One of the ways that helped me to speed up my weight loss results with the Optavia diet was to learn how to create my own Optavia fuelings.
In this article, I will share my methods for making DIY Optavia fuelings that taste good and are budget-friendly.
So whether you run out of the Fuelings, or just want a healthy alternative, these tasty dishes are sure to fit the bill. Enjoy!
Why do I do my own Optavia fuelings?
There are several reasons why I choose to prepare my own Optavia fuelings.
Firstly, I wanted to continue with the program, but without paying Optavia prices.
I could not afford to spend $400 per month to buy processed food.
I started to look for cheaper fueling alternatives that should have the same nutritional value as the original Optavia food.
Ultimately, I stopped buying ready-to-eat products and started making my own homemade fuelings.
I knew I can do the Optavia diet on my own, but with real foods and for half of the cost.
Secondly, eating 5 small snacks throughout the day significantly helped with my energy levels and ease my digestion problems.
According to the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, “the inclusion of 1–2 snacks in the daily pattern alleviates the potential digestive and metabolic overload caused by fewer heavier meals.”
I struggle with stomach problems so eating accordingly to Optavia’s eating schedule – small and often, instead of a few large meals – seems to take care of this business.
Lastly, making Optavia fuelings from the scratch allowed me to exclude foods that I didn’t want (soy, gluten) and include a variety of food groups that I like (fruits, dairy, nuts, etc.)
How do you make Optavia Fuelings?
Are you wondering how I make Optavia fuelings on your own? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
After living an Optavia lifestyle for over a year, I learned how to make my own Fuelings that have similar nutrition and don’t break the bank.
Here are the basic DIY Optavia fuelings guidelines.
- Cook in advance
- Create snacks that are around 100 calories
- Create snacks with 2-3 ingredients
- Include protein
- Exclude sugar
Cooking in advance
Cooking in advance means I do Optavia meal prep for the whole week, rather than scrambling to piece together a meal each day.
Here’s the photo of what my meal prep looks like.
Here you have Ancho Tilapia prepared for the 5 days in advance for me and my wife. Although we eat this dish for our main meal, any leftovers are used for Fuelings and snacks.
It’s an excellent way to make sure that I’m sticking to an intended weight loss plan by controlling portions and monitoring ingredients ahead of time.
Meal planning and prepping was a lifesaver when it comes to fitting healthy and nutritious eating into my daily life.
Create snacks that are under 100 calories
Each of the Optavia fuelings has around 100 calories, so to mimic their approach, you need to create snacks that have the same calories.
Here’s what 100-calorie snacks look like.
On this plate, you have 1 sweet pepper, 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.
All food items combined have less than 100 calories.
Notice the plates we use are not bigger than 7 inches. (I realized that I eat less if I serve my meals on smaller plates.)
Create snacks with 2-3 ingredients
If you’re trying to recreate the Optavia fuelings experience at home, there is no shortage of fresh ideas available to you.
However, to keep things simple, I pare down my routine and focus on snacks with a maximum of 2 or 3 ingredients (not including condiments like salt or pepper).
While it may not seem like much, this kind of simplicity has revolutionized my cooking routine.
Plus, it’s quicker and cheaper than the more complicated culinary experiments I used to do.
Include proteins with every snack
Every Optavia fueling has around 10 to 15 grams of proteins.
In (most) of my own homemade Fuelings, I double this number.
No added sugar
As much as I like sweet snacks, I limit my sugar content to a minimum.
For my smoothies, coffee, and other shakes, I don’t add any extra sugar.
Instead, I add low-calorie fruits and vegetables that have naturally sweet flavors, like berries and carrots.
Alternatively, I often opt for more natural sweeteners allowed on Optavia, such as stevia and erythritol.
This not only helps me stay within healthier dietary guidelines, but it also helps me avoid sugar crashes.
It’s a fairly easy switch that can make a huge difference.
15 Delicious DIY Optavia fuelings
These 15 Optavia DIY fueling ideas can help you find some healthy and affordable snacks that you’ll love.
From fruits and vegetables to salmon and salad mix, there’s something for everyone here.
