App tracks food, weight, and activity.
Preprepared food is easy to heat and eat.
Personalized health coaching and supportive community.

Weight management can be fraught with difficult feelings. Even though it can be a struggle, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly benefit your physical and mental health. But making a few small changes can increase your energy levels, reduce the occurrence of conditions like sleep apnea, and improve your overall health and wellness.

Prepackaged meal systems and weight loss apps like Nutrisystem can help as you work to achieve a healthy diet, weight loss, and portion control. Nutrisystem provides calorie-controlled frozen meals, low-calorie protein shakes, prepackaged snacks, access to coaching support, and meal recipes. Nutrisystem claims members can lose seven pounds in the first week. But is that really attainable?

We tested Nutrisystem’s meal delivery service to see for ourselves. Whether you have a medical diagnosis that may improve with weight loss or you just want your clothes to fit better, we are here with you. Read on for our in-depth Nutrisystem review, and find out if it could be a sustainable weight loss program for your goals.

HelpGuide Handbook for Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem
Customizable meal plans. Customizable meal plans.
App to track eating, exercise, and weight loss. App to track eating, exercise, and weight loss.
Access to coaches who are readily available. Access to coaches who are readily available.
Most meals and foods were unappetizing and bland. Most meals and foods were unappetizing and bland.
Advertises an unrealistic and possibly unsafe weight loss expectation. Advertises an unrealistic and possibly unsafe weight loss expectation.

Our testing experience

of research
1000+   hours
of research
hand-tested
9   platforms
hand-tested
surveyed
600   people
surveyed
consulted
20   experts
consulted

Testers on our Handbook Team subscribed to the Nutrisystem weight loss program. During our testing, we did the following:

Our Weight Loss Program Testing Process
1
Subscribe as a new member. Subscribe as a new member.
2
Download the app. Download the app.
3
Use the program to track food, activity, sleep, and weight. Use the program to track food, activity, sleep, and weight.
4
Follow weight loss advice included in the program. Follow weight loss advice included in the program.
5
Test food products and recipes. Test food products and recipes.
6
Contact customer support with questions. Contact customer support with questions.
7
Participate in online forums, coaching sessions, and workshops. Participate in online forums, coaching sessions, and workshops.
8
Explore the website for articles, recipes, and educational content. Explore the website for articles, recipes, and educational content.
9
Talk to other members for their experience. Talk to other members for their experience.

We became familiar with Nutrisystem’s website and Numi app, allowing us to gain a detailed view of how easy it was to follow the program in daily life. Numi has recipes that look easy to make on days when you don’t want the pre-portioned meals.

The meal options on the website made selecting breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks easy. Users can find the meal’s micronutrients, including calories, fats, carbohydrates, and protein, on the Nutrisystem website, app, and the meal’s packaging. Additionally, Nutrisystem labels their diabetes-friendly meals to simplify selecting those choices. 

Image of Nutrisystem meal selections on an iPad screen

Once the food arrived, our tester tried and tracked meals using the Numi app while engaging with available nutrition coaches via chat and video sessions. Our tester tried to join a Facebook group, but was not admitted to the group during her testing period. However, she could see posts that showed how members used the program to encourage one another.

Learn more about our healthy living review methodology.

Nutrisystem meals

Nutrisystem offers several programs to fit different dietary preferences and needs. Plans for women, men, people over the age of 50, couples, and those with diabetes are available.

Handbook Tip

Nutrisystem has limited gluten-free options and is not certified for people with celiac disease.

You can microwave, air fry, or saute over stovetop the prepared and frozen meals, which sets the program apart from others offering package meals solely for microwave cooking. 

Our tester tried Nutrisystem for two weeks. The diet plan includes Nutrisystem’s “PowerFuel” protein shakes, “Smart Carb” snacks, and prepackaged entrees. Below is a breakdown of some meals our tester ate and how the foods tasted.

Nutrisystem’s breakfast options

For the two-week plan, our tester chose Nutrisystem’s Uniquely Yours Max+ Protein Plan for women. It’s labeled as one of the program’s most popular options, and it comes with selected meals and protein shakes to kickstart the low-calorie diet. 

The program recommends a 120-calorie protein shake with a piece of fruit for breakfast and another 120-calorie shake at lunch as meal replacements. Each shake contains 15 grams of protein, which is 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), and six grams of dietary fiber, which is 21 percent of the RDA.

