What is the Optavia Diet and How Does It Work?

Published May 12th, 2022 by Erik Rivera
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

If you're looking to lose weight, the Optavia diet may be a great option for you.

The weight loss plan is based on the principles of healthy eating and portion size control and there are several different versions of the Optavia diet, so you can find one that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Some of the features that Optavia offers include online support, a set meal plan and meal planning tools, and recipes and you can also eat a wide range of foods on this diet, which can make it easy to follow.

In this article, we'll cover all the basics of the Optavia diet so you can decide if it's right for you.

What is the Optavia diet?

The Optavia diet is a weight loss program that consists of eating small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day.

These premade meals are called "Fuelings" which are smaller meals or snacks that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates while also providing beneficial probiotic bacteria for your gut, and there are also "Lean & Green" meals which are lean proteins paired with 3 servings of non-starchy vegetables and also 2 servings of healthy fats.

There are three different versions of the Optavia diet, the 5&1 program, the 4&2&1 program, and the 3&3 program and we will detail the difference between them all below.

Each plan has different rules about what foods you can eat and how many calories you can consume per day.

The company Optavia created the diet in order to help people with rapid weight loss and improve their overall health by using their approach to weight loss.

What are the different versions of the diet?

The three different versions of the Optavia diet are:

The 5&1 plan

The 5&1 plan consists of 6 portioned-controlled meals of which five Optavia fuelings per day, one of which is a Lean and Green meal per day and it is their most popular plan for their diet.

The fuelings are Optavia products such as shakes, bars, soups, etc.

The 4&2&1 plan

The 4&2&1 plan is if you are looking to consume more calories and want some flexibility in your diet and it consists of four Optavia fuelings per day, two of which are Lean and Green nutritious meals and one of which is a healthy snack too.

One healthy snack per day can be consumed with this version of the diet which can also be purchased from Optavia.

The 3&3 plan

The third and final version of the Optavia diet is the Optimal Health 3&3 plan and it consists of eating three Optavia fuelings and three Lean and Green meals per day. The 3&3 plan is optimal if you want to maintain a healthy body weight.

What are some features that make the Optavia diet unique?

Some features that make the Optavia diet unique are that they can offer specialized plans if you are elderly, adolescent, have diabetes or gout, or are nursing at the moment.

They also inspire you, offer tips, and provide a community of people via various means including:

  • Text messages
  • Online community forums
  • Weekly support calls
  • An app that allows you to track your food intake, set reminders, and track your exercise

They also provide individual coaching via an Optavia coach, which is someone who sells their product .

The direct sales company is also a multi-level marketing company, which means that its coaches make money not only by selling the product but also by recruiting other people to sell the product.

These coaches are not licensed nutritionists and are a requirement to become a client of Optavia.

Similar to other multi-level marketing companies, these coaches are encouraged to sell more products as they are paid on commission.

How do I start the Optavia diet?

If you want to start the Optavia diet, the first step is to find a coach who sells their products which can be done by going on their website and entering your zip code to find a coach in your area.

Once you have found a coach, you will need to set up an appointment with them so they can assess your current eating habits and current weight to see if the Optavia diet is right for you.

If you decide to go ahead with the diet, they will give you a list of recommended products and tell you how many healthy meals or snacks you can have per day.

What are my options when ordering Optavia fuelings?

There are a variety of Optavia fuelings to choose from including:

  • Bars
  • Shakes
  • Soups
  • Desserts
  • Breakfast items
  • Snacks

You can order these Optavia fuelings online or through your coach and they will be delivered to your door.

There is also a meal planner on the Optavia website that can help you plan out your meals and snacks for the week.

There are two kinds of Optavia fuelings and these include Essential fuelings, and Select fuelings.

The difference between the two is that Essential fuelings can contain products with artificially sourced preservatives and also GMO, or genetically modified organisms, products.

Essential fueling also mimics standard American fare while Select fueling options contain more variety and spice.

How do I order food for the Optavia diet?

Due to the coaches' salaries being commission-based, the food for the Optavia diet is only available through one of their coaches and you cannot purchase the food in stores.

