The 2018 Review of Jenny Craig
Jenny is an effective way to lose weight if you're willing to pay $7.00 each for frozen dinners which seem "Lean Cuisine-ish" in quality.
Jenny Craig is a safe, effective, responsible portion-control diet plan. This program gives you a decent shot to get you where you want to be. The food definitely tastes better than the cheaper Nutrisystem fare.
The biggest knock on Jenny Craig is the price of the food, which adds up fast!
Like all diet plans, JC is better for some people that others. Let's examine Jenny in detail, and you can decide if it's right for you.
The Basic Facts
Different Jenny plans include different amounts and types of counseling, either in-person, phone, or online via video chat.
Jenny Craig Counselors
Dieters should understand that their counselors are not licensed dietitians or even nutritionists, but rather sales people for Jenny Craig's foods. However some of them can be helpful as cheerleaders to keep you motivated, and to answer basic questions.
The quality of the counselors is uneven. If you get a counselor you don't like, you can request another.
trending article: Can't Afford Jenny? Use Frozen Meals from Your Supermarket!
If you don't need Jenny's counselors, this affordable dietitian-designed program will save you time and money. You'll eat specially-chosen frozen meals from popular brands that you'll buy in your supermarket. When you're not in the mood for a frozen entree, you'll eat salads and low calorie recipes.
How Much Weight Will I Lose on Jenny Craig?
Jenny's customers lose an average of between one and two pounds each week. You may lose a bit more in the first week, but this is just a one-time water weight drop.
Jenny points out correctly, that losing weight more quickly than this is neither healthy nor sustainable.
What will I be eating on Jenny Craig?
Dieters dine largely on Jenny Craig pre-packaged cuisine, which seem 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.
Most Jenny Dieters like the taste of their food. For lunch and dinner, you’ll be eating fun foods like Mac & Cheese, Pepperoni Pizza, Szechuan Shrimp, and Turkey Burgers.
Meals must be supplemented with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low fat dairy (that you'll buy in the supermarket), 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 Jenny desserts like lemon cakes and cinnamon rolls. Jenny members rave about the cookies n’ cream cheesecake (only 140 calories per slice).
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 2018 Diet Plans
Jenny's diet memberships have changed for 2018. They now offer 2 types of "Rapid Results" memberships: 12-week Trial or Premium All Access for 12 months. Each option includes weight loss consultations, weekly menu planning, activity schedule, and their online e-tools. Meals can be home delivered or clients can pick them up at a local Jenny center. Remember that membership fees don't include the cost of food which is substantial, between $520 and $700 per month, depending on what you select to eat.
PREMIUM ALL ACCESS 12-MONTH MEMBERSHIP
The most comprehensive Jenny Craig membership available is their Premium All Access 12-Month Membership. It provides unlimited weight loss coaching and support, weekly customizable 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 nutritional information. 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 snacks in between. 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.
Premium 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%). Of course, don’t forget that the major cost of the program is the Jenny Craig meals and assorted snacks. You’ll also have to buy supplemental fruits, veggies, and dairy at the supermarket.
TRIAL 12-WEEK MEMBERSHIP
For dieters who are more apprehensive about joining, Jenny Craig now offers a 12-week only membership. Diet consultations are limited to once per week. Members under this plan still have access to eTools and other weight loss support materials such as the weekly personalized menus and guides.
The trial membership fee is $39 per month and there is no enrollment fee. But there is often a promotion such as "RAPID RESULTS for $16," in which customers can get 12 weeks of the program for $16. There is sometimes an included food allowance upwards of $70. The $70 credit towards food is usually split up into 7 weeks, $10 per week, so this would take you into your second month.
JENNY CRAIG FOR TYPE 2 PLAN (for Type 2 Diabetes)
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 required supplemental grocery foods.
Does Jenny Craig work? The Evidence.
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).
A 2017 study that Jenny Craig references in their program focused on their "Rapid Results" 4-week program. This diet consisted of Jenny Craig foods and structuring the dieter's meal times parallel to their circadian rhythms. "... The menus placed higher calorie food items in the beginning of the day, and lower calorie items near the end of the day." As it turns out, the Rapid Results system that uses the dieter's circadian rhythm helped the dieters lose 37.8% more weight than the control group!
In April 2015, an independent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reported that Jenny Craig dieters experienced a 5% greater weight loss compared to personal dieting methods. Their conclusion specifically noted that they could consider referring overweight or obese patients to diets such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, as they were effective. Their focus also included whether long-term weight loss was possible.
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 - $700 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 Food Cost
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 Lunches, and Dinners cost about $6.59 - $7.69 each and snacks are about $2.49 - $3.49 each. Members can expect to shell out between $20 and $25 a day on average for Jenny food.
Jenny Craig Shipping Costs
It's 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 $58 - $160. 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: The Details
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 program. While eating the smaller portions that Jenny offers will help many customers get used to eating less over time, even after stopping the program (hopefully after reaching their goal weight), other customers were unable to maintain their weight loss on their own and had to 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 is either cheaper, or for them, has better long-term results. Look, we all know how hard it is to get slim and stay there. Like all legitimate weight loss programs, Jenny will work for some, and not for others.
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. Some dieters have also complained about the quality of the food decreasing over time.
The Bottom Line
The food offers a decent variety, with around 90 choices in total, and the nutritional approach is sound. The taste isn’t bad either, if you don’t mind pre-packaged foods. Another plus is that 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. There can be hidden fees that rack up over time such as shipping and membership charges. The dieting consultations are a helpful component for some, and Jenny’s additional online resources give the program a reasonable shot at working for many people.
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.
At a glance: Is Jenny Craig right for you?
- You crave guidance and support.
- You’re busy or just hate to cook.
- You like discussing your weight loss goals with someone.
- 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 simply can’t afford it money-wise.
- You want to dine out frequently (although that will make it hard to lose weight on any program.
- You have trouble talking about your weight with another person.
- You don't like having to figure out what to eat a week or month in advance.
- You get bored easily eating the same foods over and over. The variety isn't great if you plan to be using the program for more than 60 days.
Jenny Craig Menu Updates for 2018
With each new year comes an updated Jenny menu of available meals and snacks.
Lunch & Dinner
What's Gone in 2018:
- Ramen Noodle Bowl with Chicken & Veggies: $7.69
- Pecan Glazed Chicken: $7.69
- Kung Pao Beef: $7.89