Nutrisystem and Lean Cuisine both offer balanced meals to help people lose weight. Lean Cuisine offers a range of prepared frozen meals that you can buy in grocery stores. Nutrisystem delivers a week’s worth of prepared meals to your door designed to kickstart your weight loss journey.
So, which is the better service to help you meet your weight loss goals? My in-depth comparison, focusing on menu variety, pricing, weight loss strategy, and more, will help you decide.
Nutrisystem is my top choice for a convenient weight loss plan. With its delivery service, specially designed meals, and the NuMi tracking app, Nutrisystem offers a comprehensive solution of structure and support to successfully manage your weight loss journey.
Lean Cuisine (approx. $5 per serving)
🍔 Menu Variety:
Nutrisystem (130+ choices per week)
⏰ Prep Time:
Tie (3 to 5 minutes)
👍 Ordering and Delivery:
🙋 Customer Support:
Nutrisystem is the winner here for the extensive variety of its menu. It has over 130 dishes on offer that include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Compared to Lean Cuisine’s 55 options, Nutrisystem has plenty of extra choices.
Nutrisystem has enough options that you’ll rarely have to repeat a meal. Nutrisystem pushes its varied menu as a major selling point. Let’s face it, losing weight is hard enough as it is, and it’s even worse if you have to deal with eating the same foods every day.
Nutrisystem is largely American fare, but there’s much more choice in terms of meal types. You can choose from burgers, pizzas, stews, and Restaurant Faves as well as pasta dishes. I also like that you can filter meals to see the top rated dishes so you know what the most popular ones are.
Nutrisystem also offers structured meal plans, which Lean Cuisine doesn’t. I think it goes without saying that a more structured plan means you’re less likely to eat the wrong things, leading to more effective weight loss.
Lean Cuisine meals are sold at grocery stores, so you’ll need to plan your menu and shop. The selection can be limited based on where you live. It’s worth checking your local grocery store’s website to see what’s available unless you choose to order from an online retailer like Instacart.
From the top picks on the Lean Cuisine menu, pasta features as a key ingredient. This might get a bit boring if you want to rely on it for all your main meals. Still, there are 5 different cuisines to choose from: American, Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican.
Lean Cuisine’s pasta dishes are highly rated by customers. The Five Cheese Rigatoni meal does look comforting and it’s great you can have a low-calorie meal with plenty of cheese.
Nutrisystem takes the lead here by offering specialized menus for different needs. It has a Vegetarian and Diabetes plan plus you can choose high protein and low sodium meals.
It doesn’t offer any vegan or gluten-free plans, but you can filter recipes to exclude ingredients. For example, you can choose to avoid meals that contain dairy, nuts, wheat, and fish. Even if you filter the menu to exclude lactose, you can still find 43 suitable meals.
The first week on a Nutrisystem plan is slightly more restrictive. This is because it’s designed to kickstart your weight loss journey. During this week, you can only consume the brand’s own meals and shakes, after that, there is more flexibility and you can start to incorporate your own home-cooked meals.
Lean Cuisine has meals which are gluten-free, vegetarian, low-carb, and high in protein. It also has 4 meals approved by the American Diabetes Association. This makes the menu easy to navigate according to health needs.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer vegan-friendly dishes or cater to allergens. You can’t filter the menu to exclude certain ingredients like you can with Nutrisystem.
You might struggle with the lack of variety when it comes to dining on Lean Cuisine. There are currently 55 meals to choose from, only 14 of which are meat-free, and many of them aren’t able to meet niche requirements. If you are gluten free, there’s only 7 meals to choose from, which is very limited.
When it comes to delivery, Nutrisystem can be the only winner. This is because Nutrisystem is the only service that actually offers delivery. The meals arrive in an insulated box every week, and the packaging is almost entirely recyclable or biodegradable.
Ordering from Nutrisystem is easy once you’ve got your head around the different plans. When you’ve chosen the best one for you, placing your order is straightforward. Just make sure you check the most suitable options on screen so you get exactly what you need.
Your Nutrisystem meals are shipped out every month. This means you have everything to hand and can plan your weeks’ meals ahead. Just make sure you have enough space for storage in your freezer. I love that each meal is color-coded so you know what to grab from your freezer at mealtime.
Lean Cuisine meals can be found in the frozen section of most major grocery stores. The meals come in single-serving boxes, which can be handy but also lead to a lot of waste. Fortunately, the cardboard outer packaging is recyclable, but the plastic tray will be a bit trickier. It will depend on your local recycling facilities.
You can choose to order your Lean Cuisine meals online using Instacart. Although this means you don’t have to venture to the grocery store every week, it does come at an additional cost. Many grocery stores offer their own delivery service or parking-lot pickup. If you’re short on time, both of these are great ways to streamline your shopping trip.
Nutrisystem wins this category as some menu items are ready to eat. Snacks like the Sweet And Salty Nut Bar can be eaten straight from the pack, which is great if you’re on the go. I also like that it has breakfast options like the Harvest Nut Oat Bar that don’t need any preparation if you are rushed in the morning.