I’ve been a sushi lover for many years, and there are many reasons why I love it.
For me, eating sushi is an experience – from the perfectly arranged pieces of sushi to the flavors, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy this dish.
What’s more, it can be a great weight loss aid as most pieces of sushi come in around 100 calories or less.
Here’s a photo of my favorite Philadelphia roll (9 pieces) that I share with my wife.
This one is made with salmon, cream cheese, dill, sesame seeds, pretzel salt, cucumber, and ginger slices.
One piece of Philadelphia roll has around 30 calories (1).
I don’t make sushi at home. (Maybe one day I will learn.)
I also don’t order big boxes.
According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “sushi and other raw seafood items should be used within 2 days after purchase”.
For my DIY Optavia diet, I get about 10 pieces of Optavia approved sushi options from my local sushi restaurant (or shop) and keep them organized in my fridge for a maximum of one day.
If I go out, I ensure I follow my Optavia dining out guide checklist which has over 16 useful tips on how to stay fuller for longer.
2. Seaweed salad
According to the article review published in the Marine Drugs Journal, “seaweeds are rich in several bioactive compounds that provide not only protection to seaweeds, but also a high nutritional value and several benefits for humans.”
For me, seaweed salad is one of my favorite ways to make Fueling at home.
I usually do batch cooking and store the cooked seaweed in the fridge.
Here’s a photo of the leftover salad that I used for my fueling alternative. (It tastes better than it looks.)
I often add chicken or turkey slices, already prepared during my meal prep ritual.
This one is low in calories (around 100 calories or less).
3. Rice with chicken
Chicken and rice is been my go-to Optavia fueling alternative for a while.
(If you’re not sure about white rice, go ahead and choose cauliflower rice instead.)
This one is very easy to make.
All you need is some rice – any kind will do – and a few pieces of chicken.
Here’s a photo of my typical chicken and rice fueling.
The total calories are around 105 per serving.
Keep in mind that I don’t cook this snack separately.
Instead of spending time on one snack, I cook my Fuelings in bulk.
During my Optavia meal prep, I cook more food for dinner and then separate whatever is left into food bags.
(Works like a charm.)
4. Seafood salad
We eat a lot of seafood in my home, which means we have a lot of leftovers.
When we buy prawns in bulk, I measure 3 oz servings and separate them into small plastic bags, often with different vegetables.
Here’s a photo of my favorite snack made from prawns and green peppers.
5. Scrambled egg with tuna
Although there are many ways to enjoy eggs on the Optavia diet, I like to do scrambled eggs with tuna and veggies such as spinach, tomato, and onion.
Here’s a photo of my favorite DIY Optavia fueling – scrambled egg and tuna.
Total of 130 calories.
Although I like to eat tuna a couple of times per week, I try to stay away from canned tuna, mainly becasue of the high mercury concentrations.
According to Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Journal, “total mercury levels in tuna consumers were higher than those in non-tuna consumers”.
“Eating more than 3 cans of tuna per week can potentially exceed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s reference dose for methylmercury of 0.1 µg per kilogram of body weight per day,” states the journal.
6. Blueberries with nuts
Although Optavia doesn’t allow me to eat fruits, I like to include different types of berries in my homemade fuelings.
Here’s how I buy berries from my local market.
I don’t buy small bags.
I prefer to buy larger 0.5-pound containers (at least during the season). I only buy frozen during the winter season.
I do the same with raspberries, strawberries, and cherries.
Total of 115 calories.
7. Coffee protein shake
A protein shake is one of the easiest ways to create your Optavia shakes at home.
One scoop of protein shake has around 70 calories (10).
Plus, you can always make your DIY Optavia shake taste better by adding coffee.
Here’s a photo of my wife drinking her favorite vanilla protein shake at our local coffee shop in Coral Gabels.
(She has lactose intolerance and this place offers coffee protein shakes with plant-based protein powders.)
Optavia has many shakes and drinks, so it’s always a good idea to find shakes that are similar or make your own from scratch.
8. Fried pork
Here’s a photo of my 3 oz fried pork belly. (Nothing fancy.)
