• Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed) 1
  • Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed) 2
  • Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed) 3
  • Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed) 4
  • Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed) 5

Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed)

Many of us lead busy lives and don’t have time to prepare breakfast in the morning. Enter instant breakfast. They come in either liquid or powdered forms, and in a range of dietary variations to suit your needs. Some drinks double as meal replacements, others as simply snacks to jumpstart your morning!


To save you even more of your valuable time, we've compiled a list of our 10 favorite instant breakfast drinks. For instance, Boost Optimum's Creamy Vanilla Drinks are practically bursting with protein, nutrition, and flavor. See what else made the list, and read our buying guide that outlines how you can find a great breakfast drink on your own!

Experts featured in this article

Rachel Binkley
Kara Swanson
  • Last updated: 09-15-2021
  • 27,367 views
Table of Contents

In Collaboration With Registered Dietitian Rachel Binkley

In Collaboration With Registered Dietitian Rachel Binkley

Rachel Binkley is a registered dietitian who encourages individuals to fuel their day with food. She helps determine habits that are convenient, cost-effective, and most importantly fit in with someone's lifestyle. 


Rachel believes that breakfast is one of the best ways to start your morning on the right track, so that's why we asked her to review our buying guide below for accuracy, as well as provide helpful advice and tips. Read on to see her insight!

Compare the Best Instant Breakfast Drinks

Image
1
Boost High Protein Balanced Nutritional Drink with Fiber 1

Boost

2
CLICK Coffee and Protein Drink Mix 1

CLICK

3
Soylent  Ready-to-drink Meal 1

Soylent

4
Huel Nutritionally Completed Food 1

Huel

5
Ambronite Drinkable Supermeal Smoothie Mix 1

Ambronite

6
Orgain All-in-One Nutritional Shake 1

Orgain

7
Iconic Grass Fed Protein Drink 1

Iconic

8
Ensure Plus Nutrition Shake 1

Ensure Plus

9
Carnation Breakfast Essentials Nutritional Drink 1

Carnation

10
Nestle Ovaltine 1

Nestle

Name

High Protein Balanced Nutritional Drink with Fiber

Coffee and Protein Drink Mix

Ready-to-drink Meal

Nutritionally Completed Food

Drinkable Supermeal Smoothie Mix

All-in-One Nutritional Shake

Grass Fed Protein Drink

Nutrition Shake

Breakfast Essentials Nutritional Drink

Ovaltine

Features

Our Best Pick! Advanced Nutrition Protein-Dense Drink

Caffeinated Protein Powder to Jolt You Awake

Breakfast Replacement Drink for Sustained Energy

A Cheaper, Synthetic Superfood Option

An All-Natural Superfood Powder in Smoothie Form

Non-GMO, High-Protein, Ready-to-Drink Breakfast Carton

A Low-Calorie, Low-Carb Drink Without GMO Ingredients

A Protein-Rich Breakfast Drink for Weight Gain

A Highly-Processed but Ready-to-Drink Option

A Cheap, Sweet, Chocolatey Drink from Switzerland

Price$29.88$17.62$39.00$89.95$23.49$23.00$35.99$24.97$19.98$23.64
Amount8 fl. oz. per bottle15.8 oz.14 fl. oz. per bottle3.85 lbs. per bag13.3 oz. per bag11 fl. oz. per carton11.5 fl. oz. per bottle8 fl. oz. per bottle8 fl. oz. per bottle12 oz. per tub
Available flavors3445345343
Formulated withMilk protein concentrate, sugar, vegetable oil, soy protein isolateCalcium caseinate, spray-dried coffee, cocoa, nonfat milkSoy protein isolate, maltodextrin, natural coffee flavor, high oleic sunflower oilPea and rice protein, oats, flaxseed, brown rice proteinOat protein, almonds, applesGrass fed organic milk protein concentrate, organic whey protein concentrate, organic brown rice syrupGrass fed milk protein isolate, organic blue agave, chicory root inulin, cocoa powderMilk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, sugar, corn maltodextrinGlucose syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrateSugar, malt extract, whey
Nutrition factsSodium: 230mg; Carbs: 29g; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 20gSodium: 120mg; Carbs: 11g; Fiber: less than 1g; Protein: 16gSodium 300mg; Carbs: 37g; Fiber: 3g; Protein 20gSodium: 410mg; Carbs: 47g; Fiber: 9g; Protein: 37gFiber: 3g; Protein: 10gSodium: 260mg; Carbs: 32g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 16gSodium: 220mg; Carbs: 8g; Fiber: 4g; Protein: 20gSodium: 210mg; Carbs: 50g; Fiber: less than 1g; Protein: 13gSodium: 160mg; Carbs: 41g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 10gSodium: 70mg; Carbs: 9g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 0g
Calories per serving24012040050016025013035024040
Link

Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks

Instant breakfast drinks are great because they are a fast and nutritional way to get your most important meal of the day. The following are our recommendations of the best instant breakfast drinks to buy online. If you like them enough, don’t hesitate to eat them for lunch, too!

