Best Meal Replacement For Weight Gain (2022)

March 13, 2022

I've had plenty of experiences with meal replacements for weight gain: some good and some bad. One period in time, I took a 500-calorie meal replacement straight after my gym sessions six times per week.

I packed on decent size and was the heaviest I had ever been. However, this weight came on quickly, so fat mass came along with it. I don't want you to make the same mistake I did.

So, I'm presenting you with the best meal replacement for weight gain that won't give you the problem I had. To do this, the meal replacement shake must have fewer calories or easily be able to take smaller serving sizes and still provide adequate protein and sustenance.

Header
best meal replacement shakes for weight gain

Best Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

PhenQ Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Best Vegan Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Carnivore Complete Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Best Natural Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Product

Size

1000 g

500 g

454 g

Protein

51 g

16 g

13 g

Serving

200 g

55 g

30 g

Price

meal replacement for weight gain

One problem with meal replacements is the use of low-quality ingredients. Often, they’ll be filled with maltodextrin, a simple carbohydrate, to increase the calorie count. Maltodextrin has its purpose, for example providing a quick, easy to digest energy source to fuel hard workouts.

However, as a meal replacement, fast digesting carbohydrates isn’t ideal. We want to feel satisfied for a few hours and not be instantly hungry. This is where the Mass Gainer by Crazy Nutrition has it right as the best meal replacement for weight gain.

Instead of loading their meal replacement with cheap simple sugars, they’ve used natural food sources so you also get vitamins and minerals from these foods. Here’s a list of the main ingredients:

  • Gluten free oat flour
  • Pea starch
  • Whey protein blend of whey isolate and concentrate
  • Sweet potato flour
  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Flaxseed powder

The hidden benefit behind these ingredients is the incredibly low sugar content. Out of 100 g of carbohydrates per serving, only 6 g come from sugar. The rest are slower digesting complex carbohydrates. Here’s a breakdown of the macronutrients:

Macro

Amount

Calories

695

Protein

51 g

Carbohydrates

100 g (6 g sugar)

Fat

8.8 g

For some, this could be considered two meals! Which is fine as you can use ½ a serving and still have 350 calories with 25 g of protein. Nothing to scoff at. The people behind Crazy Nutrition have done their homework with their mass gainer as a common problem is bloating and indigestion with meal replacements.

They’ve added digestive enzymes to their Mass Gainer so you can easily assimilate the protein and carbohydrates without gas or bloating. Further, the addition of flaxseed powder provides omega 3 fatty acids.

A unique marketing feature by Crazy Nutrition is their 60-day money back guarantee. No supplement company offers a money back guarantee on their products except Crazy Nutrition. It goes to show how much they back their supplements.

See my full Crazy Nutrition Mass Gainer review here.

Pros

  • Carbohydrates from natural food sources, not simple carbohydrate fillers.
  • Very high in protein increasing satiety forming a true meal replacement.
  • Large serving size perfect for larger individuals. Easily halve the serving size for smaller individuals.

Cons

  • Only two flavors currently. Vanilla and chocolate. If you’re not a fan of those, you are out of luck.

Best Meal Replacement For Weight Gain - Crazy Nutrition Mass Gainer

Best Vegan Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

PhenQ Meal Replacement Shake

Best Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Gaining weight as a vegan can be difficult. Your food choices are limited and getting adequate protein each day becomes a challenging task. There’s only so many cans of chickpeas you can eat in a day.

Which is why I recommend the PhenQ Meal Replacement Shake as the best vegan meal replacement for gaining weight. Here is the calorie and macronutrient breakdown per serving:

Macro

Amount

Calories

270

Protein

16 g

Carbohydrates

5 g

Fat

16 g

These macronutrients make up coconut oil, pea protein, and linseed flour, also known as flaxseed flour. Coconut oil has been purported as the superfood of oils. While I won't go as far as to say it's the magical oil that cures all, an interesting study found 2-weeks of ingesting a meal consisting of 6 g coconut oil increased exercise time to exhaustion and attenuated the increase in blood lactate [1].

