Weight-loss programs have been popular for decades, and with each emerging trend, new ones seem to pop out every few months. But among all the viral social media trends and short-lived "miracle" diets there are some tried-and-true classics. Jenny Craig versus Nutrisystem is a battle between two of the long-standing weight-loss programs, with thousands of satisfied customers on both ends. But if you were to choose one, which one would be best to fit your lifestyle and goals?
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, from their biggest virtues to their negatives, so you can choose which one is right for you.
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Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem
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Jenny Craig is a popular weight-loss program that offers three different plans, depending on your budget and weekly schedule. It includes chef-prepared meals designed by nutritionists, one-on-one coaching, and even an option for your coach to help create a personal menu that fits your needs. Their programs are based on studies and intermittent fasting that help accelerate weight loss and lower overall inflammation.
Jenny Craig is also famous for its signature product called the Recharge bar, which is designed to help increase your fat burn, suppress your appetite, and aid your weight-loss efforts. Additionally, they include an exercise plan that helps improve weight loss, increase your energy expenditure, and help you stay consistent with the program as a whole.
What We Like
- Meals designed by chefs and nutritionists
- Programs supported by scientific data
- Includes an activity plan to help improve weight loss
- One-on-one coaching and personalized meal plans
What We Don't Like
- Highly-processed ingredients
- Not suitable for vegans or those following a low-carb diet
- The basic plan only includes breakfast and lunch
- No free delivery on the basic plan
Nutrisystem offers a variety of weight-loss programs and one-on-one coaching tailored to fit your health and fitness goals. Their starter program that made them so popular is still the most sought after and that's why, in 2021, they relaunched as All-New Nutrisystem® which is completely tailored to the individual.
The program includes ready meals, frozen meals, and a variety of shakes, snacks, and desserts; you can even choose from their a la carte option on the website. Every program rolls out for four weeks at a time and includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks per day, five days a week. This gives you flexibility so that you can still fit it into your lifestyle while enjoying your weekly night out with your friends or family lunch on Sundays.
What We Like
- Convenient, easy-to-follow meal plans
- Special meal plans for diabetics, vegetarians, and women over 55
- Tailored approach and customizable meal plans for individuals
What We Don't Like
- Highly-processed meals
- Not suitable for vegans
- The seven-day-a-week option is only included with the most expensive plan
What is Nutrisystem?
Founded in the 1970s, Nutrisystem is a convenient and easy-to-follow, four-week weight-loss program that creates a meal plan for you so you don't have to worry about any aspect of your daily menu. Every meal is carefully planned out and nutritionally balanced so you don't feel like you're missing out on any macronutrient, vitamin, mineral, or even your favorite meal.
The brand offers weight-loss programs for men and women, a special option that includes servings for two people, a weight-loss program for diabetics, a vegetarian plan, and a Complete 55 plan for women over 55 years of age. The regular plans and the diabetic plan come in three tiers so you can choose the best option for you and your budget. The more you spend, the more food options, menu items, and special features you get, and the diabetic plan comes with a special Nutrisystem® D® meal plan which helps regulate your blood sugar levels and stays away from high-carbohydrate ingredients.
Unfortunately, as good as this all sounds, their meals are highly processed and rich in artificial ingredients. They do offer diabetic plans which make their meals slightly better for your digestion and blood sugar levels, but the artificial ingredients could still potentially cause gastrointestinal problems and inflammation.
What is Jenny Craig?
Jenny Craig is another famous weight-loss program that offers a variety of meals, desserts, shakes, and snacks created by their in-house team of chefs, culinary experts, and nutritionists. They offer three plan options, starting with their most basic one that only includes breakfasts and lunches for the full week. The second tier includes dinners, but it's not until you get to the third, and most expensive, option that you get a variety of options users rave about.
The most expensive plan includes personal coaching, activity plans, free delivery, and even special offers like "buy three weeks and get the fourth free." Their meals aren't suitable for vegans or those following a low-carb diet, and they're mostly highly processed and include added sugars and a variety of artificial ingredients to improve taste and shelf life.
Similarities Between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are popular, four-week weight-loss programs that have been known in the diet industry for decades. They offer prepared meal plans that you can conveniently and easily reheat, which removes hassle and stress around food and whether or not you'll have the time to prepare anything.
