Tired of hearing the same old weight loss advice that you’ve already tried? Nutrisystem is a diet program that claims to take into account what makes each body different, including how they store fat and lose weight. The idea is that the right eating and exercise plan will make a healthy lifestyle less difficult and frustrating. Unlike other diets we’ve covered, this is one that requires signing up for a membership of some kind. Their service aims to get to know you and your goals before providing you with a detailed, 28-day plan.
We explored what Nutrisystem is, how much it costs, and how it’s different from other diets.
What is Nutrisystem?
Nutrisystem is a diet created as an individualized weight loss plan. Participants in the plan answer a set of questions about their lifestyle, their body and their goals and receive a plan that is tailored to their individual needs, according to the diet’s website.
Behind this diet is the belief that no two people are the same and that weight loss and healthy living should be as unique as we are. Individualized plans are developed based on research that suggests that different body types require a macronutrient intake that is tailored to their needs, like a lower carbohydrate intake for individuals with a higher insulin secretion.
Nutrisystem is a diet that is sold as a package. In addition to an individualized plan, participants have meals and snacks delivered to their homes.
What are the benefits of the Nutrisystem diet?
One of the biggest benefits of the Nutrisystem diet is how easy it is to follow. While other diets require detailed shopping lists and extensive food prep, everything you need to succeed at the program is delivered to your home. This takes a lot of thinking out of the diet since you don’t have to count calories or carbs to succeed.
Since the meals on this diet are low in sodium, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates, this diet is beneficial for individuals with chronic health conditions. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure, you can safely participate in the diet and may see improvement in your health conditions.
How much does Nutrisystem cost?
The convenience of Nutrisystem comes with a price: You can expect to spend between $275 and $500 a month on this diet plan.
The lowest cost plan, Basic, starts at $8.21 a day and gives you five breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks each week. The Uniquely Yours plan, starting at $10 a day, includes the basic plan but with more choices—you have access to more recipes and have complete control over what meals and snacks you have delivered. The highest cost plan, the Uniquely Yours Ultimate, includes the same freedom of the Uniquely Yours plan but with meals for all seven days of the week. The price of this plan starts at $12.14 a day.
Beware “healthy” ice creams. These new products often contain ingredients such as sugar alcohols, chicory root or inulin, which can cause bloating, gas and even diarrhea in some people.
Is Nutrisystem safe? Are there side effects?
There aren’t any notable risks associated with the Nutrisystem diet. Their plans aren’t created with pregnant women or individuals with allergies in mind, so it isn’t recommended for either of these populations.
It is worth noting that this plan encourages a limited calorie intake. Men will consume around 1,500 calories daily while women eat closer to 1,200. Low-calorie diets are often associated with mild side effects like fatigue, constipation and nausea. Dieting can also put you at risk of developing patterns of disorder eating and some will progress to having an eating disorder.
What are the different plans on the Nutrisystem diet?
Since this diet is highly individualized, there are a variety of plans you can participate in based on your nutritional needs and lifestyle. More specifically, Nutrisystem has plans for both men and women along with vegetarians and individuals with diabetes. You also have the option to receive all the meals you would need to eat over the course of 28 days, including daily snacks, or buy into the less expensive plans with a grocery list for filling in the gaps yourself.
What are the best foods to eat on Nutrisystem?
On this diet, you will eat a wide variety of meals that focus on eating the right type of carbohydrates and lean proteins. For breakfast, that might look like an English muffin sandwich with an egg and turkey sausage or a bowl of oatmeal. Lunches often include a lean protein, like chicken or turkey, and lots of veggies.
If you’re doing some of your grocery shopping while following this plan, you’ll want lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains in your shopping cart. Plan to keep your freezer stocked with chicken breasts, ground turkey and low-fat ground beef. Legumes are allowed, and encouraged, as a source of protein on Nutrisystem, so beans are another great item to keep in your pantry.
What foods are off-limits on Nutrisystem?
For the most part, this diet is less about what you can and can’t eat and more focused on the right amount and combination of a variety of foods. This means that the list of off-limits foods isn’t long, but that doesn’t mean you have unconditional permission to eat them either. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to find a way to fit your favorite foods into the plan that is provided for you.
Alcohol is discouraged over the course of the 28 days you will be on the Nutrisystem diet. While on the plan, you will also be encouraged to avoid eating out, as it is nearly impossible to fit the calories or sodium of restaurant foods into your meal plan. There are some foods, like mayonnaise, avocado and certain salad dressings that are only allowed in very small amounts.
What are some Nutrisystem recipes?
Meals on Nutrisystem are all about a balance of lean protein and complex carbohydrates. For an easy weeknight meal, stir-fries like this Colorful Shrimp Stir-Fry are an easy choice the whole family will like. For a casserole that can be prepped in advance, adjust this Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole to your needs by swapping out the heavy cream for low-fat milk. Soup is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough vegetables and we highly recommend you try our Hearty Chickpea Vegetable Soup as soon as possible.
What are some of the best Nutrisystem snacks?
Snacks on Nutrisystem are often shakes, bars or baked goods that are delivered with the meal plan. If you’re looking to supplement the meal plan yourself, you can also create your own snack based on the details of your plan. A Creamy Herb Dip with Raw Vegetables should fit within the constraints of most meals plans on this diet. Straight from the Nutrisystem blog, you’ll love munching on Chili Lime Popcorn the next time you have a movie night at home.
What are good Nutrisystem breakfasts?
Breakfast on the Nutrisystem might be a prepared shake on busy days or a meal replacement bar, but don’t let that keep you out of your kitchen when you’ve got a craving for something homemade. Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt and Berries will fit well within most meal plans on this diet. Thanks to the turkey bacon and part-skim cheese in this recipe, this Quick Breakfast Quesadilla is also a great meal for someone on the Nutrisystem diet.
What are the best Nutrisystem desserts?
Desserts are allowed and encouraged on Nutrisystem, but crafting a dessert that fits within your meal plan might feel a bit challenging. There is always an option to purchase desserts from the program creators, but if you want to make your own you can head to their blog for ideas. The Strawberry Icebox Cake with Lemon looks beyond delicious. Made with greek yogurt, this Cranberry-Topped Greek Yogurt Pudding is a great dessert for this diet, too.
Learn more about the Optavia diet, another subscription-based service.