Before #KetoLife, there was Jenny Craig. You’ve prob seen the commercials (or at least your mom has). The program promises consistent weight loss plus personal support along the way.

Here’s everything you need to know about Jenny Craig, including all the perks and probs.

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Photography courtesy of Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig is a structured diet program that delivers packaged meals and snacks right to your door. You also get a diet consultant to help you on your weight loss journey.

In addition to the food they send you, you’ll eat fruits, veggies, and low fat dairy products.

Here are the pros and cons.

Jenny Craig can help you cut calories through portion control. Here’s a play-by-play of the plan.

Phase 1: Registration

You can sign up at a local Jenny Craig center or at JennyCraig.com.

There’s an initial sign-up fee on top of a monthly membership fee. Prices vary, but the sign-up fee is typically about $100 and the monthly fee about $20.

Keep in mind that the food itself costs extra. The exact pricing depends on what you order but ranges from about $90 to $175 per week.

Phase 2: Consultant connection

Once you sign up, you’ll be assigned a Jenny Craig personal consultant (aka a diet sponsor). They’re there to chat if you have any questions or issues with the program. You’ll meet with them at least once a week, either online or at your local Jenny Craig center.

Phase 3: Food selection

You eat three meals, two snacks, and one dessert on the daily. All the Jenny Craig foods are precooked and portioned. You can also have fresh fruit, veggies, and low fat dairy as snacks (but you’ll have to buy those on your own).

Phase 4: Transition time

This is when you start to eat fewer Jenny Craig meals and make more of your own food. Most folks start this stage once they’re halfway to their target weight.

Once you hit your goal, you can phase out Jenny Craig food entirely. But don’t worry — the program isn’t over. You can still be a monthly member and get continued help from your consultant.

Jenny Craig lets you pick from more than 100 snacks and main dishes that can be ordered online or by phone. You can opt for home delivery or do a pickup at your local Jenny Craig center.

A typical plan provides anywhere from 1,200 to 2,300 calories a day, depending on your age, activity level, gender, and goals. Most main dishes have 200 to 300 cals, and snacks and desserts clock in at 150 to 200 cals.

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Photography courtesy of Jenny Craig

Here’s a 3-day sample menu:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Jenny Craig Cinnamon Coffee Cake with half a banana and 1 cup of skim milk
  • Snack: Jenny Craig Cheddar and Parmesan Crisps with 1/2 cup of baby carrots
  • Lunch: Jenny Craig Tuna Dill Salad Kit with 2 cups of lettuce and half a cucumber
  • Snack: 1 cup of grapes
  • Dinner: Jenny Craig Pepperoni Pizza with 1 cup of steamed broccoli
  • Dessert: Jenny Craig Lemon Cake
  • Snack: 1 cup of watermelon

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Jenny Craig Cheddar Cheese Omelet with 1 cup of steamed spinach
  • Snack: One low fat cheese stick and one small apple
  • Lunch: Jenny Craig Turkey Burger with 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • Snack: Jenny Craig Kettle Corn
  • Dinner: Jenny Craig Roasted Turkey with Gravy & Cauliflower Mash with 1 cup of steamed brussels sprouts
  • Dessert: Jenny Craig Chocolate Lava Cake
  • Snack: 1 cup of cantaloupe

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Jenny Craig Egg, Cheese, & Turkey Sausage Burrito and 1 cup of skim milk
  • Snack: One apple
  • Lunch: Jenny Craig Chicken Street Tacos with 2 cups of fresh spinach and 1 tablespoon of low fat dressing
  • Snack: One small serving of low fat sugar-free yogurt
  • Dinner: Jenny Craig Bourbon Steak with 1 cup steamed zucchini and 1 cup of steamed broccoli
  • Dessert: Jenny Craig S’mores Bar
  • Snack: 1 cup of strawberries

Dietary considerations

Jenny Craig food is premade and packaged, and it can’t be customized. This makes it tough if you follow a special diet. You won’t be able to find any main dishes that are labeled halal or kosher, and there aren’t any vegan lunch or dinner options.

Also, the food isn’t for folks who have a peanut, dairy, or soy allergy. There are some gluten-free items, but they’re not easy to pick out. You might have to do a deep dive into the label or contact the company for the full dietary deets.

Is it healthy?

Will Jenny Craig help you lose weight? Probably. But is the food good for you? Well… it’s healthier than eating fast food 24/7. But a balanced diet full of fresh, whole foods would def be better for you.

Most Jenny Craig food is super processed, so if you’re trying to avoid artificial sweeteners and other additives, you’ll probably want to look for a different program.

Also, lots of the meals are hella high in sodium. Why does that matter? Because research suggests that a diet high in sodium can increase your risk of health issues such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and depression.

The diet is also pretty low in fiber, which could mean you’ll feel hungry sooner after eating. A lack of fiber might even have negative effects on your gut health. You can get extra fiber by eating more fruits and veggies, but that def takes away some of the convenience of the plan.

Jenny Craig offers three plan types:

  • simple meal plan
  • essential meal plan
  • Rapid Results Max weight loss plan

Here’s what’s included in each.

Simple meal plan

For $12.99 a day, you get:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • flexible delivery

Essential meal plan

For $20.78 a day, you get:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • flexible delivery

Rapid Results Max weight loss plan

For $25.99 a day, you get:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • 7 snacks and desserts
  • 7 Recharge Bars
  • flexible delivery
  • personalized coaching

FYI: These prices don’t include the cost of shipping, membership fees, or the food you have to buy on your own.

Lots of diets make big promises about how much weight you can lose. But Jenny Craig seems pretty legit, according to the research.

A 2017 study on overweight, sedentary women found that participants lost an average of 11.7 pounds while on a 12-week Jenny Craig program.

Research from 2010 found that users lost more weight if they stuck to the program longer. And another 2010 study found that after 2 years, members weighed about 7 percent less than they had before starting.

A 2015 review found that people following a Jenny Craig diet lost about 5 percent more weight than folks following other popular diet plans like SlimFast, Nutrisystem, and Weight Watchers.

What you eat is personal. If you like the idea of using premade foods to learn more about portion control, Jenny Craig might be for you. But if you’re looking for a less-processed approach, you probably won’t dig this diet.

It also might not be budget-friendly. The cost of Jenny Craig food ranges from $13 to $26 per day, and that doesn’t count the extra food you have to buy on your own.

PSA: Don’t forget to talk with your healthcare provider before starting Jenny Craig (or any other diet).

Jenny Craig has been a popular diet plan for almost 40 years. It might be worth a shot if you want to take the guesswork out of calorie counting and portion control. But the diet is expensive and isn’t inclusive of all dietary needs.

While the packaged foods are convenient, they’re also highly processed. And on their own, they won’t give you all the nutrients you need — you’ll need to supplement with fruits, veggies, and low fat dairy on this program.