The Nutrisystem Diet
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 downside: You're discouraged from eating out, and advised to mostly avoid alcohol.
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 14, though Nutrisystem offers programs for teens ages 14 to 17.
Does It Work?
Yes. If you can stick to the prepackaged meals and add only healthy foods, you should lose weight. The meals you'll eat are good for you, nutrition-wise. It can be harder to make the transition to eating "real food" when you get closer to your weight-loss goal and don't rely on meals already made for you.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
Nutrisystem offers prepackaged foods.
Breakfast options include oatmeal, muffins, granola, and pancakes.
Lunches and dinners include selections like tacos; chicken and pasta; soup, stew, and chili; and pizza.
For desserts and snacks, you might have brownies, cake, or cookies.
The program provides a long list of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fresh meat and dairy, and other foods that you can eat along with your Nutrisystem foods.
Overall, the foods and meal plans focus on:
A variety of nutrients. About half your calories come from carbs, 25% from protein, and 20% from fat.
"Smart" carbohydrates. These don't raise your blood sugar as much as other foods. On the plan, you’ll need to limit or avoid high-GI foods (like white bread, white rice, and certain fruits).
Limited calories. Expect to lose a pound or 2 each week on this diet program.
Limited sodium. According to the company, the programs provide about 2,000 milligrams of sodium daily. The foods you buy on your own may add to the total.
Level of Effort: Medium
Ordering a month’s worth of food is easy, and the items are already made for you. But you won’t have your usual degree of control over what foods you choose to eat. And you may get fewer calories than you're used to.
Limitations: You pick your foods from the choices Nutrisystem offers. There are at least 30 options for each meal. You can also choose from dozens of items to buy on your own at the grocery store.