Meal replacement shakes have a mixed reputation, with a lot of critics claiming that replacing a meal of whole foods with a liquid alternative isn't an adequate way of fueling your body or getting the nutrients that your body needs. However, nutritionists and health experts generally agree that meal replacement shakes aren't all bad, and the secret to making them work well in your own routine comes down to frequency of use and, more importantly, the quality of the shake that you're consuming. For the most part, one big issue with many meal replacement shakes on the market is that they don't always check off a lot of the nutritional boxes that you should be looking for to make them on par with a healthy meal (e.g., high fiber content, a good amount of protein, and an adequate number of calories). Another big problem is that plenty of old-school meal replacement shakes tend to be packed with added sugars and preservatives at the expense of those other essential components that are missing. The good news is that meal replacement shakes of old have been replaced with a new crop of health-forward alternatives that work hard to achieve a nutritional profile that more closely resembles a well-balanced meal of whole foods. When used sporadically (or as more of a pre- or post-workout source of fuel as opposed to a full-on meal replacement), these five options offer a strong dose of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as key ingredients like protein and healthy fats.