My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) – Does It Work?

It's time to review Jenny Craig (diet plan) – a weight loss program that is really popular.

Basically – it comes as a set of ready-made foods and meals, following a specific calorie count.

But the question is – does it work?:

  • promising results
  • more expensive than other similar programs
  • not available for all users

Does Jenny Craig come with any side effects? And what is its bad side?

Well, we're going to analyze it in detail and see if it's really worth it.

Note: This review is based on my own research + analysis on Jenny Craig.

Review Summary

Full Name: Jenny Craig by Jenny Craig

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?Product Type: Weight Loss Food

Best Actual Price: Between $12-$17.6/day (depending on the plan)

Obviously, cheaper plans don't offers all features.

Cheapest Place To Buy: Its Official Website

It's not sold on any 3rd party retailers/websites.

Designed For: Losing weight easily and correctly.

Very shortly – here's how it works:

  • restricts your daily calorie intake
  • your body uses its own fat resources
  • you end up losing weight faster

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Recommended?: Not completely (especially if you're not on an unlimited budget)

It does help you lose weight – but not as easily as others:

  • pretty small portions
  • some people complain about starving
  • quite expensive for most budgets

Honestly, the top plan is much better than the other 2.

But I still consider it way too pricey for what it offers (compared to the other options you have).

Instead, I personally recommend this program that does the same but costs way less.

 

What I Liked About It

  • Good results in many cases of weight loss
  • You start losing weight from the first week
  • Many satisfied users behind
  • Great reputation and history (30+ years)
  • Allows you to choose from 3 plans
  • You get your personal coach (for top plan only)
  • Full-money back guarantee (first month only)

 

What I Didn't Like About It

  • More expensive than similar programs
  • Cheapest plan doesn't offer meals for the entire day
  • No plan for diabetics or vegetarians
  • Based on frozen meals
  • Portions are pretty small
  • Many people complain that the foods aren't enough to feel full
  • Not available outside the US

 

 


Jenny Craig In A Nutshell


Jenny Craig is a pretty simple weight loss program.

It takes care of your meals – so that you follow a strict number of calories/day.

In this way, you end up losing weight.

But apparently, its portions are very small – so you end up starving at one point.

Anyway – here are its main features:

  1. Ready-made meals delivered at home
  2. Foods customized for your weight loss goals
  3. Personal coach to help you (top plan only)

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

It's actually this coaching program that makes Jenny Craig stand out:

  • you meet your personal coach online or offline
  • he/she will motivate you and advise you on your weight loss journey
  • once you're half your goal, your coach will prepare you for the next level
  • you will learn how to prepare your own foods at home
  • in this way, you're getting ready to give up Jenny Craig at one point

So that's the only advantage Jenny Craig has above its competitors.

If you're the kind of person that needs motivation and social support – it's perfect for you.

However, this feature is only offered in their superior plan (Max Up).

The other 2 don't include any coaching – so they're not worth it too much.

But in terms of weight loss results, Jenny Craig seems to work:

  • a few people see some results from the first week
  • many people claim they lost a lot of weight with this program
  • but a lot of them complain about starving

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Plus, one of its only problems is that it's on the expensive side.

Compared to other food delivery programs for weight loss, Jenny Craig costs way more.

Not to mention that its normal plan doesn't even offer all 3 meals from a day.

So I can't really recommend it.

It is indeed effective for weight loss – but is it worth starving yourself?

I prefer other programs that costs less but they also offer some better meals.

But even so – the choice is all yours when it comes to Jenny Craig.

 

 


#1 – What Is Jenny Craig?


Jenny Craig works through a very simple approach.

It helps you lose weight by providing you with special foods that allow you to lose weight.

Obviously – it comes with several plans available:

  1. Simple ($14.47/day)
  2. Essential ($22.78/day)
  3. Max Up ($29/day)

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Depending on the plan you choose, you have access to several extra features:

  • personal coach
  • extra snacks (called “recharge bars”)
  • exercise tips

However – in order to get most of Jenny Craig's features, you need to sign up for the priciest plan.

