What are the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes?

drink wholesome makes the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes with a short list of simple ingredients. Now, you can enjoy a protein boost without the extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our non dairy meal replacement is right for you. 

Meal Replacement Powder Sample Packs

2 Meal Replacement Powder Samples


drink wholesome makes the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What does ‘dairy-free’ mean? 

Before diving into our discussion on the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes, it is important to establish a solid understanding of some terminology. Not to be confused with lactose-free, dairy-free means that a product does not contain milk or ingredients derived from milk. This includes foods like butter, cheese, yogurt, whey, and casein.

Are meal replacements dairy-free?

Whey and casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, so meal replacement shakes made with whey and casein protein are NOT dairy-free. There are lactose-free whey protein isolates, but there is no such thing as dairy-free whey protein.

People with dairy allergies should also avoid common dairy-based food additives like sodium caseinate. Depending on the severity of your allergy, even small amounts of ingredients like these can trigger allergic reactions.

A dairy free meal replacement is thus a meal replacement that does not contain any dairy-based ingredients or milk derivatives. Non dairy meal replacement shakes are typically made with egg whites or plant-based protein sources.

Some people will tell you that egg white or plant protein does not measure up to whey protein, which this is simply not true. Egg white protein is, from a nutritional standpoint, practically identical to whey protein. Most plant proteins are somewhat inferior, but if you consider the many side effects caused by whey, plant proteins come out ahead.

Why use dairy-free meal replacements?

Here are 3 reasons why you should choose a non dairy meal replacement :

1. Dairy-based proteins like whey can casein are known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose sensitivity (intolerance) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

2. Dairy-based proteins can cause acne. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands, can clog your pores and cause pimples.

3. Dairy-based proteins are not sustainable. Although whey protein does offer a way for farmers to reduce waste, it is part of the industrial dairy industry, which has a profound impact on the environment. Dairy cows and their manure produce enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, the poor handling of manure and fertilizers pollute local water resources, and unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can also lead to the loss of ecologically important areas such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.

Going dairy-free is the way to go, but dairy is not the only ingredient to avoid when buying meal replacements. Keep reading to learn more.

What is the best non dairy meal replacement?

Today, non dairy meal replacement shakes are widely available, so if you cannot tolerate whey or casein, there are many alternatives. That said, most dairy free meal replacement shakes are loaded with emulsifiers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors.

Ingredients like these are used to improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term health problems. In fact, food additives may be worse for your gut in the long term than dairy or any of its derivatives. It follows that you should look for a dairy-free meal replacement made with a short list of simple ingredients. 

Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes is that we do not use food additives. Food additives, much like lactose if you are lactose intolerant, are hard to digest. Basically, additives look nothing like real food, and your body does not know what to do with them. As a result, they spend extra time in your gut, which, as you just learned, can cause painful side effects. 

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement powder:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

The real reason to avoid food additives, however, is their potential long-term effects. Consistently eating additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, triggering inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can also disturb your gut microbiome – the microorganisms that help you digest food. This can impair your ability to digest and absorb food and cause widespread inflammation.

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

the alternative:


drink wholesome is made with real foods.

Another reason why we make the best non dairy meal replacement shakes is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other meal replacements use one or both of these protein sources, which are essentially foods stripped-down to nothing but the protein.

Protein concentrates and isolates go through rigorous mechanical and chemical processing, frequently with solvents such as hexane. As a result, what you use to make a meal replacement shake looks hardly anything like real food

Your digestive system is supposed to break down minimally processed or unprocessed foods, not protein concentrates or isolates. This is why a growing body of research indicates that the regular consumption of these refined ingredients can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome. This, as you already know, is not something to be taken lightly.

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best dairy-free meal replacement shakes with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Minimally processed protein sources like these offer a more digestion-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds enter your digestive system equipped with enzymes and other digestive aids, facilitating their breakdown and absorption. Egg whites also stand out for being low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (contributing to healthy gut pH levels), and bioactive (encouraging the growth of beneficial gut bacteria).

Almonds, on the other hand, are a valuable asset for your gut health as well. They exhibit prebiotic characteristics, enhancing the diversity of your gut microbiome, while also supporting regular and healthy bowel movements. It is simple, gut-friendly ingredients like this that allow us to make dairy-free meal replacement shakes that are easy to digest. 


easy to digest

“Good flavor and filling. I mostly appreciate how Drink Wholesome has tasty non-dairy options that don’t have bs ingredients.” – Daniel

Read more reviews or take the quiz.

Meal Replacement Powder Sample Packs

2 Meal Replacement Powder Samples


This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.