Diet Basics

Nutrisystem is a program of meal delivery. Those who sign up for the plan order their foods and get delivery of their chosen food right to their door; most users will order a month’s worth of food at a time. Dieters add fresh produce and dairy and can choose from a wide array of shelf-stable food each day.

In past years, some criticized Nutrisystem for the food’s taste. The company attempted to improve its image by introducing Chef’s Table in 2011, which is a line of entrees developed by top celebrity chefs.

The idea behind Nutrisystem is that if dieters keep their food low on the glycemic index, they will regulate their blood sugar and lose weight. Carbohydrates are allowed on the Nutrisystem eating plan, but they are all low on the glycemic index. In general, dieters enjoy 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.

The other hallmark of the Nutrisystem plan is portion control. Because meals are prepared, dieters don’t have the option to overeat or make meals that are too large for them. This makes Nutrisystem relatively easy for dieters to follow and find success with.

Nutrisystem offers plans for people with diabetes, for vegetarians, for seniors and families. The basic plan offers specific menus for men and women.

Suggested Foods

All of the meals dieters eat on the Nutrisystem plan are those that come prepared from Nutrisystem to the dieter’s home. The meals simply require a quick heat in the microwave. Dieters can add a variety of fresh grocery items to their daily eating plan. Some of these foods include “Smart Carbs”, those low on the glycemic index, and “PowerFuels”, foods that provide a lean source of protein.

Pros and Cons


  • Online system gives users a way to get feedback, ideas and dieting support
  • Constant review and improvement of recipes means consistent update of the prepared foods dieters get to choose from
  • Dieters can choose a prepackaged months’ worth of food or they can pick and choose their favorites for shipment each month
  • Food preparation is fast and easy
  • Food is portion controlled, helping dieters learn what proper serving sizes look like
  • Plan provides for 3 meals and 2 snacks, which ensures dieters don’t go hungry


  • Dieters might not like much of the food; adjustments can’t be made until the following order of food
  • Food is more expensive than cooking fresh food at home
  • Must consider the additional cost of groceries that round out the program
  • There is no real support other than the online support offered
  • Portions might seem small at first until dieters adjust to the meals


Costs vary depending on the plan that dieters choose. If a female dieter wants to order the foods that include the Chef’s Table foods, for example, she will spend right about $300 for the month. A basic men’s program (which doesn’t include the Chef’s Table foods) will cost him about $260 a month.

Diet Origin

When it first began, Nutrisystem was much like the Jenny Craig diet program. Dieters would go into a brick and mortar store and choose their entrees and other food items for the month and meet with a counselor. In 1999, the company began marketing directly to customers via the internet. The products have been sold on QVC since 2001 and in Costco stores since 2009.

Sample Diet


NutriCinnamon Square Cereal

Nonfat Milk

Sliced melon


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Salad greens with light dressing


Citrus Glazed BBQ Pork

Steamed vegetables

½ small baked potato

Dessert or snacks

Apple Cinnamon Soy Chips

Chocolate Shake

Products related to this diet: