Jenny Craig Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Jenny Craig is not so much a diet, but a franchised weight loss center with packaged food. Jenny Craig weight loss clinics can be found all over the world.

The Jenny Craig program is one of the best known weight loss plans in the world and has recently undergone renewed popularity due to endorsements from celebrities including Kirstie Alley , Queen Latifah, Valerie Bertinelli, and now Mariah Carey.

The goals of the Jenny Craig program are to help dieters develop a healthy relationship with food, an active lifestyle and a positive mindset.

Jenny Craig Diet Basics

jenny-craigThe foundation of the Jenny Craig program is its prepackaged meals, the majority of which are frozen. The meals include approximately 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 20% fat and are supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products.

The program takes place either at a local center or at home. Dieters are offered 24-hour telephone support where information, advice and encouragement are available whenever needed. Online support is also available including discussion groups.

There are three levels in the program. The first level allows dieters to adjust to the program by eating the foods they like in small portions. In the second level dieters learn how to boost their energy and lose weight by becoming involved in regular physical activity.

The third level is where dieters are instructed how to continue with a healthy lifestyle so that weight loss is maintained. The ultimate goal of the Program is to enable you to transition from Jenny Craig menus to planning your own menus, so that you can learn to shop, cook and socialize with foods.

No foods are off limits and the focus is on moderation, eating a balanced diet and adequate physical activity. Dieters are educated as to which foods must be limited due to their high calorie content as well as the foods that can be eaten in abundance such as low carbohydrate vegetables and salad.

Emphasis is given to addressing the psychological factors involved in weight management. Overeating is regarded as being largely an emotional issue, which is addressed by making
positive life changes.

Jenny Craig For Men

Jenny Craig also has programs tailored for men and over the last 5 years have worked hard to make it known that Jenny Craig is not just for women.

Men’s programs generally have higher calorie amounts but other than that, they follow the same concepts as the women’s program.

Recommended Jenny Foods

Fruit, vegetables and nonfat dairy products are recommended to supplement the prepackaged meals.

Sample Diet Plan


Banana nut cereal
1 cup nonfat milk

Morning Snack

Anytime bar
6 oz nonfat yogurt


Turkey burger
Garden salad
1 cup strawberries

Afternoon Snack

Raw vegetable sticks


Chicken fettuccine
½ cup carrots

Evening Snack

Double chocolate cake

Exercise Recommendations

Exercise is an important aspect of the program and dieters are provided with a customized exercise plan after consulting with a Jenny Craig advisor.

Costs and Expenses

The cost of the program depends on which plan you choose, which menu items you select, and the duration of your plan. There are membership costs – up to $399 per year for the full year long Premium program. However discounts are often available for shorter terms.

On average dieters can expect to pay around $100 per week for meals.


  • Clinically proven to result in weight loss.
  • Convenient and eliminates the time involved in shopping and food preparation.
  • No need to plan meals or count calories.
  • Support, advice and encouragement from Jenny Craig staff may be very beneficial.
  • Calorie intake is adjusted to suit individual requirements.
  • Meal plans include a lot of variety.
  • Dieters do not have to give up favorite foods.
  • Can help dieters to learn about portion control.
  • Provides guidance for eating in restaurants.
  • Includes a weight loss maintenance plan.


  • Many dieters experience hunger due to the low calorie content of the meals.
  • May be difficult for dieters to maintain weight loss and calorie control when they stop relying on meal delivery.
  • Some dieters may not enjoy eating prepackaged and frozen meals.
  • Expensive in comparison to many other programs.
  • Not suitable for vegans.
  • Does not cater for those with food allergies.
  • Does not offer a money back guarantee.

Some Have Good Results with Jenny

Meal delivery weight loss programs have a strong track record of failure in the long term. However Jenny Craig claims to overcome this problem by providing individual counseling and encouraging dieters to make positive lifestyle changes.

In order to get the best results from this program it would be recommended to take full advantage of the guidance that is provided via individual support. This will allow dieters to learn how to make the transition from the reliance on packaged food to a sustainable healthy eating plan.

See Also: Jenny Craig’s official website.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • mora thomas

    I eat some thing like that I only eat one afternoon snacks its not diet just staying thats all.
    Breakfast – 1 cup of oatmeal and fruit or wheat grain muffin
    Lunch – small salad lemon juices
    Afternoon snack- yogurt
    Dinner- baked chicken or broil , broccoli , brown rice
    Just eat right my thing is stay away from fry foods

    Good luck yall :D

  • elizabeth

    I am so happy with the JC plan for living…no more obsessing over food, retraining my brain to really ‘see’ what I need to feel satisfied. Just started this week, and I have not been hungry. The food is tasty, take the counselors suggestions and add the veggies and herbs! Plate your lunches and dinners, take time to enjoy your meal. Drink the water, take the walk, do whatever it takes if you really want to change yourself.

