OPTAVIA Optimal 5 & 1 Weight Loss Plan Review

Evaluate the pros and cons of the Medifast diet before you invest

eating salad on a diet

Tim Robberts / Getty Images 

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

If you're investigating in the most popular diet plans to lose weight, you'll find the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 plan on your list of programs to consider. But trying to choose the right plan can be tricky and there are many different factors to evaluate.

Review the costs, benefits, and drawbacks of the OPTAVIA program before you decide if it is right for you. Note that Medifast has released a new line of products under the OPTAVIA brand, with the identical macronutrient profile as the original Medifast products.

How Does the Plan Work?

Dieters on the OPTAVIA 5 & 1 Plan eat five commercially prepared meal replacements each day plus one Lean & Green meal that you prepare yourself. Meal replacements are familiar foods like mashed potatoes, brownies, pasta, muffins, or soups that have been engineered to provide more protein, less carbohydrate, and limited fat.


Success on the 5 & 1 Plan requires that you eat a lot of OPTAVIA food. There are plenty of options to choose from and I took a week to sample several popular items. The verdict?

While the foods don't necessarily taste like their "real-world" counterparts, the food didn't taste bad.

For example, the brownie was warm and somewhat chocolatey but didn't necessarily offer the satisfaction of a regular brownie. Mashed potatoes were bland but the consistency was good and I found them modestly satisfying. 

If you don't have time to cook your own Lean & Green meal ( a combination of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables) you can rely on an OPTAVIA Flavors of Home meal. The microwavable meals do not need to be refrigerated so they are quick and convenient. Choices include Turkey Meatball Marinara, Chicken with Rice and Vegetables, and Chicken Cacciatore. 

So, how do they taste? I only tried one (Chicken Cacciatore) and would suggest that dieters opt to cook their own meal.

Coaching and Support

OPTAVIA offers several tools to help guide you through the weight loss process:

  • Online tools to record data: You can record your meal plans, weight loss, exercise, and measurements online or with the Mobile App. Dieters can use these tools at home, at work, or on-the-go to keep their diet journals up to date. As you progress or when you hit struggles you can review data to make changes as necessary.
  • Community support: Through the online community, you can connect with other dieters to share tips, get feedback about struggles, share successes, and make new friends. Many times, it is the support of fellow dieters that means the most when you are trying to lose weight.
  • Physician support: Some dieters gain access to OPTAVIA foods and programs through their physicians. For clients with health considerations, this may be the safest option. Not all physicians, however, are part of the nationwide network. You may have to go outside of your network to find a physician who is.
  • Health coaches: OPTAVIA offers clients the option to buy foods through agents they call "health coaches." These are not certified health professionals but rather agents who have demonstrated knowledge of the OPTAVIA program and who earn income from selling and promoting the foods. While some of the coaches may carry outside credentials, clients should not assume that they have expertise in the fields of health, nutrition, diet, or weight loss.


119 servings of OPTAVIA food will cost $414.60.*

The minimum total cost for a 12-16 week program might range from $1385.40 (12 weeks) to $1878.15 (16 weeks) for the initial part of the plan. 

But there are other costs to consider. Of course, you need to factor in the cost of your home-cooked Lean & Green Meal. Alternatively, if you choose to eat OPTAVIA's Flavors of Home meals, add at least $30 per week. Lastly, as you transition off the plan, you'll still eat OPTAVIA meal replacements for at least 6 weeks. This could add several hundred dollars to your bottom line.

Weight Loss

Every dieter is different and different weight loss plans work for different people. Evaluate these pros and cons of Medifast before you make a final decision about whether this is the best diet for you.


The benefits of this plan include:

  • Simplicity: You won't have to keep detailed notes or count calories while you lose weight on OPTAVIA. You simply need to count to five. Foods are exceptionally easy to cook and take a few minutes to prepare.
  • Convenient: There is no excuse not to stick to this diet. The foods are microwavable and some need no preparation at all. You can easily throw a meal replacement packet or a bar into your purse or briefcase for diet-friendly eating on the go. This would be a good diet for people who have very hectic schedules, travel often or don't have time to cook.


Possible drawbacks of this diet are:

  • Food taste: While most of the food wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. Foodies and people who love to cook may suffer on this plan. For this reason, some dieters may struggle to stick to the plan long enough to lose their weight.
  • Potentially difficult transition: The type of foods offered on the plan may make it difficult to transition off the plan when you've reached your goal. OPTAVIA guides clients through a reasonable transition program where they step down and add real-world foods to their diet. But if dieters grab the high-fat and high-carb real-world counterparts to the foods they've gotten used to (like brownies, mashed potatoes or cheese curls), they may gain weight. 
  • Expense: The OPTAVIA 5 & 1 Plan is not cheap. But most plans that offer convenience tend to be pricey. If you choose to go on the program, make sure that you plan for the total cost of your entire weight loss journey so that you don't quit halfway through because you can't afford it. 

A Word From Verywell

Take plenty of time to evaluate this or any diet before you invest your money and time. Ask yourself five important questions to make sure you get a program that fits your lifestyle and your needs. 

Talk to your doctor about your specific health concerns and get his/her input as well. Then once you've made your decision you can move forward with the confidence of knowing you're on the right path.

*prices current on publication date.

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. OPTAVIA. The ultimate weight 5 & 1 plan an introduction. Updated 2020.

  2. Society of Behavioral Medicine. Weight loss: meet your goals with a support network.

  3. Medifast. Medifast and physician's weight loss centers team up; join surgeon general to combat obesity with a strategic alliance.

  4. Optavia. Pay it forward and become an Optavia coach.