Jenny Craig Vs. Nutrisystem: A Comparison to Opt for the Best

Almost sold out! Get your ticket to the All Markets Summit on Sept 20 in NYC.

Which diet plans really pay off?
You have to cook for a big family, and you are the only one who needs to lose weight. To understand the impact of participating in a food delivery diet, figure out your current daily food cost. So the key question becomes: The programs vary in price and services offered. And how much money are you willing to spend? You can't be a "snowflake" and eat this food. You have a passion for cooking.

The Lean Cuisine Diet? The Healthy Choice Diet? The Smart Ones Diet? The Amy's Diet? Etc...

Jenny Craig vs the Competition

You can pick up your food at the center or have it delivered to your home. Nutrisystem has no walk-in locations but provides optional online and phone support at no additional charge.

Food is delivered to your home. It's the company's most popular option; all of the plan's meals are shelf-stable, which means they don't require refrigeration. The meals were a mixture of frozen and shelf-stable items. We didn't evaluate the cost of the home-supplied items on the plans' menus.

The best diet for you is the one you can stick to. These programs might appeal to people who have trouble with meal planning, have limited time and skill for cooking at home, struggle with portion control, or feel they might benefit from community support and counseling. If you don't like the restricted choice of the programs, you can devise a homemade version using frozen diet meals from the supermarket. Two experienced sensory testers tasted, in total, 32 Jenny Craig products and 27 Nutrisystem Basic products.

Where possible, we chose similar items. We also conducted a side test of six frozen entrées from Nutrisystem's more expensive Select line. The products were tasted in random order within categories—breakfasts with breakfasts, snacks with snacks, and so on. Our tasters not only didn't know whose product they were tasting but also didn't know they were diet meals.

Of the 59 items we tasted in our main round of tests, only five scored Very Good—all from Jenny Craig. Of the 10 items we deemed Fair, eight were from Nutrisystem. Overall, the foods from Jenny Craig did slightly better than Nutrisystem's. Jenny Craig's edge came mainly from its lunch and dinner entrées, most of which were frozen rather than shelf-stable. The frozen Nutrisystem Select dinner entrées we tested fared much better than the company's shelf-stable items. After we completed our testing, a company spokeswoman told us that Nutrisystem's standard day program would change at the end of The standard day program now consists of 10 days of frozen foods and 18 days of pantry-ready foods.

The breakfast items from both companies rated only Good. And our tasters were unimpressed with the snack and dessert items, rating both brands a low Good. Get Ratings on the go and compare while you shop. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports. According to its website, Nutrisystem offers a variety of menu plans focusing on the individual needs of women, men, teens, vegetarians, diabetics and the elderly. There is no membership fee, but you do need to join to access all of the online features and to order food.

Food is selected online and delivered to your door. Free online features include an online community chat room, weekly education e-chat with a registered dietitian, newsletter, daily motivational contact, dining-out guide, grocery shopping guide and weight-loss tracking tools log, measurements, graphs, food diary, exercise log and mindset makeover program.

Contact with a program representative and visitation to a local center are encouraged. The Food, Body, Mind principles are reinforced with the interpersonal contact and coaching of the program representative. This person also helps choose the foods you will eat, based on your age, sex, medical concerns and preferences. The program does offer some free e-tools such as a progress tracker, recipes and an activity journal.

Participants are encouraged to visit the center to weigh in periodically. While both programs take the time and thought process of meal preparation out of your hands, they do seem geared to different users. Therefore, you do need to be minimally computer-literate. Jenny Craig encourages interpersonal involvement via telephone calls and consulting sessions with program representatives at their center; therefore, the dieter does not need many computer skills, but would benefit from being geographically close to one of the centers.

Jenny Craig rated No. Sustainable weight loss must include lifestyle changes to eat healthy foods and increase activity. Calories are a measurement of energy. If you take in more than you burn, you gain weight; eat less than you burn to lose weight. With either program, you will eventually need to eat normal food again so pay attention to the educational opportunities and tools available.

Gradual weight loss is the best way to keep the weight off long-term. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, reproductive problems, joint pain and respiratory problems. Making changes to lose excess weight is beneficial at any increment; every pound is important. Keeping the weight off can be very challenging; focus on portion control and activity.

Get Healthy