※These rankings were decided based on user reviews and popular rank lists from Amazon gathered on July 16th. Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Rachel Binkley.

1

BoostHigh Protein Balanced Nutritional Drink with Fiber

Very Vanilla, 24 pack

$29.88

Amount8 fl. oz. per bottle
Available flavors3
Formulated withMilk protein concentrate, sugar, vegetable oil, soy protein isolate
Nutrition factsSodium: 230mg; Carbs: 29g; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 20g
Calories per serving240
2

CLICKCoffee and Protein Drink Mix

Mocha

$17.62

Amount15.8 oz.
Available flavors4
Formulated withCalcium caseinate, spray-dried coffee, cocoa, nonfat milk
Nutrition factsSodium: 120mg; Carbs: 11g; Fiber: less than 1g; Protein: 16g
Calories per serving120
3

Soylent Ready-to-drink Meal

Cafe Mocha, 12 pack

$39.00

Amount14 fl. oz. per bottle
Available flavors4
Formulated withSoy protein isolate, maltodextrin, natural coffee flavor, high oleic sunflower oil
Nutrition factsSodium 300mg; Carbs: 37g; Fiber: 3g; Protein 20g
Calories per serving400
4

HuelNutritionally Completed Food

2 pack

$89.95

Amount3.85 lbs. per bag
Available flavors5
Formulated withPea and rice protein, oats, flaxseed, brown rice protein
Nutrition factsSodium: 410mg; Carbs: 47g; Fiber: 9g; Protein: 37g
Calories per serving500
5

AmbroniteDrinkable Supermeal Smoothie Mix

Original

$23.49

Amount13.3 oz. per bag
Available flavors3
Formulated withOat protein, almonds, apples
Nutrition factsFiber: 3g; Protein: 10g
Calories per serving160
6

OrgainAll-in-One Nutritional Shake

Creamy Chocolate Fudge, 12 pack

$23.00

Amount11 fl. oz. per carton
Available flavors4
Formulated withGrass fed organic milk protein concentrate, organic whey protein concentrate, organic brown rice syrup
Nutrition factsSodium: 260mg; Carbs: 32g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 16g
Calories per serving250
7

IconicGrass Fed Protein Drink

Chocolate Truffle, 12 pack

$35.99

Amount11.5 fl. oz. per bottle
Available flavors5
Formulated withGrass fed milk protein isolate, organic blue agave, chicory root inulin, cocoa powder
Nutrition factsSodium: 220mg; Carbs: 8g; Fiber: 4g; Protein: 20g
Calories per serving130
8

Ensure PlusNutrition Shake

Vanilla, 16 pack

$24.97

Amount8 fl. oz. per bottle
Available flavors3
Formulated withMilk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, sugar, corn maltodextrin
Nutrition factsSodium: 210mg; Carbs: 50g; Fiber: less than 1g; Protein: 13g
Calories per serving350
9

CarnationBreakfast Essentials Nutritional Drink

24 pack

$19.98

Amount8 fl. oz. per bottle
Available flavors4
Formulated withGlucose syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrate
Nutrition factsSodium: 160mg; Carbs: 41g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 10g
Calories per serving240
10

NestleOvaltine

Chocolate Malt, 6 pack

$23.64

Amount12 oz. per tub
Available flavors3
Formulated withSugar, malt extract, whey
Nutrition factsSodium: 70mg; Carbs: 9g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 0g
Calories per serving40

How to Choose an Instant Breakfast Drink – Buying Guide

Here, we'll be introducing the following three important points to check when you choose an instant breakfast drink.

Points to Consider:

  1. Choose a Nutrient Profile That Matches Your Diet
  2. Decide Between Powdered and Liquid Drinks
  3. Consider Whether Taste or Nutrition Matters More

1. Choose a Nutrient Profile That Matches Your Diet

We often consider breakfast drinks to be chocolatey, fatty beverages like Nesquik that fill your tummy up and only that. That’s simply not the case. There are high protein, nutrient-rich, and--yes--very sweet options to choose from. Let’s examine them.

