Huel

I Swapped My Lunches for Huel for a Week. Here Are My Honest Thoughts.

My life is a love letter to food. Well before lunch rolls around I start daydreaming about what I’ll whip up in the kitchen. I like to think of cooking as an art. A blend of macro and micronutrients, flavor, and creativity keeps my machine happily fueled. So when Huel powder v3.0 arrived on my doorstep, I wasn’t too eager to crack it open.

After checking out the nutrition facts I was more open to giving it a shot. I set out to swap my beloved daily nosh with a simple meal replacement shake. Here are my honest thoughts.

What is Huel?

Huel is a powder including all the nutrients that make it a “nutritionally complete food.” Combine two scoops and 17 ounces of water or milk, and you’ve got a balanced breakfast, satisfying post-workout snack, or on-the-go lunch.

One nutrient-rich shake includes:

  • 29 grams of plant-based protein (a blend made from oat powder, tapioca starch, pea protein, ground flaxseed, sunflower oil powder, and brown rice protein)
  • 45 grams of slow-burning carbs
  • 8 grams of healthy fats (omega-6, omega-3, and MCT oil from coconut)
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 27 vitamins and minerals (an ideal blend of all essential vitamins and minerals—the ones your body actually needs to supplement)
  • Natural sources of vitamins B and C (from kombucha and acerola cherries)
    Less than 1 gram of added sugar
  • 400 calories to keep you satisfied for hours
Huel powder and blender bottle
Add two scoops of Huel’s Powder v3.0 to a blender bottle with 17 ounces of water, or mix it with milk for a creamier option. I recommend a whirl in the blender for a smoother texture.

What’s Good About Huel Powder?

Convenient

Even though I’m hesitant to opt for convenience over flavor or pleasure, sometimes there’s no other option. We all have those days where we get caught up with back-to-back meetings, or press snooze a few too many times. All of a sudden setting aside time to make or pick up a real meal hits you with a wave of anxiety.

That’s where Huel comes in. It doesn’t get easier than a meal replacement shake. Just dump two scoops in the blender bottle and add water when you’re ready to fuel.

I found having lunch already sorted came as a bit of a relief. While I missed the comfort and act of cooking my own meal, I was more productive throughout the morning because I wasn’t distracted plotting out my lunch plans.

Macro friendly

If you’re counting your macros, Huel has already done all the work for you. Huel Powder v3.0 has a simple macro split of 37:30:30:3 (carbohydrates, fat, protein, fiber).

Huel powder was a little too high in carbs for my personal nutrition goals (I like my meals a little higher in protein). What I did appreciate is knowing what I was getting myself into so I could adjust my protein at other meals and snacks throughout the day.

After digging on their website, I discovered Huel Black Edition. This powder features the same 400 calorie meal in a split of 17:40:40:3. I’d definitely go with that option next time.

Protein Supplements

Vegan

I personally don’t adhere to a vegan diet, but too much dairy can upset my stomach, and whey protein breaks me out. That’s why I lean plant-based when it comes to supplements and powders. Huel powder checks all my boxes—dairy and whey free—so I could drink without any concerns.

Huel nutrition facts

What’s Not Good About Huel Powder?

Doesn’t blend

Huel gives you a blender bottle with your first order, so consistency was the last thing I was worried about. The back of the bag says to “shake hard for 10 seconds or until smooth.” Let me tell you, 10 seconds is not near enough.

After a vigorous 30 second shake, the clumps were still there, with a good deal of leftovers in the bottom of the bottle to boot (gross, I know).

Day two I went in for a full three minutes of shaking to avoid the same mishap. While there wasn’t the gross residue in the bottom of the bottle, and the mixture itself was somewhat homogenous, I wouldn’t call it blended.

Oats are the most prevalent ingredient in the Huel mix (per the nutrition label), and although the oat blend is ultra-fine it still mixes with water as I would expect oats to—a little clumpy and thick. Not the texture I’d prefer for a drink.

Tastes like uncooked oats

Huel has many flavor options, but I figured if I was committing to 17 meals per bag I was the least likely to get tired of chocolate and vanilla. Plus, if you can do those flavors right I might be willing to venture into the realm of salted caramel.

Both the chocolate and vanilla were just slightly flavored and slightly sweet, which I actually appreciated. I hate nothing more than getting sugared out by a protein shake—I prefer saving my sweet tooth for actual dessert.

What I couldn’t come to terms with was the overpowering flavor of oats. I honestly think if you cooked this in a bowl in the microwave it would turn into the smoothest bowl of oats on planet earth (which I personally would be more inclined to eat). Will test and report back.

The Competition

Soylent
If Huel sounds great but you want to save a little dough, try Soylent’s meal replacement powder ($70). One bag includes 35 meals so you get a little more bang for your buck. Soylent has the same amount of calories (400) but has less protein (20 grams) and more fat (20 grams). Its formula is a bit simpler than Huel, containing soy for protein, and canola oil for fat. Soylent doesn’t include probiotics, but it contains a comparable range of vitamins and minerals (28) to Huel.

Ka’Chava
If you love the idea of Huel, but want a more complete supplement stack all in one powder try Ka’Chava ($70). It boasts 85+ superfoods, adaptogens, antioxidants, fiber, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. Though, it’s way more expensive than Huel and only provides 15 meals per bag. It has five flavors to choose from (including chai, coconut acai, and matcha), to keep things interesting.

Orgain

Orgain’s Perfect Meal Powder ($60) shares a similar ingredients list to Ka’Chava at a fraction of the price. It includes 25 grams of protein, 80+ superfoods, good fats, adaptogens, fiber, and probiotics all under 250 calories. Though this shake might be cheaper, it offers less flavor options, with only vanilla and chocolate to choose from.

The Bottom Line

Huel didn’t change my mind about meal replacement supplements, but it might change yours. Huel’s meal replacement powder is a convenient way to hit your macros, vitamins, and minerals on the run. It will keep you feeling full for hours and is more affordable than groceries or eating out. Hope you like oats.

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