Can I Have Microwave Popcorn On Optavia?

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Optavia is a popular diet program that involves replacing meals with pre-packaged “fuelings” and incorporating “lean and green” meals. With its focus on meal replacements, some people wonder if you can have microwave popcorn on Optavia. Let’s take a deeper look at the Optavia diet, whether popcorn is allowed, and some healthy popcorn alternatives.

Key Takeaways

1. Yes, you can have popcorn on the Optavia diet, as long as you stick to plain, air-popped varieties in moderation. Limit portions to 1-2 cups.
2. Optavia allows up to 3 snacks per day, so popcorn can be one of these snacks. Just don’t let it replace your fuelings.
3. When choosing microwave popcorn, look for low calorie, low fat options made with healthier oils.
4. Alternatives like vegetables, edamame, kale chips and nuts can provide crunch too.
5. Popcorn is relatively low carb, making it a keto-friendly snack when topped with fat like butter.
6. Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest preparation method, avoiding fat and calories.
7. Moderation and portion control are key when enjoying popcorn or any snack while on the Optavia program.

What is the Optavia Diet?

Optavia is a commercial weight loss program that uses pre-packaged meals, called “fuelings”, to help promote weight loss. The plan involves:

  • Eating 5 Optavia fuelings per day. These are calorie-controlled, nutritionally balanced shakes, bars, soups, puddings, and more.
  • Eating 1 “lean and green” meal per day. This is a meal of lean protein + non-starchy veggies.
  • Drinking 64 oz of water per day.
  • Taking supplements provided by Optavia.
  • Adding in 3 healthy snacks per day as desired.

This structured approach helps control calories while still providing steady nutrition throughout the day. By relying primarily on the pre-made fuelings, it takes away the effort of meal planning and preparation.

Optavia Fuelings for Weight Loss

The Optavia fuelings are intended to simplify weight loss. Here are some of their key features:

  • Calorie-controlled – Each fueling contains 100-160 calories to control your daily calorie intake.
  • High protein – Fuelings provide 15-25g of protein to support satiety and lean muscle mass.
  • Low carb – Most fuelings contain 15g net carbs or less.
  • Portioned – They come in individually packaged servings for grab-and-go convenience.
  • Nutritionally complete – Fuelings provide 24 essential vitamins and minerals.

By consuming 5 per day plus a lean protein meal, this provides enough calories and nutrition for safe weight loss.

Can You Have Popcorn on Optavia?

So can you enjoy popcorn while following the Optavia plan? The answer is yes, popcorn can be part of a healthy Optavia diet when eaten in moderation.

Popcorn is considered a whole grain and provides fiber, making it a nutritious choice. Optavia allows up to 3 snacks per day, so popcorn can fit into your snack allotment.

When choosing popcorn for Optavia, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Go for plain, air-popped popcorn – This avoids unhealthy oils and toppings. Air popped has the lowest calories.
  • Watch your portions – Stick to 1-2 cups popped popcorn per serving. Measure it out to keep portions in check.
  • Avoid pre-packaged microwave popcorn – These often have a lot of fat, salt and preservatives.
  • Count it towards your daily snack allotment – Don’t overdo it on popcorn so it replaces your fuelings.

As long as you stick to reasonable portions of plain popcorn, it can be included as part of an Optavia diet. Moderation and mindfulness are key when incorporating popcorn or any snack into your plan.

Healthy Popcorn Alternatives for Optavia

If you want to change up your snack routine, here are some other crunchy, low-calorie snacks that can work for Optavia:

Crunchy Vegetable Snacks

For those looking to switch up their snacking options beyond popcorn, there are plenty of other satisfying, crunchy snacks that can work within the Optavia plan. These provide a nice change of pace while still being diet-friendly.

One great option is munching on raw, crunchy vegetables. Carrots, celery, bell peppers, jicama and radishes all provide hearty crunch and satisfying fiber. Eating them raw with just a squeeze of lemon or lime juice is the lowest calorie preparation.

