Are you following the Optavia program and struggling to find snacks that fit within the guidelines? You’re not alone.
I know how hard it can be to find healthy snack options that not only fit with your diet goals, but that also taste good.
Although Optavia suggests you may choose only one snack per day, it doesn’t provide an extensive list of optional snacks.
In this article, I’ll dive (really deep) into some of the best Optavia snacks that are approved on the 5 and 1 plan that not only can satisfy your hunger but also keep you on track with your weight loss journey.
What are Optavia snacks?
Are you struggling to figure out what are Optavia approved snacks?
Let’s start by defining what is a healthy snack and what exactly snacking means.
Well, according to the article published in the Appetite Journal, “having a snack is not the same thing as snacking or eating snack food”.
(I know, it’s super confusing.)
Especially when you want to find some low-calorie snack options.
Optavia optional snacks are basically low-calorie foods that can be eaten in between your Fuelings and lean and green meal.
Keep in mind that optional snacks are not the same as Optavia free snacks, which are only available in the Optimal 3 and 3 plan.
They are also not considered as Fuelings.
One of the differences between Optavia snacks and Fuelings is the calorie count.
Each Fueling has around 100 calories, whereas each optional snack should have approximately 50 calories (or less) per serving.
(50 calories doesn’t sound like a lot, isn’t it?)
However, according to the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines, “people should eat fewer snacks because snacks contribute a lot of energy, sugar, and saturated fat to our diets.”
On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends having multiple snacks per day but choosing raw, cut-up vegetables, fruits, and other smart snacks instead.
I look at snacks as a mid-morning pick-me-up or an after-dinner treat, especially when I’m feeling a little hungrier than normal.
How many snacks can I have on Optavia?
Although Optavia recommends you should have only one snack per day, they don’t suggest any specific times and situations when you should snack.
According to the Physiology and Behavior Journal, “snacking in the absence of hunger leads to the consumption of fat, sugar, and sodium-rich foods.”
“Even though people usually eat healthy foods when they are hungry, they tend to eat unhealthy foods when they are not hungry,” states the journal.
So when exactly should you be eating Optavia snacks?
According to Optavia rules, you should be eating healthy snacks only if 5 fuelings and 1 lean and green meal fail to satisfy your hunger throughout the day.
(So knowing how strict the Optavia diet plan is, that is pretty much every day though.)
You should not snack on Optavia when you feel bored, lonely, or worried.
Although I’m trying to stick to their recommendations, in the beginning, I used to eat at least 2-3 snacks a day.
When to eat Optavia snacks?
Although snacking has never been a fundamental part of my diet, there are some times when grabbing a snack is important for me.
- When I’m hungry but don’t have time for a meal. That usually happens when I’m swamped at work or I run out of my Fuelings. (I guess you can count this snack as Fueling.)
- After my workout that lasts for an hour or more. I usually have my lean and green meal immediately after I train. However, if the session was really intense, then I supplement my meal with a snack an hour later.
- Before bed. According to the Nutrients Journal, “eating small amounts of food (~150 kcals) at night does not seem to be harmful and may even be good for building muscle and keeping your heart healthy.”
- When going out to eat. I struggle to make healthy choices and eat the right amount of food when I go out. On the contrary, when I eat a small snack before dining out, I’m not feeling so hungry when I get there and I usually make better decisions about what to order.
Okay, I’m ready! – show me what Optavia snacks I can have
If one of my close friends asked me what kind of snacks he could include for the Optavia diet food list, these would be my recommendations.
1. Raw carrot sticks
Although carrots are not allowed on the Optavia plan, I love raw carrot sticks as snacks for a few reasons.
They’re easy to grab and go. I usually pack a bag of carrot sticks in my lunch box and bring them with me to work.
Also, I like to eat them with homemade low-calorie garlic sauce or cream cheese, like in the photo below.
They’re low in calories and filling, so I’m not hungry an hour later. One medium carrot has 25 calories (1).
2. Hard-Boiled Egg
For me, hard-boiled eggs are the best high-protein snacks on Optavia. Although one medium size egg has around 71 calories (2), it has also 6 grams of proteins.
Here’s what my eggs look like when I make a snack.
(I like to cover them with spicy hot chili sauce.)
I often cook eggs in advance during my Sunday meal prep ritual, or randomly during the week.
One boiled egg is enough to kill my hunger pangs at bay for at least a couple of hours.
3. Cucumber sticks
I love raw cucumber sticks as snacks because they are refreshing. If possible, I like to have them with a low-fat dip or hummus.
Here’s a photo of how we like to eat cucumber sticks.
Cucumbers are mostly water, so they will help you stay hydrated. They are also low in calories, so eating them can help you lose weight.
Although 5 cucumber stick has only 7.5 calories (3), they are filling and can keep me satisfied for a while.
Cucumber skin is a good source of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps blood clotting and makes bones stronger (4).