Our tester didn’t like the taste of the protein shakes, which include stevia (a natural alternative to sugar) as a sweetener. It tasted similar to the saccharine sweetness of diet soda. The protein shakes weren’t filling, even with a piece of fruit, and our tester was hungry before lunchtime.

After the initial week-long “kickstart” phase, our tester happily transitioned from the protein shakes to Nutrisystem’s savory breakfast options, including a 160-calorie egg, Canadian turkey bacon, and cheese muffin. It was mediocre but edible and more filling than the protein shake. Our tester determined she could cook two eggs with two pieces of pork bacon for the same amount of calories, and this would be tastier and more enjoyable than the microwaved sandwich. 

Handbook Tip

Read the meal ingredients before you make a purchase. If you dislike certain sweeteners, for example, make sure the meals and protein shakes include the ones you prefer.

Image of the Nutrisystem protein shakes on a countertop

On another day, she tried the 200-calorie breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese, and red bell peppers, which our tester liked very much. She especially liked the meal’s inclusion of black beans for added protein and felt full after eating it. However, she did say the meal would have benefited from more seasoning, particularly salt. Our tester labeled this option as the best choice for breakfast, by far beating out the protein shakes and frozen pancakes, which were on par with grocery store frozen food. 

Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a wonderful plant-based source of protein, iron, and fiber. They also contain a resistant type of starch which is beneficial to gut health and has a limited effect in raising serum glucose levels which may be especially important to people living with diabetes.

Lena Bakovic, registered dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching.

Nutrisystem’s lunch options

Our tester quickly discovered she couldn’t stomach a protein shake for both breakfast and lunch, so she chose to test Nutrisystem’s other lunch selections. After her protein shake and fruit breakfast, her stomach was growling by lunchtime, and she was eager to try these meals. However, she got off to a rocky start with the hamburger and mashed potatoes.

“If you think something is off-putting about microwaving a hamburger, you’re right. The bun was soggy, and the beef was chewy. Despite a list of spices like onion powder in the nutrition facts section of the packaging, it was mostly bland,” our tester explains. “I paired the hamburger with loaded mashed potatoes. I like potatoes in many different ways, but these processed foods were worse than standard cafeteria fare. Their strange texture and aroma made them inedible.”

Our tester had high hopes for her next lunch on Nutrisystem, the spinach and cheese pretzel melt, because it included her favorite veggie and cheese pairing. Unfortunately, the dish disappointed her as well. The pretzel tasted stale. She felt that the dish was bland and needed a little more seasoning. 

One winner was the broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast. Heating this dish in the oven was necessary to keep the breadcrumbs on the outside of the chicken crisp, improving the dish’s texture and elevating the overall flavor. But while it’s a high-protein, low-calorie meal (at only 180 calories), our tester felt it just wasn’t filling enough to satisfy her hunger. She cleaned her plate and wanted more. 

From our tester

“Anticipating that I would be hungry before lunchtime arrived, I put the broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast in the oven 30 minutes before I normally eat lunch.”

Nutrisystem’s snack options

Nutrisystem offers many sweet treats and a few savory snacks for eating between meals. Our tester attempted to try the 130-calorie strawberry shortcake cupcake, which comes frozen with small instructions on the packaging to thaw before eating. Unfortunately, it lacked appeal and smelled unnatural, and she couldn’t eat it.

“As a child, I was given a Strawberry Shortcake doll, which emitted an artificial candy odor that made me nauseous. Upon opening the cupcake package, I was overwhelmed by a similar aroma, which made this snack a no-go for me,” our tester explains.

Next up was the popcorn snack. Our tester loves white cheddar popcorn from the grocery store, but Nutrisystem’s 140-calorie version smelled like spoiled milk and, once again, was determined to be unappealing. 

The winning snack was Nutrisystem’s dark chocolate and sea salt nut bar, which struck the right balance of sweetness and saltiness with a nice crunch. Our tester would eat these again and felt these bars would also work for an after-dinner dessert. 

Our tester’s honest report was that she felt “hangry,” a mix of hungry and angry, between meals. The lackluster breakfasts, the unseasoned lunches, and the unappealing snacks left her incredibly hungry for dinner. 

