The Nutrisystem Diet is a popular weight loss program centered around eating six small meals each day delivered directly to your doorstep.
Nutrisystem meals are built around portion control to keep your hunger at bay, making it easier to stave off cravings and lose weight. It also relies on calorie restriction to increase the chances of weight loss success.
What Is the Nutrisystem Diet?
The Nutrisystem Diet is a weight loss program that functions as a prepared meal delivery service. There are several different meal plans to choose from:
- Basic Plan
- Uniquely Yours Plan
- Uniquely Yours Max Plan
- Vegetarian Plan
- Partner Plan
On average, people lose between one to two pounds per week while on the Nutrisystem program.
The high protein and low glycemic approach help keep blood sugar consistent throughout the day. Following the plan does produce results when combined with a low-calorie intake of 1200 to 1500 calories per day.
The pre-prepared meals contain a healthy mixture of lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, dietary fiber, and “smart” carbohydrates. They’re filling yet still portioned for weight loss.
How Nutrisystem Diet Works
Exercise is an integral part of the plan, with a recommended 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. They recommend breaking this down to 30 mins a day, five days a week.
Weight loss coaches help you achieve your weight loss goals.
The diet plans combine variety, nutrition, hunger control, and convenience.
The Diet Plan
The Nutrisystem Diet plans are personalized to you, taking several factors into account: height, weight, gender, age, body type, goals, lifestyle, and physical activity level. As you track your progress, the plan will also adapt to this to prevent your weight from plateauing before you’ve reached your target weight.
SmartCarbs: SmartCarbs are fruit and starchy vegetables, such as apples, bananas, beans, potatoes, and rice. They have a low glycemic index, are fibrous, and are digested slowly.
PowerFuels: PowerFuels are high-quality lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fats. Examples are almonds, beef, chicken, eggs, Nutrisystem shakes, and cheese.
Nutrisystem Flex Meals: These are homemade healthy meals consisting of SmartCarbs and PowerFuels.
- 45-55% calories from carbohydrates
- 25-30% calories from protein
- Less than 30% calories from fat
You’re provided with seven days of fully prepared Nutrisystem meals. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and protein shakes for your morning snack. You can also add your own fresh vegetables (four servings of non-starchy veggies) and water during this time.
Week Two Onwards
Each day, you’ll have a Nutrisystem breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack (two snacks for men). Following the guidelines, you will also add some groceries that you’ve purchased yourself, like SmartCarbs, PowerFuels, and fresh vegetables, to make your Flex Meals.
Nutrisystem also gives you the chance to go to restaurants or cook homemade meals, using their diet guidelines and over 1,000 recipes.
Nutrisystem also recommends taking a multivitamin to make sure you’re meeting your vitamin requirements when cutting calories.
There are several Nutrisystem plans you can choose from based on your personal needs, the number of features you want, and your budget.
- Women’s – $9.99 per day
- Men’s – $11.64 per day
- Diabetes – $9.99 per day
Uniquely Yours Plan
- Women’s – $11.79 per day
- Men’s – $13.04 per day
- Diabetes – $11.79 per day
Uniquely Yours Max Plan
- Women’s – $13.57 per day
- Men’s – 14.64 per day
- Ultimate Diabetes – $13.93 per day
- Women’s – $11.79 per day
- Men’s – 13.04 per day
- Basic – $9.99 per day, per person
- Uniquely Yours – 11.79
- Uniquely Yours Max – $13.57
Dos and Don’ts
- Use the NuMi app to log your meals, exercise, and weight loss.
- Before beginning the Nutrisystem program, speak with your doctor if you are breastfeeding or weigh more than 400 pounds.
- Try to focus on low carbohydrate SmartCarbs and high-quality PowerFuel proteins when shopping.
- Skip any meals as you may miss essential nutrients.
- Increase the intensity of your exercise in the first week of the program.
- Drink alcohol, if you’re able to avoid it.
Sample Diet Plan
Below is a three-day Uniquely Yours sample diet plan.
Breakfast: Nutrisystem Double Chocolate Muffin and almonds
Morning snack: Plain yogurt
Lunch: Nutrisystem Grilled Chicken Sandwich, mixed greens
Afternoon Snack: Apple slices and peanut butter
Dinner: Flex Dinner: Pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potato, green beans
Evening Snack: Nutrisystem Red Velvet Cupcake
Breakfast: Nutrisystem Cherry Cheese roll, a glass of low-fat milk
Morning Snack: Pistachios
Lunch: Flex Lunch: ½ turkey sandwich, garden salad
Afternoon Snack: Low-fat string cheese, orange slices
Dinner: Nutrisystem Margherita Pizza, carrot sticks
Evening Snack: Flex Snack: Low-fat yogurt and strawberries
Breakfast: Flex Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, a slice of whole-grain toast
Morning Snack: Plain Greek yogurt
Lunch: Nutrisystem Hamburger, celery sticks
Afternoon Snack: Plain low-fat yogurt, blueberries
Dinner: Nutrisystem BBQ Seasoned Chicken, roll, mashed cauliflower
Evening Snack: Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich
Health Benefits and Drawbacks
A study on people with diabetes found that people on a Nutrisystem lifestyle intervention had significantly greater weight loss and improvements in their HbA1 (a test to check if diabetes is controlled) after six months than people on a self-management and education program.
Another study on people following the Nutrisystem Diet found that participants lost weight and fat and had reduced blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
A key benefit of Nutrisystem is the convenience of food being delivered to your door. Many meals don’t need to be refrigerated, though the Uniquely Yours Plan and Uniquely Yours Max plan are frozen meals that need to be kept in the freezer before eating.
Often, you only need to reheat a meal, making sticking with the diet more manageable.
You should not follow the Nutrisystem diet if you are:
- Allergic to soy, peanuts, or latex
- Battling an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia
You should also avoid Nutrisystem if you have chronic kidney disease, celiac disease, or follow a medical ketogenic diet.
Highly Processed Foods
Experts recommend limiting highly processed foods due to their association with non-communicable diseases and obesity. The pre-prepared Nutrisystem meals and snacks are heavily processed, and you’ll be eating them multiple times a day, which could lead to poor long-term health outcomes.
There’s no doubt that weight loss programs like Nutrisystem can be costly, especially when you still have to purchase extra ingredients on top of your provided foods with the meal plans.
The Bottom Line: Is Nutrisystem Diet a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?
The Nutrisystem Diet restricts calories, so it is effective for short-term weight loss success. However, the emphasis on processed foods means that it is not the healthiest way to lose weight, so it is not the best long-term option for your body.