Jenny Craig Review
A critical element of any diet plan is how the food tastes, including how satisfied you feel after the meal. After all, if the food tastes unpleasant and you're always hungry, it will be awfully hard to stay on track with your diet. Keeping this in mind, we actually ordered the food and had a panel of 14 testers sample the meals in a blind independent taste test. Food was rated on taste, as well as how it looked and how filling it was, and the numerical ratings were averaged for breakfast, lunch, dinner and overall categories. Jenny Craig was rated the best tasting meal delivery plan for the second year in a row with our testers making comments that the food "doesn't even taste like diet food." While it also ranked highly on the appearance scale, it didn't do as well in the satisfaction/serving size category. You can see the complete results at our meal delivery taste test, and also how Jenny Craig stacked up against other meal delivery plans we tasted.
Jenny Craig offers two different approaches to weight loss: Jenny Craig In-Center or Jenny Craig Anywhere. If you choose Jenny Craig In-Center, you will meet privately with a consultant at one of over 450 local Jenny Craig centers across the country for a discussion of your current lifestyle and weight loss goals, as well as an initial weigh-in. Your consultant will work with you to customize the most effective plan to help you reach your goals. Each week, you will return to your local Jenny Craig center to meet with your consultant, who will help motivate you, help you to overcome your challenges and track your progress. You will also pick up your one-week supply of Jenny Cuisine meals at these meetings.
If you prefer more privacy and convenience, you can choose Jenny Craig Anywhere. With this option, you'll have weekly phone support from your consultant, and your Jenny's Cuisine meals will be shipped to you via FedEx every week. No matter which approach works best for you, there are two pricing options to choose from.
All Access costs $19/month plus a one-time $99 enrollment fee. This option is designed for those who have a lot of weight to lose and intend to remain on Jenny Craig for a year or more. As an incentive, if you stick with the All Access plan for 12 months, you will be able to renew after that for just $49/year.
Just want to diet for a month or two? As You Go is Jenny Craig's month-to-month option. There is no enrollment fee, but the monthly cost is higher at $39/month. It's important to keep in mind, however, that these monthly membership fees do not include the cost of food.
Because Jenny Craig tailors each meal plan for the individual, there is no specific price list. However, the pricing generally ranges between $81 and $140 per week. Anywhere participants will need to pay an additional shipping fee of around $29 every week. With Jenny Craig, you'll need to provide your own fruit, vegetables and dairy. Based on our purchases, we estimate the cost for these additional foods to be $45-$60 per week. However, as our cost was based on the high food prices that exist in Silicon Valley, your food cost may be significantly less. Additionally, Jenny Craig has a three day sample kit, called Taste of Success, that offers three breakfast meals, three lunches, three dinners and three snacks. This sample kit costs a one-time fee of $39.99, which can be credited towards future food costs if your decide to sign up with Jenny Craig.
In addition to the standard 1,200-calorie program for women, Jenny Craig has special programs for men, type 2 diabetics, vegetarians, teens and older adults. You can choose from set menus or design your own. Food is ordered a la carte, meaning the cost can vary. In general, the pre-planned Jenny Craig menus consist of three meals and three snacks per day, plus your own groceries, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy. You can customize your weekly menus based on your preferences, and because all of the food is purchased a la carte, you are free to plan around your desired schedule — making it easy for those who only want to diet during the work week or skip breakfast.
Jenny Craig provides some shelf-stable meals, but the ones we received were predominantly frozen foods (excluding some of the snack items). Although Jenny Craig rated the highest on the taste scale from our testers for the second year in a row, some of the meals didn't do as well on the satisfaction/serving size scale. For example, one of our blind taste testers made a comment that one of the breakfast meals "tasted good, but is pretty small" and another tester commented that a lunch meal was "tasty and flavorful, but too little. I need at least three of these [sliders] to be full."
Jenny Craig is known for its strong personal support, and our experience was no different. We participated in the Jenny Anywhere program, and our consultant had excellent follow-up. The consultants never rush you through a discussion and are very pleasant to speak with. Whether you participate in an In-Center or Anywhere plan, your consultant will help you learn to create your own menus and meals, and you will eventually begin to gradually integrate your own homemade foods, such as supplementary fruits and vegetables, into your diet. Your consultant will also help you learn to make healthy choices at restaurants. Though this support is helpful, if you're the type of person who wants a more hands-off approach from their diet program, the phone calls could get a bit annoying.
In addition to your own consultant, you also have access to community forums as well as an online dashboard full of tools that let you journal your thoughts, plan your meals, learn healthy recipes and schedule fitness activities. We found the fitness diary to be a helpful way to record your daily activities. The meal planning section goes hand-in-hand with the meals you are shipped and was a useful, yet somewhat complicated tool. For this reason, you should take full advantage of your consultant, especially for the first couple of weeks. They can guide you around your dashboard and let you know how everything works. There is also a mobile app, which lets you plan and track on the go.
By the time you have reached your goal weight, you'll have developed a better relationship with food and learned to plan and prepare your own balanced meals. You can then transition to maintenance support, which will help you sustain your new, healthier lifestyle. You will still have access to online support to help keep you on track. Jenny Craig consultants will work with you to develop a personalized, staged approach to physical fitness that consists of a combination of natural, everyday activities, playful activities and planned exercise. Your physical fitness plan will intensify as you work toward your weight loss goals, in order to help you burn more calories.
For those who like to track their activities online, Jenny Craig includes a fitness diary with its food tracker. The Activity Planner lets you enter the type and length of your daily exercise, then estimates the total calories you burned based on your weight. It's a nice way to keep track of past, present and future fitness activities. You can also track your weight and measurements in this section.
If you have any questions about the program, food or anything else, the customer support team can be reached via email, live chat or phone. Live chat and phone representatives are available Monday through Wednesday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT, Thursday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, Saturday from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
If you are looking for a comprehensive support system that's complete with a robust food diary and basic fitness tracker to help you establish a healthier lifestyle, Jenny Craig may be perfect for you. While Jenny Craig's meals and portion size may not be as "gourmet" as programs like Bistro MD, (and at higher prices than other diet delivery programs), the combination of tasty meals, customization and strong support make Jenny Craig a solid choice.
|Cost:||~$19.85/day plus $19/month or $39/month (excludes cost of added food)|
|Diet Types:||Low carb-focused meal delivery diet; type 2 diabetic, teen, men, vegetarian and senior options|
|Support Types:||Phone counseling; in-person consultations; online forums and resources|
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