Jenny Craig Diet Plan

Jenny Craig Diet Plan
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Lose Weight With Jenny Craig!

You’ve seen all the celebrities touting the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Plan: Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, even basketball star Baron Davis. What is the appeal of this program that attracts heavy hitters to espouse its virtues? Jenny Craig is both a diet and lifestyle program, intent on changing the way you eat, exercise, and live your life. The goal is to change the way you think and act, keeping in mind your overall body health.

The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Plan started out in Australia in 1983 and is now available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Guam. Currently owned by Nestle Corporation and based out of Carlsbad, California, the program is centered on three key components: Food, Body and Mind. The program teaches portion control and healthy eating, promotes physical activity personalized to each individual, and provides consultants to keep you motivated and to make key changes that will serve you for the rest of your life.

As to whether the program works, in a 2007 clinical trial, supported by Jenny Craig, the Jenny Craig participants lost over five times as much weight as those who dieted on their own. (Rock CL, et al. Obesity. 2007; 15: 939-949.) This appears to be the only research touted on the Jenny Craig website as to the efficacy of the program, although there are numerous success stories published on the site.

Basic Diet Tenets/Nutritional Philosophy

The Jenny Craig Weight Loss Plan program takes an individual approach to weight loss, and is dependent on a one-on-one interaction with a Jenny Craig consultant, either in person or over the phone. After evaluating your needs, a personalized plan is presented, along with meal choices. Jenny Craig provides the food you need to lose the weight, along with supplemental items from the grocery store. Exercise suggestions are tailored to your lifestyle, current weight, and interests and weekly check-ins with your consultant help to keep you on track. This continues until you have reached your goal weight, at which time you should have made the necessary changes to your diet and life to maintain that goal. The Jenny Craig program does provide maintenance support and access to online support tools, so you are not left to your own devices, should you have any difficulties.

Jenny Craig - Start Changing Your Life Today!

Exercise/Fitness Component

Exercise is a critical component of the Jenny Craig program and it is expected that all active Jenny Craig users will engage in some sort of physical exercise. No matter your current activity level or ability to exercise, the Jenny Craig consultants will help you find the right approach.

The activity component of this program was developed with the world-renowned Cooper Institute. Located in Dallas, the institute trains fitness specialists and personal trainers, and offers a wide range of educational offerings, conducts studies, and provides health and fitness resources. Your level of activity will ramp up as you become stronger and lose weight, incorporating fitness into your lifestyle. The Jenny Craig consultant will assist you in this ongoing component, as both guide, champion, and cheerleader.


Probably the biggest expense and complaint amongst followers is the purchase of prepared foods offered by Jenny Craig. There are 17 breakfast choices, 21 lunch choices, 28 dinner choices, and 25 desserts and snacks. The cost is upwards of $100 per week plus grocery items like produce and dairy. This translates to about $14/day, and for a family of 4, that would total a whopping $1600+ per month, 60% more than an average American family spends.*

You will eat smaller, more frequent meals with limited cholesterol, sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in all Jenny Craig food items. There are also meals for vegetarians and “Jenny for Teens,” which addresses meals that take into account the needs of a growing teenager. While the food has been developed by registered dieticians and certainly looks tasty, you are paying for portion control, calorie control and the simple convenience of not having to cook. The flavor and nutritional content of the prepared food has received mixed reviews. One such review, with analysis from a registered dietician, noted a high sugar content, low fiber content, and stated that, "The ingredient lists were also unimpressive, dominated by additives, artificial ingredients, added sugars, and hydrogenated oils (i.e., trans fats). Vegetables, when there were any, tended to cluster way down on the bottom of the list." But it can be a godsend to those with busy, crazy, hectic lives or who hate to plan, shop and cook meals.

*Based on 2007 U.S. Census median annual income of $50,233 with a national average of 14% of income spent on food.

Ease of Use

Given that this is not just a diet but a lifestyle change, there is a big learning curve. Components include retraining on nutrition, making food choices and lifestyle changes, and engaging in a fitness program. You need to regularly order your food, as well as shop for produce and dairy. Once you get the hang of it all and it becomes routine, it should get easier, and membership does include one-on-one consultations with a Jenny Craig professional that help you through the process.

Cost (per month)

Membership: Fee varies based on type of membership purchased (shot term, lifetime, etc)
Food: $400+/- per month
Other: None

As with any diet program, do your research first. Go to the library, search the internet, and above all, consult your doctor about any diet regimen that you are contemplating.

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