However, for added flavor, you can roast them in the oven at 400°F until they develop a crispy, caramelized exterior. The high heat helps bring out the natural sweetness. Another cooking method is air frying, which also crisps them up without the need for any added oil. Just be sure to cut them into evenly sized pieces first for quick, even cooking.

Protein-Packed Edamame

For those who love edamame, these can make for a protein-rich snack between Optavia fuelings. Edamame, which are immature green soybeans, can be purchased either in the pod or shelled. Boiling them quickly in salted water makes for an easy preparation. The salty, savory beans can then be sprinkled with a bit of additional sea salt and make for a satisfying finger food. Just 1/2 cup of shelled edamame contains over 10 grams of plant-based protein.

Baked Kale Chips

Kale chips are another nutrient-dense snack option for those on Optavia. To make them, start by removing the thick stems from lacinato or curly kale. Then tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, toss them with a small amount of olive oil, and spread them on a lined baking sheet.

Bake at 275°F for 60-90 minutes, until the leaves become paper-thin and crispy. The low and slow baking helps remove moisture while crisping them up, creating a healthy chip alternative. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt right when they come out for added flavor.

Whole Grain Crackers and Cheese

For those who love crackers and crunch, there are some good whole grain options that pair well with Optavia. Try crackers made from brown rice, quinoa, flaxseed, or other whole grains. These provide fiber and nutrients. Pair them with a thin wedge of laughing cow cheese to add satiating protein to your snack.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Another creative snack idea is crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, then toss them with a small amount of olive oil, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Roast them in the oven at 400°F for 30-60 minutes until crispy. Shake them halfway through for even cooking. The crunchy roasted legumes are packed with protein and fiber. Portion them out to keep calories in check.

Plant-Based Protein Chips

In the chip aisle, look for snacks made from alternative bases like black beans, chickpeas, lentils or edamame rather than potatoes or corn. Brands like Beanitos and Sensible Portions offer more plant-based protein.

For the lightest option, go for pre-popped chips made from rice, vegetables or greens. These air popped chips avoid the fat and calories of traditional frying. Popcorn itself makes a great high-fiber, low-calorie chip alternative.

Related: Guide to Microwaving Lentils Efficiently

Portion-Controlled Nuts

Finally, a small handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios can provide nutrition and crunch. Since they are calorie-dense, keeping portions small is key. An ounce or two makes the perfect diet-friendly snack.

With so many crunchy possibilities, there are plenty of satisfying ways to mix up your snack routine while succeeding on Optavia. Moderation and variety are vital.

Optavia Approved Popcorn Brands

If choosing pre-packaged popcorn for convenience, here are some recommended brands that would fit into an Optavia diet:

SkinnyPopMade with sunflower oil. 100 calories per cup.
Boom Chicka PopCoconut oil and sea salt. 70 calories per cup.
Angie’sKernel Seasons has fun flavors. About 55 calories per cup.
Penns Corner Amish PopcornCoconut oil. 70 calories per cup.
Simpli G94% fat free. 50 calories per cup.
Smartfood94% fat free white cheddar. 50 calories per cup.

When comparing microwave popcorn brands, look for these key features:

  • Made with healthier oils like sunflower or coconut oil
  • Lower in calories per serving
  • Low in fat
  • No added butter or toppings

Stick to single serving sizes and weigh out your portion. This will help keep calories in check while enjoying the convenience of pre-made popcorn.

Microwave Popcorn vs Air Popped

How does microwave popcorn compare to air popped when it comes to nutritional value? Here’s a quick comparison:

Microwave PopcornAir Popped Popcorn
Calories55-120 per cup31 per cup
Fat2.5-7g per cup0.4g per cup
Sodium150-290mg per cup0mg per cup
ConvenienceVery convenientRequires popcorn popper
CostCheap$0.10 per serving

As you can see, air popped popcorn wins out when it comes to nutritional profile and calories. But microwave popcorn offers big convenience, especially when you’re busy.

