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How Does Nutrisystem Work?
An Unbiased & Honest Review

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 14, 2021

Dieting sucks. I know we’re not supposed to say that on a fitness website, but it's true.

Eating healthy foods can be demanding, tedious, and hard to maintain. No matter how fit we are, we all secretly want to lay in bed and wolf down a pint of Häagen-Dazs.

Controlling your food choices and fitness is easier said than done, but with a weight loss program like Nutrisystem, all of these can actually be made more accessible for you.

On a Nutrisystem program, most of your food is delivered straight to you in appropriate portion sizes, so it’s impossible to F it up when trying to lose weight.

*Keep reading till the end to see what alternative meal plan company we recommend instead...

What Is Nutrisystem?


Nutrisystem is a 28-day low-calorie weight loss program and meal delivery service.

The company provides you with a meal plan in the form of pre-packaged foods delivered straight to your door and require minimal preparation. You may occasionally have to buy some fresh vegetables, but it’s mostly straightforward so it's not a big issue.

The Nutrisystem diet aims to consist of roughly 50% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 25% protein. This way, you feel full while eating fewer calories than usual.

They’re also very big on so-called “smart carbs” which avoid raising your blood sugar too high.

Many foods contain these carbs, including oats, whole grains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, and more. These carbohydrates help to supply you with energy throughout the day and keep hunger pangs at bay.

The healthy eating company was founded in 1972 by Harold Katz. After starting out as a brick-and-mortar Nutrisystem weight loss chain, it adopted the online direct-to-consumer business model in the late ’90s.

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How Does It Work?

taking notes

There are many different versions of Nutrisystem diet available depending on your age, gender, and many other factors.

For instance, diabetic and vegetarian plans are available for people with food restrictions who want to lose weight. There’s even a version for people on a gluten-free diet.

I think this customization is good because too many diet programs have a one-size-fits-all model when it comes to food and nutrition.

If you ever read the diet reviews for other diets, you’ll often see people complaining that they feel hungry all the time – sometimes they just aren’t eating enough because they’re following generic meal plans.

With Nutrisystem diet, you get three meals per day that are tailored to your needs.

Women are also allowed to have one snack per day, while men are allowed to have two snacks per day. As unfair as this feels, men just naturally tend to use more energy on a daily basis.

There are different plans to choose from, although most dieters will start off with the “Turbo 13 Plan” designed for people just starting their weight loss journey.

This “turbo takeoff” will supposedly help you to lose 13 pounds in your first month, depending on your starting weight and gender.

After your “turbo takeoff,” your Nutrisystem meals become more regular, aiming to encourage gradual and healthy weight loss in the long run.

Depending on the package you choose, you may customize your menu options and use special online tracking tools and systems that allow you to monitor your results over time.

Nutrisystem foods are designed to be low-sodium and lower-glycemic foods, meaning that you’re eating healthier foods for your body.

A low glycemic diet (or low GL diet) has benefits including helping normalize blood sugar, prevent insulin resistance, prevent fatigue, and keep you fuller and energized for longer.

  • Jillian Levy, Holistic Health Coach

What Foods Can You Eat?


While on the Nutrisystem plan, you’re encouraged to eat three pre-packaged foods per day, in addition to some snacks. There are many healthy foods that you can eat on the plan, as well as “healthy versions” of junk foods.

For example, food choices include double chocolate muffins, margherita pizzas, and mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts.

These options are designed to be low in calories while being filled with nutrients, lean protein, and fiber.

If you want to snack or eat more than the meal plan allows, you can increase your portion sizes with non-starchy vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes.

Dieters can eat as many of these low-calories vegetables as they like, and they’re great for people with diabetes too.

As mentioned earlier, the Nutrisystem diet is also big on “smart carbohydrates” such as those found in beans, fruit, and whole grains. (1) There are diabetes-friendly protein bars available too for a healthy and delicious snack.

It also places a huge emphasis on lean protein, which allows you to lose weight and gain/maintain muscle mass while keeping your heart healthy.

What Foods Can’t You Eat?

sweets and alcohol

Now for the bit you don’t want to hear… what you can’t eat on this diet.

