Nutrisystem Nutriflakes Cereal
Nutrisystem Chicken Apricot Glaze
Nutrisystem Lemon Zest Cake


Nutrisystem aims to simplify weight loss. You don't have to decide whether foods will fit your diet. You don't have to count calories or carbs. For the most part, you don't have to make sure you're eating proper portion sizes. But you also can't eat whatever you want to.

That's because you buy most of your food from Nutrisystem. The company ships it to your door. Each day, you eat a Nutrisystem breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You also add side items like fresh fruits and veggies and snacks that you buy from the grocery store.

The plan is not for pregnant women, people with chronic kidney disease, or anyone with certain allergies or diet needs. It's not for children under age 14, though Nutrisystem offers programs for teens ages 14 to 17.



  • Preportioned servings
  • Convenient, little food prep needed
  • Varied menu
  • Nutritionally balance
  • Dessert included

With more than 45 years in the diet industry, the Nutrisystem program is a time-tested weight-loss plan that has helped millions of people reduce. The plan is easy to follow, convenient, and preportioned to keep calories at the optimal level for weight loss.

The meal plan is designed by nutritionists and provides balanced nutrition and research shows the plan is an effective weight-loss tool.

All Nutrisystem plans include support services and online tracking and the Nutrisystem Core, Uniquely Yours (including Diabetes Plans) and Vegetarian Plans provide access to on-call counselors with a background in a weight-loss related field.


  • Cost
  • No eating out
  • Not safe for food allergies
  • Processed foods

The program costs between $240 and $600 a month depending on the plan you choose, plus the cost of additional foods from the grocery store such as vegetables, fruit, and dairy that you'll need to supplement your diet.

The prepackaged food on the Nutrisystem diet is mostly processed foods, which are not the healthiest. However, the company pledges to not use artificial flavors, sugars or colors, high-fructose corn syrup, or trans fats.

Nutrisystem may not be safe for people with food allergies, including peanuts, soy, dairy, and gluten. While some products may not contain allergens, the potential for cross-contamination is high.

Nutrisystem is not a good option for anyone on a gluten-free diet, especially people with diagnosed celiac disease. Almost all meals on the plan contain gluten ingredients-muffins, donuts, pasta, sandwich melts, pizza, etc. The few meals that include no obvious gluten are not intended for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity due to gluten cross-contamination in processing.


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What Is Nutrisystem?


Nutrisystem was created in the early 1970s by entrepreneur Harold Katz. It began as a liquid protein diet and evolved into a heat-and-eat meal delivery service in the 1990s.

The diet's premise is that it's easier to lose weight if you don't have to plan and prepare meals. Having access to ready-made, pre-portioned meals and snacks can help keep daily caloric intake low, leading to weight-loss.

How It Works

Nutrisystem provides several programs for different types of dieters and different budgets. There are separate programs for men and women, as well as options for vegetarians, people who have type 2 diabetes, and people ages 60 and older. Each plan provides three meals per day plus one snack for women and two snacks for men.

Within each plan, you can choose your own meals or you can choose the "Favorites Pack" where meals are selected for you. Nutrisystem recommends that you start with this option.

Most plans start with the "Turbo Takeoff" to help jumpstart your weight loss during the first week on the program. The Turbo 13 program claims to help you to lose up to 13 pounds plus seven inches (overall) in your first month.

Each plan provides a different level of service.

  • Basic: Convenient, ready-to-go meals and snacks. Budget friendly! The Basic Plan offers a variety of over 100 meals and snacks from our ready-to-go menu.
  • Uniquely Yours: Delicious menu variety, including frozen. The most popular plan! Uniquely Yours Plan offers premium meals and snacks with your choice of 160+ delicious menu items, including top-rated frozen!
  • Uniquely Yours Ultimate: Ultimate menu variety and convenience - it's foolproof! Uniquely Yours Ultimate Plan offers premium meals and snacks with your choice of 160+ delicious menu items, including top-rated frozen. Enjoy foolproof weight loss, all week long.

Each of these plans is also available for dieters with type 2 diabetes.

After you choose to subscribe to a Nutrisystem program, food is delivered to your door. If you sign up for auto-delivery, you'll continue to pay for and receive orders every four weeks until you cancel your subscription.

What to Eat

Compliant Foods

  • Prepackaged meals and snacks from Nutrisystem
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Lean proteins

Non-Compliant Foods

  • Restaurant meals
  • Store-bought food other than those listed as compliant
  • Sweets and desserts other than Nutrisystem brand

Most of the food on the plan is provided by Nutrisystem, and the standard shelf-stable foods are convenient to carry and reheat. The best tasting entrées are the fresh-frozen meals, which are only available on the Uniquely Yours plan.

The Nutrisystem food, however, is heavily processed, and while the entrées and snacks help dieters to learn portion control, they don't necessarily promote healthy food choices.

Recommended Timing

The Nutrisystem daily plan allows for three meals plus one snack for women or two for men. There is no special meal timing required for the plan and there is no fasting required.

Calories Per Day

While on Nutrisystem, your calorie count will change throughout the program. During the program, dieters consume approximately 1,000 calories per day for the first week to help them jumpstart their weight loss.

After the first week, men consume approximately 1,500 calories per day and women consume approximately 1,200 calories per day. Individuals with 100 pounds or more to lose will adjust their meal plan to include approximately 200 more calories per day.

The Nutrisystem diet is a lower-glycemic program. The diet is set up to provide approximately 50% of calories from carbohydrates, 25% of calories from protein, and 25% of calories from fat. The diet provides less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day unless you add your own salt.

How It Compares

The Nutrisystem diet is a popular weight-loss plan with a track record of success. It is a convenient and easy-to-follow program of heat-and-eat meals that offer variety and balanced nutrition. However, the cost can be prohibitive for some.

Its ranking is based on its ease of following, moderate safety profile, and success for both long-term and short-term weight loss.

USDA Recommendations

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shares guidance for improving and maintaining overall health and well-being. The dietary recommendations include calorie guidance and tips for a healthy, balanced diet. The Nutrisystem diet conforms to most of these guidelines.

The Final Word

The Nutrisystem diet is the ultimate in convenience. If you don't want to think about portion sizes, planning, shopping, or cooking and are happy to have meals delivered to your doorstep in microwave-ready pouches, then you're going to love this plan.

If you like to cook or eat out, or you have a tight food budget, this plan is not for you.

The real question is whether you can continue to lose weight or maintain your weight when you are no longer relying on the prepackaged foods.