High Protein for Fitness-Minded Individuals

High Protein for Fitness-Minded Individuals
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t get us wrong. If you have time in the morning to cook, bacon and eggs are usually a classic option. It’s partially classic because, well, it tastes good, but also because it has lots of protein.

You should space out your protein intake throughout the day. Taking some in early, as breakfast, is a good way to make sure you do that. Our bodies can’t metabolize large sums of protein at once, anyways. For individuals who exert lots of physical strength, you need to ingest between 25-35 grams of protein in a meal.

If you work out in the early morning before work, a protein-rich breakfast drink is a great way to make sure you maintain your muscle mass. When you work out, you’re essentially breaking muscle fibers apart. Protein is required to repair them. To maximize muscle protein synthesis, consume your breakfast drink within 30 minutes of working out.
Rachel Binkley
Registered Dietitian (RD, LD)
Rachel Binkley

Extra protein doesn't equal extra muscle mass. If you consume more than what your body needs at one time, the extra protein will either be excreted or moved to other areas in the body. 


Incorporating snacks and breakfast can help spread your protein intake throughout the day. Breakfast shakes can be great options for substantial snacks as well. The combination of carbohydrates and protein is perfect post-workout and to maintain energy throughout the day.

Full Vitamin and Mineral Profile if You Don’t Have Time to Eat Breakfast

Full Vitamin and Mineral Profile if You Don’t Have Time to Eat Breakfast
If you find yourself listless or snacking in the late morning hours before lunch, that’s because you’re not eating a healthy enough breakfast. It’s an important balance to strike. 

In order to be satisfactorily full for the next 5-6 hours, you’re going to need to choose a breakfast drink that has 600-800 calories. That sometimes might mean adding milk or drinking two at once.

Full Vitamin and Mineral Profile if You Don’t Have Time to Eat Breakfast

Also, ensuring you get enough protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and fats will help keep you full until lunch. How much is enough? Well, if you’ve got no dietary restrictions, go for about 70 grams of carbs. About 20 grams of protein has been shown to fend off sudden cravings.

And, there’s no minimum amount of fat, per se–just get some in so both your mood and energy levels stay high. Instant breakfast drinks are designed to get you the necessary macro (carbs, proteins, fats) and micronutrients. Check the nutritional chart on the back to make sure you’re getting enough calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C, and B.

Rachel Binkley
Registered Dietitian (RD, LD)
Rachel Binkley

If you're not used to eating a big breakfast, it can be beneficial to add a snack before lunch. This prevents that starving feeling that often leads to overeating. If you're a new breakfast eater and don't have much of an appetite in the morning, getting your nutrients from a liquid can make that a little bit easier. 


Shakes tend to give more concentrated calories and protein. Fats are important for satiety and so your body can absorb appropriate amounts of vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are fat-soluble.

High Fiber for Diets

High Fiber for Diets
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that is found in most plant based foods. Since fiber can not be completely broken down by our bodies, it helps keep us full. As it passes through our bodies, it acts as somewhat of a scrub brush that cleans out your intestines. This promotes a healthy gut, along with a ton of other health benefits.
A diet high in fiber makes your food easier to digest. When you have a good amount of fiber in your breakfast drink, you’ll find it easier to focus for the rest of the day. According to the American Dietetic Association, it’s better to get your fiber from actual foods (including instant breakfast drinks) rather than pills or supplements.

The ADA recommends that males get at least 38 grams of fiber per day and females ingest 25 grams of fiber per day. A high fiber diet leads to “normal” and healthy bowel movements, too.

Rachel Binkley
Registered Dietitian (RD, LD)
Rachel Binkley

A food-first approach is helpful when trying to improve nutrition. You may have several micronutrients and a couple of macronutrients in the same food item. Complex carbohydrates tend to be from plant-based sources meaning they can be packaged with plenty of extra micronutrients. 


Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but they are absolutely necessary for your brain and the rest of your body to function properly. It's best to incorporate them at all meals, including breakfast.

2. Decide Between Powdered and Liquid Drinks

So, you opted for a breakfast drink because you don’t have time to cook breakfast. We don’t blame you. It can be hard to factor in that extra 15-30 precious minutes in the morning to make breakfast. You’d rather be sleeping, and so would we.

Instant breakfast drinks come in powdered or liquid forms, and your decision will boil down to social factors and how much time you have.

