Optavia meal prep refers to the process of preparing Lean and Green meals and Fueling alternatives in alignment with the Optavia 5 and 1 plan. It involves batch cooking, organizing your kitchen, using specific tools and equipment, utilizing portion control, and storing meals in containers.
It also entails creating a shopping list and choosing the right grocery store to ensure you have the necessary ingredients for your Optavia-approved meals.
The main benefit of doing Optavia meal prep is the ability to sustain weight loss while managing your budget effectively. A 2017 study by Pauline Ducrot from Université Paris 13 found that meal planners had a higher adherence to nutritional guidelines, greater overall food variety, and lower odds of being overweight or obese, particularly in women.
Planning and preparing lean and green meals in advance helps to avoid expensive last-minute grocery store trips or dining out, saving both time and money.
By cooking my own meals, I gained complete control over the ingredients I use, ensuring that I am fully aware and in control of what goes into my body. This promotes a healthier and more mindful approach to my nutrition, which is crucial for supporting my weight loss goals on the Optavia program.
However, if meal prep is not feasible for me, an alternative option is to rely on Optavia prepared meals. These are store-bought dinners specifically designed for the Optavia program, with each serving containing approximately 250-400 calories. While not as customizable as homemade meals, these prepared meals provide a convenient and portion-controlled option that aligns with the Optavia guidelines.
These are nine steps to do Optavia meal prep.
- Choose Your Grocery Shop.
- Arrange Food Delivery, If Needed.
- Find Your Favorite Optavia Recipes.
- Create Optavia Shopping List.
- Organize Your Kitchen.
- Choose The Most Convenient Day.
- Do Batch Cooking.
- Organize Cleaning.
- Make it a habit.
1. Choose Your Grocery Shop
Start your Optavia meal prep by choosing your grocery store. I recommend sticking to the shop you’ve always used, it’s the most convenient to get to, and you feel most comfortable visiting.
I wouldn’t spend 30 minutes of my time driving to the shop. It’s much better to fit that grocery shopping time while I do something else (going back from work, visiting parents, etc.)
If you drive by a grocery store every day on the way home from work, that’s probably the one I would recommend.
Here’s a photo from the local Walmart I visit on my way home.
For me, it’s so much easier to find what I need at my regular spot, versus if I were to choose a store that is “new” or “trendy”.
Plus, when you know your place, you won’t miss out on any deals going on in-store, like a sale with coupons available only until tomorrow, buy one get one free, etc.
2. Arrange Food Delivery, If Needed
Arranging food delivery with Optavia prepared meals is a good idea if you don’t have time to physically visit your grocery shop, don’t panic. If that’s the case, find a reliable food delivery service that can take care of your weekly shopping.
I personally love to pick up my fruits and veggies from the local market, but when I work outside the home during the day (or travel), and want my groceries put away while I’m out.
For restaurant meals, I like to use Grubhub.
For my grocery shopping, I use the Walmart Express Delivery service.
3. Find Your Favorite Optavia Recipes
Finding your favorite Optavia recipes means making a list of the top 10 best Optavia meal ideas so you know what ingredients you need in advance. Some of the most popular Optavia lean and green recipes are chicken recipes, ground turkey recipes, or seafood recipes.
For plant-based eaters, Optavia also has several vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Although the Optavia app has hundreds of Lean and Green recipes, I recommend going on Pinterest and Instagram.
4. Create Optavia Shopping List
An Optavia shopping list is a comprehensive list of products and ingredients to buy for the Optavia lean and green meals. The Optavia shopping list includes the necessary items you will need for your meal prep, which can be found in popular retail stores such as Walmart, Costco, Lidl, Whole Foods, Aldi, and Target.
I’ve developed a habit of using an Optavia shopping list, mainly to identify what foods or meals I like most, and what foods or meals I don’t like.
Here’s a photo of my hand-written shopping list.
I’m holding here pen and paper, but you can use meal-prepping apps or simple note apps from your phone.
Here’s how I use the iPhone’s reminders app for my grocery shopping list.
On the left, I add a new list and name it a “shopping list”. On the right, I add each item to this list. I can recycle and modify this list every week.
You can create your own Optavia diet food list and develop a template of foods (or meals) you enjoy the most.
For me, a shopping list it’s like a meal prescription. It’s so much easier to find what I need (whether that’s in-person shopping or online).
This helps to make a trip to the grocery store as efficient as possible.
