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While Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig have been around for a number of years both companies continue to heavily market their products, with commercials and ads for both in a number of popular magazines and on lifestyle TV channels.
These two companies are both very credible and though there has been some speculation if their success stories are typical or not there are plenty of dieters that find success.
Many people are drawn to the Jenny Craig System or Nutrisystem because they are so easy. Both diet program options focus on pre-cooked meals which are a nice choice for busy people that don’t have time to cook often. Both diets also have foods and snacks that appeal to people that don’t want to give up their favorite desserts or carb meals.
If these types of diets interest you, here is a breakdown of how each one works and some reasons why you may (or may not) want to choose one over the other.
My Bottom Line Up Front: I personally prefer Nutrisystem because it is more adaptable to different health restrictions and is more cost effective, especially if you can take advantage for 40% off promos like this one.
- 1 How the Nutrisystem Diet Works
- 2 Pros and Cons of the Nutrisystem Diet Plan
- 3 How the Jenny Craig System Works
- 4 Pros and Cons of the Jenny Craig System
- 5 Which is Better?
How the Nutrisystem Diet Works
Nutrisystem has been around since 1972 and still remains one of the major dieting companies in America. There approach to dieting revolves around pre-cooked meals and snacks for members, which they believe is more successful because it helps eliminate user error in cooking.
This system consists of four main plans:
Within these plans, you’ll also have choices for Basic, Core or Uniquely Yours memberships. Depending on the membership you choose you can get free shipping, diet support, access to more meals and more.
There are only two phases to Nutrisystem:
- Phase 1/Lean13 – Lean13 is Nutrisystem’s new program designed to kickstart weight loss. This first week comes with the Turbo Takeoff box with portion control meals and snacks designed to ignite fat loss more quickly.
- Phase 2 – After the first week you will eat the normal Nutrisystem diet, either for the 4-week plan or longer if you wish.
Nutrisystem Cost and Offer Details
The Nutrisystem plans range from $9.82 to $11.96 per day, depending on membership. All plans are 4-week durations and include 5 meals per day, allow for eating fresh produce, and are shipped to your door. This isn’t that outrageous considering you have to pay for food anyway. One of the benefits of the Nutrisystem cost is that you save money on eating out or overshopping! Planning is easy and quick and cost-effective.
Pricing Note: They frequently offer special promos for various plans. For example, right now you an save 40% off of the Lean 13 program here.
Nutrisystem Meal Plan
Each plan aims to help dieters lose up to 2lbs per week. Meals and snacks have very specific nutrition so you don’t have to worry about calories. Typically meals focus on high protein and fiber, with no low and no preservatives. There are over 150 different meal and snacks to choose from.
Here are some examples of foods in the Nutrisystem Program:
Nutrisystem® Cinnamon Roll
Low-fat string cheese and carrot sticks
Nutrisystem® Broccoli Cheese Melt
Low-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries
Nutrisystem® Spinach Stuffed Shells
Nutrisystem® Chocolate Brownie Sundae
Other foods you might enjoy:
- Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Nut Bar
- Ice Cream Sandwich
- Milk Chocolate Flavored Pretzels
- Chocolate Brownie Sundae
- Chocolate Cupcake
- Orange Cream Bar
- White Cheddar Popcorn
- Fudge Bar
- Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cheesecake Flavored Bar
- Whole Grain Soft Pretzel
- Toffee Crunch Cookies
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookie
- Chocolatey Pretzel Bar
- Chocolate Cake
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
- Peanut Butter Cookie
- Fudge Brownie
- Chocolate Caramel Bar
- Chewy Peanut Bar
- Sweet and Salty Snack Mix
- Snickerdoodle Cookie
- White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Golden Pound Cake
- Smoky BBQ Snack-A-Rounds
- Chocolatey Nougat Bar
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pie
- Thin Mint Crisp Bar
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Carrot Cake
- Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
- Coconut Almond Bar
- Honey Mustard Pretzel Bits
- Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
- Salt and Vinegar Snack-A-Rounds
- Stuffed Apple Pie
- Apple Pecan Bites
- Cheese Puffs
- Garlic Parmesan Snack-A-Rounds
- Zesty Herb Snack Mix
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie
- Stuffed Chocolate Pie
- Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Pros and Cons of the Nutrisystem Diet Plan
The major advantage of Nutrisystem program is that it offers a great selection of different foods and is very convenient. The easier a diet is to follow, the more likely dieters will find success. This is the main reason why many people do achieve excellent weight loss on this diet. Not to mention eliminating the needs to count calories, carbs or other macronutrients is a blessing.