Powdered Drinks are Easily Shared and Applied to Other Foods

Powdered Drinks are Easily Shared and Applied to Other Foods
A powdered breakfast drink is not as instant as a liquid one, although we admit the difference is slim. Oftentimes, powdered drinks require 1-2 minutes of mixing with water (or milk), which can seem like forever if you seriously overslept, we guess.
Additionally, powdered foods can be added into other foods like soup, pasta, and even stir fries if you’re feeling bold. But you probably aren’t going to want to add a chocolatey powdered drink into a tomato soup. The meal replacement powders (like Huel and Ambronite) or smarter for this choice because they taste more basic.
If you like to eat breakfast with your family, think about getting a powdered drink. It might take more prep time, but you also get the ability to mix it in with others’ foods.
Rachel Binkley
Registered Dietitian (RD, LD)
Rachel Binkley

Breakfast drinks can make a great base for a smoothie. You can be creative with the flavors and it doesn't take much more effort to include all the nutrients that will fuel your day. Some awesome add-ins are fruits, vegetables, and peanut butter. The best part is that you can still take this on the go if you'd like.

Liquid Drinks Save You the Most Time

Liquid Drinks Save You the Most Time
The idea behind “instant breakfast drinks” is that they’re instant. Well, this is as close to instant as you can get. If you’re trying to chug and go, then a liquid form is best. Literally just grab it out of your refrigerator and drink it while you walk or drive to work (but keep your eyes on the road!).
The liquid breakfast drinks are meant to give you the nutrients you need to start your day in as little time as possible. If you’ve got other things on your mind and don’t want to mess with the prep work involved in powdered drinks, go liquid.

3. Consider Whether Taste or Nutrition Matters More

Why is it that medicine is bitter and poison is so sweet? Unfortunately, even with breakfast drinks, you’ll have to choose between flavor and nutrition as well–one just can’t have it all.

Choose Classic Brands Like Carnation for Flavor

Carnation is probably the most well-known instant breakfast drink brand, and their liquid forms come in three flavors: rich chocolate, french vanilla, and strawberry. Their powdered forms add dark chocolate, chocolate malt, and café mocha to the menu. Ensure has even more variation: chocolates, vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan, and coffee latte.

If you want liquid deliciousness, then, by all means, go for these big brands. They’ve even got variety packs, if you’re looking to shake things up. But, they’re fairly high on sugar and use synthetic nutrients as opposed to natural ones.

When you look at the list of ingredients on a Carnation bottle, for example, corn syrup and sugar are listed second and third. Ingredients in food are listed in descending order of predominance, meaning the first listed ingredient is the most plentiful. That’s a lot of sugar.

Go With Modern Meal Replacement Brands for Nutrition

On the other hand, newer or lesser-known companies like Ambronite, Huel, and even Soylent focus more on the nutritional component rather than the flavor. Their brands are targeted more towards simply getting the nutrients you need rather than crafting a delicious drink.

Now, taste is all a matter of opinion, so you might enjoy the chalky, “oatmealey” taste of the aforementioned brands. Huel, for example, touts itself as having at least “100% of the FDA’s Daily Values of all 27 essential vitamins and minerals.”

If you buy enough of it, each breakfast will set you back 2 bucks, and the powder is good for a year! Ambronite has a similar nutritional and mineral spectrum to Huel, but is also non-GMO and minimally processed. It’s more expensive, though.

Frequently Asked Questions

Even though you may have decided on an instant breakfast drink, you may be wondering if it's worth it in the first place. Rachel is here to answer the question that will hopefully help you make your decision!

Are instant breakfast drinks even good for you?

Are instant breakfast drinks even good for you?

Rachel says, "It depends on the drink! If you aren't used to eating breakfast, a breakfast drink is a whole lot better than nothing. If you make a perfectly balanced breakfast every morning, it probably isn't necessary for you. 


Breakfast drinks are a great way to get nutrients fast. Eating in the morning will give you the energy to start your day and likely prevent you from overeating at lunch."

Other Great Options to Start Your Day With

Other Great Options to Start Your Day With

Here are some delicious options to consume when you do have the time to enjoy a full meal.

Summary

No matter how busy you are, you don’t have any excuse to skip breakfast. We’ve given you a bevy of powdered and liquid forms that can be added into your diet or replace your breakfast entirely.

Don’t be afraid to give the superfood options a go. Your future self may thank you for being ahead of your diet, and ahead of the trend!

Breakfast Drinks Our Experts Love

If you're looking for even more options for instant breakfast drinks, then check out this recommendation from certified nutritionist and Life Well Lived founder, Kara Swanson. It's filling, healthy, and tastes great!

Expert's
pick

ApresProtein Drink

12 pack, Sea Salt Chocolate

$39.99

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