5. Organize Your Kitchen For Optavia Meals
Organizing your kitchen, also known as a healthy kitchen makeover, helps to make Optavia meal prep as efficient as possible. Organizing your kitchen on Optavia means cleaning up the clutter, organizing storage for Fuelings, getting containers, and getting the right cooking tools.
This photo shows what my kitchen looks like after the initial healthy makeover.
For me, organizing my kitchen space made the cooking process more convenient and helped me to keep healthy stuff near me.
It also allowed me to store all my Optavia Fuelings within close reach on shelves and drawers.
If you are looking to get started, there are a
This list shows a few essentials that are needed for effective Optavia meal prep.
- Blenders allow you to quickly whip up smoothies and other blended drinks.
- Food processors can handle more delicate tasks like chopping veggies, pureeing dips, or grinding your meats.
- Measuring cups and spoons are essential for precision cooking. With the right measuring tools, recipes come out just as intended.
- A kitchen grater can help you create delicious salads by peeling, slicing, trimming, and cutting foods into strips or bits.
- A sharp knife makes prepping ingredients faster, easier, and safer. A dull knife is more likely to slip, lack traction, and make it easier for you to hurt yourself.
- Storage containers will keep your meals (and leftovers) safely stored away until they’re ready to be used again.
- Mixing bowls are invaluable when it comes to creating your own salads and snacks.
I’m not an experienced chef, but I can tell you that having the right kitchen equipment makes the whole preparation process much more convenient and enjoyable.
6. Choose The Most Convenient Day For Optavia Meal Prep
Choosing the most convenient day for Optavia meal prep is an important step in ensuring a smooth and efficient process. It involves dedicating 3-4 hours on a specific day of the week to complete the shopping, cooking, and cleaning associated with meal prep.
The idea is to simply schedule your meal prep in advance. One specific day. This makes the rest of your week easier.
I cannot tell you how many times I woke up late and had to rush off without even a shower, not to mention eating breakfast.
(That would not happen if I had my meals prepared in advance.)
My Optavia meal prep ritual includes:
- Setting aside 3 to 4 hours every Sunday (any day of the week will do, but Sundays seem to be the easiest for me).
- Write out a menu for the week ahead. If you choose to eat 5 Optavia fuelings alternatives per day, this means you should write down how much food you need for 25 to 30 small snacks.
- Calculate roughly how much of each food you need for the week and generate a shopping list.
- Shop for the week or as mentioned before arrange the food delivery for that specific day. If you choose to do meal prep on Sunday, ensure your grocery is delivered the day before.
My meal prep ritual also includes washing, peeling, and chopping my vegetables, then separating them in plastic containers.
I also cook my high protein foods in bulk in advance for easy access when I prepare my Fuelings later.
If cooking once a week is not possible, try to set aside 15 minutes every evening (or morning) to prep enough healthy Optavia fueling alternatives for the following day.
This can be as simple as chopping some vegetables and meat, putting it in a slow cooker, and refrigerating it. (I often do it while my dinner is cooking.)
Or, make your Lean & Green meal a little larger, so you can use leftovers as your snacks for the following day.
Soak up the grains or beans in the bowl and leave them for the night so that they are ready to cook the next day.
Even if you feel you cannot spare 15 minutes, you can probably spare at least one minute. If that’s the case, think “one meal ahead” and “one behavior ahead”.
Anticipate what you might need, want, or feel in 2-4 hours from now.
When you’re already at the store, pick up a ready-to-eat chicken, pre-washed vegetables, or pre-made salads.
As you move through the aisles, grab an apple or bag of baby carrots to snack on later.
When you’re already cooking, why not chop, wash, or prep one extra item? For example, peel one more carrot or chop one more pepper.
Mix it with chicken slices of boiled eggs and place them in the food bag in your fridge.
7. Do Batch Cooking
Batch cooking means preparing fuelings alternatives in batches or bulk (excluding shakes).
Here’s photo of what my batch cooking looks like.
Instead of preparing 30 different snacks, try to cook them in bulk (casseroles, soups, stews, chili, etc.)
Cook large meals that can be refrigerated or frozen. Make dry ingredients easy to reach for your shakes. Portion the foods into smaller containers or baggies.
At the same time, prioritize your snacks. Snacks you eat at home don’t need to be done in advance.
Prepare only the snacks that need to be eaten during work hours, or during busy times of the day.
8. Organize Cleaning After Optavia Meal Prep
This list shows how to organize cleaning after Optavia meal prep.
