Weight loss programs are a big business. Reports indicate Americans spend over $60 billion annually to get fit.
Two of the most popular programs are Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig. They feature many tools and resources to help you get in shape.
I researched both weight loss plans extensively before I lost 100 pounds. This guide compares the two companies to help you decide which one is best for your needs.
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Nutrisystem vs. Jenny Craig: How Do They Compare?
There are numerous similarities when considering Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem. The respective diet plans provide a full lineup of products and services to help you lose weight.
Each service offers hundreds of shelf-stable and frozen pre-packaged meals. The menu items have some variance, but both largely include American-themed meals.
Here is how the two plans compare.
Both companies provide you with three prepared meals a day and snacks to supplement those pre-packaged foods.
They also encourage you to add in low-calorie foods and fresh vegetables to round out your daily meals.
Overview of Nutrisystem
Nutrisystem is a 28-day meal delivery service that ships ready-to-eat meals to your home. The company began in 1972 to help people reach their weight loss goals.
Nutrisystem used to have physical locations where you could meet with registered dietitians. It now operates entirely online for both ordering meals and speaking with weight loss counselors.
The diet plan doesn’t focus on calorie counting, per se. It does prioritize balanced nutrition to help you get in shape.
Most snacks and meals are made up in the following way:
- 50 percent smart carbs
- 25 percent fat
- 25 percent lean protein
They focus on not eating to be full and use portion control to give you the energy necessary to get through the day.
Exercise is also encouraged to help amplify your weight loss efforts.
Available Meal Plans
Nutrisystem is a fantastic weight loss program to consider if customization is important to you. The company offers numerous plans based on your age, gender, and several other factors.
For example, I was in my late 30s when I chose the plan. I selected Nutrisystem for Men to get fit.
If you need a plan that’s a bit more focused, you can do that as well. Nutrisystem has meal plan options in the following categories:
Foods are low-sodium and have a lower glycemic index to help further encourage healthy eating habits.
Nutrisystem has four general plan options, including:
- Uniquely Yours
- Uniquely Yours Max+
- Complete 55
The Basic plan only includes shelf-stable meals and snacks selected for you. Nutrisystem’s other plans include frozen foods, and you have the autonomy to choose your own meals.
While you can find some meal and snack options at grocery stores, they do not carry the entire inventory of options available on the website.
To take advantage of the company’s wide variety of meals and snacks, you must sign up for monthly service. This allows you to get everything delivered to your door every four weeks.
You can supplement meals with lower-glycemic fresh fruits, like bananas, as well as whole foods.
How Many Calories a Day is Nutrisystem?
According to the Nutrisystem website, the standard number of calories per day they recommend is 1,200 – 1,500.
When I was on the plan, they had me begin with 1,000 per day in my first week with the intent to move me to 1,500 after that.
That was too few calories for me, so they increased me to 1,500 a day on day four.
How many calories you consume on Nutrisystem is based on your specific situation. A dietitian will help formulate a plan to help you lose weight while also having what you need each day.
One area where Nutrisystem comes up short is personal support. The company does offer dietitian support, but none of it is personalized to your specific needs.
You do receive an initial phone call with a consultant, but no one is assigned to you. If you need to speak with someone for support, that is available, but it’s not always the same person.
However, the Nutrisystem website is full of support materials and has an online community of people sharing their own weight loss journeys.
This is similar to what you receive at BistroMD, another meal delivery service that helps people with sustainable weight loss. Read our BistroMD review to learn more.
How Much Does Nutrisystem Cost a Month?
Nutrisystem isn’t one of the more affordable meal delivery diets, but it is cheaper than Jenny Craig.
The current cost of the general plans starts at:
- Basic – $9.99 per day
- Uniquely Yours – $12.14 per day
- Uniquely Yours Max+ – $13.57 per day
- Complete 55 – $13.93 per day
If you choose a specialized plan, like Nutrisystem for Men, pricing starts at:
- Basic – $11.61 per day
- Uniquely Yours – $13.39 per day
- Uniquely Yours Max+ – $15.18 per day
The number of meals doesn’t matter since all plans include breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with snacks.
There is no enrollment fee to begin on Nutrisystem. You just pay the monthly price for your chosen meal plan, and that’s it.
The company often has promotions to help you save money. The current one is $30 off off all plans.
If you sign up and find the company isn’t for you, Nutrisystem offers a seven-day money-back guarantee.
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to consider when choosing a weight loss program. Here’s what to know about Nutrisystem:
- Wide variety of meals
- Fully customizable
- Lots of support
- Nutritionally balanced
- No personalized consulting
- More expensive than other programs
- Food is often processed
Read our Nutrisystem review to learn more.
|Nutrisystem - lose weight and feel great|
Cost: plans start at $9.99/day
Other plans start at $12.14 and $13.57 per day. Nutrisystem offers a seven-day money back guarantee.
