Pros and Cons of the Jenny Craig Diet

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Jenny Craig diet review
Jenny Craig

Are you ready to try the Jenny Craig diet? If so, you're not alone. Jenny Craig is one of the most popular commercial weight loss programs available and many dieters lose weight successfully while on the plan. But not every diet works for every dieter. Make sure you evaluate all of the Jenny Craig pros and cons before you invest.

How It Works

Jenny Craig clients do not count calories, weigh food or measure portions while on the program. Instead, they eat pre-packaged Jenny Craig entrees that are picked up at a Jenny Craig center or delivered to the client. If you're on the diet, you'll be encouraged to "volumize" your frozen entrees. That means that you add your own fruits, veggies, and low calories additions to make the entree bigger and more filling.

Dieters on the program weigh themselves once each week either at home or at the program center. The program is designed to result in a weekly weight loss of one to two pounds or 1 percent of your body weight. Weight loss is achieved by limiting calories and by increasing the client's exercise and spontaneous activity level.

Each Jenny Craig client is paired with a consultant. The consultant sets up your plan, checks in with you each week, helps to plan menus and addresses challenges as they arise. You can choose to meet with your consultant either on the phone or at a Jenny Craig center.


When determining how much you'll pay on the Jenny Craig program, you should factor in the cost of pre-packed foods and additional fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food options. You can calculate your total cost of losing weight on Jenny Craig by figuring out the cost per month and the number of months you need to be on the diet.

Many dieters compare Jenny Craig to Nutrisystem. For most people, Jenny Craig costs more but many people also prefer the taste of Jenny Craig food over the taste of Nutrisystem foods. On the other hands, some dieters feel that Nutrisystem food is more convenient. It's important to take these factors into consideration when you think about the total cost of the diet. No diet is worth paying for if you don't stick to it.


Jenny Craig is a good program for people who don't have the time to shop for or prepare foods at home. On the program, clients choose from a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack items. The client is expected to provide additional fruits, vegetables, and healthy food options.

Almost all Jenny Craig food needs to be frozen. There are snack bars and other small items, but entrees need to be kept chilled. This may be a problem for some dieters who are frequently on the road. 

In addition, dieters are encouraged to volumize their meals. This means that you should do some cooking at home to get the most out of the program. You'll add chopped veggies, topping, fresh fruit or other filling low-calorie foods to each meal. This will not only help you to feel full while you're on the diet but will also help teach you important eating skills to maintain your weight loss later.


Jenny Craig clients are provided with motivational support through face-to-face or phone meetings with their consultant. Consultants are often former Jenny Craig clients who have successfully lost weight on the plan. They are there to help you work through the challenges involved with trying to lose weight.

If your health history or diagnosis requires that you work with a registered dietitian, it is important to note that the consultants at Jenny Craig are not required to have that background. Consultants are, however, trained by a team of nutritionists and registered dieticians. They use active listening skills and motivation-based behavior skills to achieve good general health through weight loss.

Pros and Cons

Every dieter has a different lifestyle to consider when they choose a diet. Jenny Craig provides a well-designed plan for weight loss, but it won't work for everyone. In addition to the factors above, keep in mind these pros and cons.


  • Complete and easy plan. Clients on the Jenny Craig program get a comprehensive weight loss program when they meet with their counselor each week. Support, food tips, recipes and exercise tips are provided. All foods are pre-packaged so the guesswork is taken out of portion control. In the past, U.S. News and World Report ranked Jenny Craig as the second easiest diet to follow.
  • Support. Motivational support is built into the Jenny Craig program from the beginning of the diet plan. For many, the face-to-face option for support gives it a leg up against competitor Nutrisystem. For this reason, Jenny Craig often nudges out Nutrisystem in consumer ratings.
  • Taste. Jenny Craig food tastes good. Of course, not every dieter will enjoy every food, but in general, the food quality is satisfying.


  • Convenience. For some dieters, Jenny Craig is not the most convenient option. The meal entrees need to stay frozen and then reheated in the microwave. If you don't have access to these appliances during the day, your diet may be harder to follow.
  • Cost. The cost of the Jenny Craig program is frequently cited as a drawback of the diet plan. However, the cost of the program depends on the type of plan you choose, your location and at the time of year when you sign up. Jenny Craig offers occasional discounts on plans.

Remember, when you choose a diet, don't choose the one that your friends have chosen or even the diets that you read about in magazines. Evaluate Jenny Craig pros and cons along with lifestyle factors and budget to find the best weight loss program for your personal need. 

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