Nutrisystem Vs. Optavia: Which Is Better In Order to Lose Weight?

Note: We write our honest review on each product, however, we might receive a sales commission to support this website. See our full disclosure here.

In this review, you can find out all you need to know about these two weight loss programs, including plans, meal variety, quality of food, price differences, and more.

When working toward a goal like losing weight, you must explore your options to determine which best fits your preferences and needs. In this case, we’re exploring Nutrisystem vs Optavia. These two weight loss program options each come with their own list of pros and cons.

For example, the Nutrisystem program uses pre-packaged meals and snacks to help you stay on track during your weight loss journey. For some, prepared meals are a convenient option that helps you stick to your calorie and weight loss goals. For others, this diet program may be too restrictive.

Let’s dive into these diet programs further to explore their offerings, shortcomings, and benefits.

In A Nutshell – What Is Nutrisystem?

The Nutrisystem program provides meals and snacks to your door every month. The premise behind this weight loss program is that you’ll be eating six small meals throughout the day. Depending on your needs, you will likely eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day on the Nutrisystem diet.

This program has been helping people lose weight since the 1970s. Multiple programs are available, with some including all meals and others including meals for 5/7 days of the week. This company also provides guidance and support for those on a weight loss journey.

In A Nutshell – What Is Optavia?

The Optavia diet focuses on a high protein, low calorie, low carb meal plan that limits the calorie count to about 800-1,000 per day. This program uses a combination of premade packaged foods and homemade guided recipes to help you lose weight. Additionally, the program also includes one-on-one coaching for individual support.

Three programs are available, each including different amounts of premade foods and home-cooked recipes. Optavia also focuses on creating healthy eating habits with those who select this diet program.

What’s The Main Difference Between Optavia And Nutrisystem, And Why Do We Feel That Nutrisystem Is A Weight Loss Winner?

Aspect Optavia Nutrisystem
Program Structure Combines pre-packaged meals (“fuelings”) with one self-prepared lean and green meal per day. Offers pre-packaged meals and snacks, with occasional flex meals that you prepare or dine out.
Coaching Provides access to personal health coaches to guide and support users through their weight loss journey. Offers dietitians and counselors for support, but not personalized coaching.
Meal Variety Offers a variety of “fuelings” including shakes, bars, and soups. Has a broader range of meals, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.
Price Generally more expensive due to the inclusion of coaching and specialized meals. Offers various plans at different price points, generally more affordable than Optavia.

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Five main differences arise when comparing the two diet programs, which helped push Nutrisystem to the forefront.

  • Nutrisystem is more cost-effective than Optavia.
  • The calories per day are higher with Nutrisystem.
  • The Nutrisystem diet is more flexible than Optavia.
  • There are more menu options with Nutrisystem (over 160).
  • Nutrisystem meals are available for more dietary preferences and requirements.

How Does Nutrisystem Work?

Nutrisystem focuses on a high protein, high fiber meal plan, which helps keep you full during the day. You’ll start by selecting a plan that meets your needs based on factors like age and gender. Then, you’ll order your meals, sign up with the app, which helps you eat on a regular schedule, and begin the weight loss journey.

How Does Optavia Work?

As mentioned, Optavia works by keeping those who follow the diet at a lower calorie count each day. If you select the 5&1 plan, you’ll eat five pre-packed meals (fuelings) daily and one home-cooked meal (green and lean meals).

The pre-packaged foods Optavia offers are around 100-110 calories a piece. As far as the lean and green meals go, they need to have 5-7 ounces of lean protein, three portions of a non-starchy veggie, and 1-2 servings of healthy fat.

How Much Weight Does The Average Person Lose On Nutrisystem And Optavia?

Since the programs are quite different, you can expect the weight loss to vary between each. Nutrisystem advertises an average weight loss of up to 13 pounds for women and 18 pounds for men in the first month. After that, you’ll see a decrease of about 1-2 pounds per week.

The amount you lose while on Optavia varies depending on if you follow the 4&2&1 plan or the 5&1 plan. The 5&1 plan is a more aggressive form of weight loss, with five fuelings and one lean and green meal daily. Many people who follow this plan see about a 12-pound weight decrease within a 12-week timeframe. Regarding the 4&2&1 and 3&3 plans, weight loss varies depending on multiple characteristics, such as age, activity level, etc. There is no average amount listed for this plan.