4. Tomato cherry
My wife loves tomato cherries. She often adds them to our lean and green salads, soups, or pasta dishes, as well as uses them as mid-morning snacks.
Here’s a photo of my tomato cherry.
For me, cherry tomatoes have a sweet and sour taste, which is a great snack alternative to candy or cookies.
1 cup of tomato cherries, which is equivalent to 150 grams, has only 47 calories (5). I usually eat them with a little bit of salt to enhance the flavor.
I often add olives as a source of fat for my lean and green meals, as well as my evening snack, just before bed.
(That’s when we usually watch Netflix series and chill with my wife.)
As a snack, I usually have 10 olives, which is around 58 calories (6). To lower calories, I buy them in brine, not in oil.
Here’s a photo of my olives snack.
Although I enjoy salty snacks, I must exercise caution because olives contain more fat and it is easy to overeat.
Although fruits aren’t allowed on the Optavia diet, I often use blueberries together with my Optavia Tropical Fruit Smoothie.
Also as a mid-afternoon or quick post-workout snack.
We buy usually buy frozen Blueberries from the company Birds Eye.
We buy them on Amazon.
While I cannot say they keep me full for long, I like that they have a great refreshing taste that I enjoy, and they’re also a healthy snack option.
For a snack, I use a food scale and measure 100 grams (2/3 of a cup) portion, which is around 57 calories (7).
7. Raw celery sticks
Celery stalks are one of the few snacks that Optavia lists on its website. While I like the crisp texture of celery sticks, for me they taste a little too bitter.
They recommend having 3 pieces per serving, which is equivalent to 17 calories (8). I often eat more, but I also mix them with some dip.
My wife also likes to snack on them while dipping them in zero-calorie salad dressing or homemade curd.
Here’s a photo of how she likes to prepare celery sticks.
8. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is one of my favorite protien-rich food approved by Optavia. I love to combine cottage cheese with crunchy pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
I also like to mix it with the aforementioned celery sticks. I usually chop a couple of stalks into small half-inch pieces and sprinkle them into the cottage cheese container.
To finish, I add a pinch of salt and chili flakes.
Here’s what it looks like.
Keep in mind that for a snack I only use 50 grams serving, which has around 41 calories (9).
Pistachios are one of the ample snacks at the Biggest Loser ranch, according to Cheryl Forberg, RD.
While I love snacking on pistachios, they’re easy to eat too much of, so I have to be careful. (I find that when I manually remove the shell, I eat less.)
According to the comparative study published in the Appetite Journal, “people who eat in-shell pistachios ate 41% less food than people who eat shelled nuts”.
“The difference in calories consumed may be because people need to spend more time shelling the nuts,” states the journal.
Here’s the photo of the pistachios I choose from the local farmers market in Coral Gabels.
I must be careful becasue 1 oz of in-shell pistachios has whooping 87 calories (10), which is as high as Optavia fuelings.
10. Raw cauliflower
Here’s a photo of the cauliflower that we buy from the Coastline Family Farms.
We buy a lot of cauliflower as we use it for most of the Optavia recipes like cauliflower pizza or cauliflower rice.
We use leftovers for our homemade Optavia fuelings, as well as optional snacks. I love the taste of raw cauliflower (especially with a homemade low-calorie dip).
For snacks, we usually have 6-7 florets (or more), which is around 22 calories (11). This helps me feel fuller for longer.
11. Tuna fish canned in water
I love to snack on tuna as it’s packed with protein and it’s super low in calories. One small can of tuna, which is around 75 grams, has 63 calories (12).
Keep in mind that Tuna comes in all shapes and sizes.
Here’s a photo of one of my favorite (and cheap) tuna cans I get from Walmart.
I like this one specifically because it has a 2 oz serving size, and 50 calories in total (which is perfect for snacks).
(I usually add a squeeze of lime and some chili sauce to liven it up.)
It’s the perfect way to fuel my body before or after a workout (or when I’m out of stock on fuelings).
Plus, it’s so easy to make! Just open a can of tuna, drain the water, and add your desired toppings.
Five minutes and I have a healthy and delicious snack that will keep me satisfied until my next fueling.
12. Snap Peas
Another Optavia-approved snack is snap peas, which have this lovely crunchy texture and a very sweet flavor.
Here’s how I like to eat them.
I must confess – I don’t often snack on snap peas because of the cooking time. (Yes, I know. I’m a lazy lump.)
I only eat snap peas when we have any leftovers.
If I choose snap peas for a snack, I usually have around 3 oz serving size. This equals around 54 calories (13).
While apples are considered healthy snacks, I still watch my intake as one small apple (165 grams) has around 101 calories (14).
I like to snack on tart apples, like Jonagold and Stayman.
They’re refreshing and have the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Here’s how I like to serve my apples as a snack (often with peanut butter).
I always cut apples in wedges and leave the skin still on.
The skin provides a good crunch and the flavors are more concentrated.
