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Find the Meal Delivery Diet Thats Right for You: Comparing Jenny Craig, Medifast and NutriSystem

One of the more popular trends in dieting and weight loss in recent years has been the introduction of meal delivery diets. Rather than provide customers with classes and books filled with tips and information about preparing healthy, balanced meals, these companies prepare the food and send it to you. As our schedules become more overwhelmed and the excuse of not having time to cook more common, these meal delivery diets have become a life raft for many who have the desire and willpower but not the time.

We'll take a look at three of the more popular brands offering this service: Jenny Craig, NutriSystem and Medifast. While approaches are varied and will each appeal to a different audience, the ultimate goal is to provide you with the food that will help you lose weight.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig has been made popular in recent years by a host of Hollywood celebrities on a mission to get fit. Valerie Bertinelli, Queen Latifah and Kirstie Alley are just a few of the popular names who've found success with the plan. Jenny Craig is part meal delivery and part counseling, two essential services for a successful diet.

Meal Delivery: Via mail or local pick-up once or twice monthly. Provides calorie- and portion-controlled meals delivered in shelf-stable and frozen packages. Customization is allowed and meets dietary needs like vegetarian, diabetic and low-fat. Must provide your own fresh fruit and vegetables. More than 80 meals available.

Diet: Average 1300 calories per day for the three meals provided.

Fitness: Counselor will provide a custom fitness plan.

Support: Weekly weigh-ins with your counselor where you'll discuss nutrition and fitness.


With Medifast, customers get a meal delivery and meal replacement plan all in one. This low calorie, soft foods diet plan is focused on helping its customers overhaul their lives, not accomplish quick weight loss. Medifast has the backing of multiple clinical research studies from such esteemed institutions as Johns Hopkins University, and the recommendation of more than 15,000 doctors.

Meal Delivery: Shelf-stable foods are shipped twice monthly. The meals do allow for customizations and support unique dietary needs like diabetic, low-fat, Kosher and vegetarian. Some fresh foods must be provided by you.

Diet: You'll eat six times per day: five meals from Medifast and one "Lean and Green Meal" that you prepare with fresh foods you've purchased. The Medifast meals include soups, puddings, shakes, oatmeal, eggs and more; while the L&GM is your choice of lean protein and vegetables.

Fitness: Recommends daily exercise, but provides very little guidance.

Support: Provided by way of an online account where you'll access weight trackers, community message boards, online ordering and more.


NutriSystem is another plan preferred by many celebrities, including Dan Marino and Marie Osmond. This meal delivery service is solely focused on the food aspect of your weight loss and does not provide any one-on-one support.

Meal Delivery: Shelf-stable foods delivered once monthly. Meal customizations are allowed and can meet some dietary needs like diabetic and vegetarian. More than 120 meals available. Must provide own fresh fruits and vegetables.

Diet: Women average a 1200 calorie diet and men average a 1500 calorie diet. You'll consume three meals and two snacks from NutriSystem, plus supplement with your own six servings of fruits and vegetables.

Fitness: There is no guidance or plan provided.

Support: Via your NutriSystem account online, you'll have access to other members in the community.
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