Jenny Craig Diet Review: Cost, Meal Plan, Benefits

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on March 25, 2024
9 min read

Jenny Craig is a weight loss program that offers prepackaged meals and snacks you can order online and have delivered. The preportioned foods are meant to make controlling calories easier and are a convenient option if you don't want to or don't have time to plan your own weight loss meals. You also have the option for one-on-one virtual coaching to help you reach your weight loss goals. Although Jenny Craig used to have physical weight loss centers, the program is now online only.   

When you're on this diet, you buy most of your food through Jenny Craig. You pick which meals you want from an online menu, and they're delivered to your door every 2 weeks. The meals are prepackaged and frozen. They come preportioned, and your meals for the day will total about 1,200-1,700 calories a day. Because this is fewer calories than you burn in a day, you will probably lose weight. Some people could lose up to 2 pounds per week.

In addition to the prepackaged foods, you'll get a list of healthy foods you can buy at the grocery store to have alongside your meals.

Jenny Craig suggests that you eat all of your day's food within 10 hours. For example, you would only eat between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is called intermittent fasting and is supposed to boost your metabolism.


Before you start any diet, talk to your doctor or registered dietician. They'll think about your health needs and help you find a plan that's right for you. 

To start the Jenny Craig program, you'll need to make an account on their website.

You can choose from 3 plans:

14-Day Plan. This is the standard plan. You order 2, 4, or 8 weeks' worth of food at a time. Each 2-week shipment comes with 14 breakfasts, 28 lunches and dinners, 14 snacks and desserts, and 14 energy bars. You also get one-on-one online coaching.

Club Jenny. This is a membership-style program. You pay a yearly subscription fee, plus the cost of meals. It's à la carte, which means you pay for each meal (they start at $3 each). You can buy as many meals as you like. You also get menu guides and one-on-one online coaching.

Low-carb. This is a plan for people watching their carbohydrate intake. You order 2, 4, or 8 weeks' worth of food at a time. Each 2-week shipment comes with 10 breakfasts, 20 lunches/dinners, and 14 energy bars. You also get weekly menu guides.

After you choose a plan, you pick which breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and dessert items you want. Then, the frozen meals and energy bars are delivered to your door every 2 weeks.

You can schedule an online coaching session when you sign in to your account. 

Most of your food will come in the prepackaged Jenny Craig meals. But you also will have to get fresh groceries to round out your meals, or to prepare meals on days that aren't included in your plan. This makes sure that you get enough of the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Foods allowed on the Jenny Craig diet

Jenny Craig suggests sorting your grocery list into 6 categories:

Vegetables. Each day you'll eat at least 3 servings of non-starchy vegetables. These include leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, and carrots. One serving is generally 1 cup of raw veggies, 3 cups of leafy greens, or 1/2 cup cooked veggies.

Protein or dairy. Your Jenny Craig grocery guide lists a variety of protein and dairy options you can choose from. Which types and how many portions you should eat depend on your meal plan. Your menu guide will show you how to add these into your diet.

Fruit or starch. You'll eat at least 1 serving of fruit or starch each day. Starches include starchy vegetables (peas, potatoes, corn), beans, or whole grains. This could mean 1 piece of whole fruit, a cup of berries, 1/2 cup beans, a slice of whole-grain bread, or other options. 

Healthy fats. These include olive oil, avocado, almonds, or other fats. Your menu guide will tell you how much to eat.

Flavor unlimited. These are add-ons like coffee, tea, gum, and flavor enhancers like herbs and spices. They should not have any added sugar. You can have as many as you like.

Flavor limited. You can have 3 servings of these add-ons each day. They include things like a teaspoon of butter, two slices of pickles, and a diet soda.

Foods to avoid on the Jenny Craig diet

The Jenny Craig diet is all about portion control. This means that you can have any food as long as you eat it in moderation. Their menu has many popular options like pizza, fried chicken, ziti, and cookies. These items all come in proper portion sizes. That said, the grocery guide recommends choosing whole, unprocessed, unsweetened foods cooked without a lot of added fat as often as possible.

Jenny Craig diet food list

You'll order most of your food as prepackaged meals from the Jenny Craig website. Some meal options are:

  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Chocolate muffin
  • Loaded baked potato
  • Chicken street tacos
  • Baked ziti
  • Classic cheeseburger
  • Lemon cake
  • Chocolate walnut brownie

You'll also get energy bars.

In addition to the Jenny Craig meals and bars, you'll need to shop for groceries. These are for healthy sides and recipes, as indicated in your menu guide.