  • Judy

    If you stick to the diet you will lose weight. Food is quite tasty. I feel like I am eating all day. Cons are it is pricey and “counselors” are just sales people. With that said my gals are great. Really sweet and do not over sell me items.

  • Debbie C

    I lost almost 25 lbs. on Jenny Craig. The food was good, which was important to me. I changed counselors twice because they weren’t really counselors at all. (i.e. glorified order takers, nothing else, no encouragement, no advice, etc) I asked the Manager if she would meet with me and she did. She was a great gal and really helped and encouraged me.

  • Tania

    This diet is full of chemicals including preservatives, artificial ingredients and flavor. It is not healthy

  • Elizabeth

    I did this diet for three months and lost 30 pounds. 2 years later I’ve gained it back, but I’m thinking of trying it again. The food was decent, but I wasn’t crazy about the meetings with the the support staff.

  • tzafi

    I give Jenny Craig a 0

    I gained weight, it was expensive, you still have to buy all your produce and dairy, my representative was not very supportive, the food wasn’t that great and really lacks real world support and tools.

    Join Weight Watchers instead

  • Kyle

    I tried this diet and I didn’t lose weight nor did I gain. Could that be because I was exercising more than the plan was telling me to?

  • Sherrie

    Wow, I am blown away by a lot of these comments and reviews. I am a centre director for JC. My first thought is that these clients have had very untrained and inexperienced counselors. Unfortunately that can happen. My staff goes through a very long training process before they can counsel a client. As for the sodium, we are the lowest sodium wise in the weight loss industry. The sugars? We follow the food pyramid to a T. Your body needs these proper portions of each food group to maintain your metabolism which is the key to losing weight and also maintaining your weight loss. Granted, this program isn’t for everyone, but I as well as my staff have maintained our losses. My favorite ppl to hire are successful maintenance clients. As for Jenny at Home clients, most eventually transfer to a center for more support. I am so sorry for those of you who have had a bad experience. I rarely have a client not follow thru with the program. As for being glorified sales ppl, I could care less how little or how much the chosen program costs. I only care about that clients success. Good luck to all of you in your weight loss journey, no matter what program or company you choose. Any weight loss program works, as long as YOU work it! Maintaining that loss is the hard part!

  • Lynda

    The good: Convenient. The bad: Everything else. I’ve been shelling out over $450/month to JC for the past year. While I did lose weight, I’m still 40 lbs from goal. I started JC overweight but with great cholesterol; 126 and triglycerides were 77. After a year mostly on JC, my cholesterol is 199 and my triglycerides are 226 and my HDL (good cholesterol) dropped from 56 to 40. WTH? My doctor said it’s all the prepackaged stuff, processed, additives, etc. While my doctor is happy with my 48 lb weight loss, she is not happy about the way I’m doing it and I’m in worse health, I get headaches almost daily, I developed bowel issues & hemmorhoids due to lack of fiber. Ugh.

    So JC has it’s pros and cons; I think it’s great for a very short term, “jump start” to learning portion control, etc. But for long term, real life sustainability, I don’t think this is the diet for me. I can take my $450/month and shop at Whole Foods and eat fabulously fresh, organic foods. Yes, I will trade off convenience, but I’m betting I’ll feel much better soon.

    By the way, check out Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. Makes a lot of sense! Best wishes to ALL who decide to get healthier, no matter how you do it! :)

  • victoria

    i just joined for how long do i have to eat jenny’s food?

  • Jennifer

    I\’ve been on Jenny Craig for two weeks now. I\’m just starting my third week. I’ve been EXERCISING as well. I was incredibly inactive and overeating before starting this diet and I did a lot of research on it as well. If you look into multi-national studies, Jenny Craig beats Weight Watchers every time for maintenance. If you follow the program, when you meet your halfway goal your consultant will start to teach you how to cook your own foods. I believe it is teaching me portion control because if I look at the meals I am eating, all I need to do is match the portions. I decided to do Jenny Craig over all the others, and so far losing ten pounds in two weeks is a good sign. On the very very down side. The customer service is ATROCIOUS. I’m at the point where I hate calling the 1-800 number for anything. I now deal only with my consultant and the call centre manager because I’ve had so many issues with the CSR’s. Right down to me calling in to ask where to find the e-tools on the Canadian website and having someone argue with me about it. If you go on there are no e-tools. I tried to explain it a million times but the rep just kept arguing that it’s on the US site. Well I’m in Canada, my IP address is recognized as such and automatically directs me to the .ca site. That’s just a tiny example of how difficult they are to deal with. So far my consultant is making up for it by being very accomodating and nice, but I’m the type of customer who didn’t buy a Ford Escape once because I thought the salesman was rude so I bough a Mitsubishi instead (when I went in to buy a Ford in the first place). I’ve spent $1000 on food and programs so far and it’s been less than a month. The good foods are about $350 every two weeks. I can afford it, but not everyone can so if it doesn’t make sense for you, don’t cheap out on it by spending the $80/week on food because you’ll just get the cheap bland stuff. The expensive parts of the menu are absolutely delicious! Exercise is key to this diet. Don’t kid yourself. If you are just eating the food, you will lose weight. If you aren’t exercising at the same time, and then you go off the diet, you will likely gain it all back. The whole point to this diet is to change the way you think about food and exercise for the long term. I highly recommend it as an effective weight loss program. I do the Jenny At Home program so I don’t need to go in to a centre. My consultant has upsold me a program already, but I don’t get sold easily. It’s a great upsell. For another $299 I get free shipping for six months ($65 a month in savings) and $50 off my next food order. If I keep the weight off for a year I get the $299 back. That’s some great incentive.

