Since 1974 Nutrisystem has helped millions of people to lose weight – but can this time-tested diet plan help you shed unwanted pounds?
I’ve researched Nutrisystem’s menus, weighed and measured its different dietary options, and studied its ingredient lists to bring you this expert review of Nutrisystem’s plans. And I’ve even found the latest active deal so you can try it out for less – 50% Off All Plans + Free Shipping!.
Nutrisystem’s calorie-controlled meals aren’t the tastiest but they’ll keep you full, and if you stick to the plan, it can definitely help you lose weight in the short term. And if you make the dietary changes recommended by Nutrisystem’s counselors, you can keep that weight off in the long term.
Keep reading to learn more about the details and how Nutrisystem can help you hit your weight-loss goals.
Diabetes-friendly and vegetarian options
A long track record in the weight-loss industry
Current deal – 50% Off All Plans + Free Shipping!
A lot of processed food
Geared toward short-term weight loss
Not suitable for vegans
Nutrisystem’s menu and plans can be a bit complicated, so I’ve broken it down for you below.
No matter what plan you choose, you’ll be eating nothing but Nutrisystem meals during the first seven days of the diet. The first week is designed to kick-start your metabolism and get your body in a fat-burning mode. After that, your choices depend on the plan you’ve chosen.
Nutrisystem’s lowest-priced Basic plan gives you a choice of Nutrisystem’s “Pantry-perfect” meals and snacks. These items are prepared and packaged using a “soft-canning” method and don’t require refrigeration. On Nutrisystem’s Basic plan, you get five days of meals and snacks but you’re on your own for your weekend meals.
While Nutrisystem has a good selection of non-frozen meals, the Basic Plan will definitely limit your menu choices. For example, of the 24 breakfast entrees on the Nutrisystem menu, only 13 are Pantry-perfect, so you’re going to be eating a lot of granola and breakfast bars.
Nutrisystem’s Uniquely Yours plan also gives you five days of meals and snacks per week but also lets you choose Nutrisystem’s frozen meals, including Restaurant Faves like Bistro-Style Toasted Ravioli (pictured above).
Uniquely Yours is Nutrisystem’s most popular plan because it gives you a lot more choices, especially with the lunch and dinner entrees. 17 of Nutrisystem’s 30 lunch entrees and 33 of 46 Nutrisystem dinners are frozen, so you’ll be able to access them on this plan, but not the Basic plan.
After your first week, the Basic and Uniquely Yours plans offer five days of Nutrisystem meals along with meals made with grocery items recommended by Nutrisystem such as vegetables, PowerFuels, and SmartCarbs.
With Nutrisystem’s top-tier plan, Uniquely Yours Max+, you have the option to choose a 7-day plan that’ll keep you on a restricted-calorie diet throughout the week. You also get access to Nutrisystem’s Hearty Inspirations, meals like Cajun-Style Chicken and Shrimp (pictured above) that give you bigger portions with a small calorie count.
This is the best plan if you want a comprehensive, foolproof diet where every meal and snack is covered.
This three-tier menu sounds simple, but each Nutrisystem plan then has separate menus for men and women, with the men’s plan providing a higher daily calorie count. There are also Vegetarian and Diabetes options for each plan.
As with most diet services, Nutrisystem sends single-serving meals and snacks. This might work well for you if you’re the only one in your family dieting. However, if you want to lose weight with a partner, friend, or roommate, Nutrisystem’s unique Partner Plan lets two people lose weight together.
Lastly, Nutrisystem’s Complete Plan is for those looking to lose 50 pounds or more over a six-month period. The Complete plan starts with 7-day servings, then moves to 5-day after the first month of weight loss. All the while, it teaches healthier eating habits to help you maintain your weight after you lose the pounds.
Alas, there are no options to customize individual meals or swap out one protein for another although this isn’t unusual when it comes to prepared meals.
Nutrisystem has a good selection of filters that will help you avoid common allergens like wheat, milk, and tree nuts as well as spicy foods, shellfish, or other ingredients. You can even exclude things like chicken, pork, and beef. However, filtering out your problem ingredients can leave you with very few choices.
For example, Nutrisystem offers 46 different dinner entrees. But only nine dinner entrees are suitable for people with lactose intolerance and only 12 entrees are safe for people with wheat sensitivities. If you’re both lactose and gluten-sensitive, you’re going to spend the next 28 days rotating between three dinners!
Outside of the Vegetarian and Diabetes plans, there’s nothing for vegans or people on specialized diets like keto or paleo. There are some Chinese and Italian options (including surprises like a low-calorie Fettucine Alfredo!) but the menu is largely standard American fare.
In addition to its meals, Nutrisystem also offers a selection of snack bars and shake powders to help you resist the allure of sugary sweets.
Nutrisystem’s shakes, which come in chocolate and vanilla flavors, are more filling than you would expect and can get you through those moments of temptation. (And we’re talking moments since you eat at least six times a day on the Nutrisystem plan!)
While most meal delivery services send a box of meal kits or prepared meals each week, Nutrisystem sends its boxes out monthly. You’ll need to make space in your freezer and cupboards before your order arrives.