The differences between its 3 plans are pretty big.

For instance – the Simple plan only offers breakfast and lunches (no dinners).

Honestly, that's a major downside.

Most similar programs offer all 3 meals in a day for less than Jenny Craig's 2 meals menu.

That's one of the reasons why I'm not a big fan of this program.

Still, variety is one of its strong points:

  • you can select the exact meals you want
  • they have over 100 options

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Besides – the top plan also offers coaching on your future diet (once you give up Jenny Craig).

However, this plan is way more expensive than the other 2.

So you need to have a very large budget if you want to go for it.

Anyway, judging after its user feedback, Jenny Craig seems to work for losing weight:

  • many satisfied users behind
  • lots of positive reviews
  • good results in a few studies [1]

So it allows you to lose weight without cooking your own food and counting calories.

Still, given its huge price – it wouldn't be among by top options.

Why spend so much on it when you can get 3 meals a day for less (with another program)?
 

 

 


#2 – How It Works & History


Here are some general facts about Jenny Craig's diet plans:

  • how exactly they work
  • what types of weight loss they help with
  • their founds
1. How It Works

As I said, Jenny Craig uses a very simple strategy.

It helps you lose weight by reducing the number of calories you consume in a day:

  1. You're asked about your weight loss goal at first.
  2. Depending on that, you receive meals with a specific number of calories.
  3. On an average, you consume 1200-2300 calories/day with Jenny Craig.
  4. That's usually less than what your body is used to.
  5. In this way, it starts taking calories from your fat stores. [2]
  6. Consequently, you start losing weight. [3]

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Another problem of Jenny Craig is that its meals aren't extremely consistent.

Lots of its previous users complain they are not enough to keep them full.

Besides – all plans require you to buy some extra foods (besides the ones you receive):

  • fresh fruits
  • vegetables
  • fibre-rich foods

Unless you go for the top plan, you will also have to buy your snacks.

The cheapest plan also requires you to prepare your dinner, which is why I'm not a fan of it.

So it's mostly Jenny Craig's superior plan that is the only decent one.

But that's only if you can handle the high cost.

Plus – it's the one that gives you a personal coach:

  1. You will meet your coach weekly.
  2. You can either have an online meeting or a live one (in Jenny Craig centers).
  3. Your coach will motivate you and advise you in your weight loss journey.
  4. Once you reach half of your goal, your coach will prepare you for life without Jenny Craig foods.

Shortly – you only get a personal coach with the Max Up plan.

This plan also gives you several other features, but this one is by far the most important.

So all in all – Jenny Craig allows you to lose weight, but it costs you a lot of money (more than other options).

2. History

One of Jenny Craig's top points is its reputation.

It's been on the market for many years (since 1983):

  • based on Jenny Craig's personal weight loss
  • she and her husband opened a weight loss center back in the '80s
  • since then, they have helped lots of people

At this point – their brand is associated with success.

Given that so many people lost weight with this diet, it's quite obvious why.

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Besides, Jenny Craig's portal also gives you access to additional features:

  • healthy foods recipes
  • success stories
  • general lifestyle advice
  • wellness tips

Judging after its reputation – it's surely a brand you can trust.

Plus, first time users can get a money back guarantee (in case they're not satisfied).

However – some previous customers complain about this feature.

According to them, getting a refund is pretty hard in reality.

So I wouldn't really count on that, no matter how good it looks on paper.

 

 


#3 – Weight Loss Plans (7 out of 10)


Jenny Craig is surely not the most varied weight loss program out there.

But even so – it has 3 plans that can cover most needs:

  1. Simple
  2. Essential
  3. Max Up

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

However – there's no special plan for vegetarian/diabetics.

Anyway, as you can guess – the cheaper a plan is, the less versatility it comes with.

That's why the only decent option would be go for the most expensive one.

Other programs don't come with some huge differences between their plans (WW is the best example).

But Jenny Craig's differences are pretty significant:

  • personal coach
  • individual support
  • dinner/snacks included

Anyway, let's take a closer look at each of the 3 plans.

1. Simple Plan ($12.60/day)

This plan is designed for people who don't want (or can't afford) to spend a lot.

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

However – it has one major downside.

It doesn't offer any dinner – so you only receive your breakfasts and lunches.

And there's more:

  • you don't receive any snacks/desserts either
  • like in the other 2 plans, you also have to buy foods and vegetables

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

To be honest – this plan is surely not a decent option:

  • harder to follow than the other 2
  • no support included
  • expensive for what it offers

As I said, other weight loss programs offer an entire day meals for less than $14.

So even though Jenny Craig's Simple Plan is not terrible, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

Its advantage is that it covers all 7 days of a week.

But the fact that there's no dinner is definitely a problem.

2. Essential Plan ($24.36/day)

You can probably guess the difference between this plan and the Simple one.

Jenny Craig's Essential plan covers all 3 meals in a day:

  • you receive 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • there are still no snacks or support
  • you also have to buy extra fruits/vegetables

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Basically – you're paying about $8/day more for your dinner.

That's not bad, so I consider it better than the Simple plan.

If you really want to lose weight without cooking your own foods, why prepare your dinner?

It's much easier to have all 3 meals delivered at once.

Still, this Essential plan costs way more than in other weight loss programs.

Considering that you also have to spend extra money (on snacks/fruits/vegetables), it's still very pricey.

I personally wouldn't go for it either.

3. Max Up Plan ($26.71)

This may be Jenny Craig's most expensive plan. 

But it's surely the best one – and the only one that is worth it.

Just like in the Essential plan, you have all 3 meals included – but there's more: 

  • access to a personal coach
  • recharge bars included
  • personalized training for life after Jenny Craig meals
  • free delivery

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Now – this plan is based on intermittent fasting:

  1. You have a 10-hours window for eating.
  2. Then you have a 14-hours fasting period.

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Honestly, following this plan isn't hard, because your fasting window is usually at night.

Once you wake up, you should consume your recharge bars and have breakfast afterwards.

Obviously – you can even follow this plan without that 14-hours fasting.

But for best results, it's better to respect it.

So following it won't be the biggest problem.

But overall – Max Up's features are better than the other 2 plans'.

It's by far the best plan out of Jenny Craig's options:

  • costs $7/day more than the Essential plan (standard price)
  • $50% off for the first week
  • its features are much better

So if you absolutely want to try Jenny Craig, I strongly recommend going for this plan.

But my honest advice would be to go for a different program and get more versatility.

Not to mention that you would spend way less.


Conclusions

Jenny Craig comes with 3 main plans for everyone's needs.

However – its top plan is the only one that is worth it.

Compared to the others – it has more features (especially coach support).

But all in all, I don't really recommend this weight loss program.

That's simply because it costs way too much for what it offers.

I personally would surely go for a cheaper program that offers a lot more.

 

 

 


#4 – Meals & Menu (7 out of 10)


It's time to get a little more practical.

So let's talk about Jenny Craig's exact menu and meal options.

1. The Menu

As I mentioned – the number of meals you get depends on the plan:

  • breakfast + lunch (Simple)
  • breakfast + lunch + dinner (Essential)
  • breakfast + lunch + dinner + snacks (Max Up)

Additionally, you also have to buy certain fruits and vegetables.

Now – Jenny Craig is pretty varied when it comes to its menu:

  • around 100 options in total
  • over 20 choices for each meal

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Most foods are frozen, so you have to reheat them before eating.

I'm personally not a big fan of frozen food, to be honest.

But I can't complain about this program's versatility.

2. The Meals

Now I want to give you some examples of foods offered by Jenny Craig.