Seeing as this is a diet food delivery service with strict dietary guidelines and pre-packaged foods, you’re not allowed to consume outside meals such as meals from restaurants and cafés.

You also need to strictly limit your alcohol intake for the week, which may cause your problems if you’re a regular social drinker.

It’s generally advised that you avoid alcohol on most diets, and this is no exception.

Finally, we’ve got bad news if you like condiments… toppings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and avocado are discouraged on the Nutrisystem diet, as they add extra fat and calories to your meals.

A natural, homemade dessert in a reasonable portion size is better than alcohol. A simple glass of wine is better than a highly processed or large portion of dessert. It is all about making the most whole, real food and drink choices.
- Lisa Eberly, Dietitian

Nutrisystem Menu Samples

Here I’m going to go over some real options for meals and snacks from a typical day of Nutrisystem diet. First I’ll show you a typical meal plan for a man, followed by the meals and snacks for a woman Nutrisystem user.

Meal For Women For Men
  • Nutrisystem® Blueberry Muffin
  • Milk, fat-free, 1 cup
  • Hot tea with calorie-free sweetener
  • Eggs, 2 scrambled
  • Whole wheat toast, 1 slice
  • Light margarine, ½ tbsp.
Morning Snack
  • Nutrisystem® Honey Mustard Pretzel Bits
  • Nutrisystem® Turbo™ Shake
  • Nutrisystem® Cheese Tortellini
  • Turkey breast, 2 oz.
  • Green beans, cooked, 1 cup
  • Nutrisystem® Tuna Salad (add whole grain roll)
  • Tomato, sliced, 1 cup
  • Celery, 2 medium stalks
Afternoon Snack
  • Cottage cheese, low-fat, ½ cup
  • Peaches, canned in water, 1 cup
  • Cashews, unsalted, 2 tbsp.
  • Raisins, ¼ cup
  • Nutrisystem® Turkey and Stuffing
  • Turkey breast, 2 oz.
  • Mixed greens, 1 cup
  • Cucumbers, 1 cup
  • Salad dressing, fat-free, 1 tbsp.
  • Nutrisystem® Chicken Alfredo
  • Spinach, cooked, 1 cup
Evening Snack
  • Nutrisystem® Chocolate Cake
  • Whipped topping, fat-free, 3 tbsp.
  • Nutrisystem® White Cheddar Popcorn
  • Foolproof – There’s very little room for error with Nutrisystem, as you’re literally being delivered your healthy food in the correct portion sizes. You cannot “accidentally” purchase junk food from the grocery store and absentmindedly eat it – you get given exactly what you need and there are strict rules in place to keep you in check.
  • Customizable – Nutrisystem diet comes with several options for customization, so you can easily adapt your diet to your eating habits and lifestyle. For example, there are variations for diabetics and veggies, while more advanced users can request nutritional low-calorie meals and snacks which suit their palate.
  • “Healthy” Junk Food – The folks at Nutrisystem understand that dieters naturally crave sugar, fat, and junk food. As a result, they have created several healthier versions of these snacks, such as popcorn, cupcakes, and pizza.
  • Sticking To It – Most diets have some sort of leeway for eating food from outside sources, but the Nutrisystem program really demands that you stick to its own recipes and dinners if you want to sate your appetite. As a result, it can be hard to stick to the plan if you work long hours, have a hectic lifestyle, or just spend a lot of time away from your home where all the Nutrisystem-approved food is.
  • Weight Loss Rate – some users have complained that it takes longer to lose weight with Nutrisystem when compared to other diets. This may be true for some people, but you should bear in mind that crash diets cause several health problems and losing weight too quickly tends to take its toll on your body.

Slow weight loss is generally better than fast weight loss because it gives your body time to adapt. With these Nutrisystem foods, you can satiate your desires and cravings without going overboard.

How Much Does Nutrisystem Cost?


Depending on your gender and the plan that you’ve opted for, the Nutrisystem program costs differently. For instance, the “Uniquely Yours” and “Uniquely Yours Plus” plans cost more money, but they allow you to customize your Nutrisystem meals and snacks according to your food preferences.

At the time of writing, this is how the cost is broken down for a 28-day Nutrisystem plan - see below

As you can see, men do usually have to pay more than women dieters.

However, they also get a little more meals and snacks included in their meal plans because men have greater caloric needs than women, so it all works out in the end.

Package For Men For Women
Basic Package



Core Package



“Uniquely Yours” Package



“Uniquely Yours Plus” Package



Vegetarian Package




Nutrisystem banner

How healthy is Nutrisystem?

Nutrisystem is healthy for the vast majority of people, especially when combined with regular workouts and physical activity. The diet plan contains pre-packaged meals and snacks that are high in lean protein while remaining low in sodium and calories. The healthy meals and snacks included on the meal plan are also usually low on the GI index, which is good for keeping blood sugar levels down.

How many calories a day do you eat on Nutrisystem?

Men eat around 1,500 calories a day and women eat around 1,200 calories a day on a Nutrisystem diet. However, in the first week of the diet, which is known as the “turbo takeoff” for dieters, they will consume even fewer calories, usually coming to around 1,000 calories a day.

How much weight can I lose on Nutrisystem?

Men can lose up to 15 pounds on the Nutrisystem program in their first month, while women can lose up to 13 pounds in their first month. This is assuming that the dieters are using the “Turbo Takeoff” plan for people who are starting a diet from scratch. After this initial month, weight loss becomes more gradual; most people will lose 1-2 pounds every week after the first month.

Can you drink coffee on Nutrisystem?

You can drink coffee on Nutrisystem, but you must be sure to avoid adding sugar and high-calorie milks or creamers.

Coffee is best taken black and sugar-free if possible, as adding milk/creamer and sugar can add additional unwanted calories. If you take sugar in your coffee, try adding low-calorie sweetener instead.

Can you eat fruit on Nutrisystem?

You can eat fruit on Nutrisystem, assuming that it’s not a particularly calorie-filled fruit. Generally speaking, most fruits and vegetables can be eaten in several servings on a Nutrisystem diet, and do not spoil your diet. This is due to their health benefits and high levels of nutrients.

Are Nutrisystem meals frozen?

Some Nutrisystem meals are frozen, allowing you to keep them fresher for longer. The frozen meals will be delivered by a special truck which is designed for transporting cold loads. Your frozen food will be packaged with dry ice if necessary, keeping it cold for 6-8 hours until you get home and put it in the freezer.

Is Nutrisystem healthy for diabetics?

Nutrisystem is healthy for diabetics, as the foods are purposely low on the GI index, meaning that they don’t raise your blood sugar too high. The Nutrisystem plan can be tailor-made for people with diabetes and other dietary concerns, making it easy to eat healthy dinners and lose weight as a diabetic.

How much water should I drink on Nutrisystem?

You should drink as much water as your body needs while on Nutrisystem. The Nutrisystem guidelines do not limit the amount of water that you can drink, so be sure to drink as much as you need in order to be healthy. On average, people need around 1.8 liters of water every day in order to stay healthy..

How often should I weigh myself on Nutrisystem?

You should weigh yourself once a week while on Nutrisystem.

It is best to weigh yourself once a week, on the same day, in the morning, and while wearing no clothes if possible. This is recommended because your body naturally fluctuates in weight from day to day, but taking a measurement once per week is sparse enough to show a general trend of your weight dropping, increasing, or plateauing over time.

How many times a day do you eat on Nutrisystem?

You eat 3 times a day on th Nutrisystem diet. In addition to these 3 nutritionally balanced meals, you are also allowed 1-2 snacks per day too. Women are usually allowed 1 snack per day, while men are allowed 2 snacks per day due to their greater caloric needs.

Can you eat pickles on Nutrisystem?

You can eat a limited amount of pickles on Nutrisystem, as they fit into the “limited extras” category. However, try to ensure that your serving size does not exceed that of 35 calories. Furthermore, some pickles will be very high in sodium, so look for low-sodium pickles where possible.

Can you have watermelon on Nutrisystem?

You can have 1 cup of watermelon per day on Nutrisystem. Although watermelon is a fruit, its high level of natural sugars means that it could be potentially fattening if you eat too much of it. As a result, it is recommended that you consume no more than 1 cup (approx. 40 calories) per day.

