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a selection of nutrisystem meals used for the PatriciaandCarolyn review

What is Nutrisystem?

Nutrisystem is a meal delivery program that was invented by Harold Katz way back in the 1970s [1]. What first started as a “liquid protein drink program” has now become full service meal delivery service, that supplies all of your meals, snacks, and shakes for the month.

They claim that this make weight loss easy, because with their plan you don’t have to think about what or when to eat. You also don’t have to do much grocery shopping.

Just enjoy their foods, and lose weight, they say, but are these claims true?

Let’s take a detailed look at what Nutrisystem really is all about, what the science says about meal delivery programs, the cost of the plan, and the other key details you need to know before deciding if you want to choose this diet.

How it Works

Nutrisystem is a diet meal delivery service that ships a 28-day supply of meals, snacks, and shakes to you every month [2]. Customers should plan on enjoying 6 Nutrisystem meals and snacks per day.

In addition to the food that Nutrisystem sends, you will also enjoy fruits and vegetables, and some low-fat dairy. This comes in the form of side dishes to the Nutrisystem pre-made meals, or extra snacks.

While the plan certainly can make dieting easier and more cost effective, it’s not always the best choice for everyone. It can be harder if you have a large family, and you also don’t get to dine out or make meals on your own as often while on the diet. You do get weekly Flex Meals, however, so there are times where you don’t have to use Nutrisytem for every meal, just be sure to factor in their cost as well.

They offer plans for men, women, vegetarians, and type 2 diabetics.

Women who are pregnant, children under 14, people with food allergies or gluten intolerances, or those with serious kidney issues should not sign up for Nutrisystem.

Foods: What You’ll Eat, and Avoid

a nutrisystem chicken sandwich with fresh veggies

For the most part, plan to use Nutrisytem meals and snacks for the bulk of your food each day. These are a variety of frozen meals, prepackaged foods, and shakes, and there are all included in the monthly plan cost.

Nutrisystem has more than 160 menu items to pick from, but here’s a small sampling of what a typical meal might look like.

  • Breakfast: The Nutrisystem breakfast plan includes items like cinnamon rolls, waffles, muffins, bagels, and cereal.
  • Lunch & Dinner: Lunch and dinner items come from the same menu plan, and include entrees like hamburgers, pizzas, stuffed chicken breasts, sandwiches and more.
  • Snacks: The snack and dessert menu features foods like bars, ice cream sandwiches, cake, bars, shakes, and more.

The plan also has plenty of fruits and vegetables that you can plan on pairing with the Nutrisystem meals. This includes things like salads, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, watermelon, and much more. They provide a grocery guide for no extra cost that can help you decide what items to buy that are compliant with their plan.

Nutrition

All of the Nutrisystem foods are crafted using the same nutritional matrix. It’s based around research on what makes meal delivery diets effective [3]. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Calorie Control: Nutrisystem meals are designed to help keep you in a caloric deficit, so you are primed to lose weight.
  • Low Sodium: While their meals are processed, they do go to extra lengths to keep them low in sodium.
  • Low Glycemic Carbs: They only use “good” carbs in their plan, to you don’t get blood sugar spikes. This also helps make their plan work for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Balanced Nutrients: About 50% from vegetables, 25% healthy fats, 25% from protein.

Foods to Avoid

Basically anything that isn’t provided by Nutrisystem, or on their list of approved foods. Foods to avoid will include things like junk food, fast food, carbs, etc. Avoiding these will help bring your food cost down, which is an additional benefit to consider.

They provide a guide at no additional cost, that shows you exactly what to eat and what to avoid, so don’t worry about this part too much.

Is it Hard to Follow?

For the most part, we’d say that Nutrisystem is very easy to follow, as well as cost effecitve. As we mentioned above, having a large family, or if you prefer making your own meals, can make their plan harder to follow.

If you’re the type of person who can follow directions and stick with a plan, though, then the Nutrisystem plan may be a good fit for you.

As long as you use the food they send, and use their grocery list as a guide, and follow their plan, you shouldn’t have many problems losing weight should you choose to follow their program.

