How To: Use Your Protein Powder as a Meal Replacement

Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to put together an entire nutritious meal, and so the convenience of a meal replacement shake appeals to many. All you need to do is add some water or another liquid, maybe some extra fillers, a scoop of powder, and voila, an instant meal. Drink it on-the-go, when you are in a hurry, or maybe when you just aren’t in the mood to cook (cause I get it, that happens too).

But first, let’s talk shakes. Protein shakes and meal replacement shakes are not the same.

Difference Between Meal Replacement Shakes and Protein Shakes

Meal replacement shakes do exactly what they say: replace a meal. Most are:

  • Designed for weight loss
  • Low in calories
  • Packed with essential nutrients that your body needs for a complete meal (vitamins and minerals, fiber, some carbs, fat, and protein, so that your body is able to get a good balance of all three macros)

Protein powders work to provide you a high-quality protein to help your body recover after working out. They also help many to increase their daily protein consumption. Alone, most protein powders are

  • Designed to help increase daily protein consumption
  • Low in calories
  • Not packed with carbs and fat (so they don’t contain all of the nutrients your body needs to constitute a complete meal)

You see the difference? One contains a good combo of all three macros, while the other contains mostly… protein.

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What Constitutes a Meal

A complete meal should have a good balance of all three macros: Protein, carbs, and fat. No meal should only focus on one macronutrient, instead you should be getting a variety of ingredients in a meal. There should also be enough calories to keep you full for several hours.

Depending on you and your goals, a meal will generally contain 250-400 calories.

For a pre- or post- workout meal you’ll just want to add some fast acting carbs to your protein and that is a great meal! You also want to avoid fat and fiber here as they will actually slow down your metabolism.

For any other time of the day you will want to add both carbs and fats to your protein powder. Healthy fats are essential for health and bodily functions, and carbs help to provide you sustained energy.

Now let’s talk about some good sources of carbs and fats and other fillers to make the perfect meal replacement shake.

Mix-in’s for your Protein Shake

1. First you will want to add a liquid.*

Choose from:
-Water (add as much as you would like)
-Milk, dairy (Fat-free or 1% milk) (add around 3/4-1 cup)
-Milk non-dairy (unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk, etc.) (add around 3/4-1 cup)

2. Next add your protein.

IdealLean Protein Powder For Women (add 1 scoop)

3. Now add your healthy fat.*

Choose from:
-Monounsaturated Fats

  • Avocado (add 1/4 avocado)
  • Or nut butters (make sure your nut butters only have one or two ingredients) (add 1 1/2 tbsp.)

-Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Chia seeds (add 1/2 tbsp.)
  • Flax seeds (add 1/2 tbsp.)

4. Now add your carbs.*

Choose from:
-Fruits (blueberries, raspberries, mango, banana, pineapple, etc.) (add 1-2 c depending on the fruit)
-Vegetables (spinach, kale, other leafy greens, broccoli, cucumber, etc.) (add as much as you would like)
Oats (oats blend so well into shakes and make them SO creamy) (add 1/2 cup)

5. Then mix together for the perfect quick meal!

Hint: These numbers are estimates, you may need to adjust amounts depending on your macro needs.

*Choose one from each list, or enough to equal your macro needs.

I also love to use protein powder as a protein source in a meal that doesn’t naturally have much protein in it. For example, I may eat a quesadilla or peanut butter sandwich for lunch so I’ll mix up my IdealLean Protein with water to have as my protein source on the side.

IdealLean Protein comes in six delicious flavors: Piña Colada, Cake Batter, Chocolate Brownie, Strawberries ‘N Cream, French Vanilla and our Brand New Chocolate Coconut! Meaning the options are almost endless for you to come up with and create your perfect meal replacement shake, or protein-packed meal.

Want more proof? Try out our 101 Protein Recipes eBook to help transform your body and your nutrition.

Here are some of my fav meals to eat using IdealLean Protein. Nutrition info is listed per-serving. So feel free to add more or less to increase or decrease calorie content.



2 egg whites
1/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop French Vanilla IdealLean Protein
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 slice ezekiel bread

1. Spray a small ramekin with coconut oil spray. Tear bread into small pieces and place in ramekin.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, protein, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour over bread and cover with saran wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.
3. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake French toast for 25 min. Serve with sugar free syrup!

Calories per slice: 211, Carb: 17g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 1g, Sugar: 1g

Pina Colada IdealLean Protein

Piña Colada Protein Pancakes


1/4 c oat flour (ground from rolled oats)
1 scoop Piña Colada IdealLean Protein
1/2 banana
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 egg whites
1/4 c unsweetened vanilla coconut milk

1. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle to medium-low heat and coat with cooking spray.
2. Blend all ingredients together except toppings.
3. Pour pancake batter on skillet forming 6 pancakes.
4. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until edges are crisp and golden.
5. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
6. Transfer to a plate, add toppings of choice, and enjoy!
7. Optional toppings: Coconut-flavored Greek yogurt thinned with almond milk, fresh pineapple, unsweetened coconut. Makes 2 servings.

Calories: 142 per pancake, Protein: 17g, Carbs: 17g, Sugar: 4g, Fat: 7g

Cake Batter IdealLean Protein

Cake Batter Overnight Oats


1 c old fashioned oats
1 scoop Cake Batter IdealLean Protein
2 tsp. baking stevia
1/2 c plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Mix all ingredients together. Divide between 2 mugs, mason jars, or bowls. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight. Enjoy! Makes 2 servings.

Calories: 234, Protein: 21g, Carbs: 34g, Fat: 4g




1 c of oat flour
1 scoop of Strawberries ‘N Cream IdealLean Protein
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
2 egg whites
2 tbsp. of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 of a medium banana, mashed
1/3 c fresh strawberries, diced
Optional: sugar free cool whip and fresh strawberries and bananas.

1. Start by mixing together the dry ingredients: oat flour, baking powder, and protein powder.
2. Next add in the wet ingredients: egg whites, almond milk and banana.
3. Once mixed, fold in strawberries.
4. Heat Belgian waffle maker and spray with nonstick spray.
5. Using 1/2 cup of the batter, cook waffle according to waffle maker instructions. Enjoy!

Servings: 2, Calories: 323, Protein: 24g, Carbs: 45g, Fat: 5g

Chocolate Brownie IdealLean Protein

Chocolate Chia Protein Energy Smoothie


3/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/3 frozen banana
1 scoop Chocolate Brownie IdealLean Protein
1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. ground flax
1 -2 drops liquid stevia
ice, desired amount

1. Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

Calories: 241, Protein: 26g, Carbs: 21g, Fat: 8g

Remember that just because protein powder on its own isn’t a complete meal, adding some carbs and fat can turn it into a meal real quick. Real, real quick.

To see the best results possible you not only have to push yourself in the gym, AND your nutrition needs to be on point. Protein provides the nutrients you need to get stronger and recover more effectively. IdealLean Protein for Women is the perfect option because it was formulated for women with their goals in mind. So try one of our delicious flavors, and use it as a pre- or post- workout snack or add more ingredients to make it into a complete meal!

Maximize your hard work by including IdealLean Protein into your daily regimen. Adding IdealLean Protein will help you to build a lean, strong physique. 

Karina Elle

Karina Elle

Fitness Model

Karina Elle is a professional fitness model and creator of the 6 Week Fit Model Fitness Challenge.

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