Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem - What's the Difference?By Stephanie E - Jenny Craig
We know choosing the right weight loss program can be challenging. We also understand not all plans are created equal — some focus solely on food, such as eliminating food groups or focusing on calories, while others emphasize finding activities, such as physical activity or meetings, to hone in on other aspects of well-being.
With so many different plans available to lose weight, knowing which program is best for you can be tough to figure out. Our consultants are often asked how Jenny Craig differs from other programs. To help you find the best option for you, we're breaking down the differences between Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. While both programs focus on using pre-portioned food in a similar way, there are actually quite a few differences between the two. Let’s compare Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem and see which plan works best for your lifestyle and the results you want to achieve.
How Nutrisystem works
The Nutrisystem diet program does not focus on counting calories or eliminating carbs —instead, it offers high-fiber, lean protein food options to help fuel your body for the day’s activities. All of their menu items contain no artificial sweeteners or flavors, as well as zero trans fat.
Nutrisystem offers various 4-week plans, where you’ll eat every two to three hours. During your first week on the Nutrisystem plan, you’ll eat six times a day. You’ll eat meals, bars and shakes from the plan you select. During your second week, you’ll continue eating Nutrisystem foods while incorporating vegetables and fruits. With this program, you’ll also have a “flex option,” where you can dine out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or use a Nutrisystem recipe as a flex meal. Your meal options depend on which plan you decide to go with, so you may have limited choices.
Depending on the Nutrisystem diet plan you choose, you would log your measurements and weight online through the website or an app. If you choose to pay an additional fee and upgrade your plan from the basic package, you can also receive access to dietitians and counselors, who you could contact over the phone.
How Jenny Craig works
Now that we’ve taken a look at Nutrisystem, let’s see how the Jenny Craig program compares. Jenny Craig is built on a three-part process that focuses on giving you the support you need with delicious food you’ll love, so you can work towards the results you want. While some weight loss programs provide food and some programs provide consultants, not many provide both. Jenny Craig is a complete program that is specially designed to provide everything you need to succeed.
Our consultants - your personal support team
Every single Jenny Craig member receives a personal weight loss consultant. This invaluable resource is included with every membership and is the key difference between Jenny Craig and other food-based weight loss programs. Research indicates that support can make all the difference when it comes to your weight loss journey. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered that individuals following structured weight loss programs with support were more likely to lose weight and keep off the weight, than those who did not.1
Once a week, you’ll meet with your consultant in-person or by phone to track your progress and discuss your plan for the upcoming week. Your consultant will provide you with personalized support and skills to help you develop healthier habits. These are just a few of the benefits of a personal weight loss consultant.
The second part of the Jenny Craig program is the food. We offer delicious food, so you can easily make healthy choices. No meal prep or measuring is required! The food is crafted by chefs and nutritionists for superior taste with meals you’ll love, like waffles for breakfast, a Margherita Pizza for lunch, or Beef Merlot with veggies for dinner, to name a few.
And then there’s dessert — yes, dessert! With options like Chocolate Lava Cake, Apple Crisp and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, you’ll learn how to include smaller portions of your favorite treats—it’s all about balance! The best part about the Jenny Craig menu is that it’s a simple guide to help you easily make healthier choices each day.
Our consultants provide you with a nutritionally sound menu that fits your lifestyle. The menu also includes high-fiber fruits and non-starchy vegetables from our Fresh & Free Additions list that can help you stay fuller longer.
Jenny Craig food details
- You get to eat often—six times per day. Three meals and two snacks are included in our delicious menu, and you supply one healthy snack.
- No food groups are eliminated. The name of the game here is a balance of carbs, protein, and fat. You also add in fresh vegetables, side salads, fresh fruits, veggies and dairy for additional balance.
- No calorie counting or keeping track of points! Jenny Craig foods are pre-portioned, so once you’ve finished the meal, you don’t have to worry about calculating anything (or cleaning a pile of dishes).
- The food and menus are developed by chefs and nutritionists, so you’ll enjoy savory meals, smart snacks and delicious desserts created specifically to help support your weight loss goals.
The goal isn't to keep you on Jenny Craig food permanently—it's a tool to help you reach your weight loss goals and learn how to make healthier choices that can last a lifetime. In the first part of the Jenny Craig program, you’ll follow the plan to work towards the best results, but as you approach your goal, you’ll be encouraged to start eating more of your own foods and meals. Your consultant will work with you to develop healthy meal planning and food preparation, as well as strategies for dining out and managing social situations. The goal is to develop a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle you can maintain. Once you’ve reached your goal, Jenny Craig offers a maintenance program to help keep you on track and support your new lifestyle!
Two more reasons why Jenny Craig is a top-rated weight loss program
#1. Nationally recognized
The Jenny Craig program is proven and recognized by top news outlets and medical journals. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Jenny Craig as a best diet for weight loss for 9 years and counting. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also published a study reinforcing Jenny Craig's value, citing that the program resulted in greater weight loss, compared to usual care.2 The reputable Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American College of Physicians, and is one of the most widely cited specialty medical journals in the world, identified Jenny Craig as one of the most effective weight-loss programs.3
#2. Member success stories
While we’re extremely proud of our accolades, that’s only one part of our success. When someone is looking for a recommendation on the best weight-loss program, oftentimes, it’s best to hear from people who have been successful on a program. Here is one of our success stories from Garth W:
“Jenny Craig helped me get my edge back. I was looking for more balance and for more energy. I was looking for the way I used to feel, and this really did it for me."†
† Members following our program, on average, lose 1 -2 lbs. per week. Member received promotional consideration.
You can learn about other members’ accomplishments with these inspiring weight loss success stories, or by visiting a local Jenny Craig center to find out how the combination of personalized support and food can help you reach your goals.
Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem?
So, what’s the verdict? Which program works best for your lifestyle? Jenny Craig offers a complete, customized plan to fit your unique needs with the dedicated support of a consultant and delicious food. Jenny Craig, you’ll work one-on-one with a consultant to map out the plan that works best for you. This personalized strategy has proven to be one of the most effective weight loss programs on the market.
If you’re ready to begin your weight loss journey, book a free appointment to meet with one of our dedicated personal consultants to get started on a path to better health today.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find Stephanie photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: Green apple slices with sunflower butter
This article is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals. Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
2 Rock CL, Flatt SW, Karanja N, et al. JAMA. 2010;304(16):1803-1811
3 Gudzune KA, Doshi RS, Mehta AK, Chaudhry ZW, Jacobs DK, Vakil RM, et al. Ef cacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: An Updated Systematic Review. Annals of Internal Medicine 2015;162:501-512. doi:10.7326/M14-2238