Can you eat avocado on Nutrisystem?

You can eat avocado on Nutrisystem, but only in small amounts. According to Nutrisystem, 1/8 of a medium avocado counts as 1 “extra” in your daily allowance. So while there is the potential to eat avocado as part of the diet plan, you are limited to a very small amount.

Do I have to freeze Nutrisystem meals?

You do not need to freeze your Nutrisystem meals unless you are specifically ordering frozen foods from the “Uniquely Yours” or “Uniquely Yours Plus” plans. The majority of Nutrisystem meals do not need to be stored in the freezer, but some may.

Is Nutrisystem heart healthy?

Generally speaking, Nutrisystem is heart healthy and is great for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutrisystem meals and snacks are low in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium, while being high in smart carbohydrates, good fats, lean protein, and high-fiber whole grains.

Can you have popcorn on Nutrisystem?

You can have popcorn on Nutrisystem, but the amount you can consume is limited. Popcorn is listed as a snack in the system, so you can eat a certain serving size according to your needs. Some Nutrisystem meal plans actually feature low-calorie popcorn as a snack/dessert, so you may be able to enjoy popcorn without adding it as an extra to your daily allowance.

Is Nutrisystem Worth Buying?

Meal Prep 5 containers

Nutrisystem has been in the industry for so long that people trust it more than other similar diet plans on the market.

The pre-packaged meals and snacks require minimal cooking and come in the specific serving sizes, which, to be honest, is quite small for an average meal. The rules are clear about what you can and cannot eat on the side. It may work, but it takes away the flexibility and variety to your daily menu.

If you’re like me who likes a variety of flavors while sticking to your calorie restrictions, I suggest you check Diet-to-Go instead.

It has more flexible plans and the menu is a lot more enticing, too, including the dessert and snack options. I also appreciate that they have specific menus for diabetics and keto dieters.

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8 thoughts on “How Does Nutrisystem Work?
An Unbiased & Honest Review

  1. With Nutrisystem, I lost 68 pounds in 7 weeks. I was never feeling hungry.
    Is the most amazing program ever!! You must consume a lot of vegetables if you want to be successful. Also, water!! A great deal of water!! Thank you for your feedback!

  2. First of all, thank you Isaac. I so love product! Imagine? I lost 25 pounds in just a few months. I totally cannot believe it since I’m a busy mom of three. By the way, the meals work for me and are pretty good. You get to add in your own fresh fruits, veggies, dairy products, and seasonings if you get bored. I kind of hated the pizza so I chopped up the crust and sprinkled the cheese into a salad. Get it! You can get lots of tips like that once you get to know other people who take this as well. Let me know how I can help you too! If you hit a slump and can’t stop thinking about food, what I always do is just get busy cleaning out my closet of all the fat clothes that don’t fit anymore. It feels really refreshing. Nothing taste as good as fit and healthy feel! Really!!! I’m down to my High School weight, wearing sizes I haven’t worn since Junior High after having twins a year and a half ago. Change your life, change your relationship with food, and stop making excuses. I can’t believe I am saying this but you can do it as well. Thanks Isaac!

  3. I have just bought this product in conjunction with taking a natural diet and casual physical activities. I delayed trying this product because everyone I have asked said it tastes so bad. It really made me anxious and I don’t want to waste my money fo it. However, so far, I find this to not be the truth. I bought it a few months back when I learned about this through Isaac’s post. Luckily I had a huge discount of 40% off. Also, if you get this diet you might want to get some non-fat powder milk, natural peanut butter, and frozen veggies and fruits without sugar. I highly recommend you to. That is, if you want to not have to keep going to the store. One of my friends also recommend me to eat veggies and fruits. THE PRODUCTS DO NOT TASTE THAT BAD AT ALL FOR BEING A PILL THAT HELPS YOU LOSE SOME WEIGHT, AND EVERYTHING IS IMPROVING IN TASTE, OR IS NOT NEAR AS BAD AS OTHERS HAVE MENTIONED! Also there are a variety of ways you can couple this with your food. This really helps especially if you enjoy and love what you are eating. With my experience, after your first few weeks, you know what you like and don’t like, but just stick with the goal. I’ve heard and seen too many people lose weight having this combination. Will try to keep you posted on my results. It’s not just about a diet, it is about livelihood and well-being. If you do not see an update from me in a few months, I might have forgotten as life gets really busy at times. I will tell you whatever will help or how good it worked. Let’s help each other out as Isaac has been helping us. Good luck to everyone!

