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


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.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

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.


  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.