Weight Loss Programs & Plans Comparison Between Optavia And Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem has five plans, while Optavia only offers three plans. Nutrisystem’s programs differ depending on your goals, gender, age, etc. By offering more plans, you can find an option that fits your needs more easily. Below is a quick breakdown of the available options.

  • Nutrisystem for Men – This program is geared toward men who want to lose weight. It has a higher calorie count than the other programs.
  • Partner Plans – This plan is meant for couples who want to lose weight together.
  • Nutrisystem D – Nutrisystem D is meant for those with pre-Diabetes or Diabetes types 1 & 2. The meals are designed and prepped by doctors and nutritionists to help those with diabetes lose weight and keep their A1C levels down.
  • Complete by Nutrisystem – This program is designed by dieticians to help you lose weight over six months. Complete by Nutrisystem uses three phases to help you on your journey.
  • Complete 55 – This program is ideal for those who are over the age of 55.

The following Nutrisystem plans fall under most of the above categories.

  • Basic – This is the most budget-friendly plan. It includes meals for five days during the week. The other two days, you can create healthy homemade recipes.
  • Uniquely Yours – Includes frozen meals and restaurant faves meals. This option also includes meals and snacks for five days.
  • Uniquely Yours Max+ – You have the option to eat Nutrisystem’s premade meals five or seven days a week with this program. It also offers access to the Hearty Inspirations premium meals.

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Optavia’s programs are quite different, as they are based on how many homemade meals you eat versus premade food. The lean & clean meals are meals you won’t get meal kits for, and will need to buy extra groceries and make the meals yourself based on Optavia Green & Lean recipes!

Below you’ll find more details on their program offerings:

  • 5&1 – The 5&1 plan includes five fuelings and one green and lean meal.
  • 4&2&1 – If you select this program, expect to eat four fuelings, two green and lean meals, and a snack every day. It is geared toward those with a higher calorie need.
  • 3&3 – This is the transition program to help you shift from weight loss into maintenance. This program includes three fuelings and three green and lean meals.

Menu Variety Comparison: Who Has More Food Options And Pre-Packaged Meals?

Nutrisystem is the winner in this category, offering 160+ menu options split between snacks and premade meals.

In contrast, Optivia offers three options that coordinate with the available plans. You can also select from a handful of snacks, lean and green meals (you will get only the recipes and not the prepared meals or meal kits!), fuelings, and infusers (drink options). These options are additional to the items in each of Optavia’s program deliveries.

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Nutrisystem Menu

nutri meal plans menu

Optavia Meals

Some Sample Meals From Nutrisystem

  • Dinner – Red Pepper Chicken And Pasta Sauté
  • Lunch -Sweet & Tangy Tuna Salad
  • Breakfast – Homestyle Healthy Pancakes
  • Snacks – Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich

Some Sample Menu Items From Optavia

  • Breakfast – Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
  • Snacks – Strawberry Yogurt Bar
  • Snacks – Olive Oil & Sea Salt Popcorn
  • Shakes – Creamy Chocolate Shake

Meal Customization Comparison

As mentioned, Nutrisystem offers more customization options than Optavia. With Nutrisystem, you can filter meals based on your dietary needs. For example, with Nutrisystem, you can search for diabetes-friendly options, non-spicy foods, dairy-free options, and more. You can also filter the meals based on the cooking method, whether they’re frozen, and by specific ingredients.

In contrast, the options Optavia offers are more limited. You can simply select different flavors of fuelings for your deliveries. You can also select the snack and meal add-ons for your box. It’s important to note there are options for some dietary restrictions, such as those with diabetes, people who eat gluten-free, and vegetarians.

The Ordering, Delivery, And Shipping Processes

In this category, there’s no clear winner. Nutrisystem and Optavia offer easy ordering, delivery, and shipping processes. The snacks and prepared meals are clearly labeled, making it easy to unbox the orders in an organized manner. Additionally, frozen/cold items arrive in coolers for safe transit.

It’s worth noting the recyclability of Nutrisystem’s packaging is slightly higher than Optavia’s. Nutrisystem has cut down on pamphlets/instructions since implementing the NuMi app.

Nutrisystem and Optavia deliver outside of the contiguous US. Nutrisystem orders are typically delivered between 1-10 days, while Optavia orders arrive between 3-8 days. 

