The NutriSystem Diet
What You Can Eat continued...
The monthly shipments of food include 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 28 dinners, 28 desserts, and the option of one week of free food. No meal replacements are used, but dieters are encouraged to supplement the monthly shipments with fruit, vegetables, salad, protein, and milk purchased at your local market. Sugar, white bread, candy, cakes, processed foods, and alcohol are not permitted.
A typical 1,200-calorie meal plan includes:
Breakfast: NutriSystem breakfast entree, 1 serving fruit, and 1 serving dairy or protein
- Lunch: NutriSystem lunch entree, 1 serving salad, 1 serving dairy or protein, 2 tbs. fat-free salad dressing
- Snack: 1 serving fruit, 1 dairy or protein serving
- Dinner: NutriSystem dinner entree, 2 vegetable servings, 1 salad or fruit serving, 1 fat serving
- Dessert: NutriSystem dessert
How It Works
NutriSystem has programs designed for men and women, and the plan can be further customized for people with type II diabetes, vegetarians, older dieters, and people seeking to maintain their weight. There is no weighing, measuring, counting calories, or cooking -- other than adding water and heating pouches in the microwave.
"It takes the thinking out of healthy meal planning and helps dieters get accustomed to proper portion sizes and smart carbs," says Delphine Carroll, NutriSystem vice president for public relations.
If you take advantage of the education and counseling, she says, you should be able to prepare healthy meals on your own at the end of the program.
NutriSystem dieters choose meals and desserts from a catalogue of products for 28 days at a time, or until they reach goal weight. Most dieters stay on the program 10-11 weeks, according to the company. The program includes a planner that has step-by-step instructions for what and how much to eat at each meal, as well as a dining out guide to help with restaurant food choices. Dieters are encouraged to track everything they eat in the included meal planner. Counseling from health advisors is free with the food purchases.
The plan includes transition and maintenance programs to help dieters maintain their weight loss in the long term.
What the Experts Say
The real question is whether dieters can continue losing weight when they no longer rely on prepackaged foods, experts say. The plan offers a great jump start to healthier eating but some folks might stumble right back into their old eating habits afterward.
"Dieters may only experience success while they are ordering the prepackaged foods because once they are on their own, they are faced with the real world of cooking, meal preparation, and issues they are not prepared to handle because they were not addressed on the plan," says former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD.