At first glance, it is difficult to tell the difference between the NutriSystem and Jenny Craig weight loss programs. They both tout the advantages of home delivery programs of prepackaged diet food delivered directly to your home, and both diet plans are essentially low carb diets based on low glycemic foods. To make matters even more confusing, both Jenny Craig and NutriSystem are advertised with celebrity spokespeople who claim to have achieved significant weight loss by using each program.

So let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both weight management programs to determine which one might be best for your weight loss goals.


NutriSystem was launched in the mid-1970’s, making it about ten years older than Jenny Craig. The original NutriSystem program was based out of local retail centers and provided face to face counseling for program participants. The modern NutriSystem is essentially an online business, forcing participants to call or chat online with company representatives if they have questions.

How Does NutriSystem Work?

When visitors go to the NutriSystem online website, they are immediately encouraged to choose a 28-day food plan. NutriSystem from among 4 different meal plans. Each of the 4 meal plans offers a separate variation for men or women:

· Silver – for men or women over 65
· Diabetic – for men or women in need of low-glycemic foods and frequent meals
· Vegetarian – for men or women who prefer a vegetarian lifestyle.
· Basic – for everybody that doesn’t fit one of the above specialty food plans.

After you choose one of the above meal plans, you will have the option to go with their standard menu or you can choose to customize your food choices. Each food order includes 28 days of meals. The daily meals include a breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

How Much Does NutriSystem Cost?

The Basic food plan for women costs about $300 per month. There is no shipping cost if you choose automatic monthly food shipments, but the monthly cost does not include vegetables, fruit or dairy products, so you will also need to add some groceries to your monthly food bill.

The Pros of NutriSystem:

· This program is extremely easy. You simply pick a plan and then decide whether or not you want to customize the menu. If you don’t want to think about it, just go with their standard menu option.
· Variety. The fact that you can customize your menu is a nice option.
· Option for people who only want to lose 10 pounds. Choose one 4-week food supply for $360.

The Cons of NutriSystem:

Not much individual counseling. The program is pretty much one-size-fits-all But you can join the NutriSystem online membership community that allows you to interact with other dieters using the NutriSystem diet plan.
· Cost. While NutriSystem claims that their food costs less than $11 per day, that does not include the grocery items that must be added to achieve balanced nutrition.
· Not a balanced weight loss plan. NutriSystem is all about dieting. A healthy weight loss program should also include daily exercise, and stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation.
· May not be sustainable. Let’s be honest, how many people are going to continue eating prepackaged diet foods once they reach their weight loss goals? Unless they have learned to make healthy eating choices on their own, most dieters will revert to bad habits once they stop using the diet food.

Who Promotes NutriSystem?

Emphasizing the fact that NutriSystem is an easy diet program for busy people, NutriSystem has featured a number of busy actors, actresses and sports stars in their advertising including: Marie Osmond, Dan Marino, Angie Everhart, Billie Jean King and Chris Berman.

Summary: While NutriSystem is probably not a good long-term weight management program, it may be an excellent choice for people who don’t have the discipline needed to make their own food choices. While Jenny Craig is probably the better long-term weight management solution, NutriSystem could be a good “no brainer” way to get started losing weight.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig was originally founded in Australia in 1983, but now has franchises in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. The Jenny Craig business model continues to include local centers owned by both the corporation itself and indepdendent franchisees.

How Does Jenny Craig Work?

Much like NutriSystem, the Jenny Craig diet is based on the home delivery of prepackaged diet food. But the Jenny Craig weight management system is more robust than NutriSystem, as it also emphasizes exercise and the emotional well being of the participants.

Unlike NutriSystem, where members interact with each other for support, members at Jenny Craig meet once a week with a consultant from Jenny Craig at their local weight loss center, or over the phone if they are participating in the Jenny Craig Direct online program.

How Much Does Jenny Craig Cost?

Because there is a large variety of foods available, the cost of the Jenny Craig programs varies considerably between users. Company officials say that the cost is only about $1 more per day than the average American already spends on food. In general, most members of Jenny Craig spend $80-$120 per week on Jenny Cuisine. Then they buy their own fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

The Pros of Jenny Craig:

· A very holistic weight loss program that addresses nutrition, exercise and emotional support
· A personalized weight loss approach that provides both an initial consultation and ongoing support from the weight loss professionals at Jenny Craig
· The food program includes many different foods; great for members who crave variety.

The Cons of Jenny Craig:

* The food program includes a large variety of foods, so members require more consultation to make their meal choices.
* The cost is higher than NutriSystem

Who Promotes Jenny Craig?

Jenny Craig has featured a number of actors, actresses and other celebrity spokespersons including Sara Rue, Jason Alexander, Valeri Bertinelli, and Denise Austin.


After comparing both NutriSystem and Jenny Craig weight loss programs, it appears there are a few significant differences:

· NutriSystem is more of “do it yourself” program, where the company simply provides ready-made meals that have been developed to promote weight loss.
· Jenny Craig is more personalized weight loss program that provides ready-made meals, as well as consultation and emotional support from staff (as well as other members).
· Jenny Craig offers a wider variety of food choices than NutriSystem.
· NutriSystem is the cheaper of the two programs. There are fewer food options, which probably helps keep the cost lower.

You may also want to read our reviews of Weight Watchers, The South Beach Diet, The Cookie Diet, The Medifast Diet, The Sonoma Diet, and Alli Diet Pills.