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Customer Support And Diet Coaching Comparison

Both Nutrisystem and Optavia have customer support teams that can be contacted via phone or email during working hours. However, Nutrisystem also has a live chat option for quicker responses. Additionally, there is more flexibility with changing/canceling a Nutrisystem order. You can alter a delivery until the day before it ships (before 6 pm ET), whereas you need to change or cancel an Optavia order within 24 hours from when it was placed.

Each program offers coaching to support you through your weight loss journey. If you have questions about Nutrisystem, you can call and talk to a dietician to discuss concerns or receive support.

With Optavia, you will work directly with a coach to help you stay on track and learn healthy habits. You’re connected to a coach typically at the start of the program.

Price Comparison: Is Nutrisystem Or Optavia More Affordable?

When comparing the pricing, it’s necessary to note the pricing varies between each company’s programs. However, when comparing similar programs (Uniquely Yours Max+ and the Essential Optimal Kit), Nutrisystem came out more budget-friendly. It is about 8% cheaper to order Nutrisystem (comparing the noted programs) than Optavia. Plus, Nutrisystem sends the lean meals prepared, versus Optavia gives you only the recipes for most meals and not the meal itself.

Of course, this only considers the prepared meals and snacks you receive. Nutrisystem and Optavia require additional groceries (depending on the selected meal plan).

What Do People Say? Some Customer Reviews

Overall, the reviews for Nutrisystem are more positive than negative. Multiple people who rated the program noted their weight loss in the review. A few positives mentioned in the reviews include an appreciation for the support, recipes, and NuMi app. One reviewer noted, “I loved that I could customize my order. The food is delicious and convenient, and the guides and journal helped me create routine and smart choices for healthy eating…” A few reviews did include requests for changes, such as adding new recipes regularly.

As for the reviews of Optavia, they are split almost evenly between negative and positive. Some reviewers note a large weight loss from following the program. One reviewer noted, “I have gotten fuelings from this company for four years. I improved my pre-diabetes and my cholesterol.” Other reviewers noted issues with canceling the service and refunds.

Final Thoughts – Our Winner Is Nutrisystem!

When comparing Nutrisystem vs. Optavia, we came up with a clear winner – Nutrisystem!

Overall, we believe it is easier to follow since you receive pre-packed foods for all meals and snacks for most of (or all of) the week. With a busy schedule, not worrying about planning healthy meals during the day is a major benefit. Additionally, since there is less time spent on meal planning, prep, and cleanup, there’s more time for other activities like walking and heading to the gym. The final push for Nutrisystem came from the pricing – which is more budget-friendly than Optavia.

While we selected Nutrisystem over Optavia, that does not mean the Optavia diet isn’t right for some people. Claim your special offer for Nutrisystem >>

This diet program is geared toward those who need to lose weight rapidly. Additionally, it can benefit those who want to decrease their weight to help with cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also helps build healthy eating habits by teaching you how to cook homemade lean and green meals.

Why Trust Us?

Our team personally tests every meal plan before creating reviews to ensure we’re offering accurate information and details on various programs. During this process, we test the customer service team, order directly from the website, try the meals, etc.

The information is notated from this process to use in company reviews. We strive to provide authentic reviews on each program to aid you in decision-making when comparing meal kits and prepared meal companies. Our primary goal is to offer informative content that benefits the reader.

About the author


Related FAQ’s

Losing weight quickly due to a low-calorie intake is more unsustainable than following a program encouraging you to move more and eat more calories. Meaning it is easier to fall off of a restrictive diet. Additionally, you may not receive the necessary nutrients daily since the calorie count is relatively low.

The Optavia diet is quite restrictive, with most people averaging about 800-1000 calories daily. Since it is so restrictive, weight gain will likely occur after transitioning out of the diet. According to the National Library of Medicine, weight loss due to calorie restriction causes an “energy gap.” This energy gap means those on restrictive diets will be hungrier and have less energy, which signals their body to crave and eat more calories, leading to weight gain.

Restricting calories dramatically can also lead to a slowed metabolism, which can also cause weight gain. According to Healthline, eating too low of calories (under 1000 per day) can trick your body into believing food is scarce. So, your body will lower the rate of calories it burns to account for the scarcity.

There is a significant difference when comparing Optavia and Nutrisystem’s weight loss results. While both Nutrisystem and Optavia have success stories, the amount of weight lost is quite different. Many of Nutrisystem’s success stories include a weight loss of about 20-80 pounds. In comparison, those on the Optavia diet have lost anywhere from 25 – 190 pounds.

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