If you have recently watched any TV, there is a good chance you have seen a celebrity or famous athlete advertising the benefits offered by the Nutrisystem weight loss program. In the past, Nutrisystem operated out of a nationwide chain of weight loss centers.
However, today, your meals can be ordered online and delivered directly to your house.
What is Nutrisystem?
The Nutrisystem weight loss program is a low-calorie diet that offers easy-to-prepare, balanced meals, and calories are controlled by having small meal portions.
How Does Nutrisystem Work?
Meals in the Nutrisystem programs are pre-made and designed to deliver just a certain number of calories on a daily basis based on your age and sex.
Much of this diet is made up of carbohydrates, which are mainly low-glycemic.
That means they are a kind of carbohydrate that slowly breaks down and helps with controlling your appetite. Since everything is prepared, all you need to do is follow the plan to lose weight.
Nutrisystem for Men vs. Women
In order to lose weight, women and men can have different needs.
This is why Nutrisystem offers Nutrisystem for Women and Nutrisystem for Men.
Here is the important information that you need to know about these diets:
How it Works for Men
The Nutrisystem for Men plan is designed to help men lose weight, retain lean muscle, and burn fat.
The cost of the Nutrisystem program ranges from $11.61 day for the Basic program of preselected foods up to $15.35 per day for the Uniquely Yours Plus with its expanded menu option choices along with daily protein shakes (see the full Nutrisystem cost).
Men are instructed on each of the plans, to consume six times per day, and the prepackaged frozen and refrigerated meals are delivered directly to your door. Also, you have two “Flex” meals a week. Those are times where you eat in a restaurant or make your own homemade healthy meals.
The Nutrisystem plan for Women is quite similar to the plan for men.
The goal of this plan is to help women lose weight, have more energy, and improve their health. It is less expensive than the men’s plan.
The core package starts at just over $8.00 a day and comes with preselected foods, while the most expensive option of the plan –
Uniquely Yours Plus has a starting price of $13.93 a day, which comes with daily protein shakes along with frozen and refrigerated delivered foods.
You eat six times per day and have two Flex meals per week.
Nutrisystem Food Menu: What Can You Eat?
The Nutrisystem packaged foods are comprised of snacks, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Breakfast can include:
- and more
Lunch can include:
- Meal replacement bars
- and more
Dinner might include:
- A turkey, chicken, or beef entree
- and much more
Snacks and dessert items:
- Energy bars
- ice cream
- and more
Although you will not need to do a lot of grocery shopping, you will be purchasing fresh vegetables to integrate into your meals.
As you continue to progress with the Nutrisystem plan, you will be given the option to add in lean meats, fruits, dairy, and other healthy carbs.
For example, you can have fresh fruit and yogurt for snacks or you can add steamed vegetables or a side salad for your dinners and lunches.
Nutrisystem Sample Menu
There are over 160 dishes for you to choose from on the Nutrisystem weight loss program.
Meals are comprised of 25 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 50 percent carbohydrates.
The normal meal plan cycle lasts for 28 days.
You eat six times per day, every two or three hours (three snacks, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and men have an extra snack).
Portion size controls the calories.
The following are some examples of food menu items:
Breakfast Options include cheese, ham, and turkey omelet, maple brown sugar oatmeal, honey wheat bagel, and cinnamon roll.
Lunch Options include white bean chicken chili, chocolate peanut butter bar, pepperoni pizza melt, or grilled chicken sandwich.
Dinner Options include vegetable lasagna, stuffed shells, Margherita pizza, or mushroom stuffed chicken breast.
Desserts and Snacks: The Nutrisystem program offers plenty of desserts and snacks to choose from. They include cheese puffs, white cheddar popcorn, chocolate cake, fudge bar, and ice cream sandwich.
How Much Exercising Do You Have to Get?
People following the Nutrisystem program are encouraged to stay fit and to follow the government’s recommendations for exercise, which is to perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
The program encourages you to follow its My Daily 3 or to exercise for 30 minutes per day.
For individuals who are short on time, the 30 minutes can be broken up into small 10-minute or 15-minute intervals.
You are encouraged as well to perform two strength-training sessions every week.
Pros & Cons
Like all diet plans, Nutrisystem really shines in some places but has some disadvantages also.
