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Written by: Emily Kho on May 30th, 2021

South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem 2021 Weight Loss Diet Battle

South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem are both popular diet programs known for their ability to help customers lose weight.

South Beach Diet has been around since the mid-1990s and is based on a book written by the Florida-based cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston. You can subscribe to the Beach Pass membership or order meals a la carte.

Alternatively, Nutrisystem is a weight loss program that was started in 1972 by Harold J. Katz and is one of the earliest meal delivery providers out there. With Nutrisystem, you order 28 days worth of ready-made meals, which come directly to your door.

While it may seem like the two are very similar, both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem have nuances that set them apart. To take a closer look and help you decide which is right for you, I’ve written a deep-dive comparison of South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem.

At a Glance: South Beach Diet vs. Nutrisystem


South Beach Diet

Nutrisystem

Dietary preferences

Diabetes-friendly and vegetarian

Balanced, gender-specific, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian

Menu variety

100+ options per menu

150+ options per menu

Starting price

Approx $12.50 per day

Approx $9.29 per day

Shipping cost

Free

Free

Prep time

Reheat meals

Reheat meals

Dietary Preferences

South Beach Diet offers a wide range of dishes but, unfortunately, is limited in terms of dietary preferences. There are no diet-specific menus, but you can use the Special Dietary Needs filters on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus to find diabetes-friendly and vegetarian options.

On the other hand, Nutrisystem has done an excellent job opening up its services to those with diet-specific needs. Nutrisystem offers multiple menus to choose from, including men’s (with a higher caloric intake), vegetarian, and diabetes-friendly. 

So, it’s pretty easy to see who the winner is in terms of dietary preferences. Nutrisystem does a far better job of offering diet-specific menu items.

Winner: Nutrisystem

Menu Variety

South Beach Diet provides you with a wide range of items to choose from, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sampler packs, shakes and supplements, and bars. There are around 100+ different options to choose from across all menus, which is an excellent variety.

One particular area that piqued my interest was the sampler packs. Here, you can find packages of shakes, snacks, or other combinations. These premade packs help make your selection a bit quicker and include options like the Snack-N-Go 7-Pack, the Carb Cravings 7-Pack, or the Jessie’s Picks Variety Pack, which has been hand-selected by famous country music star, Jessie James Decker.

Nutrisystem offers two options to its members: I’ll Pick My Meals or Chef’s Choice. So, you can hand-select every item that goes into your delivery or have someone pick it for you, the choice is entirely up to you.

If you opt for Chef’s Choice, all of your meals and snacks will be chosen for you, based on the most popular meals at the time, while still keeping in mind your specific dietary preferences. Or, for those who prefer to make the decision themselves, choose from more than 150+ menu options in I’ll Pick My Meals.

When it comes to menu variety, Nutrisystem takes the lead offering around 50+ more choices than South Beach Diet. It also allows you more ways to choose your meals.

Winner: Nutrisystem

Starting Prices

With South Beach Diet, you can choose to order items a la carte or subscribe to the Beach Pass membership, where you’ll pay a monthly or quarterly membership fee and also receive a 25% discount on many of the a la carte items. Even without the Beach Pass membership, you can enjoy meals from as little as $4.99, like the Creamy Cauliflower and Chicken dinner.

The cost of a la carte ordering can add up over time, so adding the membership can be beneficial. When you include all of the charges, South Beach Diet comes out to about $12.50 per day.

The cost of Nutrisystem can be broken down to $9.29 per day or $260.12 per month with the Basic Plan for Women. This lowest-priced plan includes five breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks each week. Choose from over 150+ different ready-made menu options and also get Nutrisystem-inspired recipes for meals of your own.

When you take a look at the cost savings of nearly $3 per day, it’s clear to see that sticking to Nutrisystem will save you significantly over time.

Winner: Nutrisystem

Delivery and Packaging

South Beach Diet has recently stepped up its game to deliver meals in a more environmentally friendly way. The eco-friendly coolers that your South Beach Diet meals arrive in are reusable, recyclable, and even biodegradable.

Similarly, Nutrisystem has a heightened awareness of its environmental impact and aims to go green with seven steps. These steps include biodegradable cooler boxes, seasonal ingredients to minimize shipping, and utilizing eco-friendly ingredients in as many meals as possible.

Since it's clear that both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem have taken strides to reduce their carbon footprints, I think they are pretty neck and neck in terms of delivery and packaging.

Winner: Tie! 

Meal Prep

South Beach Diet offers a wide range of meals, snacks, and smoothies, making sticking to the diet more effortless than ever. When ordering products online, you can quickly identify what’s frozen as they have a snowflake symbol next to them. Meals or items without the symbol won’t require freezing. Enjoy your meals immediately, or in a matter of minutes if reheating is required.

Nutrisystem is very much the same, offering a range of meals and snacks, some of which require refrigeration or freezing. The frozen ones simply require a slightly lengthier heating time.

You can see each item’s prep method online before selecting it for your box, so you can dodge the lengthier ones if needed. 

For example, this Teriyaki Chicken and Noodles is a frozen meal and requires only five minutes total prep and cook time.

Both South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem offer meals ready in a matter of moments, making following either diet a breeze.

Winner: Tie

The Bottom Line

South Beach Diet and Nutrisystem are both popular, long-running weight loss programs and as you’ve seen throughout my comparison, they are equal in many categories. That being said, my number one pick is Nutrisystem.

While both programs make it incredibly easy to stick to these diets, Nutrisystem has more variety and customization features than South Beach Diet. Nutrisystem caters to more dietary preferences and also gives you the choice between a pre-selected menu or picking meals yourself.

South Beach Diet is an excellent option for anyone who likes having add-ons like smoothies as meal replacements. Otherwise, you might want to steer clear. With only vegetarian or diabetes-friendly preferences available, it’ll be difficult to cater to any sort of dietary restrictions.

Overall winner: Nutrisystem

For a more conclusive list of this year’s top meal delivery services, check out our list for more inspiration.

About The Author

Emily Kho

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

With a strong background in hospitality management, Emily now writes for a global clientele. When she's not writing, she's likely obsessing over her dog or her dog's Instagram @waff.lynn

With a strong background in hospitality management, Emily now writes for a global clientele. When she's not writing, she's likely obsessing over her dog or her dog's Instagram @waff.lynn
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