Every year millions of people around the world pledge to lose weight and get healthy in the New Year. Unfortunately many fail within the first few weeks, but some go on to succeed and become the healthiest versions of themselves in a long time.
While many people succeed with working with a personal trainer and eliminating the unhealthy food in favor of colorful vegetables and lean protein, some people need a little more help in the means of pre-packaged portion-controlled meals.
The Medifast Diet and Nutrisystem Diet programs have each been around for several decades. Millions of people in the United States have had great success with each program over the years.
While each program is quite similar, Medifast and Nutrisystem do have their differences. Of course, portion control is one of the benefits of both programs (portion sizes have long been a key to weight loss program success).
Bottom Line Up Front: We prefer the modernized green meals with more choices and more fresh ingredients offered by Nutrisystem here. Another advantage is that Nutrisystem offers better introductory offers here, compared to Medifast.
Let’s begin the investigation of what these diet plans have to offer, what makes them good food choices, and some things to consider when choosing a new diet plan!
Main Differences Between Medifast vs Nutrisystem
The main differences between Medifast and Nutrisystem are:
- Nutrisystem offers over 150 meal choices, whereas Medifast is limited to around 70 meals
- Nutrisystem incorporates fresh fruits and veggies, whereas Medifast is limited to frozen
- Medifast does not require supplemental shopping, whereas Nutrisystem requires some for fruit, veggies, and fish
- Nutrisystem generally offers larger introductory discounts compared to Medifast
About the Medifast Diet
Dr. William Vitale developed the Medifast Diet in 1980 based on a long clinical heritage of facilitating weight loss in thousands of patients over the years as a registered dietician.
Today, over 20,000 doctors have recommended the Medifast diet program across the country to their overweight and obese patients. While the original diet was only available under the guidance of a doctor’s supervision, Medifast is now available on the mass market for at home use.
Many diets and weight loss programs require people to track calories and keep food journals, but Medifast is different. Medifast is a meal delivery service that sends high protein meals directly to your home. No more trips to the crowded grocery store on Sundays when you’d rather be at home playing with your kids.
Medifast Menu In General
The Medifast diet consists of a menu of shakes, bars, soups, and other side dishes that you can pair up to create your desired menu of the day.
This is an easy way for portion control, and with over 70 meal options are available to satisfy everyone’s unique palate and dietary needs. Kosher, low glycemic, lactose-free and vegetarian options are all available on the Medifast Diet plan.
Each day you will eat five prepared meals with one being a “Lean and Green Meal,” often referred to as the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan. The “Lean and Green Meal” consists of a lean protein (like chicken, turkey or fish) with a tablespoon’s worth of condiment (i.e., ranch dressing, ketchup, etc.) and a side dish of your choice.
Side dish options generally consist of a salad, raw or cooked vegetables.
The Medifast Diet recommends that you eat every three hours to encourage your body to keep your metabolism high and avoid hunger. When you start to feel hungry this is when people start to slip up and eat unhealthy snacks. Dieters tend to enjoy this part of the diet because there is less time to feel hungry. Here are some of the best Medifast foods to eat when you feel hungry, and to obtain weight loss results while doing it.
At the beginning of your Medifast Diet plan, you will remove all high carbohydrate vegetables, like corn and carrots, to help jump-start your weight loss goals.
Over the past 20 years, people have had great success with the Medifast Diet. Several clinical research studies, including one from John Hopkins, found the Medifast Diet to be safe and help people quickly and safely lose weight by decreasing the number of calories they consume on a daily basis.
- Convenient, prepared food sent directly to your house (pre-packaged meals)
- Over 70 food options to choose from
- Clinically proven long-term weight loss program
- Doctor recommended
- Foods and plans to meet a wide variety of dietary needs, such as diabetes and gluten free or lactose-free dietary needs
- Must cut carbohydrates, especially at the beginning of the plan
- Difficult to transition back to regular self-prepared meals after diet
- Difficult to go out to eat and attend social gatherings
- Can be expensive, but check out this link for the latest discounts.
