Best Medifast Alternatives: 5 Diets Better Than Medifast [2021]

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Optavia (which was previously known as Medifast) is a popular diet, a common recommendation by doctors and health coaches for patients struggling with weight loss. It works by creating a caloric deficit, forcing your body to burn fat.

This diet plan consists of controlled portions of nutritionally complete foods that are low fat, low calorie, and low carb. Many of the foods and meal options in the Optavia diet are a packet of dry ingredients that you mix with water, although there are other options.

Since some of their meals only need to be mixed with water and heated, Optavia is popular for people who are very busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook. It is also popular for the elderly or disabled who need complete meals that they can easily prepare on their own (check out the best liquid diets to lose weight fast).

Bottom Line Up Front: If you are looking for something that closely resembles Optavia, but with higher quality ingredients at a better price, take 55% off  ANY Nutrisystem plan by clicking here.

The Optavia standard plan is the Essential Optimal Kit (5&1 Plan®) which consists of 5 meals and 1 snack per day. These meals include 4 Optavia meals (so-called Optavia Fuelings), 1 lean & green meal, and appropriate snacks. All of the food is provided by Optavia meal delivery service except for the lean & green meals which you have to buy and prepare yourself.

These two meals are each a small portion of lean protein (5-7oz), healthy fat (0-2 servings), and 3 servings of Optavia-approved green vegetables (e.g. starch-free).

The Optavia diet has been popular since the ’80s with excellent success in weight loss goals when the diet is followed exactly as the nutrition plan says. Despite this, there are some reasons to look into a food alternative.

For example, the expense of eating an Optavia diet is on the expensive side and may not be affordable for some. Others may be put off by the reliance on heavily processed foods and not real food or feel that the diet isn’t getting them the weight loss results they want.

Whatever your reason is to avoid Optavia, there are some alternatives to consider. Here are 3 successful diet options you can try out.

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Product
Best Overall
  • 100’s of meals to choose from
  • Long track record in business (not a “fly by night” operator)
  • Best in class online support via exercise trackers and apps
  • Exact portion control
Runner Up
  • Better “taste factor”
  • Most affordable option (that I’ve tried)
  • Now Keto-friendly!
Try Something New
  • FRESHER meals with higher quality ingredients
  • Chef-prepared customization
  • The next “level up” for delivery diet meal plans

Up Front Summary

  1. Nutrisystem: Best Overall
  2. South Beach: Runner Up
  3. BistroMD: Best New Trend
  4. Weight Watchers: Most Popular
  5. “Optafake” Diets: Best DIY diet

First Alternative to Optifast Option: More Choice with Nutrisystem

healthy food

Nutrisystem meal delivery service is another Optfast alternative that is favored for its  lack of calorie counting, but with more interesting meal choices and Each Nutrisystem meal and snack is the perfect portion size so you don’t need to worry about how much you’re eating, the number of carbs, keeping track of points, etc.

Nutrisystem meals are designed to deliver the exact nutrients, vitamins and minerals, you need to stay healthy and for a long-term weight loss.  It has enough protein to keep your muscles in shape for regular exercise and the meals are very filling. They have high fiber and the use of low glycemic carbs means blood sugar will be balanced.

This diet also has a huge array of meals and snacks to choose from, with over 100 available right now. Another bonus is that the meals are free of artificial ingredients.

Just like Optifast, the creators of Nutrisystem products believe in small meals spaced throughout the day as many health coaches. With this diet, you will eat every few hours for a total of 6 meals a day. Nutrisystem meal options have their own food products but you will also add your own fresh produce for added health and nutrition. This is similar to Optifast “lean & green” meal but with Nutrisystem, you will get more whole foods in their meal plan.

Nutrisystem has excellent online support with diet and exercise trackers online and through an app. This diet is overall an excellent alternative because it sets you up for lifelong health.

Once you reach your target weight you can go into the Nutrisystem maintenance mode and eat more whole foods, so you don’t need to worry about being “locked in” forever

*Note: For a head-to-head comparison, check out my older article contrasting Nutrisystem vs Medifast – vast majority of the information in this article is still valid for Medifast’s official replacement, Optavia

2nd Option: South Beach Diet

diet igredients

South Beach has been around for almost as long as Nutrisystem and Optavia. Over the years, they have tweaked their formula and today offer a variety of plans similar to Optavia.

Top Reasons to Consider South Beach:

  • Simplicity: If you liked the regularity and simplicity of receiving Optavia in the mail, South Beach offers similar convenience.
  • Affordability: As you can see from the pricing plan above, South Beach is extremely reasonable. In fact, it’s arguably cheaper than shopping for healthy ingredients and preparing meals yourself.
  • Keto-Friendly: This is a NEW development, but South Beach has revamped its menus to be Keto-friendly. South Beach was always a forerunner to the Ketogenic diet, but now it completely fits within it.
  • Tastes Great: If one of your hang-ups is “healthy food doesn’t taste good”, then you should give South Beach a whirl. They really seem to have hit the mark when it comes to creating menus that “real people” can actually enjoy.

How to Order South Beach Diet

The sign-up process is super simple. You can sign up here and save 20% off  delivery or 30% off prepay right now. If you’ve tried BOTH Optavia and Nutrisystem and it didn’t quite work for you, South Beach is the next alternative to try.

3rd Option: BistroMD Diet

BistroMD combines the new trend of “meal delivery services” with a diet focus. Designed by doctors and nutritionists, BistroMD is a relative newcomer, but worth checking out.