Menu Choice

When you choose to sign up for Nutrisystem you have the option of picking your own menu items for an additional cost, or you can have them do it for you.

If you’re brand new to their service, they recommend letting them pick your menu for your first month’s shipment, and it’s also an easy way to keep the total cost down.

Flex Meals

The addition of weekly Flex Meals to the Nutrisytem program, means you have the opportunity to prepare your own home-cooked meals, or dine out if you choose. Of course, plan to budget for the cost of this food as well. They have food guides to show you what to make, including a grocery lists.

They also have restaurant guides, so you know what to order when dining out.

Exercise

You don’t have to exercise to lose weight on Nutrisystem, but they recommend getting at least 30 minutes of activity per day [5]. Physical activities include something as simple as going for a walk or bike ride.

Counseling or Meetings?

Nutrisystem doesn’t have in-person meetings, like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, but they do offer counseling from dietitians or health coaches at no additional cost per month.

Plans for Special Diets?

Nutrisystem has special plans for men, type 2 diabetics, and vegetarians (not vegans). These food plans cost the same per month as their traditional offerings.

Pros & Cons

When trying to decide if the Nutrisystem diet food is right for you, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons, the cost of the plan, as well as whether or not their food is right for you.

Here are a few additional factors for you to consider:

Pros

  • Nutrisystem Cost: Less Than $9 per Day
  • Proven to Be Safe and Healthy
  • Lose up to 13 Pounds in first Month
  • Plans that Are Easy to Follow
  • Cuts Down on Grocery Shopping & Other Food Costs
  • Large Menu: 160+ Food Items to Choose Each Month
  • Plans for Special Diets
  • Meal & Diet Support Specialists Available
  • Money-Back Guarantee

Cons

  • Processed Food
  • Frozen Meals Aren’t for Everyone
  • Harder to Follow if You Have a Family, or Like to Dine Out a Lot
  • Have to Commit to at Least Month’s Worth of Food

Does it Work?

There is plenty of evidence suggesting that Nutrisystem does work for a lot of people who choose try it. How well it will work for you, depends on your level of effort, and how well you stick to the plan each month.

Keeping the weight off for good can be a bit harder, unless you’re committed to following the plan and making lifelong changes, and can make healthy eating and exercise choices after you’ve stopped the diet. It turns out, eating at home is generally considered to be healthier [4], so that may be something you want to consider when the diet ends.

Right now, Nutrisytem says you can lose up to 13 pounds during your first month following their diet plan. Average weight loss results are about 1 to 2 pounds per week for those who eat their food and choose to follow the program.

Learn more and see real Nutrisystem before and after stories.

Summary

Nutrisystem is one of the best-selling meal delivery diets in the world, and can be a good meal plan for people who prefer a done-for-you style of program.

Their processed meals and snacks aren’t for everyone, but if you’re OK with eating that type of food, then Nutrisytem can help you lose up to 13 pounds in the first month.

It’s safe for most people, is easy to follow, and has more than 160 menu items to pick from.

If you think Nutrisystem sounds like the right diet for you, you can learn more and check their latest prices here.

Citations

  1. Nutrisystem Diet Informaiton, Chron. Found at https://livehealthy.chron.com/nutrisystem-diet-information-2178.html
  2. How the Nutrisystem Diet Works, Nutrisystem.com. Found at https://www.nutrisystem.com/jsps_hmr/how_it_works/index.jsp
  3. The Effect of Nutrisystem Meal Provision on Weight, University of Kentucky. Found at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01252303
  4. Cooking at home tonight? It’s likely cheaper and healthier, study finds, University of Washington health Sciences/UW Medicine. Found at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170314150926.htm
  5. Carla E. Cox, Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance, American Diabetes Association. Found at https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/3/157

Additional Nutrisystem Articles:

See some of our other Nutrisystem articles for more information:

Megan Ayala

Megan Ayala is an author, blogger, and mother of two. Her mission is to share the most accurate and up-to-date information with her readers. When she's not busy writing for PatriciaandCaryolyn.com she enjoys spending time with her family, usually doing something active and fun. Learn more about Megan on our Team Page.
Megan Ayala

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