Being aware of what the pros and cons are can help you determine if it is the right program for you:
The Nutrisystem program is quite convenient for people who do not have enough time to shop and make low-calorie home-cooked meals.
It is an easy diet to stick with since it does everything for you.
It works, and is very affordable. If you’ve been looking for a done-for-you diet, that is easy to follow, then Nutrisytem is definitely worth considering.
It can get tiring to eat prepackaged foods, even though there are over 160 menu choices.
Portion sizes are small, so you might get hungry.
The program can get expensive, especially when you consider you do also have to supplement your meals with added healthy carbs, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits, and have two DIY Flex meals to make every week.
Although Nutrisystem is customizable in some instances, this plan isn’t individualized for a certain person.
The recommended 1,200-1,500 calories per day are basically given across the board and might not fit your individual needs.
Risks and Benefits of Nutrisystem
Nutrisystem eliminates all of the guesswork from meal planning. However, the emphasis is on eating packaged food, which means the plan has both benefits as well as potential downsides. Keeping reading for more information.
Everything is done for you. You do not have to count calories, plan your meals, or worry about what you are supposed to eat on a daily basis.
It can be very appealing when you don’t need to do any analyzing, counting, measuring, or cooking.
Certain people, such as busy professionals and mom, might appreciate that having food prepared already means there is one less thing they need to deal with every day.
Also, although you receive prepackage meals, you are also encouraged to incorporate fresh healthy foods by adding more vegetables and fruits to increase the range of nutrients that you receive and add the amount of fiber that you consume on a daily basis.
Another benefit is the two Flex meals that you get every week.
Having the ability to eat out with friends and family makes the program more realistic to stick with.
There are some negatives, although not necessarily health risks. Although the menu offerings from Nutrisystem sound tasty, not everyone will like eating mainly packaged foods indefinitely. In general, fresh foods are healthier compared to those that come from plastic wrapping or a paper box.
How Much Weight Can You Lose?
There are some experts who question the sustainability of the Nutrisystem program.
Although this kind of diet plan can teach you healthy eating habits, it does not make you be accountable.
When you stop using the Nutrisystem program, you have to ask yourself if you will be able to replicate your results with regular eating.
The reality is, perhaps not. Keep in mind that you are consuming lower-calorie versions of many of your favorite foods.
And in the real world, things like pancakes, muffins, and burgers are not available in calorie-control and built-in portion-sized prepackaged meal form.
Long and Short-Term Effects of a Diet Like Nutrisystem
Over the short term, you might lose weight. However, over the long term, it isn’t clear that those results can be maintained. Nutrisystem can be a quick and good weight loss fix but cannot replace a healthy diet plan over the long term.
You will eventually need to become educated on nutrition and know how to make healthy choices on your own.
How to Get Started with Nutrisystem
Visiting Nutrisystem.com is the easiest way to get started. You can browse through the plans to find the one that is best for your needs.
If you are a member of Costco, you can buy a Nutrisystem card and then use it to purchase meals by phone or online. At Walmart.com you can also purchase
Nutrisystem snack packs and meals as well as various other packaged and frozen products online. For example, they have a 5-Day Nutrisystem Success Weight Loss Kit that comes with 20 food items (5 snacks and 5 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners). It cost $39.98.
Walmart also offers Nutrisystem products, such as five-day meal kits as well as Nutrisystem treats, including muffins, cookies, and bars.
If you are looking for a weight loss plan to follow, it can be difficult to decide which one is best suited for you.
Nutrisystem does provide you with support through their website called The Leaf.
It offers plenty of fitness help and tips on how to make meals taste their best.
When compared to plans such as Jenny Craig, the benefit that Nutrisystem offers is that it appears to emphasize exercise and fitness more, which makes it a more well-rounded program.
Nutrisystem is also less expensive than Jenny Craig.
Summary: Should You Try Nutrisystem to Lose Weight?
If you follow the Nutrisystem program you will most likely lose weight initially since it is a very well-controlled plan that helps you cut calories easily by sticking with prepackaged meals. However, there are major drawbacks to the plan as well.
Experts question whether people can stick with this plan over the long term, and you might get tired of eating most of your meals in the form of frozen or packaged food over the long haul.
If you decide the Nutrisystem program is a good fit for you, you should consult with a registered dietitian to get personalized information no the best way to transition off of the diet and back into the real world to improve your chances of being able to maintain your results.