Top Reasons to Consider BistroMD:

  • Additional Support: BistroMD has a team of nutritionists and specialists who can over support and assistance designing the perfect plan for you. This level of attention is not typically found with the other “big diet” brands.
  • Balanced Approach: BistroMD doesn’t go ALL IN on one diet trend, but rather makes the bet that most people just don’t have time to prepare quality meals that follow best practices. So, you don’t have to “buy in” to any new philosophy of life to benefit!
  • Customized Diet Plans: This is REALLY where BistroMD stands out. The user has complete control over the schedule and weekly menu. If you have allergies, sensitivities or preferences, the BistroMD makes it easy to swap out food groups.
  • Ingredient Quality: In my experience testing BistoMD vs Optavia, the big thing that stood out to me was the food quality. BistroMD feels a lot fresher. While I can’t confirm for sure, I would venture to guess that the time from farm to table is a LOT shorter.

How to Order BistroMD

Ordering is fairly simple. There will be some initial set-up as the team conducts surveys and asks you about preferences, etc…

View BistroMD Plans Here

4th Option: Weight Watchers

weight watchers

It’s no surprise that one of the top alternatives to Optavia is the extremely popular Weight Watchers program. Weight Watchers nutrition products continue to be one of the most popular real food diets out there and often competes with Optifast.

A huge, huge benefit of Weight Watchers is that it focuses on eating real foods. One of the common complaints about Optavia is having to eat such heavily processed foods, which many people have reported that it gives them digestive issues. Not only do the meals taste better but it also helps to develop heating eating habits in the future.

Weight Watchers food has a points system on foods in the PointsPlus categories. This technique isn’t mandatory but is great for people who struggle with tracking their meals. Instead, the points techniques allow them to eat in a healthy way that doesn’t require a lot of work. This is a great option for the days or weeks you are very busy or on vacation.

Another advantage of Weight Watchers diet food as an alternative is that the program focuses heavily on community. The diet isn’t just a fad but a new lifestyle change, including group support in meetings and online communities.

Psychologists find that group support can drastically increase the chances of success as it lowers cortisol levels from reduced stress. This is one reason why Weight Watchers seems to be so much more successful than other diets.

If you love to cook and are concerned about losing that passion from a diet like Optavia, Weight Watchers diet plan is a great solution. If you are very people-oriented and need some support to keep you focused, you will also be happy with this program.

Other Option: “Optafake” Diets

Those who like Optavia but, for whatever reason, do not want to purchase their foods can instead go the route of creating a “Optafake” diet. As you would guess, this DIY diet of sorts was developed to copy the Optavia diet but you supply your own foods instead. All nutritional guidelines of the original Optavia diet, such as calories, protein, and carbohydrates, are followed.

Unlike commercial diets, it is difficult to determine how successful a “Optafake” diet will be as it depends on the person. There are plenty of instances of strict dieters successfully switching from Optavia to a copycat of their own with continued weight loss. If you are the kind of person who has good self-discipline and enjoys preparing food, this option would be perfect for you.

For a basic DIY Optafake you will want to follow these guidelines for meals:

  • 1,000 to 1,300 calories per day (if you are a very petite person you can go down to 800 but no lower)
  • 70 and 80 grams of protein per day (slightly more if you are dieting and doing intensive workouts, especially strength training)
  • 60 to 70 grams of carbs per day

These numbers aren’t set in stone but you will, of course, want to stay as close to the Optavia diet requirements as possible. Also, try to continue with the plan of 5 meals a day plus a snack (or an alternative setup if you prefer some of the other Optavia plans like 4&2&1). Don’t go the whole day without eating just to gorge on a giant meal.

Try to break down your daily nutritional needs equally amongst the meals. For example, keep the snack calorie limit to about 100 and each real meal between 250 and 375.

To save time on meal prep, most “Optafakers” choose pre-made diet meals and meal replacement shakes from the store. As long as you stay within nutritional limits, most healthy diet foods will work fine. You can even create weekly plans with prepackaged meals in containers to stay on track.

If you do go this route it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add some vitamins and protein supplements to your diet to ensure it is well-rounded. A multivitamin, vitamin D, and high-quality fish oil are good choices.

I’d also recommend checking out a well-rounded super protein supplement, like Vega Sport.

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Final Say: Optavia or Nutrisystem?

Optavia is still a popular diet with generally positive reviews but there is no single diet that will work for everyone, every time and in every situation. If you are struggling to lose weight and Optavia isn’t an option, don’t worry. If you are on a tight budget, my personal preference is the “Optafake” approach, but I realize that for some people it’s easier to have a set regulated system. I get it.

If you prefer a “system” approach where you don’t have to plan too much, I’d recommend Nutrisystem as the best alternative. These 3 alternatives are some of the best options. Remember to always consult your doctor before drastically changing your diet.

Additional Readings:

5 Easy Recipes For Protein-Rich Snacks

Enter your email and we'll send 5 of our favorite recipes for high-protein snacks!

1 thought on “Best Medifast Alternatives: 5 Diets Better Than Medifast [2021]”

  1. Thank you for this information. I have been on Medifast for over a year and am now in a position where I just can’t see spending $100 a week on it anymore! I have lost 84 pounds and still have 74 to take off, so I’m VERY scared to change things up, but financially I need to do it. I am going to try the “MEDIFAKE” approach and see what I can find for 100-calorie snacks each day. Thanks again for the information. If I am not as successful on my own I may try Nutri-System. I have also heard that WONDERSLIM is a good option, but I’m not sure about that yet and will be looking into it.

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