Nutrisystem has recently switched to more environmentally friendly packaging, including recyclable and biodegradable coolers. There’s lots of plastic in your order, but it’s all recyclable, so you don’t have to worry about your carbon footprint.
All Nutrisystem products have a production code showing when they were made, and a labeled shelf date, which is typically between six and 18 months.
Because you’re eating Nutrisystem food for every meal of the day, you’ll want to keep your meals sorted. Nutrisystem’s color-coded packs make it easy to tell the difference between a breakfast meal, a snack, and a lunch or dinner entree.
Most Nutrisystem meals arrive prepared and ready to be heated and eaten (many don’t even require heating). Nutrisystem’s shake powders need to be mixed with water or nonfat milk, then shaken or stirred.
All Nutrisystem meals come with storage instructions and clearly marked expiration dates. Frozen meals can go straight from the freezer to the microwave, oven, or skillet.
One of the ways Nutrisystem helps you stick to the plan is by providing multiple small servings during the day. You get something to eat every couple of hours, which keeps you from getting so hungry that you turn to unhealthy food.
Nutrisystem’s food won’t be winning any Michelin stars. Its meals are fine for diet food, and more filling than you might expect from a restricted-calorie diet plan. But it is diet food – a means to an end and something that’s tolerated rather than loved.
Blueberry muffins can be sugar-loaded calorie-bombs. But Nutrisystem sweetens its Blueberry Muffin with xylitol and maltitol so it comes in at just 150 calories and just three grams of fat. You can enjoy it at home or bring it with you to the office in its sealed packaging.
Is this muffin as delicious as the icing-slathered massive heap of sugar they sell in your local coffee shop? No, but it has about 25% of the calories and offers you a lot more than 25% of the flavor. It’s a low-calorie breakfast that’ll help you resist the temptation of an unhealthy one.
Chinese takeout is fast and delicious, but it’s not always healthy. Nutrisystem’s Spicy Kung Pao Noodles bring together shallots, noodles, green onions, and a sprinkling of peanuts that will liven up your lunchtime without expanding your waistline. This meal has only 190 calories and just 480 milligrams of sodium!
Spicy Kung Pao Noodles, like the Blueberry Muffin above, are part of Nutrisystem’s “Pantry-perfect” line. This entree can be ordered on the Basic Plan, and it doesn’t require refrigeration so bringing it to work is easy.
Nutrisystem portions are small, but you get lots of them. On the Nutrisystem diet, you eat six times a day! Eating multiple meals during the day cuts down on those bleak hungry times when you’re watching the clock and thinking about dinner. That makes it much easier to follow this calorie-restricted diet.
The White Cheddar Popcorn is a great snack and a habit worth getting into. Popcorn is an excellent food for dieters. It’s lower in calories than most junk food and surprisingly filling, too. Nutrisystem’s White Cheddar Popcorn has just 140 calories and will tide you over until your next meal.
This Pantry-perfect supper combines flame-broiled chicken with edamame beans and peppers tossed in a teriyaki sauce. Brown rice gets a protein and nutrient boost with the addition of lentil beans and farro.
Nutrisystem’s dinner entrees are a bit larger in size than its lunch entrees, as Nutrisystem believes supper should be the biggest meal of the day. But though this entree may be bigger in size, it still comes with just 240 calories.
Nutrisystem’s dietitians know the siren song of cheesecake, and they designed this tasty Chocolate Cheesecake treat for those moments when you hear those dulcet tones ringing in your ears. And while cheesecake is notoriously unhealthy, this sugar-restricted 140-calorie snack is suitable even for diabetics.
Some diet experts complain that Nutrisystem's low-calorie desserts reinforce unhealthy eating habits. But most of us don’t need reinforcement to love cheesecake and treats like this make losing weight a lot less grim and joyless.
Unfortunately for those on the Basic Plan, Nutrisystem’s Chocolate Cheesecake arrives frozen and is only available on the Uniquely Yours and Uniquely Yours Max+ plans. It might just be worth the upgrade.
After you place your order, it’ll take between one and five business days to arrive. If you’re outside the continental US, the order will take an extra two days by air. Nutrisystem even delivers to Canada, though those packages will take four to ten business days to arrive.
Nutrisystem sends an introductory email after your first order, with a tracking link for your delivery, and your set delivery date. Frozen Nutrisystem meals may arrive on a different day than non-frozen items. This is because frozen meals need heavy insulation and dry ice for transit, so they’re shipped separately.
Nutrisystem works via an auto-delivery system, with a delivery arriving at your doorstep every four weeks. If you need to reschedule a delivery, you can do so on the phone or by logging into your Nutrisystem account.
While Nutrisystem’s description of its various plans can be confusing, signing up for Nutrisystem is fairly simple. I’ll walk you through it:
Choose and customize your plan. Once you’ve selected your main plan, you can then choose between the men's and women’s variations, your menu, the type of delivery, and whether you want to add additional weight-loss shakes to your monthly box.
