Optavia on your own refers to following the Optimal Weight 5 and 1 plan for weight loss independently, without purchasing Optavia Fuelings, without joining Optavia Premier, and without coaching support. This approach involves preparing and consuming lean and green meals on your own, without relying on Optavia Fuelings for meal replacements.
Doing Optavia on your own involves buying alternative meal replacements but still following the 5&1 Plan rules, which are 5 Optavia Fuelings and 1 Lean and Green meal per day. You can find the meal plans and recipes on Eat Proteins website. Make sure to track your daily intake and consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.
If you’re a beginner, start by researching Optavia’s 5&1 Plan and buying the necessary Optavia Fuelings alternatives. If you have dietary restrictions, first consult a healthcare provider to ensure doing Optavia by yourself is suitable for you. Customize your Lean and Green meals to fit your dietary needs, and double-check the ingredients in Optavia alternatives for allergens.
One of the reasons I created my own diet plan that is similar to Optavia was to shave off expenses and save money. Following the Optavia plan has been wonderful, but I just cannot justify paying over $500 per month for processed food. (Not for now anyway.)
To do Optavia on your own, follow these 10 steps.
- Use shakes similar to Optavia
- Find cheaper alternatives to Optavia Fuelings
- Use Optavia bar substitutes
- Eat 5 small meals a day
- Forgo extra condiments
- Join the online community
- Reduce carbohydrates
- Make your own Optavia bars
- Choose lean meats
- Do strength training
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1. Use shakes similar to Optavia
Using shakes similar to Optavia involves incorporating meal replacement shakes that are nutritionally similar to Optavia’s Fuelings in your diet plan. Instead of using Optavia’s branded shakes, you’ll be sourcing (or making) shakes that have a similar macronutrient profile to help you stay on track with your weight loss or health goals.
If you’re looking for an affordable meal replacement shake that’s just as good as Optavia, you’re in luck. There are a number of products on the market that offer shakes with 100 calories (or less) with high levels of protein and low carb content.
You can either choose specific brands like SlimFast, WonderSlim, Evolve, or ICONIC. You can also do homemade Optavia fuelings and smoothies based on whey protein. I choose the latter. Here’s a photo of me drinking a smoothie that has similar nutritional value to Optavia shakes (while being tasty and satisfying).
This shake has 3 oz mango, 1 passion fruit, and 1 serving of whey protein powder. The total of 160 calories. You’ll need a blender, measuring cups, protein powder, low-glycemic fruits, and other healthy shake ingredients like almond milk or chia seeds. Blending vegetables (or fruits) as smoothies with protein powder is awesome. I love frappe composition with ice (a lot of ice).
People often make the mistake of adding too much sugar or high-calorie ingredients, defeating the purpose of a meal replacement. Stick to the nutritional guidelines similar to Optavia’s to avoid this. It should take about 10-15 minutes to prepare and blend your shake. Depending on the ingredients you choose, each shake could cost between $2 to $5.
Once you’ve successfully incorporated these shakes into your routine, continue to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your overall diet plan as needed.
2. Find cheaper alternatives to Optavia Fuelings
Finding cheaper alternatives to Optavia Fuelings means identifying cost-effective substitutes that still align with the 5&1 plan’s nutritional guidelines.
I honestly fell in love with some of the Optavia foods. But I cannot afford to buy them anymore. To continue with this diet, I had to find cheaper alternatives to Optavia fuelings that provide similar nutritional value, but for a lower price. Think cereals, yogurts, or beef jerky.
Instead of spending $3.32 on a 32-gram Optavia pre-packaged snack, you’re scouting for budget-friendly options that offer similar amounts of proteins, carbs, and fats. Here’s the photo of a pumpkin Greek low-fat yogurt from the company Two Good.
This 5.3 oz yogurt packs 12 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and just 80 calories. A 4-pack costs about $4.16 at Walmart, which breaks down to $1.04 per serving. That’s three times cheaper than any Optavia Essential Fueling.
Many folks make a mistake by looking for cheaper options that lack essential nutrients; make sure to compare the nutritional content carefully. With this yogurt above, choose the plain flavor of this Optavia-approved yogurt for fewer calories (only 2 grams of sugar). You’ll need a grocery list, a calculator for comparing prices, and access to nutritional information (either online or on product labels).