Overview of Jenny Craig
Jenny Craig is a key competitor to Nutrisystem and equally popular. The company has been around nearly as long as Nutrisystem and first began in Australia.
Jenny Craig operates much like Nutrisystem. You order meals online to be delivered to your door. However, there are two key differences with Jenny Craig.
These differences include:
- Having over 600 brick and mortar locations throughout the country to offer personalized support
- The base plan does not include dinners
If having someone assigned to your needs is essential to you, then Jenny Craig is a better choice. However, this perk comes at a cost and is more expensive than Nutrisystem.
Like Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig’s prepared meals follow a similar composition. Most meals and snacks are made up in the following way:
- 50 percent smart carbs
- 25 percent fat
- 25 percent lean protein
These are also small meals that focus on portion control to help encourage weight loss. You can supplement meals with low-glycemic fresh food, and they advise you to workout to aid your efforts.
Available Meal Plans
Jenny Craig is not as generous as Nutrisystem with its menu. The company has three menus to choose from, including:
The Simple plan is the most affordable option, but it does not include dinners. Jenny Craig’s higher-end plans are more expensive than what you’ll find at Nutrisystem.
The number of meals and snacks isn’t as robust either, but there’s still plenty of menu choices available.
You can buy menu items at the grocery store. However, like Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig won’t provide access to the entire menu.
How Many Calories a Day is Jenny Craig?
Per the Jenny Craig website, the average number of calories you can have a day is 1,200. Like Nutrisystem, this can be flexible.
Losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and this is where the personal coaching at Jenny Craig can help.
If you don’t need such a restrictive diet, you may be able to increase your calorie intake on Jenny Craig. But, it’s best to consult your coach before making any changes.
Personalized support is where Jenny Craig shines.
While both companies have transition plans to help keep weight off, you may find that Jenny Craig’s more personalized approach can help you stay on track longer to reach your goal weight.
You can find this one-on-one support through weekly meetings at its physical locations and over the phone.
Keep in mind that you must sign up for the most expensive plan to receive this perk.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that the coaches have experience or accreditation to be weight loss coaches.
However, like the Nutrisystem website, the Jenny Craig site is full of support materials and a community of people sharing their personal weight loss journeys.
How Much Does Jenny Craig Cost a Month?
Jenny Craig is often more expensive than Nutrisystem. In some instances, the price difference can be significant.
The current pricing options are as follows:
- Simple – $12.99 per day
- Essential – $20.78 per day
- Complete – $25.99 per day
The Simple meal plan only includes breakfast and lunch. You have to sign up for the Complete plan to get all three meals and snacks, plus one-on-one coaching.
The more expensive plans include frozen foods. They also allow you to select your meals and snacks.
Jenny Craig is light on specialized meals like gluten-free or vegetarian. You may want to consider Nutrisystem if those are important to you.
However, if you have Type 2 diabetes, they compete well with Nutrisystem. There’s also no enrollment fee to get started.
If you sign up and find the company isn’t for you, Jenny Craig offers a seven-day money-back guarantee.
If you want a lower cost option that includes personal support, read our Nutrisystem vs. WeightWatchers guide to see how the latter compares to Jenny Craig.
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to contemplate when choosing a diet program. Here’s what to know about Jenny Craig:
- Personalized counseling sessions
- Wide selection of food items
- Online community support
- Lots of frozen meals to choose from
- Physical locations
- More expensive than Nutrisystem
- Limited number of specialty diets
- One-on-one coaching only available through its most expensive plan
If personal coaching is essential to you, Jenny Craig may be worth considering.
Which is Better: Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig?
Choosing a weight loss program can be difficult. We all face different circumstances, so it’s essential to find a plan that is designed around your needs.
If cost and specialized meal plans are important to you, then Nutrisystem is likely a better choice.
If you want personalized consulting, Jenny Craig is the best option. Keep in mind that coaching is only available with the most expensive plan.
Before choosing a service, do your research and consider consulting your doctor or dietitian to help determine which is best for you.
Is Jenny Craig Food Better than Nutrisystem Food?
Although Nutrisystem is more economical and Jenny Craig offers more support, the difference between the menu items is minimal.
Both companies sell mostly processed foods. They work with dietitians to create meals that are conducive to weight loss. Meals often taste similar between the two.
You won’t find much international flare with either plan. Both have an American focus.
If you find you don’t like the meals, you can take advantage of their respective money-back guarantees.
There is a lot to consider when looking at Nutrisystem vs. Jenny Craig for weight loss. Both are expensive, though Nutrisystem is more affordable.
If you want personal coaching, Jenny Craig is the better choice. But, that comes at a high cost.
Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are effective if you follow them, but you need to look at all the features when comparing them.
What do you look for when choosing a diet meal service?
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.