Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem is, by far, the most interesting comparison I’ve done to date. Both services offer weight loss programs with their own set of advantages, and both are very different in many ways from more generalized meal delivery services.
In this review, I compare several aspects of these popular weight-loss meal delivery services including dietary preferences, menu variety, pricing, and more. It was a tough call, but Nutrisystem bagged more wins than Jenny Craig to be crowned the overall winner in the end.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to lose a few pounds, read on and see which of these services is right for you!
Winner: Nutrisystem wins thanks to its wider menu and better filtering options.
Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are complete weight loss programs that offer a pre-designed diet plan along with meals. The plans are designed differently for men and women based on the caloric requirements of each.
Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem provide single-serving portion-controlled prepared meals with supplemental snacks and shakes. With either Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem, most of your food intake will come from your weekly shipment.
Sticking to a diet is tough, so you want as much variety on the menu as possible. So how do Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem stack up?
Jenny Craig lets you choose between 38 lunch/dinner items, 18 breakfast items, and 28 desserts, snacks, bars, and shakes. You'll find varied cuisine and a mix of popular foods like pasta, fish and chips, and pizza but also some fancier items like Beef Merlot and Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes.
Within each Jenny Craig plan, you'll find separate vegetarian and diabetes-friendly menus. These aren’t available if you’re just browsing online, but can be emailed to you upon request.
Jenny Craig’s menu might be a tad more sophisticated than Nutrisystem, but neither is especially adventurous. Both offer lots of lower-calorie takes on American favorites, with an occasional Italian, Mexican, or Chinese meal thrown into the mix.
When it comes to menu variety, Nutrisystem offers over 150 options across lunch, dinner, breakfast, and snacks. The Basic Plan has fewer options, as do the vegetarian and diabetes-friendly plans.
Nutrisystem meals are lower-calorie, healthier versions of popular comfort foods like mac and cheese, burgers, and a variety of melts. The inclusion of comfort foods ensures that your cravings are kept in check.
Many of these options aren’t what most would consider a complete meal. For example, there are five different bars on the lunch menu. While a bar works well for breakfast, I'm not sure how satisfied you'll be with a bar for lunch. But when it comes to dinner, Nutrisystem has a separate menu that includes more substantial meals like pizzas, pasta, and bowls.
Winner: It’s a tie
Nutrisystem has three plans based on the number of meals you get each week: Basic, Uniquely Yours, and Uniquely Yours Max. And Nutrisystem also offers Partner Plans for couples or friends who want to lose weight together.
Nutrisystem’s dietary options are the same as Jenny Craig’s: standard, diabetes-friendly, and vegetarian. However, unlike Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem makes it easy to find all plan-related information on the website itself.
Our expert reviewer was impressed by Nutrisystem’s Vegetarian and Diabetes plans. She praised the 90+ vegetarian selections on the menu and noted that the Diabetes plans were “a great way to lose weight while managing type 2 diabetes,” as the regular small meals helped limit blood sugar spikes.
Jenny Craig has three basic plans. Their Simple Meal Plan provides breakfast and lunch, while the Essential Meal Plan adds dinner. The Rapid Results Max Plan gives you all that plus snacks, desserts, Recharge energy bars, personal coaching, activity plans, and a quality of life assessment.
Jenny Craig’s online menu also lacks tags and filtering options. So if you want to cut out certain allergens like egg, soy, etc., you’ll either have to open the individual meal page and check the ingredients or call one of the Jenny Craig centers for help.
As far as customization is concerned, you can pick your own meals from both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. But your customization choices are limited to selecting the meals for your weekly plan. You won’t be able to make changes to the recipes.
When searching the menu, Nutrisystem’s filters let you easily exclude problem foods and find just the entrees you’re looking for. Not only can you avoid common allergens like tree nuts and wheat but you can also filter out entrees with tomato sauce, pork, spicy foods, and many other troublesome ingredients. Note that since you can’t exclude or replace individual meal ingredients, filtering out an ingredient like chicken will mean every menu item containing chicken is removed for you.
