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If you’re looking for a weight loss program that plans your meals and snacks for you, you may benefit from a diet plan like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig. Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are both award-winning meal delivery and weight loss programs that deliver pre-packaged foods to their customers, all of which have been designed and carefully portioned to support weight loss goals. These programs include meal plans that can be tailored to your diet, gender or health needs (such as plans specifically made for women or those who have diabetes). Both weight loss delivery services also provide personal coaching to help you on your weight loss journey.
While both subscription-based weight loss programs have been around for decades and offer somewhat similar approaches, there’s much debate over which diet system actually works best. Our comprehensive guide will compare Nutrisystem to Jenny Craig to determine how these weight loss programs stack up against one another, including their pros and cons. We’ll dive deep into their features, who each program is best for, how the weight loss diets work and what to consider before enrolling. Keep reading to learn which weight loss program ranks supreme.
Nutrisystem is a weight loss program launched in 1972 that operates on the principle of eating small meals throughout the day that are both portion-controlled and calorie-reduced. These meals include breakfast, lunch and entrees, plus small snacks and desserts. The goal is to help customers lose between one-to-two pounds per week if they follow the program as planned. 
Nutrisystem is a subscription-based weight loss program that includes three membership tiers, which net you more food choices and benefits the higher up in subscription you go. All meals are pre-packaged and come in ready-to-serve or frozen options, although customers are encouraged to add their own fresh fruits and veggies to the mix to maintain a balanced diet.
Jenny Craig is a subscription-only weight loss program founded in Australia in 1983 that delivers portion-controlled and reduced-calorie meals to its customers. All food items are pre-packaged and come in smaller portions to help promote weight loss. Similar to Nutrisystem, customers can select one of three subscription tiers that include breakfast, lunch, entrees, snacks and/or desserts, depending on the plan. This diet program aims to help subscribers lose one-to-two pounds a week, which the CDC recommends as the healthiest way to lose weight.
Sometimes diet alone isn’t enough to help you reach your weight loss goals. That’s where Noom comes in. Noom uses psychology to help your understand your relationship with food and become more mindful of your habits. Noom provides you with a personal coach or support group to hold you accountable and support you on your weight loss journey. Noom takes the guess work out of losing weight, to help you make long lasting changes. We recommend pairing Noom with one of these weight loss programs to help you reach your goals.
Here’s how Jenny Craig vs Nutrisystem compare in terms of cost, features and more.
At the end of the day, neither of these weight loss programs is cheap. You can expect to pay, at a minimum, at least $10 per day for the most basic plans with either diet program. Luckily, both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem offer frequent promotions or BOGO-style deals that help drive down costs, like buy three weeks and get the fourth week free. At the time of this article, here are the costs you can expect to pay if you enroll in Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem programs.
Jenny Craig
For the lowest-tier plan, you can also add additional meals or snacks for an extra fee. Keep in mind, however, that shipping fees can seriously drive up Jenny Craig costs if not included in your plan. U.S. food purchases that cost up to $546, for example, come with a shipping fee of $29, while U.S. food purchases greater than $546 come with a shipping fee of $58. Depending on the promotion period, buying multi-week plans can waive the shipping fees for basic plans.
All in all, you’re looking at paying anywhere from about $420 per month to $856 per month for the Jenny Craig diet, not counting any shipping fees. Then, there’s a $99 annual enrollment fee that once again may be waived or reduced, depending on your plan and ongoing promotions. Still, considering that your meals and/or snacks are provided for you, this eliminates hundreds of dollars of grocery costs, so the hefty fees may be worth it depending on how much money you spend on food each month and how much food you buy on your own outside of the diet plan.
All three Nutrisystem meal plans come with NuMi, a Nutrisystem weight loss app that helps you track and maintain your diet on the go. Unlike the Jenny Craig plan, Nutrisystem shipping is always free, which helps save on overall costs. You can also select a partner plan if you’re dieting with another person in your household, which starts at $9.99 per person per day. While the Jenny Craig program has an enrollment fee, Nutrisystem doesn’t charge users to enroll.
Those enrolled in the Nutrisystem program can expect to pay anywhere from about $300 per month to $407 per month, so there’s a much smaller cost window compared to Jenny Craig. Like Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem also runs regular promotions and deals that offer discounted plans and/or bonus meals and snacks for X amount of weeks. At the end of the day, both Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are very expensive when compared to more budget-friendly weight loss programs like Weight Watchers and Noom, so keep reading for their pros and cons.
Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are very similar in terms of their diet style and structure. Both programs provide pre-packaged meals and snacks with personal consultants available for coaching (the latter of which is plan-dependent). These weight loss counselors help you stick to your meal plan, learn healthy eating habits and set realistic goals. All menu items are portion controlled, reduced-calorie and designed by registered dietitians, and these foods include a mix of shelf-stable and frozen meals.
Unlike many popular weight loss programs, the Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig diet plans don’t rely on calorie counting, but rather simply sticking to the program and pre-packaged meals and snacks. Still, there are a few key differences that set the programs apart. Here’s how they differ.
Jenny Craig offers three meal plan tiers. Jenny Craig meals include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert and/or recharge bars, but customers are encouraged to add their own fresh fruits and veggies for a balanced diet. This system utilizes a nutritionally-balanced approach that carefully plans your food intake for a target weight loss of one-to-two pounds per week.
However, Jenny Craig foods aren’t your typical diet meals. They include healthy variations of cinnamon rolls, cheeseburgers and even pepperoni pizza to offer food options that don’t feel restrictive, but still give dieters the weight loss results they’re looking for. Max Up Weight Loss Plan subscribers also get weekly activity plans that can help them set fitness goals.
Nutrisystem offers several different meal plans, including women’s, men’s, diabetes, vegetarian, complete and partner options. Unlike Jenny Craig, this system accommodates many specialty diets and has wheat-free menus for those who eat gluten-free. The Nutrisystem diet also encourages flex meals two days a week where customers can eat their own healthy foods, but those who want a more rigorous diet plan can opt for Nutrisystem meals seven days a week.
Customers can expect to eat small meals six times a day that have a low carb to high protein ratio, like veggie chili, buttermilk waffles and roasted turkey medallions. The diet operates on a low glycemic index meal plan (similar to the South Beach diet) that helps control hunger and manage blood sugar levels, which can be especially helpful for those with type 2 diabetes.
Depending on your plan, Jenny Craig has shipping fees that range from $0 to $173 per delivery, which vary based on the size of your purchase and where you’re located. Nutrisystem, on the other hand, offers free shipping for all three subscription plans regardless of location or size of purchase. Nutrisystem currently ships to the U.S. and Canada, but frozen food items can be shipped only within the continental U.S. Jenny Craig offers shipping in both the U.S. and Canada, although Canadian shipping fees are significantly higher, especially for those outside of Ontario.
Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem have additional resources to help support customers on their weight loss journeys. With the Jenny Craig system, those enrolled in the Max Up Weight Loss Plan will meet weekly one-on-one with their wellness coach in-person at one of 600 physical locations or online to get results, personalized feedback and more custom meal planning.
The Max Up Weight Loss Plan also provides activity plans to help customers stay active, which is an essential component of weight loss. Those enrolled in Jenny Craig’s two lower subscription tiers, however, don’t have access to these resources, although the Jenny Craig website has numerous blog posts that people can access for tips on weight loss and healthy cooking.
Nutrisystem offers a more robust support system that most importantly includes its NuMi weight loss app for smartphones. This app allows customers to track their food, activity and progress; stay motivated with weight loss challenges; find easy recipes for flex meals; and access guides for grocery shopping and more.
All three Nutrisystem subscription tiers also come with weight loss coaching for one-on-one support, which users can access on-demand seven days a week. Nutrisystem’s highest-tier Uniquely Yours Max+ plan provides a personalized nutrition plan as well that taps into data to tailor your meal plan to your body as you continue to lose weight on the program.
Jenny Craig
Robust weight loss programs like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem come with numerous benefits that make them so popular among the weight loss community. First and above all, they take the stress out of planning diets. Sometimes, dieting on your own can be tough, especially if you’re calorie tracking, meal prepping and developing or finding healthy recipes. Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem simplify the process by providing custom meal plans, ready-to-eat foods and a structured approach that are fairly easy to follow (as long as you’re willing to commit). Those with busy schedules or those who don’t like to cook may benefit from these types of programs.
Plus, the science behind Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem can actually work (again, as long as you’re committed to the process). They both operate on the simple principle of consuming less calories than you burn, which is the key to weight loss. Meal plans with either program also provide approximately 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, which promotes weight loss for most adults. Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem can improve your blood sugar levels as well. Studies have found that these systems promote blood sugar regulation in those with type 2 diabetes.