Although I rarely eat pork belly, I often buy more when I find a good discount at my local butcher.
Then, I fry and chop pieces into 1 oz servings, which have around 147 calories (11).
I may add veggies, but on some days I just snack on solo. Pork keeps me full and satisfied for longer, compared to other meat.
And, while it has more calories, I found that eating a small 1 oz serving makes me less hungry.
(So I may not even eat all 5 Fuelings on that day.)
9. Fruit smoothie with protein powder
Another great way to DIY your Optavia shakes is by blending your favorite fruits together with protein powder.
Here’s a photo of my wife and my fruit smoothies.
On the right, you have a banana and passion fruit frappe. (This one has just over 200 calories.)
(Both with plenty of ice.)
For fruit smoothies, we don’t use flavored protein shakes.
I like to buy unflavored protein powder. (Something like Isopure Unflavored Whey Isolate.)
This way I don’t have a weird aftertaste from sweeteners and I can indulge in real fruit sweetness.
10. Papaya salad
I have always been a fan of papaya salad because it’s bursting with flavor and can easily be adapted to suit different tastes.
Although I’m not the biggest fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, the papaya salad has stolen my heart.
And, to be honest, I’m not the best cook for this dish (I prefer to buy it from my local market.)
Here’s the photo of my favorite papaya salad.
This salad has slices of chicken with unripe papaya, ground peanuts, tomatoes, garlic, chilies, and fresh lime juice.
Not sure about calories, but it’s very tasty and filling.
11. Noodle soup with chicken
I used to eat a lot of instant noodles during my university days.
Now, not so much.
low-calorie noodles made from hearts of palm or organic Konnyaku flour.
Although the 5 and 1 plan doesn’t allow the consumption of wheat pasta, there are many Optavia approved low calorie noodles made from hearts of palm or organic Konnyaku flour.
While we have a few packets of Palmini noodles stored in our pantry, we only cook them on the days when there is nothing else left to eat.
(Or when I feel like a lazy lump to cook anything else.)
Here’s the photo of hearts of palm pasta soup with chicken and coriander.
12. Chicken and broccoli
I could eat chicken and broccoli every day. (My wife, not so much.)
It’s a perfect combination that I just can’t resist – the juicy, savory chicken with the flavorful broccoli and all the seasonings are always a treat.
Here’s a photo of my chicken and broccoli fueling.
On my shopping day, I often cut wash, peel, and chop all vegetables. Then, I put them separately into bags or plastic containers.
The same with meat.
This way I just open the fridge and grab what I need when I’m rushing out of the door.
Plus, one serving of chicken broccoli has just over 100 calories, so I can enjoy it guilt-free every day.
13. Salmon with egg
Here’s a photo of one of my homemade substitutes for Optavia’s breakfast meal – toast with salmon and egg.
It’s light, tasty, and has just over 150 calories.
(If you’re concerned about calories, you can always exchange egg for cream cheese or remove one slice of bread.)
14. Beef salad
I have always been a huge fan of beef salad.
Whether I’m serving it as a main course for dinner or as a fueling alternative, this delicious dish is always appreciated.
Although beef is quite easy and quick to cook, I always prepare it in batches.
Here’s a photo of my beef salad. (Yes, it’s made from leftovers.)
This one has 2 oz of beef, which has around 90 calories (19), and a handful of lettuce.
I like the combination of spices and other vegetables like green beans, peppers, or broccoli.
(Nothing wrong with snacking on cooked beef by itself as well.)
15. Beef shashlik
On the days when I cook more beef, I also like to make a beef shashlik.
Just slices of beef skewed on the wooden sticks (but trust me, with the right spices it tastes delicious).
First, I measure and weigh 3 oz beef portions. Then I skew them on these little chopsticks and put them on my grill.
Here’s what it looks like.
Here I served them with a side salad and a portion of french fries. However, you can always adjust the sides based on your preferences.
Once skew has 3 oz of beef, which is around 135 calories (20). Sure, it’s more than recommended 110 calories, but for me, it’s worth it.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.