

Protein Powders

Protein powders are similar in the sense that they are powdered and you typically make it into a drink, but since they don’t contain as many other ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, they cost less per serving than meal replacement powders.

To get the same amount of protein as in a meal replacement, it usually costs less than a dollar and sometimes closer to 50 cents, so if you are mainly looking for an easy way to increase your protein intake, protein powders offer a much better value. In many cases, protein powders even cost less per serving than traditional protein sources (e.g., meat) and they contain less fat than most animal protein sources.

Protein powders are probably one of the best supplement values around, due to the high quality of the protein and relatively inexpensive cost. They are also convenient because you can take the powder with you anywhere and it mixes easily with a spoon, unlike MRPs, which are thicker and require more mixing.

However, it is best not to rely on protein powders as your primary protein source. Natural, unprocessed foods should make up the majority of your nutritional program, but protein powders can be a great addition, especially if you find yourself having a hard time getting enough protein throughout the day

Depending on your particular nutritional program and schedule, MRPs and protein powders can both be great additions to your overall program. I think protein powders are more versatile, mainly due to their ease of mixing, which allows them to be used in many ways.


What to mix protein powder with : Protein powder can be mixed with just about any beverage.  Personally I mix the protein powder with various fruits and greek yogurt for a blasting smoothie. And when I don’t have time to blend, I just throw a scoop of protein in my cereal as a way to add protein in the morning. Protein powders and MRPs also work well as a snack at night to get some protein and nutrients in your system without adding many extra calories that would likely be turned into fat while you sleep. These are just a couple of examples, but you can use them any time when you need some extra protein.

The 5 Best Types Of Protein Powder

Whether you are trying to gain lean muscle, increase your protein intake, or lose weight, protein shakes are a great way to help you achieve your goals. Not only do they come in a wide variety of flavors, but they are also easy to make and cost-effective. The problem is deciding which protein powder is right for you. Most are vegetarian, but even vegans can find soy protein powder, so the possibilities are endless. Listed below are five different types of protein powder available on the market today.

This is probably the least expensive protein powder on the market because it has fillers which often cause uncomfortable side effects like bloat. So why buy it? If you’re a student or someone living on a tight budget, this is probably your best bet especially if you are not lactose intolerant.

Whey protein isolate contains no lactose thus making it easier to digest. It is a little bit more expensive but worth it since it absorbs quickly, and is low in fat, carbs, and sugar. One scoop of vanilla flavored protein powder contains 24 grams of protein and only 106 calories. As with any protein powder, you can mix it with milk, juice or even water.

This is not the most popular form of protein powder and is actually a foe of vegans; however, it is an excellent alternative if you like to take your protein powder before you go to sleep. Casein protein powder breaks down over five to seven hours and is also useful if you are dieting because it fills you up longer.

This is a fantastic way for vegans and non-vegans alike to get their protein intake. An avg. scoop of protein powder contains a whopping 25 grams of protein, only 120 calories, and no carbs. You will also have the added benefit of helping your cholesterol and speeding your metabolism thanks to the isoflavones found in soy.

You might not have ever heard of this one, but it is the cream of the crop. Sure it is the most expensive protein powder available, but for a good reason. What makes it so unique? Hydrolysate is more easily digested and absorbed by the stomach which leads to greater plasma amino acid availability and greater muscle protein synthetic response. In layman’s terms, you will have less bloat, feel more energized, and improve your performance while exercising.

How To Make Protein Powder Taste Good

If whey protein powder is a staple for you like it is for me, you’re looking for ways to dress it up a bit. After all, you can only drink so much vanilla anything, right? The following are some tried and true suggestions on how to mix it up with vanilla whey protein powder.

Spice Cake

Mix one dash each of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with one scoop vanilla whey powder and eight ounces of water or milk. Blend and enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Mix A ¼ cup canned pumpkin & 1 dash of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder in 8oz. of cold water / milk.

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie

Mix 1/2 banana and 1 dash of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder in 8oz. ounces of cold water/ milk.

Pina Colada Smoothie

Mix A ¼ cup drained crushed pineapple, and 1 tablespoon shredded coconut with 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder in 8oz. of cold water / milk.

Vanilla Pudding

1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder in a small bowl and add about A ¼ cup of water or milk. Mix thoroughly. This mixes up into a nice pudding consistency.


Mix 1¼ cup prepared Jello sugar-free cheesecake flavored pudding with one scoop vanilla whey protein powder in eight ounces of cold water / milk. Blend

Orange Creamsicle

Mix one tablespoon sugar-free marmalade with one scoop vanilla whey protein powder in eight ounces of cold water or milk. Blend well.

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Mix A ¼ cup sugar-free cherry pie filling with one scoop vanilla whey protein powder and eight ounces of cold water or milk. Blend well.

Latte Protein Smoothie

Mix 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals with 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder in 8oz. of cold water / milk. Blend well. Great for a pre-workout.

Strawberry Banana

Mix 1/2 banana and A ¼ cup fresh or frozen strawberries with 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder in 80z. of cold water or milk.

If you already get enough protein from your regular food sources, you don’t have to include either of these products, but their mix of quality, convenience, and price can be hard to beat, especially with the protein powders.

However, I should point out that if you are not used to these types of products, the taste can be a little strange at first, but most people are still able to find at least a few products that taste alright. In any case, it is a good idea to see if there are samples or single serving packages before buying a large quantity of any product. Otherwise, be sure the store will let you return the product if you don’t like it.

As a group, meal replacement powders and protein powders are some of my favorite supplements. In general, they are not designed to give you special benefits that you could not get from eating healthy well-balanced meals, and they are best thought of as tools you can use to fix problem areas in your nutritional program.

If you need a complete meal on the go, then MRPs can be a great choice, and if you just need to increase your protein intake, protein powders are hard to beat. Just don’t overdo it with the powders and remember they are meant to supplement occasional meals, not be the basis of your entire nutritional program.

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