How does this relate to weight gain? If you’re trying to gain weight, you are likely trying to gain muscle mass, not fat mass. By potentially reducing the rise in blood lactate when lifting weights, you may be able to perform more reps within a set before fatiguing, leading to more significant muscle growth.

Pea protein is an excellent protein powder alternative for those that are vegan or don't digest whey protein well. While it may not be as effective as whey protein for spiking muscle protein synthesis (the building of new muscle mass), it seems that total daily protein intake may be more important [2].

Finally, flaxseed flour is high in healthy omega-three fatty acids, which is often why flaxseed is added to smoothies. Interestingly, PhenQ has added Ashwagandha to their meal replacement shake, a traditional Indian medicinal herb. While Ashwagandha will not provide physical performance, weight gain, or weight loss benefits, it has unique properties affecting the brain.

Ashwagandha is known as a nootropic. Or brain drug. These nootropics enhance cognitive function and can help with anything from memory to focus. In fact, if you did not know, caffeine is classed as a nootropic. But I digress.

The benefits of Ashwagandha are most notable for reducing anxiety and stress in healthy humans [3]

Further, 300 mg of Ashwagandha taken every day for ten weeks has improved sleep quality, sleep efficiency and anxiety in healthy adults [4].

These benefits alone take the PhenQ Meal Replacement Shake above their competition. Suppose you are looking for a meal replacement that is keto-friendly or vegan. PhenQ also has your back with a complete vegan formulation with keto lovers in mind. This means there is no added sugar, filler content, or artificial sweeteners.

You also have a 60-day money-back guarantee so you can try it for yourself, risk-free. While their sales page is directed at weight loss (it's the largest industry in fitness, so it makes sense), it doesn't mean PhenQ Meal Replacement Shakes are solely for weight loss. Weight loss is a derivative of a caloric deficit.

To gain weight, you need to consume enough calories to be in a caloric surplus. So, this is how I would recommend using the PhenQ Meal Replacement shake for weight gain. Continue eating your regular daily meals.

But with one meal per day, sip on one serving of the PhenQ Meal Replacement. This way, you know for sure you are getting excess calories that you need. You're on the right track if you see the scale moving up. If your weight starts to plateau, you can either increase the size of your meals or add a second PhenQ Meal Replacement, so you have two meals per day that have an additional shake.

Pros

  • Vegan formulated and keto-friendly.
  • No sugar fillers or artificial sweeteners.
  • It contains Ashwagandha to improve cognitive function.

Cons

  • Active males may need to double the serving size to add adequate calories.

Best Vegan Meal Replacement For Weight Gain - PhenQ Meal Replacement

Best Natural Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Paleo Pro Carnivore Complete

Paleo Pro’s Carnivore Complete is an epic natural meal replacement for weight gain. There’s a reason I chose this as the best weight gain supplement for skinny women. It contains high-quality beef organs sourced from New Zealand cows, my home country.

We have some of the strictest animal welfare laws in the world. Just take a 30-minute drive out of the city in any direction, and you'll see paddocks filled with cows free-roaming and feeding on grass. Add the fact protein is added from egg whites, and there is no wheat, gluten, grains, dairy, soy, fillers, or added sugars; you've got the most natural meal replacement on the market.

Here are the calories and macronutrient breakdown per serving:

Macro

Amount

Calories

180

Protein

13 g

Carbohydrates

2 g

Fat

13 g

Suppose you follow a keto diet or have a dairy intolerance. In that case, the Paleo Pro Carnivore Complete will fit perfectly in your pantry. Considering 75% of the world’s population loses its ability to digest lactose as they reach adulthood makes Carnivore Complete even more enticing [5].

The Ancient Cacao is my favorite flavor. However, drinking it on its own can leave a slight beefy after taste. It is made from beef, after all. But you get used to it quickly. You can easily mask the taste if you mix it with a smoothie.

