NEW Jenny Craig vs Nutrisystem: Differences, Pros and Cons

The Jenny Craig diet is a weight loss program offered by Jenny Craig, Inc. that has been found to result in an average weight loss of 4.9% after 12 months compared to control/education groups, according to a systematic review. On the other hand, Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that offers counseling and products to assist individuals in achieving their weight loss goals. It has been shown to be effective in short-term weight loss, with a systematic review suggesting promising results, but lacks long-term efficacy data.

When choosing between Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, it is important to note that the fundamental differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem lie in the level of personal support and the variety of meal plan options. Jenny Craig offers personalized coaching with its highest-priced plan, while Nutrisystem provides access to weight loss counselors via phone.

Additionally, Jenny Craig offers one meal plan package with additional meals, snacks, and support, while Nutrisystem offers tailored meal plans in six categories. However, both programs share similarities in their focus on portion control, convenience, and the potential benefits of weight loss and improved blood sugar regulation.

What is Nutrisystem?

Nutrisystem is a commercially available portion-controlled diet program that has been found to be more effective for weight loss compared to a self-directed diet. In a 2017 randomized clinical trial by Chad M. Cook, participants assigned to the Nutrisystem diet lost significantly more body weight, fat mass, and total body circumference compared to those in the self-directed diet group.

Specifically, the Nutrisystem group had 58% of participants achieve a clinically meaningful weight loss of ≥5% of their initial body weight at week 16, compared to only 13% in the self-directed diet group. The study primarily included Caucasian women and men from Chicago, with a mean baseline BMI of 34.4 kg/m2 and an age of 50.4 years. This suggests that Nutrisystem may be an effective option for individuals looking to lose weight and improve their health. This diagram shows the effects of the Nutrisystem weight loss diet.

nutrisystem vs other diets

The fundamental difference between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig is the approach to counseling and support. While Jenny Craig offers weekly private counseling sessions to focus on changing eating habits and lifestyle, Nutrisystem offers access to trained counselors via telephone, online chat, and email.

The main benefit of Nutrisystem is its affordability, as there is no enrollment fee and the cost of the pre-packaged meals is relatively lower compared to Jenny Craig. Additionally, Nutrisystem offers free access to trained counselors who provide support and guidance throughout the weight loss journey.

The main drawback of Nutrisystem is that it involves the cost of purchasing pre-packaged meals, which can be expensive for some individuals. Additionally, Nutrisystem does not offer face-to-face counseling sessions, which may be a disadvantage for those who prefer in-person support.

What is the Jenny Craig Diet?

The Jenny Craig diet is a tough weight-loss plan that gives you special meals and tells you how to exercise and get advice. People who follow this plan usually lose between 7% and 11% of their weight in a year, which is better than people who don’t follow any plan, as per a 2021 study by Marci Laudenslager from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In a 2021 study titled “Commercial weight-loss programs in the management of obesity: an update”, people on the Jenny Craig diet lost about 14 pounds in a year, compared to people who didn’t diet at all. This diet can also help control blood sugar, which is good for people with type 2 diabetes. Very few people had mild problems while on the diet, and no one experienced severe side effects because of it. This graph shows the differences between the Jenny Craig diet and other diets.

jenny craig vs other diets

The fundamental difference between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem is their approach to weight loss. Jenny Craig focuses on a food-body-mind approach, providing personalized support and nutritionally balanced meals tailored to each individual’s goals. On the other hand, Nutrisystem emphasizes balanced nutrition, portion control, and managing blood sugar through the glycemic index, offering pre-made food items and flexibility in dining out.

The main benefit of the Jenny Craig diet is the convenience it offers with pre-packaged meals and snacks that can be quickly heated in the microwave. Additionally, the program provides personal coaching for guidance and motivation throughout the weight-loss journey. The variety of food options and the ability to customize meal plans are also major advantages of the Jenny Craig diet.