Your grocery list might look like:

Vegetables (non-starchy)

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Fruit or starch

  • Applesauce
  • Blueberries
  • Lentils
  • Oat milk
  • Peas
  • Rice
  • Squash
  • Watermelon

Protein or dairy

  • Almond milk
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Egg
  • Falafel
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt

Healthy fats

  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Walnuts

Flavor unlimited

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Salsa
  • Pimiento
  • Garlic
  • Lemon, lime
  • Vinegar

Flavor limited

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Diet soda
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sour cream

Jenny Craig diet menu

A typical day on the Jenny Craig diet might look like this:

9 a.m.: Breakfast/beginning of 10-hour eating window

  • Classic waffles (prepackaged meal)
  • Add-ons: 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon sugar-free maple syrup, coffee

1 p.m.: Lunch

  • Chicken and wild rice soup (prepackaged meal)
  • Add-ons: 3 cups of leafy greens, 1 cup of shredded carrots, 1 teaspoon regular-fat salad dressing, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, mineral water

5 p.m.: Dinner

  • Pepperoni pizza (prepackaged meal)
  • Add-ons: 1/2 cup cooked eggplant, mineral water

6 p.m.: Dessert 

  • Chocolate walnut brownie (prepackaged dessert)

7 p.m.: End of 10-hour eating window

9 p.m.: Energy bar (not counted in 10-hour eating window)

Like any diet, Jenny Craig has its pros and cons.


It's convenient. Each meal comes prepackaged, so you don't have to worry about cooking.

You choose what to eat. The Jenny Craig menu has around 50 meals and snacks to choose from. You can have all your favorite foods, even pizza and cake. There are also some options for people with food allergies, but these are limited.

You get one-on-one coaching. The 14-Day and Club Jenny plans come with online coaching. This helps you learn and practice healthy habits in your own life. The coaches are people who have successfully lost weight with Jenny Craig, so they know what you're going through. But they're not registered dieticians, so don't expect them to be experts on nutrition.


It's expensive. Most people will find they spend much more money on the prepackaged meals than they would shopping for and cooking their own meals at home. Plus, you'll still need to shop for fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons.

It's mostly processed foods. These can be high in sodium and preservatives. Look at each item's nutrition facts. Try to choose foods that are low in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium.

It might not work for people with certain dietary needs. For example, there aren't any options that are certified kosher or gluten-free. If you have diabetes or need to follow a low-sodium diet, many of the meals will have too much added sugar and sodium.

You might feel hungry. This is a low-calorie diet, so you might not feel full. Adding high-fiber sides like salad could help you feel more satisfied.

You might not learn how to eat healthy on your own. The Jenny Craig meals can be a good model of healthy portions. But because many or all of the meals are planned and cooked for you, you might not learn how to cook healthy food by yourself. 

The principle of the diet is solid, says registered dietitian Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. If you control your portion sizes and calories, it's easier to lose weight. 

But whether you'll lose weight and how much is another question. Jenny Craig claims that it can help you lose up to 24 pounds in 2 months. That number is based on a study that was paid for by Jenny Craig and cowritten by members of the company's science advisory board. Also, the study focused more on the effects of time-restricted eating than on the diet itself, so results are dependent on not eating outside of the 10-hour window.

There aren't any other studies that confirm Jenny Craig claims. But a 2017 study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism suggested overweight people on Jenny Craig could lose 11 pounds in 90 days. And another study published in 2015 in Annals of Internal Medicine showed that people on Jenny Craig lost more weight than people who just learned about healthy eating or received wellness coaching.

Zelman says she likes that Jenny Craig encourages intermittent fasting. Research has shown that this strategy can improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and help with weight loss.

But she worries that it's a quick fix and not a long-term option for sustainable weight loss. "When you rely on these meals, then you're really not learning how to cook or how to eat out healthily. So will you be able to continue once you come off the program?"

Is it good for certain conditions?

Intermittent fasting is known to improve insulin sensitivity. This can help prevent or manage diabetes. Some research suggests that Jenny Craig can help people lower their blood glucose levels.

Still, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any diet to find a plan that is safe and effective. "If you have complex health conditions or a family history of concern, you really need the guidance of a professional," says Zelman. 

Who shouldn't try Jenny Craig?

If you don't like prepackaged foods, this might not be the plan for you. 

People who have food allergies or other dietary needs should look at the menu before choosing this diet. Make sure that you can find options that suit your needs. 

The final word

Jenny Craig may help some people lose weight because it will help them limit their portion sizes. However, it's not a sure thing. There are many factors involved in weight loss, and no diet is guaranteed to work. It also might not be helpful for learning long-term healthy habits.

"If you like easy, you like convenient, you like packaged, then this is going to be great," Zelman says. "It's really for people who want structure, who want a plan that just tells them, 'This is what you're going to eat, this is when you eat.'"

Zelman highlights the importance of adding your own fruits and vegetables. This will help you get nutrients and feel full. She also recommends slowly switching from prepackaged foods to home-cooked meals, so you can learn how to practice healthy eating in your day-to-day life. Some of Jenny Craig's resources, like tips for healthy cooking, could help with that.

Meanwhile, Zelman adds, don't forget to exercise. Jenny Craig recommends 30 minutes of activity 5 times per week, plus 30-minute strength training 3 times per week. 

Weight loss is about more than just what you eat, Zelman says. Your lifestyle is important, too.