Both plans are geared specifically toward weight loss, and their low-calorie meals are carefully designed to ensure dieters get all the nutrients they need. Keeping that balance is a big challenge, and letting customers mix and match ingredients would make it much harder still.
Nutrisystem wins this round thanks to its superior website and ease of ordering.
There are two ways you can get Jenny Craig meals – from the store (currently only curb-side pickup available) or via delivery. Since many of the meals are freshly prepared and flash-frozen, you’ll only receive a week's worth of meals at a time.
While Jenny Craig’s food delivery is quick and easy, ordering it’s a different story. The website is hard to navigate and the online menu gives no ingredient, nutrition, or allergen information. You’re better off calling your nearest Jenny Craig center to place an order, although you'll have to repeat this call every week to get your weekly supplies.
Jenny Craig’s minimum order, the Simple Plan, provides seven breakfasts and seven lunches. Jenny Craig ships using Fed Ex and can deliver to most of the continental US and much of Canada. You can cancel or reschedule any order up to 48 hours before its scheduled shipment date by calling or sending an email request.
If you call, your first order will arrive within 1-2 days (when I called the Maryland center at 11 am, they told me they could ship that same day!). However, if you order online, your first order can take anywhere between 1 to 10 business days to arrive and you can't choose the day. If you’re on auto-delivery, you’ll receive a package a few days before you run out of meals.
Now let's talk packaging. Jenny Craig meals come packed in a partitioned box. The upper half contains your shelf-stable meals while the bottom half is dedicated to frozen items. All meals are packed in color-coded wrappers. For example, all the snacks/desserts are in white and pink wrappers while lunches and dinners come in white and green.
Almost all of Jenny Craig’s packaging is recyclable or compostable. You’ll find loads of #4 plastic, which is recyclable in most communities.
Nutrisystem’s processing and delivery time frame can range between one and five business days within the continental US from when the order is placed. Orders placed outside the continental US will take a further two days by air. You can also get deliveries to Canada although these will take 4-10 business days. Frozen Nutrisystem meals are shipped separately and may arrive on a different day than non-frozen items.
Nutrisystem has also switched to more eco packaging, with almost all of its packaging material being environmentally friendly, including recyclable and biodegradable coolers. Again, plenty of plastic but it’s recyclable. The Nutrisystem meals are also clearly color-coded as lunch, dinner, breakfast, and snacks so they’re easy to sort.
You can make changes to upcoming orders in by phone or email. You can also go to your Nutrisystem account and click My Account then Edit Next Order.
Winner: It’s a tie
Both Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig offer similar pre-packaged meals so I already know that the services are going to finish in a dead heat.
Frozen meals from Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are stored in the freezer and heated from a frozen state, so you don’t even have to thaw them beforehand. The snacks, bars, and desserts are ready to eat as is or with added milk or hot water. For both services, the only kitchen skill you need to master is heating. There’s no other prepping or cooking required.
Keep in mind that both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem encourage you to supplement their meal plan with fresh fruits and vegetables. While both plans provide the majority of calories, you’ll need to make occasional visits to the grocery store.
Winner: Jenny Craig
This one was a close call but Jenny Craig wins here due to its personalized diet counseling and support.
Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem offer email and telephone support, and both have FAQ and informational documents on their website. Jenny Craig has a contact form while Nutrisystem offers live chat from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Time Monday-Friday and from 9 am to 5:30 pm on weekends.
Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem also both have apps that let you track orders, make changes, or cancel your subscription. But their apps also help you track your weight loss progress and provide you with inspirational messages.
If you join Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results Max plan, you get a dedicated coach assigned to you. You’re expected to get in touch with your coach every week and they’ll help you design your weekly meal plan based on your requirements and preferences.
Customer support is where Jenny Craig really shines. With over 600 brick-and-mortar locations, Jenny Craig can provide you with personalized diet counseling as well as online support. Nutrisystem attempts to compete here with its weight-loss counselors who can help you find the right menu items for your specific needs but this still doesn’t quite beat the service from Jenny Craig. Jenny Craig guarantees that if you don’t like your first week of food, you can simply cancel your order and Jenny Craig will refund your money.