Depending on your choices, you could spend around $50-$75 initially for a week’s worth of alternative Fuelings. Always check for allergens or ingredients you may be sensitive to like peanuts, soy, or dairy, and consult your healthcare provider if you have specific dietary needs. Once you’ve stocked up on alternatives, integrate them into your Optavia meal plan and monitor your progress to ensure they’re effective.
3. Use Optavia bar substitutes
Using Optavia bar substitutes means looking for alternative products to replace the Optavia bars in your diet plan. You can either make your own bars that meet the same nutritional criteria or shop for something more affordable. No more tiny 1.13 oz Optavia bars.
I’ve chosen to buy protein bars that have little to no carbs, are packed with proteins, and are less expensive than Fuelings. A good place to start is to search for protein bars that are under $3 per bar. This table displays some examples of substitute snacks you can use when doing Optavia on your own.
|Brand||Cost per bar||Proteins|
|Power Crunch Whey Protein Bar||$1.66||13 grams|
|Hemp Yeah! Super Seed Bar||$1.67||10 grams|
|Proti Fit Protein Bar||$2.12||15 grams|
|One Protein Bar||$2.32||20 grams|
|Kind Protein Bar||$2.29||12 grams|
|No Cow Bar||$2.33||21 grams|
|Outright Bar||$2.50||15 grams|
Here’s the photo of one of my recent finds – Fulfil Chocolate Salted Caramel protein bar.
Although this bar has 230 kcal per serving, I don’t eat the whole thing as one Fueling. Instead, I split this 230 kcal protein bar in half for two servings. This provides 10g protein, 11g carbs, and 115 kcal per serving, costing $1 each.
If you like to continue living an Optavia lifestyle (without paying high fees), consider looking for bars that are equivalent to Optavia bars (but cheaper). On the other hand, if you want to make it on your own Optavia bars from scrach, you’ll need a food scale, measuring cups, a blender, a handful of recipes, and ingredients like protein powder, oats, and nuts.
It’ll take about 30 minutes to an hour to prepare a batch of Optavia substitute bars. Make sure to store your homemade bars properly to prevent spoilage, and always check for food allergies before using new ingredients.
4. Eat 5 small meals a day
One of the first you should do to mimic the Optimal Weight 5 and 1 plan is to replicate the Optavia diet eating schedule and start eating small and often. Eating 5 small meals a day is a dietary approach that involves consuming controlled portions of food at regular intervals to boost metabolism and aid in fat loss. Eating small meals a day every 2-3 hours is a key feature of the Optavia diet, and it’s great for stabilizing blood sugar levels and providing consistent energy to keep you active.
On the one hand, a 1998 study by Universidad Complutense in Madrid found that “women who ate 4-5 meals per day had lower BMI and lower LDL-cholesterol levels, and women who ate 2-3 meals per day had higher BMI and higher LDL-cholesterol levels.”
On the other hand, the same study indicates that this approach might not be ideal for everyone, particularly the elderly, as it could raise LDL-cholesterol levels and increase obesity risk. A 2019 study by Antonio Paoli from the University of Padova suggests that higher meal frequencies could lower disease risk, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal and could even up the risk if you’re eating 6 or more meals a day. So, it really boils down to what suits you and your lifestyle.
Eating small and often is all about portion control and timing; you’ll eat five meal replacement snacks throughout the day to keep your metabolism humming and avoid overeating. Here’s what one of my 5 small meals per day on Optavia DIY looks like.
It includes 1 egg, 4 cucumber slices, 2 oz of tuna, and 5 oz of cauliflower mash, totaling 150 calories and 22 grams of protein. All I did was have 5 small fuelings and 1 Lean & Green meal, adding up to 800-1,000 calories a day.
I recommend a food scale for portioning, meal prep containers, and a timer or app to remind you when to eat. It takes about 15 minutes for meal prep and around 15 minutes to eat each small meal.
5. Forgo extra condiments
Forgoing extra condiments means avoiding or minimizing the use of additional sauces, salad dressings, or spreads when following the DIY Optavia diet plan. This step aims to reduce unnecessary calories and sugars that often come with condiments, helping you stick to the Optavia plan’s calorie and nutrient guidelines.
