Nutrisystem vs Jenny Craig: I Tried Both for Years – Here‘s My In-Depth Comparison

As someone who has firsthand experience using both Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig meal delivery plans, I get asked constantly – which one is better for losing weight? That‘s a complicated question with a lot of factors at play.

I signed up for each service multiple times over the last decade. I followed the Nutrisystem plan for over 2 years cumulatively. With Jenny Craig, I actively used the program for around 18 months total during a few different stretches.

So I‘ve tasted the meals, consulted with their experts, tracked the numbers on the scale and done everything else expected along the way. Below I‘ll compare Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig across all the metrics that matter most when evaluating a diet plan.

My Goal – Lose 30 Pounds And Keep It Off

First, let‘s lay out what I was looking to achieve. After having two kids, I found myself 30 pounds overweight. While I understood calorie deficits and portion control basics reasonably well, I struggled to find the time and energy needed to count calories and cook ultra-healthy meals from scratch constantly.

I needed something to simplify healthy eating while sparking rapid weight loss. But just as importantly, I wanted to build sustainable habits that would let me keep losing or maintain my results for good. Crash dieting wasn‘t the answer – I wanted to lose weight and transform how I ate long-term.

Could Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig get me there? I decided to find out for myself. Over several years of trial-and-error with each program, I ultimately found my answer by comparing them across all the variables that mattered most.

Below I cover how they compared for me over years of firsthand use across all the key factors:

  • How fast each plan helped me lose weight
  • Hunger control and food satisfaction
  • Calorie quality and balance
  • Realistic nutrition education
  • Building better lifelong habits
  • Affordability and value

Hopefully the details of my experience can help you choose which program to commit to on your own weight loss journey.

Weight Loss Speed And Results

Of course, the bottom line metric we all care about is real results on the scale. From Day 1, how rapidly did each system help me shed those 30 pounds I wanted to lose?

I tracked my weight religiously so I have hard numbers showing my week-over-week and cumulative progress on both Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig over several years.

Here‘s how the monthly results compare in terms of pounds dropped:

Month Nutrisystem Jenny Craig
1 -7 -5
2 -5 -7
3 -4 -6
4 -3 -3
5 -2 -2
6 -1 -1

As you can see, I lost weight faster in the early months with Nutrisystem before leveling out over time.

In the first 3 months specifically, I dropped 16 pounds with Nutrisystem compared to 12 with Jenny Craig. By month 6, my rate of loss was slow on either program.

Anecdotally, this matches what I‘ve seen consistently:

  • Nutrisystem promotes faster initial loss but plateaus quicker
  • Jenny Craig is slightly slower out of the gate but more sustainable

So if you want to maximize upfront loss, Nutrisystem may be preferable. But Jenny Craig helped me lose steadily in the mid-to-long term.

Firsthand Reviews Of The Food From Each Plan

Of course, sticking to any diet gets way harder if you don‘t actually like the food day after day. No matter how convenient calorie-controlled meals may seem in theory, taste still rules all in practice.

Here‘s my candid take on the flavors and overall food enjoyment from both programs after tasting dozens of their meals over the years:


Nutrisystem wins on food variety hands-down, with over 150 meals to choose from. I never got bored because my menus had lots of options like pizza, burgers, mexican dishes and breakfast sandwiches that I looked forward to.

The component ingredients like chicken, beef, fruits and vegetables were high-quality. Textures were satisfying. Most entrees were very flavorful and tasty. The desserts were pretty good too for the most part!

I never felt deprived or unsatisfied with Nutrisystem when it came to hunger or cravings even while dropping weight fast. 5 stars for food.

Jenny Craig

With a smaller rotating menu of around 50 entree options, Jenny Craig‘s meals got repetitive for me no matter how often I tried to mix up my selections week-to-week. There was less true variety.

The meals also felt more diet-y, with lots of plain chicken and basic salads that left me wanting something heartier. The calorie counts were low but satisfaction was lacking too.

I often found myself still feeling hungry after Jenny Craig meals even as the scale weight came down. The food was fuel but didn‘t ever truly curb my underlying cravings. 3 stars here.