  • Carol

    I’ve been on JC for 3 weeks and have lost about 8 lbs. The food is pretty good — I don’t know how much salt is actually in the food, but it sure doesn’t taste like there is a lot of salt! As for gas, I definitely have that problem going on, but I was reading comments on another forum, and most everyone there said the gas is caused by the anytime bars. I’ve been thinking that might be the problem, so I’m going to stop eating those and see if that helps. All in all, I think JC works pretty well. I think any diet is going to test a person’s will. It all gets down to which is more important to me — do I want to lose weight, or do I want to eat that piece of chocolate cake (or whatever)? I have to be responsible for my own decisions. No diet is going to be successful if you don’t stick to it.

  • JH

    I have decided to “give it a go” mostly because I am tired of cooking. I have been on it for a week and I have to say it is considerably high in sugar. The meals are okay and some repeat, if you know what I mean. The snack bars I don’t like but I will continue to eat them. The staff were great, very friendly and positive.
    I was on Rick Gallop’s GI Diet and found success before so maybe after the 10 weeks, I may go back to the GI…

  • mary

    I just started the diet. Spent time to read the ingredients in the food. Almost everything has sugar and corn syrup. The lists of chemicals and additives is mind-blowing. I’m ditching this unhealthy food, resuming to eat fresh whole foods, and commit myself to control my portions. Back to WW with more commitment and more money in my pocket.

  • DP

    I have lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks on Jenny Craig. Its not easy,but like any other diet, works if you stick to it. I calculated all of the WW points for a full day of Jenny Craig food and it was the SAME – simply because 1200 calories a day is 1200 calories a day. Whether you are counting points or calories or eating prepared food or cutting your carbs – the ONLY WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT is to consume less calories than you expend. If you multiply your current weight by 11 that is the rule of thumb amount of calories you can eat to maintain your weight. Anything less than that you will lose.

    As far as being hungry – yes I am hungry sometimes, but I now snack of fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and chips. Nothing wrong with that and there is no limit to the veggies I can eat.

    THe cost is about 120 a week for me, but it is the only food I buy for myself besides fruits and veggies. We used to eat out 3-4 times a week and easily spent more than that just on 4 meals – this is 120 for 21 meals and 14 snacks. That averages to about $5-$6 a meal.

    As far as loosing only 1lb a week – healthy sustainable weight loss is 1 – 2 pounds a week. You usually lose more in the first few weeks as your body adjusts to the lower calories. I lost 6 pounds my first week, 3 pounds my second week and between 1 – 2 pounds for the next 4 weeks.

  • Laura

    There are drawbacks for every diet. Quit blamming others for you failures and take responsibility for yourself. I take full responsibility for my gaining and losing weight over the years and I have been on every diet.

  • gazebo

    Jenny Craig diet is working for me. Since I don’t know how to cook or have patience to cook, the prepackaged food was good to get. As long as you stick to this diet week after week, you are almost guaranteed to lose some weight. The downside: it can get pretty expensive, and it’s a struggle to eat so little food so you’re hungry most of the time. The upside is that you start learning to eat alot of fruits and vegetables to stop feeling hungry. It’s not an easy diet to do, but for me, it is the best thing. I’m thinking that after I lose the weight, get off the diet, I’ll probably go to Weight Watchers to learn to maintain since I don’t know if the counselors at Jenny Craig know how to coach people about Maintenance.

  • Amy

    Stop blaming everyone else and make the right choices for you. This diet is very low sodium and would absolutely not cause the death of a person. That is almost laughable. I only need to lose 20 pounds and I am half way there. I don’t think the quality of the counselors even matters at all, it is you who has the accountability. Every time I go there and I have cheated, they say the reason you are not losing is because you ate a lot of salty foods etc. JC is definitely very low sodium and they also encourage a lot of water consumption which also helps to flush out unnecessary sodium. I think it is rather expensive and after you are done you need to continue following their general plan which is low salt, lots of water, exercise, and small balanced portions. How hard is it people?

