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Author Jessica White
Jessica White
Updated on Nov 23rd, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Lean Cuisine vs. Nutrisystem 2023: Best For Weight Loss? 

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.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Lean Cuisine (approx. $5 per serving)

🍔 Menu Variety:

Nutrisystem (130+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:

Nutrisystem (3 to 5 minutes)

🍴 Customization:


👍 Ordering and Delivery:


🙋 Customer Support:


👑 Overall Winner:

Menu Variety

Winner: Nutrisystem

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.

Screenshot of Nutrisystem's 8 Top Rated dishes
Check out these Top Rated dishes on the Nutrisystem menu!

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's Beef Lo Mein
No need for a takeout with this Beef Lo Mein on Nutrisystem's menu

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.

Screenshot of Lean Cuisine's Top Picks on the menu
It's hard to believe these dishes are weight-loss meals!

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 Five Cheese Rigatoni
If you love pasta, Lean Cuisine has the dish for you

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.

Meal Customization

Winner: Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem takes the lead here by offering specialized menus for different needs. It has a dedicated 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. 

Screenshot of the filters on Nutrisystem's dinner menu
I'm amazed at the number of filters to help you find the perfect meal

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 that 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. 

Lean Cuisine's meal types screenshot
It's great to see some diabetes-friendly weight-loss meals on Lean Cuisine's menu

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.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: Nutrisystem

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.

Image of Nutrisystem's delivery box
When you've emptied out your meals, throw it in curbside recycling

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.

Screenshot of part of Nutrisystem's order options
Read all the options carefully when you place your order with Nutrisystem

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.

Image of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals in boxes of different colors
You'll know exactly what to grab from the freezer thanks to its color coding system

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.

Meal Prep

Winner: Nutrisystem

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.

Screenshot of Nutrisystem's snack menu with popcorn, cookies, and snack bars
Most of Nutrisystem's snacks are ready to eat but some will need to be defrosted first

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.

Customer Support

Winner: Nutrisystem

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.

Screenshot of live chat asking about how to get Lean Cuisine meals delivered
I recommend using live chat for the fastest response time

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 $369.99 per month for the most popular women’s plan (Uniquely Yours Max+). 

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+ plan, this is $636.35 for women and $699.99 for men.

Screenshot of payment page on Nutrisystem showing the savings per day if you pre-pay for 2 or 3 months
You get a cheaper price per day if you pay in advance for 2 or 3 months with Nutrisystem

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.

Lean Cuisine vs. Nutrisystem – Quick Overview

Lean Cuisine


Best for

Store-bought frozen meals

Frozen and shelf-stable meals and snacks

Starting price

Around $5


Shipping cost

Free collection

Free when you pre-pay;

From $7.99 for one-time orders

Minimum order


$319.99 per month

Menu variety

55 choices

130+ choices

Prep time

3 to 5 minutes

0 to 5 minutes

Low-prep options

Oven-ready, microwave-ready

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)

Special diets

Diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy, low sodium, low-carb, high-protein, vegetarian

Diabetes-friendly, gender-specific

Customer support

Live chat, email, phone

Live chat, email, phone


None available

$30 off weight loss plans

And The Winner Is: Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem is my top choice in this comparison. Offering unmatched menu variety, convenience, and dietary customization, it definitely beats Lean Cuisine. Its proven track record and numerous positive testimonials further cement its reputation.

The weight loss strategies of Nutrisystem and Lean Cuisine differ substantially. Nutrisystem relies on a robust and structured weight loss program, whereas Lean Cuisine leaves the planning to you. This distinction allows you to choose a strategy that aligns best with your personal weight loss goals.

I believe the pricing of Nutrisystem justifies its numerous advantages. Its structured meal plan often results in more effective weight loss. Also, the comprehensive support and guidance it offers can significantly enhance your weight loss journey.

If you are still undecided about a meal delivery service, there are other options. Dive into our best weight loss meal delivery services list to explore more choices. This can help you make an informed decision tailored to your preferences and needs.


Is Lean Cuisine Cheaper than Nutrisystem?

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.  

Which is Better, Lean Cuisine or Nutrisystem?

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.

Is Lean Cuisine Healthier than Nutrisystem?

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.  

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