The Nutrisystem program also has great dieter support, not only in the form of customer service but also in the form of counseling. It can be difficult to deal with cravings or feel unsure about whether a meal adheres to the Nutrisystem diet or not. This online and phone support can be helpful to those that have failed with other diets because they didn’t have support from friends or family.
A final pro is that Nutrisystem does stress the importance of exercise and includes them in their diet plans. Many diets forget to include advice for exercise or may not even mention it, to begin with. While it’s common sense that you’ll need to exercise for maximum weight loss, many dieters appreciate that Nutrisystem promotes a specific regimen.
A major con of the Nutrisystem Diet is that it focuses on pre-cooked meals. While this is a benefit for some, it simply doesn’t help people maintain healthy eating habits in the future. If dieters could focus more on not just eating better but actually making better meals, a healthier relationship with food would be established.
How the Jenny Craig System Works
The Jenny Craig System has been around since 1985 and is one of the most popular diet plans for women. It is very similar to Nutrisystem in that is eliminates the need for dieters to cook or do excessive meal prep while on the diet (with pre-packaged food options).
The Jenny Craig Plan
The success of the Jenny Craig System is largely due to the way it works in terms of personal support and membership. There are over 500 Jenny Craig centers with a total of 2,000+ professionals ready to help dieters. They also offer phone and email support/counseling, though they stress the importance of meeting in person at their centers at least once a week. Many dieters find this support invaluable as it can be tough to make these kinds of dietary changes alone.
Some Jenny Craig Plan Reviews
While many seem to be thrilled with the Jenny Craig program, there are just as many (if not more) people that find their services lacking. Here are a few of some actual reviews from Jenny Craig members, the good and the bad so you can make a more informed choice for this program!
“This is my second time at Jenny Craig. The first was in 1991, I lost 38 lbs in 8 weeks. This time I’ve lost 15 lbs in 17 days so far. All these people whining about the food quality and size are not really committed to losing weight. If you follow what they tell you to do and eat the food that you’re supposed to eat there’s no way you won’t lose weight. Yes, the food is more expensive than McDonald’s but then again you are getting balanced meals, low calories and control fat and carbs. Obviously that’s not what you were getting in your previous diet on your own. If you can muster a little self control you will succeed. I have nothing but great things to say about the Jenny Craig system.” Brian of Blacklick, OH
“I order chicken fettuccine and got my order this last weekend. Twice, this week, the containers came out of the package in one piece. When I took it out of the microwave I didn’t notice that one side of the container was missing and not to be found anywhere and so I must have ingested it. This happened again today and now I’m afraid to try anymore. I liked this service but they’re using subpar materials.” Michelle of Portland, OR
“This company is awful. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM! The food is barely edible. The portions are more than tiny. It is expensive. You do not lose the weight. Customer service is nasty. Other than that lol it’s great! They have unnecessary rules. One being you’re only allowed 4 substitutions per food order! What do they care if you pay for them. They only have to pack a different item. Ridiculous! Never mind for someone dieting with crummy food to choose from. I only have 10 pounds to lose. I can only imagine what if you had to be on this program for an extended period of time. Try anything else as this program is a sad joke.” Marianne of Kennesaw, GA
“My biggest problem, besides food price, is the change of consultants that happens every month. I just get a good feel with my consultant and then they move them around to another center and I’m back to starting all over again with a new person. I love the last consultant I had and now they moved her to another location and I feel like I don’t want to do this all over again with a new person. In the last 4 months, I have had 4 different consultants. This program emphasis having someone you can talk and relate to as helping with your weight loss goal, but now does that even help when you get a new person all the time. The program does work, but I think, even though I am a life time member that it’s time I do it without the Jenny Craig staff and expensive food.” Debbie of Hilliard, OH
“I first went to Jenny Craig in 1994 and lost 40 lbs in 8 months. Back then they had mandatory classes on nutrition, exercise, maintenance etc. I just went back last week again after 22 years and gaining back the weight after numerous back surgeries and the inability to exercise much. Things had changed, they no longer had the mandatory classes and the entire process has been streamlined. So far in week two, the food is small portions but filling and the weight is starting to go down very steadily. Most of the consultants there have been through the Jenny Craig weight loss program themselves, so they have their own stories. The staff has been great and seem to really be about your being successful. Yes, the food is extremely expensive, but you get what you pay for, well portioned foods which are fairly tasty.” HA of San Ramon, CA
Reviews are all from, Consumer Affairs. Check out more Jenny Craig reviews here: Consumer Affair Reviews for Jenny Craig.
