The 2016 Review of Jenny Craig
by Valerie Kirk
The Jenny Craig diet program centers around low calorie pre-packaged cuisine. The food may be picked up at Jenny Craig locations, or you may choose to have it delivered to your door.
Different Jenny plans include different amounts and types of counseling, either in-person, phone, or online via video chat. Dieters should understand that their counselors are not licensed dietitians or even nutritionists, but rather sales people for Jenny Craig's foods, which tend to be on the pricey side.
What to Expect on JC Diet Plans...
Jenny's customers lose an average of one or two pounds each week. Most of Jenny's customers like their food's taste, if not their prices, which build up rather quickly each month.
Dieters dine largely on Jenny Craig pre-packaged cuisine, which are similar to Lean Cuisine frozen foods available at supermarkets. This isn't surprising as until recently Jenny Craig and Lean Cuisine were owned by the same parent company (Nestle). Fruits, vegetables and dairy items are added by the dieter, purchased from the supermarket.
The good news? You’ll be eating fun foods like Beef Chow Mein, Spaghetti with Meatballs, and Turkey Burgers. Jenny members rave about the cookies n’ cream cheesecake (only 150 calories per slice). Most clients say Jenny meals are similar in taste to Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice frozen entrées, so you might want to pick up a couple diet frozen dinners at the grocery store to test-drive the yummy factor before paying for weeks of Jenny food in advance.
Meals must be supplemented with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lowfat dairy, reflecting the federal guidelines and USDA food pyramid. Because the program doesn’t banish any food groups, sugar junkies can satisfy their sweet tooth with desserts like lemon cakes and cinnamon rolls.
In following the program everyday, members acclimate themselves to appropriate portion sizes, so theoretically at least, dieters will eventually be able to wean themselves off of Jenny's food without gaining the weight back.
Jenny Craig 2016 Diet Plans
Jenny's diet memberships for 2016 can be either "Jenny Craig In Center," "Jenny Craig Anywhere," or "Jenny Craig for Type 2". Each option includes private weekly weight loss consultations, weekly menu planning, activity schedule, and their online e-tools such as progress trackers, My Journal, and recipe collection. Meals can be home delivered or clients can pick them up at a local Jenny center.
"JENNY CRAIG IN CENTER" ALL ACCESS PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP
The most comprehensive Jenny Craig membership available is their All Access Premium Membership. It provides unlimited face-to-face diet consultations, unlimited access to their e-Tools, weekly personalized menus, and an included maintenance program for when the weight loss goal has been reached.
The program begins with a personalized menu planner that features tracking for meals, workouts, and diet inspiration. Dieters can create their own menu or opt for a planned menu for their specific calorie level. An average week on Jenny will have clients eating up to six times a day: three meals and three snacks. To keep track, clients are encouraged to check-off meals as they’re consumed and to log in any other non-planned foods that were eaten.
All Access costs $19 per month, plus a one-time enrollment fee of $100 (depending on their current promotion, this fee is often times discounted upwards of 50%), plus let's not forget the cost of Jenny Craig foods, snacks, shipping, and supplemental grocery foods like fruits, veggies, and dairy.
"JENNY CRAIG ANYWHERE" Plan
For dieters who are constantly on-the-go, Jenny Craig now offers an exclusively online and home-delivery membership. Diet consultations are limited to once per week and can either be on the phone or via online. Members under this plan still have access to eTools and other weight loss support materials such as the weekly personalized menus and guides.
Jenny Craig Anywhere costs $39 per month and there is no enrollment fee, plus the cost of food, shipping, and supplemental grocery foods.
"JENNY CRAIG FOR TYPE 2" Plan
For dieters interested in weight loss while taking control of their Type 2 diabetes, Jenny Craig now offers a membership that offers specialized diabetes support. Diet consultations include help with selecting specific foods designed to maintain blood sugar levels and other weight loss advice. In addition, online tools, tracking, and personalized activity planners are available.
The cost for Jenny Craig for Type 2 doesn't include the cost of food, shipping, and supplemental grocery foods.
Does Jenny Craig work?
Dieters loyal to Jenny’s guidelines can expect to lose between 1 to 2 pounds per week. According to the most recent U.S. News & World report ranking, Jenny Craig was deemed 3rd in their "Best Weight-Loss Diet" category (tying with the Biggest Loser Diet and the Raw Food Diet).
In May 2011, Consumer Reports rated Jenny Craig the best of the six diet plans in their two year, 332 person study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which examined six commercial diets--Atkins, Ornish, Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, the Zone Diet and Jenny Craig showed the Jenny Craig dieters in the study had the highest success rate in sticking with the diet plan, and weighed 8% less than when they had begun dieting two years earlier.
