Quick answers: There are several healthy options to replace OPTAVIA Fuelings, including Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts, nut butters, protein shakes, and meal replacement bars. The key is to choose foods that are high in protein, fiber, and nutrients. Some good alternatives include eggs, Greek yogurt, protein powder, nuts, nut butters, and fruits and vegetables.
What is the OPTAVIA diet?
The OPTAVIA diet is a commercial weight loss program that involves replacing some or all meals with pre-packaged bars, shakes, and snacks called “Fuelings.” These Fuelings are meant to provide balanced nutrition while restricting calories to promote weight loss.
The Optavia diet provides five small meals per day, known as fuelings. There are three types of fuelings:
- Lean and Green Meals – you prepare yourself
- Fuelings – prepackaged bars, shakes, soups, etc.
- Healthy Snacks – fruits, veggies, protein
The concept behind the OPTAVIA diet is that by controlling portions and calories through the use of the prepackaged fuelings, it can be easier to lose weight. However, for some people, relying entirely on prepackaged foods may be unrealistic or unsustainable long-term.
Pros of the OPTAVIA diet:
- Portion control and calorie restriction supports weight loss
- No counting calories or macros needed
- Some find the prepackaged fuelings convenient
- Provides balanced nutrition
Cons of the OPTAVIA diet:
- Expensive prepackaged fuelings
- May get tired of limited food options
- Not learning healthy cooking and meal planning skills
- May regain weight once stopping fuelings
Healthy Alternatives to OPTAVIA Fuelings
For those looking to follow the OPTAVIA approach but not rely entirely on the prepackaged fuelings, there are many healthy alternatives you can make yourself. The key is to focus on high protein, high fiber foods that provide nutrients and keep you feeling full. Here are some options:
Greek yogurt is an excellent replacement for OPTAVIA snacks and mini-meals. It provides protein, calcium, probiotics, and is low in sugar. Look for unsweetened Greek yogurt and consider adding fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds to boost nutrition. One serving of 170g provides around 15-20g protein.
Eggs are highly nutritious, provide 6g of protein each, and are very filling. They can be prepared in many different ways like hard boiled, scrambled, poached, baked, or as an omelet filled with veggies. One or two eggs can serve as a snack or mini-meal.
Whey, plant, or other protein powders can be blended with water, milk, or yogurt for a high protein shake. Look for options with 20g or more protein per serving. Add fruit like berries, bananas, or peanut butter for more nutrition.
Cottage cheese provides 13g protein per half cup serving. It’s a great snack on its own or can be combined with fruit. One serving also provides calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
Edamame are immature soybeans that provide 11g protein per half cup serving. They make a great high protein snack and contain fiber, folate, and vitamin K.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter offer protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They are very nutrient dense and keep you feeling fuller longer. 1-2 ounces provide 6-7g protein.
Meal Replacement Bars
Meal replacement bars like Quest, ThinkThin and Simply Protein bars provide 15-20g protein each. Look for options with limited added sugar and at least 5g fiber.
Sample OPTAVIA Replacement Plan
Here is a sample daily meal plan with healthy replacements for OPTAVIA fuelings:
|Breakfast||OPTAVIA breakfast bar||2 scrambled eggs with vegetables|
|Mid-morning Snack||OPTAVIA snack bar||1 oz nuts and apple slices|
|Lunch||OPTAVIA shake||Tuna salad over greens with avocado|
|Afternoon Snack||OPTAVIA crunchy bar||Greek yogurt with berries and almonds|
|Dinner||OPTAVIA lean and green meal||Grilled chicken breast, roasted veggies, and quinoa|
Tips for Success with OPTAVIA Replacements
Making your own replacements for OPTAVIA fuelings can save money while still supporting your weight loss goals. Here are some tips for success:
Focus on Protein
Try to include a good protein source with each mini-meal or snack. Protein is very filling and helps control hunger and cravings.
Vary Your Foods
Don’t just rely on shakes or bars. Have a mix of proteins like eggs, Greek yogurt, tuna, chicken, and plant-based options like tofu. Also include healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, oil, etc.