About the Nutrisystem Diet
The Nutrisystem Diet was developed by Harold Katz and has been a popular meal delivery service for over 35 years. Since 1972 Nutrisystem has helped millions of people lose weight through its convenient prepared portion-controlled meals delivered to your doorstep. (Here are the best Nutrisystem Plans)
Nutrisystem was one of the first diet companies to offer meal delivery services, which revolutionized how many diet companies work in the hustle and bustle of today’s world. Between the pantry-ready and frozen meals, Nutrisystem offers over 150 different menu options.
In 2014 Nutrisystem launched its Nutrisystem My Way program that allows customers to create customized plans based on their own metabolism. The plan calculates a person’s metabolic rate through various factors such as age, gender, weight, and level of daily physical activity.
In addition to providing customized meals to meet your metabolic needs, Nutrisystem meals meet national guidelines for dietary intake of fat, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and fiber. Each meal is portioned and balanced for low glycemic index eating.
The 150 meal and snack options provide a wide variety of people who tend to get bored by eating the same meal over and over again, which means a lot of food choices for most dieters. From muffins to roasted vegetable pizza to mac and cheese, there is something for everyone.
And don’t think dessert is out of the picture! Nutrisystem dessert options include chocolate, ice cream, and even whoopie pies. While most meals come pre-packaged and ready for you to warm up, you will have to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery food to supplement the meal plan. Food shipments come in 28-day shipments.
- Features over 150 different meal and snack options to keep hunger pangs at bay
- Ships in 28-day allotments
- Customizable based on your unique metabolic rate
- Vegetarian and diabetic friendly for blood sugar control (blood sugar levels)
- Balance low glycemic index meals with meals that taste great
- Expensive, but you can save 40% here.
- Still need to purchase food at the grocery store to supplement the plan
- Some meals leave you feeling hungry afterward
- Difficult to go out to eat and attend social gatherings
The Comparison Guide – Nutrisystem vs Medifast
|Medifast Diet||Nurtisystem Diet|
|Diet Type:||Meal Delivery System||Meal Delivery System|
|Number of Meal Options:||Over 70||Over 150|
|Dietary Requirements:||Meals consist of 5-7 ounces of a lean protein, 0-2 servings of healthy fat and at least 3 servings of vegetables||Low glycemic index meals with a balanced portion of carbohydrates (50%), healthy fats (25%) and protein (25%)|
|Number of Meals a Day:||Three meals with two snacks||Three meals, two snacks with six servings of fresh fruits and veggies|
|Average Daily Calorie Intake:||Between 1,000 to 1,300||Women – 1,200|
Men – 1,5000
|Grocery Shopping Required:||No||Yes for fresh vegetables, fruit, and fish|
|Shipment Size:||14 days or 30 days||28 Days|
|Meal Types:||Pantry-ready and frozen||Pantry-ready and frozen|
|Exercise Requirement:||Yes, recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, but does not provide any plans.||Yes, at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (about 30 minutes five days a week). Nutrisystem provides a customized fitness plan for each customer.|
|Cost per Month:||About $300-$400 (see here for latest Medifast Offers)||About $250-$550 (40% off coupon here)|
The Verdict – Which to Choose?
Bottom Line: We prefer the modernized green meals with more choices and more fresh ingredients offered by Nutrisystem here. Another advantage is that Nutrisystem offers better introductory offers here, compared to Medifast.
Both the Medifast and Nutrisystem Diets are very similar. Both are leading portion-controlled, low-calorie meal delivery services. Each plan offers pre-packaged pantry-ready and frozen meals and snacks to help losing weight. Both plans provide you with three meals and two snacks a day.
Both plans are expensive and average between $300 and $400 a month; however, Nutrisystem often offers special discounts on their plans to help you save money. If you have any dietary needs, such as gluten-free or lactose-free then Medifast is your best choice.
While the Medifast delivers everything you need for your meals to your doorstep, the Nutrisystem diet requires you to still go to the grocery store to purchase fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish.
At the end of the day, both plans are very similar and it is best to look at the food options for each plan to determine which program seems tastier to you. Both plans offer trial packs to help you determine if the plan is right for you.
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.