It’s important to note, however, that Jenny Craig dieters in the Consumer Reports study were not required to incur the approximately $550 per month Jenny Craig meal cost, so this naturally skewed the results in Jenny Craig's favor. After all, getting free food is a great incentive for staying on the program, but it's an incentive that the rest of us won't be getting if we try Jenny Craig!
Jenny Craig is a good program for dieters that want support. One of the company’s most notable features is its 24/7 phone line, allowing members to get information and support when they need it. To really reap long-term results, members should take advantage of the counseling support the program offers as they begin to wean themselves off of Jenny Cuisine and start to plan their own menus and home-cooked meals. Clients that already have a strong mental commitment to the lifestyle changes Jenny Craig requires are most likely to get the biggest bang for their dieting buck.
Jenny Craig Costs & Shipping
One factor prospective Jenny Craig clients will want to consider before signing on is the cost. Regardless of the program you choose, the biggest cost by far is Jenny's food. Average Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners can cost about $6 - $7 each and snacks are about $2 - $3 each. Members can expect to shell out between $15 and $23 a day on average, due to the high cost of Jenny meals.
It's also important to remember that if you choose not to pick up your foods from a local Jenny Craig center, you will incur shipping charges. Frozen food is always shipped via expedited shipping and, depending on your zip code and the day you select for delivery, can range between $29 - $94. Purchasing a minimum of 16 meals at once will often times trigger cheaper shipping rates. The shipping and handling price will vary by location.
Drawbacks to Jenny Craig
Although there are plenty of Jenny devotees that adore their counselor, prospective clients should know that Jenny Craig counselors are not trained nutritionists. Jenny Craig counselors are chosen for their sales skills, as their income depends on how many products and upgraded memberships they can sway clients into purchasing. Some Jenny clients have also complained that their counseling sessions are irritatingly short. Dieters that have struggled with lifelong weight issues may need more than the brief weekly (7-15 minutes on average) check-ins to stick with their diet long term.
Other complaints from some past Jenny customers were about gaining the weight back after they left the programs. While the Jenny Craig food menus are certainly limited in calories, customers are still unable to maintain weight loss entirely on their own and either go back on the plan (and thus continue paying the fees and for the pricey foods) or opt for searching for another weight loss plan that may have better long-term results.
Another Jenny Craig disadvantage? Dining exclusively on pre-packaged meals can be difficult. If you’re a social butterfly or just love dining out, eating nothing but Jenny Cuisine can feel like a prison sentence.
Jenny Craig Menu Updates for 2016
With each new year comes an updated Jenny menu of available meals and snacks. Some Jenny dieters were disappointed to see that some of their favorites from 2015 didn't make the 2016 cut, but hopefully they'll like the new items being offered.
Read below to discover which foods are new to the party in 2016 and which have gotten the boot:
What's Gone in 2016:
• Florentine Breakfast Pizza
• Frosted Oats Cereal
• Maple Almond Crunch Cereal
What's New in 2016:
• Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
• Classic Waffles
Lunch & Dinner (now combined into 1 category)
• Beef & Cheese Slider
• Chicken Pesto Pasta
• Chicken Sandwich
• Homestyle Chicken Casserole
• Stuffed Shells
• Sweet & Sour Chicken
• Three Cheese Ziti Marinara
• Beef Merlot
• Chicken Burrito
• Chicken Pot Pie
• Chicken Tortilla Soup
• Classic Cheeseburger
• Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce
• Grilled Chicken Sandwich
• Herbed Chicken & Mushroom Sauce
• Homestyle Beef Pot Roast
• Italian Style Pasta Bake
• Italian Style Wedding Soup
• Kung Pao Beef
• Loaded Baked Potato
• Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
• Southwest Style Chicken Salad Topper
• Turkey & Wild Rice
• White Bean Chicken Chili
Snacks/Desserts & Other Items
• Black Bean Taco Chips
• Bruschetta Veggie Chips
• Apple Crisp
• Classic Hummus & Wheat Crackers
• Lemon Cake
• Ranch Snaps
• Vanilla Buttercream Cupcake
• Chunky Vegetable Medley Soup Addition
• Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup Addition
The Bottom Line
The food is appealing and the nutritional approach is sound. There are no points, carb counting, or banned foods on Jenny. But the high cost of the food should be considered before committing to the diet. Remember to keep in mind that you will also have to pay your supermarket for the required fruit, veggies, and dairy.
At a glance: Is Jenny Craig right for you?
You crave guidance and support
You’re busy or just hate to cook
You don’t mind being weighed in front of others
You’re single or don’t have a family to cook for
You need daily treats like cookies or pretzels to keep from falling off the dieting bandwagon
You’re on a tight budget
You want to dine out frequently
You have high blood pressure/need to watch your sodium intake
You get bored easily eating the same foods over and over