When buying prepared meal replacement bars or shakes, read the Nutrition Facts. Look for at least 15g protein, under 200 calories, and limited added sugar per serving.
Be mindful of portion sizes, even when eating healthy foods. Measure nut servings and stick to proper serving sizes of grains, dairy, oils, and other items.
Cook in Bulk
To save time, cook proteins and grains in bulk. Portion them out into containers for quick snacks and meals throughout the week.
Chop veggies in advance, portion nuts and cheeses, boil eggs, etc. This makes assembling snacks and mini meals much easier.
Sample Foods for OPTAVIA Replacements
Here are some more specific foods and serving sizes you can use to replace OPTAVIA fuelings:
- 2 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup cottage cheese
- 170g Greek yogurt
- 1⁄4 cup nuts
- 1-2 oz chicken, fish, beef, or plant-based meat
- 1⁄4 cup beans or lentils
- 1⁄2 cup edamame
- 2 Tbsp nut butter
- 1 scoop protein powder (20-25g protein)
- 1 medium apple, orange, pear, etc.
- 1⁄2 banana
- 1 cup berries
- 1⁄4 cup dried fruit
- 1⁄2 grapefruit
- 1 cup raw veggies
- 1⁄2 cup cooked veggies
- Large salad with assorted veggies
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 1⁄2 whole grain English muffin
- 1⁄3 cup cooked grains like quinoa, brown rice, etc.
- 1⁄2 whole grain pita
- 2-3 whole grain crackers
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, avocado oil, etc.
- 1⁄4 medium avocado
- 1-2 Tbsp nuts or seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tbsp nut butter
Meal Ideas for OPTAVIA Replacements
Here are some easy and healthy meal ideas you can make yourself to replace OPTAVIA fuelings:
- Omelet with veggies and cheese
- Greek yogurt with nuts and berries
- Protein pancakes or waffles
- Avocado toast on whole grain
- Chia seed pudding
- Big salad with tuna, chicken or beans
- Veggie and hummus whole grain wrap
- Leftover grilled chicken over greens
- Vegetable soup or chili
- Quinoa bowls with veggies
- Apple and nut butter
- Carrots and hummus
- Greek yogurt and berries
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Hard boiled eggs
- Nut trail mix
- Fish tacos on corn tortillas
- Chicken stir fry with cauliflower rice
- Veggie bean burritos
- Tofu and veggie Buddha bowl
- Turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles
- Sheet pan chicken fajitas
Making Your Own OPTAVIA Replacements on a Budget
Replacing OPTAVIA fuelings with your own healthy meals and snacks can definitely save money. Here are some budget-friendly tips:
Buy Generic Brands
Opt for generic or store brand versions of items like plain Greek yogurt, protein powder, nut butter, canned beans and tuna, etc.
Purchase in Bulk
Look for bulk bins to buy larger quantities of grains like quinoa, nuts, and seeds for a lower cost per ounce.
Shop Sales & Use Coupons
Check weekly flyers and buy proteins and produce that are on sale. Look for coupons and offers for items like Greek yogurt, eggs, nut butter, and protein bars.
Buy Frozen Produce
Frozen fruits and vegetables are very affordable and still provide great nutrition. Stock up on items like berries and veggie mixes.
Plan out meals for the week, shop once for ingredients, and cook in bulk to save time and money. Portion into individual containers.
Get multiple meals out of one recipe by repurposing leftovers for snacks and lunches.
Substitute Costly Ingredients
Swap pricier nuts for more budget-friendly options like peanuts or sunflower seeds. Use beans instead of meats in some meals.
Following the OPTAVIA diet can promote weight loss, but relying solely on the prepackaged fuelings may not be realistic or affordable long-term for many people. Luckily, with a little planning, you can create your own healthy, homemade replacements using protein, fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and whole grains.
The key is focusing on nutrient-dense foods that keep you feeling full and satisfied. With a mix of lean proteins, smart carbohydrates, healthy fats and plenty of fiber from whole foods, you can achieve successful weight loss without the high cost of OPTAVIA fuelings.