There’s no doubt meal replacement shakes have certain advantages. They save time, and sometimes money depending on how expensive your normal diet is. They can also help you avoid unhealthy quick-fix meals like takeaways and ready meals. If you’re trying to manage the amount of calories you consume, it’s also easier to be precise with a shake.

However, meal replacement shakes have many downsides too. Chief among them is that, for all the nutritionally complete labels, no meal replacement shake can match the health-boosting properties of a balanced diet. And in terms of enjoyment, nearly all are either sweet or simply neutral-flavoured, and drinking a meal simply isn’t as satisfying as eating something,

Huel, one of the biggest players in the meal replacement shake market, seems to have realised this, because its new instant meal product is both savoury and requires a bit of chewing to get it down.

It’s called Huel Hot & Savoury, and there are two flavours: Thai Green Curry, and Tomato and Herb. Both provide a nutritionally complete meal that’s ready in five minutes. You buy sacks of the stuff and it works out to around £2.61 a meal, with each pouch containing seven meals. You have to buy a minimum of three pouches though, which is £54.99 for a single purchase.

A Huel Hot & Savoury meal contains 400 calories, 24g of plant protein, 26 vitamins and minerals and is high in fibre. It has the essential nutrients you need from a meal, worked out as a percentage of your recommended daily intake, which does make it a convenient option if undoubtedly a bit mechanical.

We’ve been testing both flavours and we’re fairly impressed. You make the meals much like you would other instant noodles, adding boiling water to a couple of scoops of the stuff, stirring and then waiting five minutes. You can add more or less water depending on how soupy you want your meal to be, and waiting longer will also see more water absorbed by the dried grains in the mix. We’d recommend a patient approach because the sloppier the meals were, the less appetising we found them.

Of the two flavours, the Thai Green Curry was our favourite, with a pleasantly spicy kick to it. Neither flavour is something you’d want to eat every day but once or twice a week when you’re short on time, it’s a great option to have available.

It’s not really satisfying enough for an evening meal, and if you’ve been exercising and need something substantial at lunch, you might want some extra carbs on the side. But on most normal work days it’ll be filling enough to stop you raiding the snack cupboard half an hour later.

Buy from Huel | £54.99 for three bags (currently reduced to £49.50)


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