Read the small print. This is to ensure Nutrisystem is right for you. It won’t suit people with soy, peanut, gluten, or latex sensitivities. It’s also not intended for children under 14, or for people with certain illnesses. Women weighing over 400 pounds and men over 450 pounds will require doctor approval before signing up for Nutrisystem, but it’s always best to speak with your doctor before changing your diet or beginning any weight loss plan, regardless.
Enter your height, weight, and shipping information. Along with your shipping information, Nutrisystem asks for your height and current weight. NuMi will later use this information, along with the target weight you enter into the app, to help guide your weight loss journey.
Choose a payment option. Nutrisystem accepts credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and Diner’s Club and also offers Paypal and Paypal Credit options.
Once you make that payment, Nutrisystem will send you your first delivery date. And that’s it!
If you need to delay or customize your auto-delivery order, you can call 1-800-585-5483 or log into your account at www.nutrisystem.com and click My Account > Edit Next Order.
All changes to your order must be made by 6 pm Eastern Time on the day before your order begins processing.
Because Nutrisystem is a weight loss meal delivery service, its customer support is important. Losing weight involves more than cutting calories and in my opinion, the best diet meal delivery services should offer coaching and support.
Nutrisystem’s NuMi app is an automated diet coach that reminds you to track your meals, drink water, work out, and more. You can track Nutrisystem (and non-Nutrisystem) meals on NuMi, or sign up for NuMi-exclusive contests, prizes, and special offers. No matter where you are in your Nutrisystem journey, NuMi has articles, tips, and recipes for you.
Apps are great, but sometimes you want that personal touch. No matter what plan you choose, you always have access to Nutrisystem’s weight loss coaches. They can answer your questions and provide moral support.
Nutrisystem definitely has you covered when it comes to diet coaching. But what if you have questions about your order or you want to cancel your subscription?
You can cancel your auto-delivery program by calling 1-800-585-5483, then pressing option 1 followed by option 6, and you can also cancel via chat. All cancellations must be made before 6 pm Eastern time on the day before your order is scheduled to be processed.
Nutrisystem offers a full money-back guarantee (minus shipping) on your first order if you call within the first seven days and send the remaining food back. This guarantee doesn’t apply to a la carte orders, nor to any orders after the first box.
If you cancel your subscription more than seven days from the date your first box arrived, but before you’ve paid for your second shipment, Nutrisystem will charge your payment method $125 for the auto-delivery discount you received on your first shipment.
For more information about canceling your Nutrisystem subscription, check out our detailed guide to canceling Nutrisystem, which includes a step-by-step guide.
28 meals (7-Day Reboot)
Free with auto-delivery;
Nutrisystem’s cheapest 5-day Basic Plan starts at $9.99 per day for women and $11.46 per day for men. This includes Nutrisystem’s 45% discount for auto-delivery, but does not take into account our Delivery Rank Nutrisystem discount: 50% Off All Plans + Free Shipping!.
You can also get additional Nutrisystem discounts if you’re willing to pay for monthly boxes in advance. If you pay upfront for three months of monthly shipments, that cost drops to $8.64 per day for women and $9.95 per day for men ($1.44/$1.66 per serving, respectively).
While Nutrisystem offers one-time orders, they come with a hefty penalty. A 28-day Basic Plan box for women will cost you $508.71 as a one-time order – more than double what you’d pay if you order a three-month prepaid subscription. And while auto-delivery members get free shipping, a la carte shipping fees range from $7.99 to $19.99.
Nutrisystem gives you many opportunities to add extras to your order. If you have a history of cheating on your diets (that might be why you’re looking at a delivery service like this in the first place), having low-calorie Nutrisystem snacks on hand may well be worth the additional money.
If you need to lose some weight for an upcoming event or need a structured meal plan to help you stick with a low-calorie diet in the short term, Nutrisystem could be a good choice for you.
Nutrisystem’s team of dietitians and nutritionists ensure that your low-calorie diet won’t leave you with a nutrient deficiency and their six-meal daily plan means you’ll always have something to eat so you aren’t tempted to binge.
The meals aren’t mind-blowing in the flavor department, but that’s not surprising, as Nutrisystem focuses on weight loss. Its focus is on meals that are convenient, nutritionally balanced, and filling.
As you lose those unwanted pounds, you’ll probably begin transitioning back to eating regular (and hopefully healthier!) meals. When that happens, you might like to check out our shortlist of this year's best meal delivery services.
When I researched Nutrisystem’s pricing, I found that the least expensive plan costs $279.79 per month with monthly auto-delivery. If you purchase that same plan on a one-time a la carte basis, it’ll cost you $508.71. Prices for each plan vary based on your gender and your willingness to buy multiple boxes up front.
All of Nutrisystem’s plans offer a diabetic menu for those who have to worry about controlling their blood sugar as well as their weight. Meals on Nutrisystem’s Diabetic plans have low glycemic indexes to ensure your blood sugar levels remain stable.
You’ll be charged a fee between $7.99 and $19.99 for a one-time order with Nutrisystem, depending on your location and whether or not you ordered frozen meals. Nutrisystem members get free shipping on all auto-delivery orders.