  4. Before I will start, thank you Sir Robertson. Okay. I will say this product does work. I love the food, and it actually gives you a meal plan to go with the food, you also have to work out, like go for a walk, or go the gym. Honestly, this whole thing about losing these unwanted fats is not an instant gratification thing. So yeah, I am happy about this, I was 220 pounds, and now I’m at 172 pounds. It has given me results in just a few months. But that of course is combined with working out on a daily basis. Definitely, it is up to the person how he wants to do this thing. As for me, I’m happy with the results. To begin with, everybody is different on how the results for this system. I’m just happy to say that this does work. You just have to follow the system, and work at it. Nothing will ever work for you if you yourself will not starting working for yourself. So to everyone who is skeptical about this, don’t knock it until you try it. Keep up the work. You deserve it for yourself. Cheers! To a healthy body for everyone.

  5. Thank you Isaac. Before sharing my experience, I just want to address every person out there in the world that claims that the food is too small and you’re “starving”. This is a product package meant to lose weight. What the hell are you supposed to have? Which means, it is meant to teach you how to properly eat. It states everywhere that it is portioned for attaining your weight goal in correct food PORTIONS. If you feel that it’s not enough food then I’m sorry to say that you do not eat correct portions – hence you’re looking at weight loss remedies right? This food is DELICIOUS compared to other methods to remove your fats, like strict gym meal plans. I am thankful for that. Imagine eating spinach, tomatoes, egg whites, chicken breast with no sauces and other healthy foods four times a day, six times week? It can get disgusting. The product package even lets you add more vegetables to your meals! At the end of the day, I’m full and WOW, I lost weight too!! That is the goal, right? Look, don’t expect to eat huge portions and lots of BAD food and expect to lose weight! It’s common sense. This package is teaching us that you can eat delicious items. Of course, as long as it’s the correct portions. So to those out there still complaining, how about train your stomach to eat correctly? I will for sure buy this again. I am a lot healthier and lost 4 pounds within just a week and I’m keeping it off. Thanks Isaac. I hope everyone understands what they wanted to begin with. Keep writing!

  6. Honestly, I don’t see the point as to why everyone keeps complaining about the food. You sound like a broken record. I mean, though perfectly portioned most of the food is processed. Obviously a part of you did not want to prepare your own meals. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have turned to this product. You can’t expect gourmet while on a pre-packaged plan. As for me, I found the food delicious!! In the back of my mind I was thinking, I may enjoy it more than some because I didn’t have a fatty diet in the first place. I’m only 5’3″ and 140 pounds maximum, I just eat way to many sweet foods and sugars. However I can’t even tell you when was the last time I had a chocolate muffin, or pizza, or mashed potatoes. So this was just so awesome for me! I feel like because I’m already “small” compared to others in this product, I won’t get to enjoy the rapid output some have. But actually, I have noticed a difference in body mass! I had my dramatic weight loss while on another product many years ago when I lost a whopping 80 pounds. But I did not like it. I had to deal with other problems because of that. That is why I turned in to this product instead. So if you think you’re “starving” while on this product, you’d be passing out but getting thin when you do this along with a strict physical exercise plan. Nonetheless, I’m buying another 5-day for week 2 of this product. Thank you for your patient explanation Isaac. I do hope those who complain will understand you.

  7. I am on day 2 so I have not seen any significant changes in my body but I am experiencing less of an appetite. The dinners are a good portion size to get you through the day. You will be eating small meals every 3 hours which are very light to the stomach. I simply love it. I know I will be losing this unwanted weight. Also the muffins are delicious, a few of the items are not so good but the whole goal is to get you to eat smaller meals. Overall, I am happy and satisfied. I’m going to stay on it for a year if I can still manage to with this. Thank you Isaac.

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