  • Weber

    Ilost 75lbs with Jenny craig.

  • Schely

    it seems really wack to go on a diet especially with all these cons… i wouldnt ever put my life up for something that could just kill me … but Jenny Craig seems good i guess only for the people who are desprate to do it or really thing it could change their lives.. that is what i think of it though..

  • Terry Smithonson

    I HATE IT!!!!!

  • Connie

    I gained weight on this diet.The large amount of salt and sweetness stimulated my need to eat.I was starving the entire 10 weeks and gave it up.Now I eat lean meat,vegetables ad some fruits with unsweetened ice tea,lost 10 pounds per week.100 off and happy with my own diet.The only way to lose weight is to give up the sweets and salt because these two stimulate food intake.I actually think sodium is an apetite stimulator.The chocolate cake made me feel sick and tired.My councelor was pushing low fat which does NOT help you lose weight.It’s the sweets that cause the weight not normal fat intake per as what is suitable for an adult.

  • Maggie

    I have been on the Jenny Craig program before, and it worked okay for a bit. I lost about 10 or 15 pounds in 4 months, which kinda sucked.I lost hope and gave up, eating what I wanted, and gained back everything and more. My couselor was very kind though and I miss her. This is a good diet for some people. It seriously just depends on who you are.

  • Kristy

    I was on Jenny Craig about 2 years ago. Although it was expensive, I did lose over 20 pounds (I didn’t have that much to lose to begin with). Like other people have mentioned here, the counselors are not certified nutritionists or health practitioners. They are nice, but they are little more than glorified sales people. When I was about to go on the Maintenance Program, my counselor (who was 20 yrs old mind you) could NOT tell me how to go about successfully keeping the weight off while not eating Jenny Craig foods. Once you get to Maintenance, they are supposed to “wean” you off the Jenny food- you are supposed to choose your own foods. Well, my counselor did nothing more than encourage me to keep eating the Jenny food. I could no longer afford it (nor could I continue to keep eating the same foods day in and out for more than a year) so I stopped. I have since gained back all the weight. I’m not here to say that this plan doesn’t work- it does- BUT- only if you intend to eat Jenny food for the rest of your life. I think the same goes for any of those pre-packaged meal plans. Sure, they’re convenient and easy to maintain, but I don’t feel it’s a way to live your life and successfully keep weight off long term.

  • Bernice

    I’ve been following the Jenny Craig plan for 4 months and have lost 25 lbs. without suffering the usual feelings of deprevation on any diet I’ve ever done on my own. My food was so out of control that having someone hand me the food I had to eat sounded like a good idea, and its worked. I’m 1/2 way there and feeling much better about myself.

    Regarding some of the comments, the diet is not high sodium. It has less sodium than grocery store foods like Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice. Regarding the gas, I have a lot of gas, guess what, this is a high fiber diet. High fiber can cause gas – its a known fact. I am eating fruits, salads, vegetables, high fiber stuff that I didn’t touch on my last diet which was low carbs. This is a much healthier diet.
    Take Beeno before you eat. if you don’t like your counselor, switch to another, but stop blame shifting, suck it up and realize that nothing is going to work if you have a negative attitude!

  • Kristin

    Hm. Well I’ve been on the program for 10 weeks and I’ve lost 20 pounds, which is very exciting since I’ve never been able to loss that much on my own. Most importantly, the plan teaches you about balance and portion control. As for the quality of the consultants and their level of knowledge, I guess it depends on who you get. My consultant is great; she’s incredibly knowledgable and as an added bonus, she’s my age so she knows how to deal with issues that will be specific to my lifestyle. But she’s also in the middle of getting her degree in nursing so that might explain why she knows so much. I bug her with tons of questions all the time and she answers everything. For what she does not know, she actually researches for me. She’s also a pretty good support system. This is a great plan for someone like me – clueless and in need of serious weight loss. The food is decent but it is high in sodium. But there are ways around it. For example, I don’t eat the lunches and instead opt for a very healthy salad. That has generally kept my sodium intake in check.

  • ashley

    I was reading this and acually felt sorry for you amy but if you really think about if you grandma was really that healthy why would she be going on a diet any way….. think before you complaine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gezzzzzzzzzzz

  • Christina

    i’ve been on jenny craig for one month already, i’ve lost about 7kgs in thats time. this is propberly the best diet i’ve been on.
    this isnt a diet plan … its a lifestyle change… its teaching you control your portions sizes. it works because they cut a lot of salt in there food.. and salt makes you retain water making you heavier. by reducing salt you will have tonner legs and arms … SALTS the ENEMYYY !

    • tyler

      You sure don’t know how to spell. But I do know what you mean.

  • Kim

    Why on Earth would a 93 year old woman in amazing health go on a diet?

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