These weight-loss programs make it easy to stay on track and only eat the allocated number of calories without feeling like you're missing out on the taste and flavor, but they do contain highly-processed ingredients and added sugars that might potentially cause your inflammation to worsen. This can make it harder for you to keep losing weight long-term, even with reduced caloric intake.
Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem both offer three different tiers of meal plans so you can choose the one which best fits your budget and schedule, allowing you to switch them up whenever it suits you. They are also chef-prepared and come with a proprietary app where you can track your meals and progress, manage your membership, and remove or add items from their plans.
They are also both quite expensive when you put the numbers down on paper, so it's hard to imagine they could be a long-term solution. Still, they both offer a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the results.
Differences Between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
The real Jenny Craig versus Nutrisystem reviews show up in their differences. Even though they're promising the same thing and focusing on sustainable weight loss as their primary goal, they have some notable differences that can be non-negotiable for someone depending on their needs, weekly schedule, and financial abilities.
First and foremost, Jenny Craig only offers three plans while Nutrisystem has a variety of specialty plans like the diabetic plan, vegetarian plan, and the one for women over 55 years of age that's tailored to their hormonal changes when they reach menopause.
Secondly, Jenny Craig doesn't offer any meal plans that are suitable for vegans or vegetarians, or even for those who are following a low-carb diet or need to abstain from sugars.
Third, Nutrisystem offers all three meals and snacks with all of their plans while Jenny Craig includes all of it only in their most expensive option. On the other hand, Jenny Craig offers meals seven days a week while Nutrisystem only has that option in their most expensive plan (usually it's five days a week with eight flexible meals).
Fourth, in their most expensive plan, Jenny Craig includes an activity program, personal coaching, and even the ability to personalize your meal plan to fit your specific needs. Nutrisystem doesn't offer exercise, but it does have one-on-one personal coaching that's available on demand, no matter what plan you choose.
And last, but not least, Nutrisystem offers free delivery no matter what plan you go for, while Jenny Craig charges a delivery fee for their basic Simple Meal Plan.
Which is Best for Me: Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem?
When it comes to Jenny Craig versus Nutrisystem, there's a variety of things to consider. How is your weekly schedule structured? Are you someone who needs meals seven days a week or someone who enjoys having a more flexible weekend? Are you a vegetarian or someone who needs to adhere to low-carb rules? Are you interested in a personalized activity plan or would you rather get it from another source? And finally, how much money are you willing to spend on your weight-loss plan?
After you sit down and answer these questions, you'll have a much clearer picture of which weight-loss program is better for you. Still, keep in mind that both of these brands don't have the cleanest ingredients. This might deter you from trying either one of these popular weight-loss programs and choosing to find a better way to lose weight and keep it off.
Weight loss is always best when it's sustainable and when you don't feel like you're restricting or forbidding certain foods. It's also the healthiest when you focus on wholesome, real foods that naturally contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other powerful health-boosting nutrients that help improve your overall health and well-being.
FAQs About Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem
Do most people lose weight on Nutrisystem?
Nutrisystem reviews show that most satisfied customers lose weight initially, which motivates them to stay on the program and continue their weight-loss journey. The ability to have one-on-one personal coaching keeps them accountable and makes it easier for them to stay on track with their goals.
What is the average cost of Jenny Craig per week?
The average cost of Jenny Craig depends on which plan you go for. If you choose the Simple Meal Plan and don't include any additional snacks or foods from their shop section, you're looking at around $100 per week, without shipping costs. This only includes two meals per day so you still need to get groceries for dinner and snacks.
If you get the Essential Meal Plan, the average cost per week will be around $150, this time including dinners; and if you get their Max Up Weight-Loss Meal Plan, the amount you'll have to allocate each week will be around $200.
How long does it take to see results with Jenny Craig?
Satisfied customers report different results which depend on their particular case, but a study that was done on their Max Up plan showed an average weight loss of 15 pounds in the first four weeks and then 1-2 pounds every following week.
Can I eat fruit on Nutrisystem?
The Nutrisystem programs include most fruits, except those that have a high glycemic load and are known to cause a blood sugar spike. These include mangoes, watermelon, bananas, and lychee. Their diabetic plan is even more strict on which fruits to include and which to avoid in order to really minimize the risk of any blood sugar spikes.