Overall, both can fit into an Optavia plan in moderation. Just be mindful of calories, fat, and sodium when choosing microwave popcorn brands.

Is Popcorn Keto-Friendly?

What about followers of the keto diet – is popcorn still on the menu? The answer is yes, popcorn can fit into a keto eating plan in moderation.

Here’s what makes popcorn keto-friendly:

  • Low carb – 1 cup of air popped popcorn has about 5g net carbs
  • High fiber – Almost all carbs in popcorn come from fiber
  • Low glycemic index – Doesn’t spike blood sugar

To make popcorn more keto-approved, avoid microwave popcorn since it can contain added sugars. Stick to air popped and top it with high fat ingredients:

  • Butter or ghee
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chopped nuts

This pumps up the fat content to balance the carbs. Just stick to reasonable portions since calories can add up quickly.

Tips for Air Popping Popcorn

Air popping popcorn on the stovetop is easy, fast, and budget-friendly. Here are some tips:

  • Use a popcorn popper – This gives the kernels space to pop evenly
  • Heat the popper – Let it fully preheat before adding kernels
  • Use healthy oils – Try coconut, avocado, olive or sunflower oil
  • Use 1/4 cup kernels – This yields about 8 cups of popcorn
  • Shake popper – Swirl oil and kernels for even popping
  • Listen for the pop – Once 2-3 seconds between pops, it’s done
  • Season and enjoy – Sprinkle with salt, nutritional yeast, spices or herbs

With these simple tips, you’ll be a popcorn pro in no time!

Can You Eat Popcorn on Optavia Snack Ideas

In addition to popcorn, Optavia offers a variety of healthy, satisfying snacks that can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Here are some great options:

1. Optavia Snacks

Optavia has its own line of portion-controlled snacks like:

  • Crisps & Pop Bars
  • Nutty Cran Vanilla Nut Mix
  • Double Chocolate Nut Mix
  • Sweet and Salty Nut Mix

2. Protein Snacks

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Protein shakes
  • Jerky
  • Hard boiled eggs

3. Veggies with Dip

  • Carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers with hummus or guacamole

4. Fruits

  • Apple slices
  • Berries
  • Orange segments
  • Grapes

5. Cheese

  • Laughing cow cheese wedges
  • Part skim string cheese
  • Babybel cheese rounds

With so many options, you can definitely find delicious snacks to satisfy any craving while staying true to your Optavia plan. Moderation and balance is key!

Optavia Popcorn FAQs

Still have some questions about eating popcorn on the Optavia diet? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I eat microwave popcorn on Optavia?

Yes, you can eat microwave popcorn in moderation as part of your snack allowance. Look for low calorie, low fat varieties to stay aligned with Optavia guidelines.

How much popcorn can I eat per day on Optavia?

It’s recommended to stick to 1-2 cups of air popped popcorn per day. You can have up to 3 snacks per day.

Is popcorn a free food on Optavia?

No, popcorn is not considered a free food. It should be counted as one of your snack servings for the day. Be mindful of portions.

What are some good popcorn seasoning ideas?

Try a light sprinkle of salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, garlic powder, chili powder or Parmesan cheese.

Can I eat popcorn on Optavia 5&1 plan?

Yes, you can eat popcorn on the 5&1 plan as one of your snacks for the day. Just be sure to count it as a snack serving.

Is popcorn allowed on Optavia lean and green?

Popcorn is not recommended for lean and green meals, as these focus on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables. Enjoy popcorn as a snack instead.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, popcorn can be part of a healthy Optavia diet when eaten in moderation. Focus on sensible portion sizes of air popped or low calorie microwave varieties. Be mindful of excessive fat, salt and calories that can come with some microwave popcorn brands or toppings.

Pair your popcorn snack with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and Optavia fuelings throughout the day. This balanced approach will help support your weight loss goals while still allowing you to enjoy a satisfying snack like popcorn. Moderation and variety are key to success when following Optavia or any diet plan.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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