Although Optavia offers a detailed condiment list and suggests sticking to 3 servings per day, it’s easy to exceed that limit. People frequently underestimate how condiments can affect their daily calorie count; being mindful and reading labels can help you steer clear of this trap.
No special tools are required, just your regular meals without the added condiments. It takes zero extra time; in fact, you might save a minute or two by skipping the condiment aisle or section.
As part of your Optavia DIY plan, you want to be strategic and limit your condiment intake. Here’s a photo of one of my favorite condiments.
One wedge of The Laughing Cow cream cheese has around 31 calories. If you want to take your meals up a notch without any additional fats or sugars, use herbs and spices.
For me, eating a lot of sauces and seasonings was simply adding unnecessary calories to my diet. Unless you’re eating Optavia-approved salad dressings with zero calories, I would stay away from any kinds of ketchup, grated cheeses, and mayonnaise.
6. Join the online community
Joining the online community involves becoming a part of a virtual group where you can share experiences, and tips, and get support on your Optavia DIY journey. This step is all about connecting with like-minded individuals who are also following the 5&1 plan, so you can learn from each other and stay motivated.
Although regular exercise and careful meal planning were a big part of my weight loss results, the online community I found was unexpectedly helpful. Generally, joining these online communities is free, though some specialized forums may have a small membership fee. It should take about 10-15 minutes to sign up and introduce yourself to the community.
From traditional support groups and forums to even Optavia-specific chats, there was always a friendly face ready to listen and offer advice. Through seemingly never-ending encouragement from old and newfound friends alike, I was unceasingly motivated to stay true to my goals.
To be frank, without the help of the amazing online community, I wouldn’t have achieved my weight loss goals. One biggest mistakes I see is that people often join but don’t participate; make sure to engage in discussions, ask questions, and share your own tips to get the most out of the community.
7. Reduce carbohydrates
Reducing carbohydrates means cutting back on foods that are high in carbs to shift your body into fat-burning mode. This step is all about swapping out high-carb foods like bread and pasta for low-carb options like veggies and lean proteins to help your body tap into fat stores for energy.
According to a 2020 study by Shreya Chawla from King’s College London published in the Nutrients Journal, “low-carbohydrate diets help people lose weight better than low-fat diets.” So, If I wanted to DIY my Optavia diet, I knew I had to to low-carb. Here’s a photo of how I choose my carbs.
The picture shows broccoli soup (without creamer) and raw carrots, cucumbers, onions, and lime. Everything has less than 100 calories (but is extremely filling). By eating fewer carbs and more protein-rich foods, I immediately noticed a tangible difference in my weight and energy levels.
It takes about 1-2 hours to plan your low-carb meals for the week, depending on your familiarity with low-carb foods and meal planning. Reduce your carb intake to 80 to 100 grams per day. In terms of cost, expect to spend around $30-$60 per person on low-carb groceries for the week, depending on where you shop.
People often mistake “low-carb” for “no-carb” and eliminate all carbs, including healthy ones like fruits and veggies. I still eat my veggies, but I am sure to only choose Optavia-approved vegetables with low to medium carbohydrates and low glycemic index. Stick to a balanced approach by including low-carb veggies and some fruits.
8. Make your own Optavia bars
Making your own Optavia bars from scratch involves creating meal-replacement bars that align with the Optavia diet’s nutritional guidelines. This step is all about crafting homemade bars that are high in protein and fiber but low in sugar and carbs, mimicking the nutritional profile of commercial Optavia bars.
While there are many store-bought Optavia bar alternatives available, I often like to create my own homemade bars. Making your own Optavia bars it’s not rocket science, but you do need to be precise with measurements to get the nutrition right. You’ll need a food processor, measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, a baking sheet, and parchment paper.
It’ll take about 30-45 minutes, including prep and baking time. The ingredients could set you back around $20, but remember, you’ll be making multiple bars. According to a 2021 study by Thais Regina Mezzomo from Centro Universitário Internacional UNINTER, “On average, the homemade meals are less expensive, compared to foods commercially prepared.”
The big mistake when making DIY Optavia bars is that people often use too much sugar or the wrong types of protein. Stick to unsweetened ingredients and high-quality protein powders to stay on track. My wife likes to put nuts, seeds, dried fruits, Super greens powder, syrups, and seasonings, but always within the calorie limits. Plus, we know that every bite will have just the right balance of proteins, carbs, and fats. We’re sure not to include any GMO or artificial ingredients.
