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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

The Nutrisystem Diet

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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.

Cooking and shopping: You can buy a 28-day shipment of food that the company selects, or you can choose each individual item yourself. You can sign up for a meal plan intended for women, men, or anyone older than 60.

You hardly have to cook, since most Nutrisystem foods either are ready to eat or only need heating. But some items that you buy from the grocery store, like vegetables and fish, may involve more preparation.

Packaged foods or meals? Required.

In-person meetings? None.

Exercise: Nutrisystem suggests you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. You can break this up into three 10-minute periods throughout the day.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Yes. There are meal plans for vegetarians and people with diabetes.

But the program does not have plans for people following a vegan diet.

And it doesn't allow for certain food allergies (including soy or peanut allergies), and it's not gluten-free.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: The cost varies based on things like the plan you choose -- such as for women or men, vegetarians, older adults, or people with diabetes.

In general, expect to pay from about $230 to the mid $300s a month for the Nutrisystem foods, plus whatever you buy from the grocery store.

Support:  The program has an online community and web-based tools, as well as help by phone.

Other: You may face a challenge when you go off the program and have to make more food choices on your own. The program provides information on how to do this.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on December 02, 2013
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