Nutrisystem vs Jenny Craig: Which is Better?

Is Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig better for weight loss?

With so many diet plans available, it’s hard to decide which one might be right for you. Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are two popular plans that feature prepared meals so that you don’t have to worry about cooking or measuring portions. But what makes each program distinct? Here is a list of similarities and differences between the two programs.

Similarities Between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

1. Taste

How good do foods from these two diets taste? For diet food, they are both good. None of them tastes terrifically well. Consumer Reports asked experienced taste testers to sample 65 products from these two diets. While Jenny Craig slightly edged out Nutrisystem in terms of taste, the difference was not significant.

2. Prepared Meals

Both diets feature pre-packaged, pre-portioned food, available in frozen or shelfstable formats, delivered right to your door. For those who have busy lifestyles or who hate cooking, this option makes it easy to control portions and get daily nutrition requirements. In both plans, you eat 6 times a day.

4. Variety

Each of the diets contains a variety of meals, so that you can learn that healthy doesn’t mean boring. Jenny Craig has over 80 entrees and snacks, while Nutrisystem has over 150 menu options. Both plans include vegetarian meal plan options. Nutrisystem also has Silver plans for older men and women.

5. Results

Since both plans control your nutrition for you, weight loss can be expected if you follow the plan. Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem claim to help you lose 1 or 2 pounds per week.

6. Coupons

Both programs have special offers. Currently, Jenny Craig gives you the first month of your annual membership for free. Nutrisystem currently has a 40% off discount if you sign up for the monthly auto-delivery. Occasionally, you can find a promo code for Nutrisystem.

7. Scientific Studies

Both programs boast published studies in scientific journals that prove their effectiveness. Jenny Craig was tested on 422 overweight or obese women and “facilitated weight loss and weight loss maintenance compared with a control group.” Similarly, obese people with type 2 diabetes who tried Nuntrisystem in clinical trials, experienced improvements in body weight and glycemic control.

8. Guarantee

If you don’t lose 12 lb in your first 12 weeks, Jenny Craig will refund the fees of your first 3 months. But you have to purchase the full menu each week (spend a minimum of $152/week) to be covered by this guarantee.

Nutrisystem will refund your first order if you are not satisfied with the program, and you let them know within 14 days of your purchase.

Differences Between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig

1. Fresh Gourmet Food

Unlike Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem offers a gourmet fresh food option. This chef-inspired cuisine is known as Nutrisystem Select program.

2. Spokespeople

Until recently, Jenny Craig featured only celebrities as spokespeople such as Queen Latifah, Valerie Bertinelli, and Kirstie Alley. Jason Alexander joined the group, too, at the beginning of this year. The company features celebrities more prominently in advertising. While Nutrisystem is supported by celebrities, too, such as Marie Osmond and sports greats Billie Jean King and Dan Marino, they are featured alongside many normal customers with before and after photos.

3. Cost

Jenny Craig is definitely more expensive than Nutrisystem. After an initial $99 enrollment fee to join, the cost of a Jenny Craig plan is: $19 a month membership fee, plus the cost of the food you order from them, and the shipping, which can amount to several hundred dollars a month. Full menu adherence will set you back $600/month. Jenny Craig requires customers to lock into a contract for a year. In comparison, Nutrisystem costs about $300 a month and customers can save even more by signing up for a plan to have meals shipped automatically. In addition, Nutrisystem plans are monthly, not annual, so you can opt out whenever you choose.

4. Counseling

One of the main advantages of Jenny Craig is the option to work with a consultant in person. You can physically meet with your personal consultant at a Jenny Craig center to discuss progress, plan meals, and prepare for events like eating out or traveling. Alternatively, customers may talk to their consultant over the phone and track progress online. On the other hand, Nutrisystem offers an extensive online community and tools to track progress, along with counselors available by phone, online chat, or email.

5. Transition

Once you’ve lost weight on a pre-packaged food diet plan, having to do all the meal planning and cooking on your own can be challenging and may cause weight gain. While both companies acknowledge the importance of the transition and maintenance phase, Nutrisystem seems to make it easier for people to become independent of Nutrisystem and maintain their weight loss success for life as they continue on their own. With its specially designed programs “Weekends on My Own”, “Dinners My Way”, and “Flex Meals”, you can leave the basic program and gradually diet on your own.