Nowadays one of the staples of a well-rounded nutrition and fitness program what is commonly referred to as an MRP shake - Meal Replacement Powder. A common brand name in the MRP marketplace is Myoplex. The idea of an MRP is to provide a "high-performance meal replacement designed to deliver the highest quality protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals."
I used to drink three Myoplex shakes a day (back when I was training to go to state.) I loved the convenience but a key hurdle that I got sick of dealing with every time I went to buy more was the hefty price tag. One packet of myoplex will set you back anywhere from $2.30 to $3.00 depending on where you buy and who you know. Still not a bad price considering the ultimate purpose of an MRP. However, what got me was the $99.00 up front cost I had to shell out for a 42 pack. The large monthly outflow of cash is what killed me.
I've found a far cheaper and just as effective solution. I shake together eight ounces of water, two scoops of chocolate whey protein and one container of lowfat, low sugar fruit flavored yogurt, and I make sure to take good quality mulit-vitamins each day. The shake yields 40 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs, and the multi's provide the essential vitamins and minerals. The shake is filling, can pass as a smoothie knock off, and delivers about 280 calories, perfect for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. If not as much protein is desired then I use only one scoop.
The yogurt runs $.52 (cents) per container and the protein costs roughly $.67 (cents) per two scoops. Not bad - only $1.19 for the DIY Meal Replacement. As far as the cash outlay, the protein is only $39.99 for a 5 lb jug and lasts a month. I then just buy the yogurt on the weekly grocery run.
BTW - beware of other DIY MPR's that call for any kind of oats to be mixed in. I've tried this approach but would rather just each oatmeal with a spoon.