Plus, it’s an easy way to get my daily dose of fiber.
14. Asparagus spears
Asparagus is another snack that I rarely eat, mainly becasue it needs time to prepare and it doesn’t keep me satisfied.
Nevertheless, it’s a healthy option that has low calories and is full of nutrients.
Ten asparagus spears have around 78 calories (15).
Here’s a photo of my leftovers.
I usually place these spears in a separate bowl and serve them later as snacks.
When it comes to taste, for me, asparagus is a combination of mushrooms and broccoli.
I like to bake it in the oven, with a little bit of olive oil and lime juice.
15. Raw beetroot
We buy a lot of beetroot in our home, mainly because my wife like to cook beetroot soups.
Whatever is left, we chop for big pieces like in the photo and use them for snacks and smoothies.
(When chopping and washing beets, use gloves and cover the chopping board with a plastic bag. Beets can stain everything they come in contact with.)
One whole beet (80 grams) has around 34 calories (16), so it’s a comparison with other Optavia-friendly snacks.
While beets taste earthy and a little bitter, I like to pair them with lemon juice or salt.
16. Raw broccoli
Broccoli has always been high on my Optavia diet food list, but only recently have I started to eat them raw.
With only 35 calories per cup (17), broccoli can be used as a snack, as well as a fueling alternative and hack.
When eaten raw, they have a specific earthy flavor, so I always ensure I have other veggies and some lemon juice or homemade dip ready.
Here’s how I like to snack on broccoli.
17. Raw sweet peppers
I love raw sweet peppers as snacks because they are satisfying, tasty, and low-calorie. One cup of raw sweet pepper has 33 calories (18).
Here’s how I like to eat my Optavia snack made from peppers.
This salad has a mix of green and red peppers, as well as slices of carrots.
(So even when I eat more, I have zero regrets.)
My favorites are red and green. I like to eat them on their own or with a dip. Preparation is easy. Just cut them in wedges or stripes and serve them with cucumber.
I like to make snacks, smoothies, and salads from papaya. My favorite one is Maradol papaya from Mexico, but I don’t buy it too often.
(Mainly becasue of the price. One papaya costs around $4.)
Here’s what it looks like.
We also like to make papaya smoothies.
I only use a small chunk (around 40 grams) which has approximately 17 calories (19).
We like to eat a lot of seafood. I often buy Great Value frozen raw jumbo shrimps with the shell-on.
Once we use what’s needed for our favorite Optavia fish recipes, the rest goes for snacks.
Here’s how I like to eat shrimp as a snack.
I like shrimp as they are high in protein, and provide variety from chicken and pork.
As for snacks, I only use 5-6 shrimp to keep me satisfied, which is around 3 oz. This is equivalent to 75 calories (20).
20. Watermelon balls
I must confess – I haven’t been buying watermelon as an Optavia snack regularly until I tried watermelon balls.
Watermelon balls are scooped watermelon flesh using an ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or one of these weird rounded teaspoons.
(Honestly, it not only tastes delicious, but it also doesn’t leave a lot of mess.)
For a snack, I like to scoop 10 balls, which have around 30 calories (21), and serve them in a glass with a toothpick as you can see in the photo below.
Although I love to snack on grapes because they’re delicious and healthy, they’re also quite high in sugar and calories.
One cup of grapes has 104 calories (22), so I only get a handful per serving. I like the fact they’re easy to eat on the go. I can just pop a few in my mouth and be on my way.
If I feel like I want something fancy, I put some grapes in my freezer and leave them overnight.
In the morning I snack on them, just like I would on ice cream.
Zucchini is another great Optavia snack idea, especially if you use it for pasta alternatives.
One cup of zucchini has around 20 calories (23), so it’s a perfect guilt-free snack.
Here’s a photo of the two zucchini we bought the other day.
(I prefer the yellow zucchini on the right becasue is slightly sweeter in flavor.)
I often cut Zucchini in stripes or wedges and bake them with salt and paper.
I tried to make one of these fancy Mom’s Zucchini Bread with walnuts from allrecipes.com, but it wasn’t a crowd-pleaser.
We buy a lot of raw cabbage and my wife loves to make homemade Sauerkraut.
She follows her grandmother’s recipe and adds cumin and a bay leaf to sauerkraut.
And as you can see from the photo, she distributes a small amount in glass jars.
Apart from the fact that sauerkraut seems to help with my stomach issues, I like you can make a variety of dishes.
My favorite is the German Sauerkraut with bratwurst, wild mushrooms, and carrots.
(I think Cleveland Kraut sells sauerkraut, but it doesn’t taste as good.)
One cup of Sauerkraut has 56 calories (24), so every time when I feel like this small and annoying hunger kick, I reach for a jar.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.
Gröber, U et al. “Vitamin K: an old vitamin in a new perspective.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 6,1 e968490. 21 Jan. 2015, doi:10.4161/19381972.2014.968490