Any weight loss program comes with risks. One, it’s important to be mindful while dieting to avoid dangerous eating habits, which can potentially encourage symptoms of eating disorders. Some people may also experience short-term weight loss results, since evidence for long-term weight loss on these types of programs is minimal. Another concern is the quality of the food items themselves, and that’s because frozen and ready-to-go meals are highly processed.
This means meals offered by Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, while beneficial for weight loss, may not be the most nutritious compared to minimally-processed foods or fresh-cooked meals. The calorie budgets also aren’t highly personalized, and those who are active or have specific health needs may not get enough calories per day, especially if those calories are being burned off.
Plus, while both programs offer a variety of meal options, they might not be for everyone, and some customers may find that the provided food choices don’t suit their own personal tastes. At this time, neither Jenny Craig nor Nutrisystem accommodate vegan diets, so be sure to look at diet plans and food choices very carefully if you have any food allergies or restrictions.
Both programs also encourage a lot of plastic and cardboard use, and aren’t very eco-friendly. Then, at the bottom line, there’s the price concern. Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem can make a serious dent in your paycheck and cost you hundreds of dollars per month to subscribe to. For many people, these systems may be too expensive for short-term and/or long-term use.
There are a few things to consider before deciding whether Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem is best for you. First, since both programs are rather similar, determine your budget and how much you’re realistically able to spend each month on a diet program. Be sure to factor in shipping costs, enrollment fees and any additional groceries you’ll need to buy outside of included meals.
Then, consider your food preferences and if you have food allergies or restrictions. Depending on your dietary needs, you may want to lean towards one program or another based on the meal plans that are offered. Be sure to carefully review menus and food choices as well, because at the end of the day, it’s important to actually like the food you’re eating.
Lastly, determine what additional support you may require to be successful. If one-on-one coaching or personalized diet plans or health reports sound helpful, you may want to opt for a program or subscription tier that includes the resources you need to best achieve your weight loss goals.
Yes, you can quit Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem anytime, and you’re not locked into a contract. You can cancel your subscription by calling customer service, but keep in mind that enrollment fees and any foods that have already been delivered to you may not be refundable (Jenny Craig has a seven-day money-back guarantee, while Nutrisystem has a 14-day money back guarantee). Canceling, however, is sometimes easier said than done. Some users report problems with customer service in both programs when trying to cancel their subscriptions.
The success rates of Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem vary. One study found that a group of overweight, sedentary women who followed the Jenny Craig diet for 12 weeks lost about 11.7 pounds each. A second study on Jenny Craig discovered that the program was five percent more successful in helping people lose weight than WeightWatchers, Nutrisystem and SlimFast after one year of use. A study of Nutrisystem, on the other hand, found that participants achieved at least 3.8 percent greater weight loss than those who used only behavioral counseling for weight loss.
Jenny Craig may be more expensive, but the higher price tag nets tastier meals, according to many customer reviews. Customers tend to have more positive things to say about the taste of Jenny Craig vs Nutrisystem, with some users complaining that Nutrisystem meals taste bland.
People can stay on Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem for short-term or long-term periods. Those with extensive weight loss goals may stick to these programs longer, since both diet platforms are designed to help customers lose one-to-two pounds per week. Those with smaller weight loss goals, such as 10 or 15 pounds, may only stay on the program for a couple of months.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that rapid results for weight loss aren’t realistic. While you may lose one or two pounds in your first week on either the Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem program, weight loss takes time, and these programs are designed to be slow and steady to adhere to the CDC recommendations for healthy weight loss timelines.
Our bottom line is that Nutrisystem is the best diet program out of the two. When compared to Jenny Craig, it’s much more affordable, accommodates different dietary needs and allows for more flexible dieting that includes the freedom to eat your own meals twice a week. While Jenny Craig may have the edge over Nutrisystem in terms of flavor and tasty meals, the benefits of Nutrisystem still outweigh the perks of using Jenny Craig. At the end of the day, either diet plan can help you achieve weight loss goals as long as you’re ready and able to commit to success.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.
Ashley Zlatopolsky is a Detroit-based writer and editor. She writes about health, wellness and fitness for Sports Illustrated, Real Simple, Healthline, Greatist, SELF and more. Previously, she worked as a branded content strategist at USA TODAY. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys dancing, kickboxing, strength training and running.This author is writing sponsored content paid for by Pillar4 and not affiliated with Sports Illustrated. 


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