The main disadvantage of the Jenny Craig diet is its high cost, with meal plans ranging from $97.93 to $203 per week. Additionally, the program’s reliance on processed meals and snacks may not provide the same level of freshness and nutritional value as homemade meals. Finally, some individuals may find it challenging to sustain weight loss once they stop the program, as Jenny Craig may not focus enough on teaching long-term weight maintenance skills.

What are the differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem?

The following list shows the five main differences between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.

  1. Price Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
  2. Meal Plan Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
  3. Calorie Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
  4. Food Quality Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem
  5. Money-Back Guarantee Policy Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

1. Price Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig offer various plans for weight loss, each with its own pricing structure. Nutrisystem’s basic plan is relatively affordable, starting at $9.99 per day. On the other hand, Jenny Craig’s home delivery starts at a slightly higher price of $21.25 per day. Nutrisystem’s specialized plans peak at $11.61 per day, offering a more budget-friendly alternative to the overall cost of Jenny Craig’s program. Specifically, Jenny Craig’s most expensive option comes in at $25.00 per day. However, Jenny Craig doesn’t charge for their membership.

At the moment, both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are offering special promotions to attract new members. Jenny Craig’s current deal provides new members with free shipping and complimentary Recharge Bars. On the other hand, Nutrisystem is offering a substantial discount, allowing new customers to save 50% on their weight loss meal delivery plans.

This table shows the price differences between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.

Plan/FeatureNutrisystem Cost Per DayJenny Craig Cost Per DayAdditional Fees
Basic$9.99$21.25 – $25.00N/A
Specialized/Essential Plan$11.61$21.25 – $25.00N/A
Complete PlanN/A$21.25 – $25.00N/A

2. Meal Plan Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

The meal plans offered by Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig vary in several key ways. Nutrisystem offers four general types of meal plans: Basic, Uniquely Yours, Uniquely Yours Max+, and Complete 55. Nutrisystem’s meal plans provide around 60% of your daily calorie needs and require supplementation with fresh grocery items, whereas Jenny Craig’s home-delivery plan offers a comprehensive menu that includes Jenny Craig food, snacks, and coaching.

Another difference lies in flexibility; Nutrisystem incorporates more “flex meals” to allow for dining out. Jenny Craig, in contrast, tailors its program to cater to each individual’s specific strengths, challenges, and goals. Furthermore, Nutrisystem offers specialized plans for diabetics and vegetarians, while Jenny Craig has fewer specialized options, such as gluten-free or vegetarian meal plans.

Below is a table summarizing the key differences between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig

FeatureNutrisystemJenny Craig
Number of General Meal Plans4 (Basic, Uniquely Yours, Uniquely Yours Max+, Complete 55)Home Delivery Plan
Daily Caloric Intake CoverageAbout 60%Comprehensive (includes snacks and desserts)
Flexibility for Dining OutYes (Flex meals)No (unless personalized)
PersonalizationLimitedHigh (tailored to individual’s needs)
Specialized Diet OptionsDiabetics, VegetariansFewer (e.g., gluten-free, vegetarian)

3. Calorie Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

The calorie recommendations between Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig differ in several ways. Nutrisystem recommends a daily calorie intake ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 calories and even starts some plans with an initial 1,000 calories for the first week. On the other hand, Jenny Craig generally recommends an average of 1,200 calories per day but does allow some flexibility based on individual needs.

Both programs aim to create a calorie deficit to facilitate weight loss. Nutrisystem offers more variability in daily calorie intake, with plans that can go up to 1,500 calories, while Jenny Craig mainly focuses on keeping most participants at a 1,200-calorie daily intake. Below is a table summarizing the calorie differences between the two programs.

ProgramMinimum Calories Per DayMaximum Calories Per DayInitial Week CaloriesFlexibility Based on Individual Needs
Jenny Craig1,2001,200N/AYes

4. Food Quality Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

When it comes to food quality differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig is generally perceived as offering higher-quality food options. Unlike Nutrisystem, which includes processed meats classified as carcinogens in their menu, Jenny Craig provides ready-made food options that have received high member satisfaction ratings. Jenny Craig also conducts regular food satisfaction surveys, further demonstrating high member satisfaction with their offerings.