Jenny Craig Meal Plan
Diet-wise Jenny Craig offers over 100 different meal options, all of which are frozen or shelf stable and require reheating. You can also find snacks like kettle corn. Each meal is specifically designed for weight loss and includes the macronutrients you need to be healthy. Like Nutrisystem, you won’t need to count calories or worry about those things. Simply eat your daily meals and you’ll be good to go.
Before ordering your meals you will need to meet with a consultant to develop a diet plan, as well as designing a matching exercise regimen.
Here is a sample menu:
Breakfast: Jenny Craig Blueberry Muffin, 2 oz. String Cheese, 2 cups Coffee w/4 tablespoons sugar-free Vanilla creamer
Snack 1: Jenny Cookies & Cream Anytime Bar
Lunch: Jenny Craig Turkey Club Panini, Green Beans, Apple
Snack: Jenny Craig S’mores Snack Bar
Dinner: Jenny Craig Rising Crust Pizza, 2 oz. String Cheese
Notice how you can make some food choices that are not Jenny Craig food items, like fresh fruit and vegetables, but for the most part, you’ll have to stick to the plan and choose Jenny Craig prepared food choices.
Here are some examples of foods in the Jenny Craig program:
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- Barscotti with Cranberries and Almonds
- Blueberry Pancakes & Sausage
- Breakfast Scramble
- Cheddar Cheese Omelet
- Chocolate Muffin
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon French Toast
- Kettle Corn
- Margherita Pizza
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Chicken Fettucine
- Chicken Street Tacos
- Turkey Burger
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
- Beef Chow Mein
- Beef Merlot
- Asian Style Chicken
- Butternut Squash Ravioli
- Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Potato
Pros and Cons of the Jenny Craig System
Like Nutrisystem, many people enjoy the Jenny Craig System because it simplifies eating. Instead of having to research a diet plan, gather recipes and cook all on your own, all you need to worry about with this diet is choosing the pre-made meals you want from a long list. Many people already fail at dieting on their own because they don’t have the time or willpower to cook every day. With Jenny Craig, this isn’t an issue.
The obvious downside to Jenny Craig is that it requires a membership fee, which doesn’t include costs of meals. This system can quickly get expensive and some dieters find it isn’t worth the high cost when there are less expensive options.
Also, some dieters have found that being stuck with frozen or shelf-stable foods isn’t appealing to the taste buds. While Jenny Craig claims to have some of the best tasting meals, you might find you don’t enjoy them.
Another thing to consider is that the Jenny Craig meals are designed for the average person and are not appropriate for those with diet restrictions. If you require gluten-free meals, are a vegetarian, can’t consume sugar or are allergic to peanuts, you won’t be able to eat these meals.
Which is Better?
Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig have both been proven to be successful for years, helping many people lose weight and keep it off long-term. However, it seems as though Nutrisystem may be the better choice for a few reasons. If you’re torn between the two system, you may want to give Nutrisystem a try first.
They offer excellent customer support and counseling, have a huge selection of foods and include snacks as well as desserts.
Bottom Line: Many fans find that Nutrisystem meals taste better, not to mention those with dietary restrictions, like diabetics and vegetarians, can still enjoy this diet. Nutrisystem is also less expensive and offers a risk-free guarantee, something rarely found in dieting programs. If you are interested in trying, be sure to save 40% off of every order here.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.