The prices for the Optavia diet vary depending on which program you choose and how many meals or snacks you want per day but generally range from $13-$15 per day.

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What foods are available in a Lean and Green meal?

A Lean and Green meal must consist of:

  • Five to seven ounces of lean protein such as chicken, fish, or tofu
  • Three servings of vegetables
  • Two servings of healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil

You can also add spices and herbs to your Lean and Green meal to add flavor. You can find recipes for Lean and Green meals on the Optavia website.

There are certain foods that you can eat in a Lean and Green meal and examples of them include:

Lean proteins

  • Skinless chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork chop
  • Venison
  • Buffalo
  • Beef that is 85% lean or more including ground meat
  • Shrimp
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Scallops
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Tofu

Oils and healthy fats

  • Canola
  • Flaxseed
  • Olive oil
  • Walnut
  • Reduced-fat margarine
  • Low carb salad dressing
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Avocadoes

Non-starchy vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Cauliflower
  • Salad greens such as lettuce, kale, spinach, collard greens, and arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant

If you are on the Optavia diet, you need to also avoid any sweets and sweeteners unless the sweeteners say zero carbs. Most dried herbs and spices are also fine to eat when on the diet.

What foods do I avoid on the Optavia diet?

As with any diet plan, there are certain foods you need to avoid to allow the diet to work.

These include any fried foods, grains, and whole-fat dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt.

Certain fats need to also be avoided such as butter, coconut oil, and solid shortening.

Be mindful to also steer clear of any sugary drinks such as sodas, fruit juice, sweet tea, and sports drink as they will only add to your carbohydrate intake. Also, all alcohol is not permitted while on the diet.

How much does an Optavia diet cost?

The cost of an Optavia diet will vary depending on which program you choose and how many meals or snacks per day.

However, the prices for the Optavia diet generally range from $13-$15 per day.

The plans offered by Optavia allow you to buy in bulk and they range from $400-$450 for approximately 3 weeks worth of food.

Does the Optavia diet work?

There is no one definitive answer to this question as each person's body will react differently to the Optavia diet.

However, many people who have tried the Optavia diet have reported short-term weight loss, increased energy levels, and improved digestion.

There are some studies that tout its weight loss abilities; however, there have been no long-term weight loss studies or long-term results about whether it is sustainable weight loss or if people stay at their goal weight and more research is needed to prove it is an effective weight loss method.

What are the pros of the Optavia diet?

Some of the potential benefits of an Optavia diet include:

  • Provides tips and coaching and additional tools to help with your diet
  • Has a very defined and easy to follow plan with built-in portion control
  • Is low in sodium so it may help with hypertension, also called high blood pressure
  • Optavia provides a dining out guide for when you go out to eat and meal recipes for at home

What are the cons of the Optavia diet?

Some of the potential drawbacks of the Optavia diet include:

  • It may be expensive
  • Can be difficult to find Optavia coaches in some areas
  • The prepackaged meals are not fresh food
  • You may not like the taste of the Optavia food or you make a better homemade meal
  • There is a lack of long-term studies to show its effectiveness
  • It is calorie-restricted diet that is very low in calories
  • Optavia coaches are not nutrition experts or health professionals and can not provide medical advice and may not be looking out for your welfare due to a commission-based salary
  • Optavia fuelings contain processed foods
  • Can be difficult to follow with only prepackaged foods as your diet
  • It may be difficult to follow due to your eating patterns


The Optavia diet is a weight loss program that provides meals and snacks that are low in calories and low carbs.

The diet also promotes eating lean proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables. The cost of the Optavia diet varies depending on the program you choose but generally ranges from $13-$15 per day.

There is no one definitive answer to whether or not the Optavia diet works as each person's body will react differently to the program.

Many people who have tried the Optavia diet have reported weight loss, increased energy levels, and improved digestive health although more long-term studies are needed to prove its effectiveness.

If you have more questions about the Optavia diet and if it is right for you and your weight loss goals, please consult with your doctor, nutritionist, or health care provider.

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