On the other hand, Nutrisystem leans more towards processed food items, focusing primarily on shelf-stable and frozen prepared options. While both companies mainly offer American-themed menu items, Jenny Craig is noted for having a more limited but higher-quality menu compared to Nutrisystem.

5. Money-Back Guarantee Policy Differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem

The money-back policies of Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem have some key differences. Both companies offer a seven-day money-back guarantee, but the conditions and focus vary. Jenny Craig’s policy allows for a full refund within seven days from the date of enrollment, and you are only required to return the remaining food. In contrast, Nutrisystem’s policy starts from the date of your first order and requires that all remaining food items be returned within seven days to be eligible for a refund. Both companies necessitate that you call customer service to initiate the refund process.

Additionally, Jenny Craig’s refund policy is also applicable if you are dissatisfied with their coaching services, whereas Nutrisystem’s guarantee is primarily focused on dissatisfaction with the food. Below is a table summarizing these differences for easier comparison.

FeatureJenny CraigNutrisystem
Money-Back Guarantee Period7 days7 days
Start DateDate of enrollmentDate of first order
Returnable ItemsRemaining foodAll remaining food items
Customer Service Contact RequiredYesYes
Applies to Coaching ServicesYesNo
FocusFood and coaching services dissatisfactionFood dissatisfaction

What are the overall pros and cons when comparing Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig?

This table shows the overall pros and cons when comparing Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.

CategoryNutrisystemJenny Craig
CostStarting at $9.99 per dayStarting at $21.25 per day
Personalized SupportOnline resources and community supportWeekly meetings and phone consultations
Menu OptionsWider variety, specialized plansLimited but decent selection
Meal PlansThree meals and snacks, more flexibilityThree meals and snacks, less flexibility
Overall EffectivenessCan be effective for weight lossCan be effective for weight loss
ConveniencePre-packaged mealsPre-packaged meals
Potential Weight LossSupported by studiesSupported by studies
Blood Sugar RegulationPossible through portion controlPossible through portion control
Personal SupportWeight loss counseling via phonePersonalized coaching
Variety of Meal PlansMore options for dietary needs and preferencesFewer options
Long-term EffectivenessLimited researchLimited research
Meal DiversityMay lack cultural diversityMay lack cultural diversity
Highly Processed MealsYesYes
Personalized NutritionNoNo
AffordabilityCan be expensive but generally cheaperMore expensive

How do Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig compare to other weight loss diets?

In comparison to other weight loss diets, Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig stand out for their focus on pre-packaged, portion-controlled meals. However, they are generally more expensive and offer less personalized support than some other options like Optavia Diet and Noom. They also tend to rely on highly processed foods, which may not be ideal for long-term health.

The table below provides a detailed comparison of Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig with their main competitors, outlining factors such as cost, menu options, and available resources.

Weight Loss ProgramHow it worksCostMeal PlanResources
Jenny CraigPortion-controlled, reduced-calorie prepared meals$637.50–$700 Premade frozen meals and snack barsMeal plans and personal coaching
Optavia DietLow calorie, reduced carb programMeal plans, personal coaching at the highest price tierPremade meals and low-calorie homemade mealsPersonal coaching, community forums
NoomMobile app for meal logging and calorie reductionA color-coded system, no off-limits foodsColor-coded system, no off-limits foodsFood tracking app, virtual coaching, mindfulness
NutrisystemPortion-controlled, reduced-calorie prepared meals$279–$690 (plus additional groceries)Premade frozen meals and snack barsMeal plans, food tracking app
Weight Watchers (WW)Method to track food intake and reduce calories$22.95 (plus groceries)Points system, no off-limits foodsMeal plans, recipes, food tracking app, online and in-person support