Pros

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows.
  • Contains beef organs for vital nutrients.
  • Perfect for keto lovers and those who want fewer carbohydrates.

Cons

  • It can have a slight beef aftertaste.

Best Natural Meal Replacement For Weight Gain - Paleo Pro Carnivore Complete

Best Tasting Meal Replacement For Weight Gain

Transparent Labs Protein Series Mass Gainer

Suppose taste is your most important quality to judge a meal replacement shake. In that case, Transparent Labs Protein Series Mass Gainer is probably your go-to choice. Unlike the other meal replacement shakes in this article, it is very high in simple carbohydrates. It is likely why it tastes so good!

The shake is sweet, smooth, and mixes well, providing a milkshake-like drink. But this shake packs a serious punch to your caloric intake. Check out the calories and macronutrient ratios per serving:

Macro

Amount

Calories

790

Protein

53 g

Carbohydrates

114 g

Fat

14 g

I would highly advise you to start with one serving, one scoop instead of two. One scoop will still give you roughly 400 calories which is more than enough in excess calories to pack on muscle mass and gain weight.

There are no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives. It is gluten-free (except for cookies and cream flavor) for those allergic to gluten.

Be aware that while they state they use oat and sweet potato powder, there is only 1 g of each in a serving. So the bulk of the carbohydrates comes from a simple source, maltodextrin, which doesn't provide much in the way of vitamins and minerals.

Pros

  • Very high in calories for hard gainers to gain weight (due to the size of the serving).
  • Great tasting due to the higher carbohydrate count.
  • No artificial ingredients.

Cons

  • Serving sizes are very large, which can be a struggle for some to get down.

Best Tasting Meal Replacement For Weight Gain - Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

Frequently Asked Meal Replacement Questions

Are Meal Replacements Good For Gaining Weight?

Meal replacements are great for gaining weight. The reason anyone struggles to gain weight is they cannot eat enough food. Sometimes it can be difficult fitting in that extra meal or stuffing yourself full at the dinner table. Not to mention many of us have busy lives where sitting down multiple times a day to eat a full meal is not feasible.

Meal replacements allow you to consume extra calories on the go or on top of your regular meals. Drinking calories is much easier than eating more pasta or potatoes. It also helps when the meal replacement shake tastes like a chocolate milkshake!

What Shakes Are Good For Gaining Weight?

The best shakes to gain weight are meal replacement shakes because they contain more calories from carbohydrates and fats. Protein powders are great, but they only have approximately 120 calories making weight gain near impossible unless you add other ingredients.

Meal replacement shakes provide the convenience to mix it without any additional ingredients so you can gain weight with ease.

Summary

There are so many meal replacement shake options it can be challenging to choose. Many are so similar it doesn't matter which you go for. The best meal replacement for weight gain will come down to personal dietary preferences. I picked Crazy Nutrition's Mass Gainer as the best for weight gain because it has its main ingredients coming from real food providing you more than just a high calorie count.

Best Meal Replacement For Weight Gain - Crazy Nutrition Mass Gainer

References

1. Nosaka, N., Suzuki, Y., Nagatoishi, A., Kasai, M., Wu, J., & Taguchi, M. (2009). Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate-and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology, 55(2), 120-125.

2. Valenzuela, P. L., Mata, F., Morales, J. S., Castillo-García, A., & Lucia, A. (2019). Does beef protein supplementation improve body composition and exercise performance? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 11(6), 1429.

3. Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine, 98(37).

4. Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., & Ambegaokar, D. (2019). Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract in insomnia and anxiety: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Cureus, 11(9).

5. Mattar, R., de Campos Mazo, D. F., & Carrilho, F. J. (2012). Lactose intolerance: diagnosis, genetic, and clinical factors. Clinical and experimental gastroenterology, 5, 113.

About the Author

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your training.

Want More Great Content?

Check Out These Articles