Both services offer multiple plans, all with different price tags. Nutrisystem further complicates this by offering different plan prices based on your delivery preference. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you.
The cheapest plan on Jenny Craig is the Simple Meal Plan at $13.99 a day ($419.70/month). However, this plan only offers breakfast and lunch, making your price per meal $6.99. Pretty reasonable, right? This, however, isn’t the lowest price per meal.
The Max Up Weight Loss Plan is approximately $29.00 per day and includes five meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack/dessert, and bars. So the price on this plan comes to $5.80 per meal, not including shipping costs. If you don’t have a nearby Jenny Craig storefront near you, shipping will cost you another $29.
Both Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem ship frozen meals, which is considerably more difficult and expensive than sending chilled packages of fresh food. But Jenny Craig has the highest shipping fees of any service I’ve come across in my meal delivery reviewing career.
For Nutrisystem, the cheapest 5-day Basic Plan for women starts at $9.99 per day. (The Basic Plan for men costs $11.64 per day). If you pay for three months of monthly shipments upfront, that cost drops to $8.64 per day for women and $9.95 per day for men or $1.44/$1.66 per serving, respectively.
But while Nutrisystem gives you a discount for upfront orders, you pay a hefty penalty for one-time orders. The price per day on a one-time 30-day order is $18.71 – more than double the cost of a three-month prepaid subscription!
Nutrisystem offers members free shipping on all its programs. For non-members, all à la carte orders come with a shipping fee ranging from $7.99 to $19.99. That’s not cheap, but next to Jenny Craig’s shipping prices it feels like a bargain.
While the other wins were close, this round was an uncontested win for Nutrisystem. Losing weight with Nutrisystem will cost you a lot less than with Jenny Craig.
Personalized diet coaching
Complete diet plans delivered
Price: Missing Product jenny-craig/day
Free for members:
14 meals (7-day Basic plan)
28 meals (7-Day Reboot)
85+ choices per week
150+ choices per week
0 to 5 minutes
All items fully prepared and can be heated in microwave
Microwave-ready, some items require added hot water or fat-free milk
Allergies catered to
None: you must check ingredients list yourself and avoid problem ingredients
Filters for wheat, tree nuts, fish, eggs, onions, tomatoes, sugar alcohols, chocolate, pork
Email, phone, contact form
Email, phone online chat
Both these services are good for short-term weight loss, and both provide counseling and advice on making long-term lifestyle changes. But in time you’ll likely want to move on from these specialized plans to a more generalized meal delivery plan.
When that time comes, or if neither of these weight-loss services is a good fit for you, there are plenty of options on our list of the best weight loss meal delivery services of 2023.
If you live near a Jenny Craig storefront and you feel like you want personalized assistance in your weight loss journey, Jenny Craig is an excellent choice. But if you want to lose weight with the aid of a meal delivery service, Nutrisystem is the better choice.
Jenny Craig’s storefront services are well-regarded, but Nutrisystem offered a better-organized website and a wider range of meals. As I studied these two weight loss meal delivery services, I couldn’t help feeling like online orders were an afterthought for Jenny Craig.
That being said, while I gave Nutrisystem the award I would also say both these services can help you lose weight and guide you toward a lifetime of better eating habits.
With their Basic Meal Plan for Women starting at just $8.54 per day, Nutrisystem is the cheaper of the two services. Jenny Craig’s plans start at Price: Missing Product jenny-craig per day. But be advised that Nutrisystem meals are considerably more expensive if you buy them a la carte and don’t sign up for their subscription service.
While you can choose from a menu with over 150 options, Nutrisystem doesn’t allow you to swap out proteins or other ingredients from entrees. Most weight loss meal delivery services carefully plan their menus to ensure your nutritional needs are met on a low-calorie diet.
While Jenny Craig has over 85 entrees on its menu, Nutrisystem has over 150. Variety is important with weight loss meal services. You’ll be getting almost all your calories from Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig and so you want as many menu choices as you can get.