9. Choose lean meats
Choosing lean meats is all about opting for cuts of meat that are lower in fat to keep your calorie intake in check. Lean meats are an important part of the Optavia diet. In each Lean & Green meal, you should have 5 to 7 oz of meat (or meatless options). By choosing lean cuts of meat, you can get all the benefits of a high-protein meal without having to worry about excess calories or carbohydrates.
You’ll need a grocery list, a kitchen scale, and some meal prep containers. This step takes about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much you’re prepping. Budget-wise, you’re looking at around $20 to $50, depending on the type and quantity of meat. I rarely choose fancy meats like elk or bison. I often opt-in for chicken breast, pork loin, and ground turkey. They’re easier to find and less expensive.
Difficulty level? I’d say it’s easy-peasy. A common mistake is confusing “lean” with “low-calorie,” so make sure to read labels and maybe even consult a nutrition app. Always remember to cook your meat to the proper internal temperature to avoid foodborne illnesses. After you’ve got your lean meats all prepped, move on to planning your veggies and other protein sources to round out your meals.
10. Do strength training
Exercise is a great tool for staying fit and healthy, but it also has the potential to affect our appetite. Doing strength training while doing Optavia on your own is all about building muscle and boosting your metabolism through weightlifting or resistance exercises. Here’s how my face looks after 60 minutes of a boxing session.
In this class, I burned over 800 calories, but I was hungry all day. After this class, I ate more than usual (way more). On the contrary, here’s a photo of my pull-up session in my local park in Coral Gabels.
Here I don’t think I’ve burned more than 200 calories, but my appetite stayed stable. My point is that when I exercise hard, my body needs more energy to refuel and rebuild, which very often creates an increase in my appetite.
If the outdoor gym is not your thing, you’ll need some dumbbells, a resistance band, or access to a gym. Time-wise, aim for at least 30 minutes, but no more than an hour. Cost can vary; if you already have equipment or a gym membership, it’s basically free, but starting from scratch might set you back $50 to $100.
Difficulty level? I’d say it’s medium; you don’t have to be a bodybuilder, but it’s not a walk in the park either. A common mistake is lifting too heavy too soon; start with lighter weights and work your way up. Safety first, so make sure to warm up before and cool down after your session. Once you’re done, track your progress and maybe mix in some cardio or flexibility exercises for a well-rounded routine.
What is the Optavia diet?
The Optavia diet is a weight loss program that provides meal replacement products like shakes and bars. The Optavia 5&1 plan involves eating five Optavia Fuelings and one lean and green meal you prepare yourself each day. Each Optavia snack has less than 110 calories is packed with proteins and contains added probiotics. The main meal needs to have 5 to 7 oz of lean meat and 3 servings of low to medium-carb vegetables.
The Optavia diet is designed to put your body into a mild fat-burning state. While the plan is generally considered safe, it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new diet on your own, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
What are the benefits of doing the Optavia diet on your own?
Doing Optavia 5 and 1 on your own offers financial savings, personalized coaching, improved cooking skills, healthier eating, and fewer digestive issues.
- You save money: By ditching Optavia Fuelings for cheaper alternatives, you can save around $250 a month—that’s a cool $3,000 a year.
- You can hire a real coach weight loss coach: Instead of relying on unqualified Optavia coaches, use the money saved to hire a certified weight loss coach for personalized, accountable guidance.
- You learn how to cook: Going DIY on Optavia reignites your love for cooking, offering a fulfilling break from work and a chance to impress your spouse with homemade meals.
- You eat healthier: Swapping processed Optavia products for whole foods not only feels better but is a smarter long-term health choice.
- You stop having stomach problems: Ditching Optavia Fuelings can alleviate digestive issues like gas and diarrhea, making for a more comfortable diet experience.
How to maintain the fat-burn state while doing Optavia on your own?
To maintain the fat-burn state while doing Optavia on your own, stick to a low-carb, high-protein diet and keep your daily caloric intake in check. Incorporate regular exercise, especially strength training, to boost metabolism and ensure you’re burning fat efficiently.