So let's take a look at the most popular breakfast options it has:

  1. Farmhouse Breakfast Bowl
  2. Cinnamon Rolls
  3. Cheesy Egg & Bacon Skillet
  4. Maple French Toast

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

Here are the lunch options you have:

  1. Homestyle Turkey & Mashed Potatoes
  2. Italian Sausage Pizza
  3. Fried Rice Cauliflower With Chicken & Vegetables
  4. Ham & Swiss Baguette

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

As for the dinner – here are Jenny Craig's recommendations: 

  1. 3 Cheese Maccaroni With Broccoli & Carrots
  2. Butternut Squash Ravioli
  3. Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bowl
  4. Cheesy Mashed Potatoes & Fried Chicken

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

And lastly – the top plan includes some snacks:

  1. Chocolate Lava Cake
  2. Vanilla Buttercream Cupcake
  3. White Cheddar Popcorn
  4. Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

To be honest – you can't really complain about these foods.

They all sound pretty well – but they have one major problem.

According to its previous users, all portions are very small.

So even though they seem (and taste) really good, they are not enough to keep you full.

That's why Jenny Craig can make you starve yourself in order to lose weight.

Obviously – that's not really the case, but you get the point.

Its food doesn't really make you feel full, so it's not a very easy-to-follow diet.

 

 


#5 – Results (8 out of 10)


Jenny Craig has a huge number of satisfied users behind.

Besides, most of its user reviews are outside its official website (which means they're unbiased).

That's why it looks great in terms of user feedback.

Note: I only considered authentic reviews, not fake/promotional ones.

1. Positive Opinions

As I said – it has a good satisfaction rate overall.

Since it's been so popular all these years, that's not really a surprise.

But let's analyze what most previous customers say about it:

  1. Lots of users claim they lost some noticeable weight very fast.
  2. Most people state their weight decreased a lot while using this program.
  3. Many praise the foods and their taste.
  4. Some say they were inspired and motivated by their coaches.

Shortly – a  really good per cent of Jenny Craig's users praised it.

This means it has a high number of satisfied customers.

Plus, most of them continued to use this diet in the long run.

2. Negative Opinions

On the negative side, I also found several complaints about Jenny Craig.

Here's what most people complain about:

  1. Huge price
  2. Few options for cheaper plans
  3. Tiny portions
  4. Not fresh foods
  5. Not eco-friendly packaging

Honestly – all these complaints are completely real.

Jenny Craig is indeed more expensive than most weight loss programs (especially the top plan).

Is it really worth this extra price? Not really.

Not to mention that its basic plan doesn't even include all 3 meals from a day.

Another problem are the small portions:

  • not enough to feel full
  • users tend to feel very hungry throughout the day

For this reason – this diet can be a bit hard to follow.

If you can handle hunger, you may want to give it a try.

Otherwise, it's definitely not the right program for you (especially when you have some better options).


Conclusions

Jenny Craig has a mixed user feedback overall.

In terms of reaching your weight loss goals, it's definitely going to work.

But if you don't want to starve all day long, better go for another option.

 

 

 


#6 – Side Effects (7 out of 10)


Jenny Craig looks well from this point of view:

  • My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?no complaints on stomach issues after following this diet
  • no real side effects connected to it

So despite its high number of reviews, there are no complaints on side effects.

The only negative reviews that could fit it here are related to its frozen foods:

  • not cooked at home
  • not based on fresh ingredient
  • full of certain additives

Now, honestly – I'm not a huge fan of frozen foods either.

But in this case, that's the only way to deliver your foods for a week.

Besides, most people claim the food wasn't enough to keep them full.

I also saw this complaint in many women, so it's clearly a real problem of Jenny Craig.

But all in all – the program is safe to use and it's well-tolerated in most cases.

And you will get used to feeling constantly hungry at one point.

If these conditions are fine for you, then you can give it a try.

 

 


#7 – Price (5 out of 10)


Price is probably the biggest issue Jenny Craig has.

Compared to other weight loss programs that deliver food – it is way more expensive.

1. The Exact Price

As you can guess – Jenny Craig's plans have some different prices.