- Clean and organize your kitchen. Once you’re done with your Optavia meal prep, it’s time to tidy up. Give your kitchen a good cleaning by washing any utensils, cutting boards, and cooking equipment you used during the prep.
- Wipe those countertops. Grab a clean cloth or sponge and give your countertops a nice wipe-down. This will help keep your kitchen looking fresh and ready for the next round of meal prep.
- Go for glass containers. When it comes to storing your prepared meals, consider using glass containers instead of plastic ones. Glass is not only more eco-friendly, but it also allows you to see what’s inside and makes portion control easier.
- Give recycling a high-five. Let’s do our part for the environment! Set up recycling bins in your kitchen and make sure to separate paper, plastic, and glass properly. Recycling helps reduce waste and minimizes our impact on the planet.
- Sort it out. Keep things organized by segregating different types of waste and recyclables into their respective containers. This way, you’ll have a system in place for efficient recycling.
- Get creative with food scraps. Don’t let those food scraps go to waste! If you have a garden, consider composting your vegetable peels, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds to make nutrient-rich organic fertilizer.
9. Make It A Habit
Making a habit out of Optavia meal prep is important due to the numerous health benefits associated with home cooking.
A 2020 study by Laura Klein from Harvard Medical School highlighted that individuals who cook at home have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, and consume higher quality, nutrient-dense food.
By regularly engaging in meal prep, individuals can have greater control over the ingredients they use, ensuring a healthier and more balanced diet.
Dr. Klein emphasizes that meal planning also plays a significant role in promoting portion control. Pre-portioned meals allow you to maintain appropriate serving sizes and avoid overeating, which is beneficial for weight management and overall health.
With an Optavia meal plan, you know exactly what meals to prepare in advance so you don’t waste food or money on items that end up going bad in the fridge.
What Are The Benefits From Optavia Meal Prep?
Ever since I stopped buying fuelings, and started making my own Optavia diet from the scratch, meal prep has quickly become an essential practice for my cooking.
Keeps me on track and allows me to spend more time on the things I want to do during the week.
Less time in the kitchen. It is cost-efficient, and I feel great.
It also made my cooking throughout the week simpler, allowing me to create DIY Optavia meals (and Fuelings) that are ready to be enjoyed or popped into the microwave.
This is why I recommend it for anyone looking to plan out their eating habits and save time in the kitchen.
I’ve been doing meal prep every Sunday for over a year (except when on vacation).
- Easy shopping. Getting involved in meal prepping helped make my Optavia grocery shopping easier and more efficient.
- Save time. I have a full-time job so trying to make weeknight dinners was never easy. Taking advantage of meal prepping made all the difference.
- Saves money. Buying foods in bulk and batch cooking saves me plenty of money.
- No more unhealthy snacks. When everything is ready in advance, I can enjoy a delicious meal made from scratch with fresh ingredients, instead of settling for processed fuelings full of preservatives.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Optavia Meal Prep?
As much as I enjoy prepping my food for the week, there are some potential downsides that I’ve noticed.
- Monotony. I get bored eating similar meals so I need to stay creative as much as possible to include some variety. This means adding different spices or condiments.
- Freshness. Some foods (cooked meats, vegetables) are great to be stored and reheated for a long time. Other foods (raw fish, raw meat, smoothies) need to be consumed within 1-2 days.
What Are The Best Foods To Use For Optavia Meal Prep?
The Optavia meal prep food list refers to a variety of nutritious foods for your lean and green meals. The best foods to use for Optavia meal prep include Optavia-approved diet foods such as fresh and frozen vegetables, lean meats, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.
- Fresh and frozen vegetables. Although I mainly use fresh veggies, I also like to use frozen because they’re already washed, cut, and ready for cooking.
- Lean meats. I often keep all my cooked meats in separate containers. For a whole week, I may only choose 2-3 meat. I don’t keep fresh fish too often.
- Fish and seafood. We love to buy fresh fish, especially salmon and tuna. We also buy seafood like shrimp but mainly frozen.
- Eggs. I buy eggs in batches of 30 to 60.
- Dairy. We’re obsessed with dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurts, which we use for our DIY Optavia shake hacks.
Are There Any Foods Not Allowed To Be Used For Optavia Meal Prep?
Yes, some of the foods are not allowed to be used for Optavia meal prep. These include fruits, grains, and starches. These food categories are limited to maintain the desired calorie balance and support optimal weight loss.