Nutrisystem and Lean Cuisine both offer prepared meals, so the prep time is similar. The frozen meals can be ready in around 3 to 5 minutes when heated in the microwave. Nutrisystem also offers some ready-to-eat meals like granola bars, as well as snacks and desserts, including crackers and cinnamon rolls.
After 1 week with Nutrisystem, you are encouraged to cook for yourself a few times a week. This means you can choose to order fewer meals each month. This is designed to help you learn about healthy eating and to ensure your diet is sustainable, so you don’t come out of the plan relying on prepackaged foods.
This is great for long-term weight loss, but not so great if you struggle to find the time to cook. Most of its recommended recipes will take around 30 minutes to make, so you’ll have to plan accordingly. Suggested recipes can be found on the Nutrisystem blog, The Leaf, or on the NuMi app.
Nutrisystem beats Lean Cuisine for customer support as agents are available 6 days a week. You have the option to call 1-800-585-5483 or send an email. But I much prefer the live chat which is available Monday through Saturday 8 am to 11 pm EST.
My question on the Nutrisystem chat was answered in just a few minutes. The customer support agent was very friendly, and helped me to understand the difference between the plans available.
You can contact Lean Cuisine via email on its website. You will receive a reply within the next working day. I decided to use the online live chat instead so I could get a quicker reply.
Lean Cuisine’s live chat is only available Monday to Friday between 9 am and 6 pm EST. So it’s more difficult to get an answer to your query. The live chat agent was helpful though and answered within a few minutes.
Winner: Lean Cuisine
Lean Cuisine is the winner here, as its meals are more affordable per serving than Nutrisystem. Remember though that this isn’t the full story when you are trying to lose weight. Nutrisystem has a comprehensive plan that covers meals, support, and advice, which can be crucial in your efforts to stick to a diet.
This means the prices for Nutrisystem and Lean Cuisine are tricky to compare. Nutrisystem plans are billed monthly, starting at $8.54 per serving. This works out at $379.99 per month for the most popular women’s plan (Uniquely Yours Max Plus).
However, that’s the price you’ll pay if you opt for auto-shipments. If you want to order month by month, you’ll be paying a lot more. On the Uniquely Yours Max Plus plan, this is $690.89 for women and $772.71 for men.
Keep in mind, too, that prices change depending on which plan you select. They don’t account for any snacks or customizations such as adding protein shakes to your order. You also have the option to choose the full 7-day plan or the 5-day plan.
Lean Cuisine meals average around $5 per serving. Lean Cuisine doesn’t offer breakfast dishes, so for 2 meals a day, 7 days a week, that’s around $70 a week, or $280 per month. You’ll also have to factor in the price of additional foods from the grocery store for breakfast, plus any snacks, fruits, and vegetables.
The Nutrisystem plans are designed to fully support you with your weight loss goals. This means you are covered for all your meals per day plus snacks. This can help prevent you from cheating on your diet, which could be much easier if you are relying on the limited options on the Lean Cuisine menu.
Store-bought frozen meals
Frozen and shelf-stable meals and snacks
$279.79 per month (6 daily meals)
3 to 5 minutes
0 to 5 minutes
Oven-ready, shelf-stable, microwave-ready
Allergies catered to
Milk, egg, fish, crustacea, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, soybean labeled on ingredients (cross-contamination can occur)
Wheat, milk, lactose, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes, pork, gelatin, chocolate, alcohol, onions, seeds, nuts, or corn (cross-contamination can occur)
Diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy, low sodium, low-carb, high-protein, vegetarian
Diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, gender-specific
Live chat, email, phone
Live chat, email, phone
There’s no denying that Nutrisystem comes out on top. When it comes to menu variety, convenience, and catering to dietary preferences, it’s definitely the best option.
Nutrisystem and Lean Cuisine have completely different weight loss strategies. Nutrisystem is backed by a comprehensive and structured weight loss plan, while Lean Cuisine puts the planning directly into your hands.
I personally feel the higher cost of Nutrisystem is worth it for all the extra perks. A meal plan can lead to more effective weight loss. If you still haven’t made up your mind on a meal delivery service, take a look at our list of the best weight loss meal delivery services for even more options.
Lean Cuisine is cheaper than Nutrisystem, but it only covers 2 meals per day. A month’s worth of Lean Cuisine meals will cost around $280 using the average cost of $5 per meal. The most popular plan on Nutrisystem costs around $380 but it includes all meals and snacks, whereas Lean Cuisine has no breakfast or snack options.
If you are serious about starting a diet, Nutrisystem is the best choice. Nutrisystem is a complete weight loss plan that provides a variety of tasty low-calorie meals, snacks and shakes designed to help you lose weight and avoid hunger pangs. Lean Cuisine is commitment-free and cheaper per serving, but plenty of willpower is required to lose weight.
Both Lean Cuisine and Nutrisystem offer low-calorie fully-balanced meals. However, Nutrisystem has much greater variety in terms of meals and menu options. Plus, you can filter the menu to suit your particular dietary needs.