The superior the plan you choose, the more you're going to pay:

  1. Simple Plan is $14.47/day.
  2. Essential Plan costs $22.78/day.
  3. Max Up Plan is $29/day ($22.68/day first week).

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?

As I said – it's mostly the Max Up that does a decent choice.

The first one (Simple) isn't worth it at all.

As for the Essential one – you could get a lot more benefits for these money (in other programs).

So if really want to get Jenny Craig, I advise you to go for the Max Up instead.

Other than that – this program is surely not affordable:

  • other similar programs cost less
  • they also offer more meals/day

Its only compensation appears when it comes to support.

Most of its competitors don't have the personalized support and coaches Jenny Craig has.

But my honest advice would be to spend your hard-earned money on something else.

This higher price isn't really worth paying.

2. Worth Or Not?

No, it's definitely worth it.

It's one of the priciest options out there – and it doesn't have a lot of reasons:

  • portions are small(er)
  • basic plan doesn't even cover all 3 meals
  • you have to spend a lot more extra money

That's why Jenny Craig is not suitable for all budgets.

So if you only afford going for the Simple plan, don't do it.

Instead of paying $14/day, better choose a Nutrisystem full plan for less.

The only better option when it comes to Jenny Craig would be the Max Up Plan.

But I personally would not go for that one either, to be honest.


Conclusions

Jenny Craig is a very pricey weight loss program.

And judging after all the features users it has behind, it's not really  worth it.

So I'm not a big fan of it, to be honest.

There are some better options that do the same and cost way less.

 

 

 


#8 – Jenny Craig In 3 Ideas


Here's how I would sum up my opinion on Jenny Craig (in 3 points).

1. Works For Weight Loss

Due to its strict number of calories/meal, this program has some good results:

  • successful in many cases
  • promising results in studies 
  • long history

So if your main goal is losing weight, Jenny Craig can help you.

But the price you will have to pay is pretty consistent, that's the biggest issue.

And I'm not only talking about money.

You also deal with hunger, due to its tiny portions.

2. Helpful Coaching

Jenny Craig's trademark feature is its coaching and support:

  • you have access to a personal coach
  • most coaches have been fighting weight gain themselves
  • they will train your and share their experience

However, this benefit is only available with the top plan.

If you're on a regular budget, there's no way you can afford that.

So despite being helpful, it's also very pricey.

3. Top Plan More Worth It

Out of Jenny Craig's 3 plans – its top one is the only that would be more worth it:

  • the only one that includes coaching
  • several other features offered
  • much better price
  • snacks and recharge bars included

As for the other 2 plans, I'm not their biggest fan.

The most basic one only offers breakfast + lunch (no dinner).

The middle one is indeed okay – but for $5/day more, you can get the top plan.

Jenny Craig's superior version isn't amazing – but it's better than the rest.

So if you absolutely want to try this program, I recommend the top plan.

 

 


My Verdict – Is Jenny Craig Worth It?


Short answer: Not completely.

My Review: Jenny Craig Diet Plan (Foods, Side Effects & Meals) - Does It Work?It's surely works when it comes to losing weight.

But you have to pay a very high price:

  1. Very small portions that don't keep you full
  2. Many complaints about starvation and being hard to follow
  3. Extremely expensive for what it offers
  4. Costs way more than other similar options

It surely has its own good points.

So if you really want to try it out, I advise you to go for the top plan (Max Up).

But I personally would not go for it.

Why spend so much money when you can get another program that offers more for a lower price?

Honestly, Jenny Craig isn't the best option out there.

So if you want to lose weight without starving yourself – it's not something I recommend.

 

 

References:

1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-pmc/PMC2854199

2 – https://www.researchgate.net/-publication/43340242

3 – https://bnrc.springeropen.com/-articles/42269-019-0238

 

Written by 

Oltea Roman is a registered pharmacist with a long experience in the health field. She graduated from University of Medicine and Pharmacy and has studies in Cosmetology, Dermatology, Toxicology and several others. She has a 2 years experience as a retail pharmacist. You can connect with her via Linkedin or email.

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