Jenny Craig Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

jenny-craigJenny 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

The 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

Breakfast

Banana nut cereal
1 cup nonfat milk

Morning Snack

Anytime bar
6 oz nonfat yogurt

Lunch

Turkey burger
Garden salad
1 cup strawberries

Afternoon Snack

Raw vegetable sticks

Dinner

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.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

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

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

    Citations:

  • Craig, J. (2013). Jenny Craig’s What Have You Got to Lose: A Personalized Weight Management Program. Villard.
  • Johnston, B. C., Kanters, S., Bandayrel, K., Wu, P., Naji, F., Siemieniuk, R. A., … & Mills, E. J. (2014). Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA, 312(9), 923-933. link
  • Jung, Y., Lockard, B., Baetge, C., Levers, K., Galvan, E., Jagim, A., … & Kreider, R. (2014). Comparative effectiveness of popular diet programs on changes in body composition and visceral adipose tissue in women (LB297). The FASEB Journal, 28(1 Supplement), LB297. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: February 23, 2015. Disclaimer
  • DJ

    I lost 5 pounds in the first week. After eating the food that was very tasty I might add. I began to suffer from excessive gas. I found the counselors to be uninteresting. They just want call you and tell you what the next step is and to read your literature for the next phone call.

  • CC

    I was on this diet and questioned the high sodium content—up to 4 grams a day, of the food that was on the plan. The “counselor” got very defensive and said she had to call the nutrition center to get an answer for me. I also found out that the center was supposed to give me an information sheet to show my doctor to get an ok to go on the diet. I was never given the sheet. The conselors are not very knowledgeable and are just glorified sales people. And, besides the sodium content, the food has a lot of refined simple sugars in it–nothing about the glycemic index. I am insulin resistant which most overweight people are —so their food does not help that problem. And my doctor said the program adds the extra sodium and sugar so you won’t be hungry. Save your money–it is a very expensive way to lose maybe one lb. a week.

  • Rhonda

    I agree with the previous comment. I went to Jenny Craig after giving birth to my daughter. At the time I was a stay at home mom and after seeing one of their ads on T.V. I rushed in to check it out. After talking with the counselor I was then told the prince on TV didn’t include the price of food and all or most of my meals had to be brought from them. After sensing my hesitation the counselor then suggested I buy only two main meals from them and then include one of my own. The type of program would still run me around $120-130 a week! With a new baby and formula, diapers, etc. and my husband I didn’t have enough money to buy groceries for the household. So I had to send a letter in order to get out of my contract! I say if your single and have $120 to spend on frozen meals, this plan is for you otherwise I suggest trying Weight Watchers.

  • pamela key

    i weigh 500 pounds and i need to lose weight for health reasons. i am having a hard time sticking to a diet

  • Barb

    I agree with the above statements. I was on this for about 9 months and lost 7 lbs. whoopee! I do not think the counselors are informed and certainly not dieticians.In my openion a waste of money!!

  • Mary

    Jenny Craig is one of the only weight loss programs that IS actually proven to work. Published results from prestigious medical journals like Obesity’s April 2007 report ) or this article by the Cooper Institute ) go a lot further than ad hoc skeptics throwing stones. If that still isn’t enough for you, go to http://www.jennycraig.com/successstories and read for yourself. Real people, celebrities, you name it—Jenny Craig gets proven results with its nutritionally sound program and support from a consultant. There’s also plenty of online support at the Jenny Craig forums, as well as on other diet forums in the external blogosphere. Jenny Craig encourages lifestyle changes, rather than a diet, that its users can live with for greater health.

  • michelle

    I’ve been on the program for about four weeks and have lost about 15lbs…it teaches you portion control and is very convenient if you are single and don’t have to cook for a family as well..you still have to exercise..I walk about 1/2 hour 4 times per week.. not much of a commitment..Most of the food tastes great

  • Amy

    this diet sucks, my grandma was a ninety-three year old woman, who was in amazing health and was expected to live into her hundreds, well two weeks into this diet, and one night she went to sleep and never woke up. the autopsy showed that copious amounts of sodium introduced into her system caused blood clots, one of them dislodged and she is now dead. do not take this diet if you value your life..

  • Kim

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

  • 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 !

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Terry Smithonson

    I HATE IT!!!!!

  • 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..

  • Weber

    Ilost 75lbs with Jenny craig.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.