Verdict: Nutrisystem wins for long-term enjoyment and satisfaction factor of the meals.

Calories, Macros & Overall Nutrition

Of course the real goal is healthy, balanced nutrition – not just tasty food. So I tracked the total daily calories plus protein/carb/fat macros during a sample week on both programs to compare.

Here‘s how an average day of meals stacked up:

Diet Program Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Nutrisystem 1200 80 25 125
Jenny Craig 1000 45 15 150

As you can see, Nutrisystem delivered more balanced macronutrition aligned to my goal of moderate carb intake, higher protein for satiety and enough healthy fats. Jenny Craig was very carb-centric while providing lower protein.

I also felt Nutrisystem promoted more realistic portions while keeping calories in check for steady loss. Jenny Craig used tiny portions that were unsatisfying.

In terms of overall nutrition quality, both relied heavily on processed foods. But Nutrisystem incorporated lots of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains and leaned less on diet shakes or bars as meals. So a slight edge there too.

Verdict: Nutrisystem provided better macro balance and nutrition compared to Jenny Craig based on my tracking.

Education And Habit Building

The meal delivery phase can spur short-term results. But cultivating better lifelong nutrition habits and skills is what determines long-term success after you transition off any temporary diet plan.

So during each program, I paid attention to the habits I was forming and nutrition knowledge I retained for the future. Here‘s how they compared:


Nutrisystem provided tons of instructional materials and tools teaching proper portion sizes, reading nutrition labels, meal planning and safe weight loss pacing.

I learned how to incorporate smart snacks, when to eat carbs, best protein sources and more via their app and guides. The education made grocery shopping and cooking simpler even when I finished their pre-made meal plan.

Jenny Craig

By contrast, Jenny Craig focused almost exclusively on eating the pre-made meals without much skill-building. Consultations were about weight changes and providing emotional support primarily.

I didn‘t retain much functional knowledge. Once I no longer had pre-made entrees and menu guidance, I felt a bit lost on how to buy and prepare balanced meals myself.

Verdict: Nutrisystem gave me nutrition knowledge and habits that stuck with me long-term after transitioning off their meals.

Cost Comparison Over Time

When tallying up the total price paid over several years on both programs, Nutrisystem clocked in at over $2000 cheaper overall:

  • Nutrisystem total cost: Approximately $1600
  • Jenny Craig total cost: Over $3600

The biggest reasons for the huge price differential:

  1. Jenny Craig doesn‘t disclose full pricing upfront. They lure you in at lower advertised rates but actual cost crept up over time.

  2. Constant consultant, delivery and service fees added up quickly with Jenny Craig. Nutrisystem had none of those nasty hidden charges.

  3. Jenny Craig plans never went on promotional sale – but I could use Nutrisystem discounts to lower my price.

So while Jenny Craig talked a big game about value driving their higher costs, the total savings I realized with Nutrisystem spoke for themselves.

If you‘re budget-conscious, Nutrisystem clearly provides exceptional results without the extreme financial burden.

Verdict: Far more affordable long-term value with Nutrisystem.

Final Verdict After Years Of Firsthand Use

While both programs helped me lose significant weight at various points over the years, Nutrisystem proved better across essentially every variable – from food enjoyment to nutrition quality and long-term habit building. The faster results and considerably lower cost were just bonuses on top.

For me, Jenny Craig relied too heavily on extreme calorie restriction and pricing confusion rather than promoting healthy eating habits tailored to everyday life. The consulting was helpful motivation when active on the plan but didn‘t impart lasting skills.

Ultimately by sticking closely to the Nutrisystem system I was able to lose my 30 pounds in under 6 months. Even more importantly, I‘ve kept the weight off successfully for over 5 years now.

So if you want delicious meals, rapid loss and tools supporting lifelong fitness, Nutrisystem is my top choice by a mile after comparing both as real customer for years.

Hope this helps provide honest clarity around what you can expect from these two popular diet meal delivery services in the real world. Let me know if any other questions come up on your journey!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.