Nutrisystem’s dinner options

Our tester had better luck with her first dinner on Nutrisystem. “The beef lo mein was pretty tasty. Sauteeing the veggies helped them retain their crunch. I found this cooking method preferable to microwaved meals, and it only took a few extra minutes.”

Image of the plated beef, broccoli, and lo-mein dinner

Besides the beef lo mein, our tester tried the plan’s prepackaged sesame beef with broccoli and brown rice. This 370-calorie meal wasn’t bad, but microwaving the meat did result in a chewy texture. Our tester felt she could make a better version from fresh ingredients. She tried this dish twice, using different cooking methods to see if there was a difference in quality, but both times, the meal was very much the same: chewy meat and crunchy broccoli with bland and water-logged peas and red bell peppers.

For each meal, the Nutrisystem website and Numi app provide nutritional information, heating instructions, and member ratings for users to review before purchasing. 

Our tester tried Nutrisystem’s chicken parmesan with tomato sauce and spaghetti topped with mozzarella cheese two different times. She couldn’t finish the microwaved version because the chicken had a rubbery texture. When she cooked the dish in a conventional oven, it had a better texture but still lacked flavor. She would have preferred more spaghetti to feel full. 

Nutrisystem’s dessert options

Lastly, our tester tried the 130-calorie vanilla ice cream sandwich for dessert, which satisfied her sweet tooth. She also ate the peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies, which were not worth a second try. Our tester said she would prefer a simple piece of dark chocolate.  

A full day’s worth of food on Nutrisystem’s seven-day kickstart plan added up to only 890 calories, falling substantially short of recommended guidelines. Possible side effects of consuming too few calories include decreased energy, slowed cognition and concentration, and serious health concerns.

Pros and cons of Nutrisystem

What we like:

  • Wide variety of food choices.
  • Meals arrive well-packaged. 
  • The Numi app is easy to navigate.

What we don’t like:

  • Protein shakes serve as meal replacements.
  • The program advertises unrealistic weight loss expectations.
  • Weight loss is emphasized over healthy eating and exercise habits.
  • Too low of a calorie count for the kickstart phase.
  • Meals were frequently unappetizing.

What we like about Nutrisystem

Food arrived quickly and was easy to prepare

Within four days of ordering, the food arrived. The frozen items were well-packaged with dry ice and arrived cold. The dry items, including snacks and shelf-stable pantry items like snack bars, were packaged separately. The frozen meals were easy and quick to prepare. 

Personal support

The Numi app offers quick and easy connections to coaches via phone and chat. Scheduling coaching was a breeze, and coaches were readily available. Although coaches are not registered dietitians, they gave helpful and sound advice.

Easy-to-use app and website 

Our tester found both the Nutrisystem website and the Numi app easy to navigate and use. She specifically liked that the platforms made it simple to select each meal option and to view nutritional information when planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. She also appreciated that Nutrisystem labels certain meals as “diabetes-friendly” so that users can find them more easily.

What we don’t like about Nutrisystem

The food did not taste good

While our tester found certain meals that she enjoyed, like the breakfast burrito and the beef lo mein, the majority of the options were underwhelming or unappealing. Frequently, the tester found that she could have prepared a better tasting meal for herself with roughly the same nutritional value as the prepared foods.

Difficult to sustain

While Nutrisystem may help people lose weight in the short term, few would find this plan sustainable for long-term weight loss. Many of the meals left our tester hungry, and she often felt the lack of food made her irritable and lowered her energy levels throughout the day. 

Additionally, using a delivery service for prepackaged meals doesn’t support the development of healthy eating habits. Nutrisystem could vastly improve with better nutritional content or access to licensed and registered dietitians instead of just coaches.

The promise of rapid weight loss

Nutrisystem advertises the potential to lose seven pounds in seven days but neglects to warn users about the potential downsides of rapid weight loss. For example, losing three or more pounds in a week can put you at risk for gallstones, which can cause severe pain in the abdomen, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

“Losing seven pounds in seven days is quite extreme; a safe and sustainable weight loss is about one to two pounds per week,” says Blanca Garcia, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Health Canal. Although some people with chronic conditions can benefit from weight loss sooner rather than later, seven pounds in a week is still too steep.”

Not enough emphasis on exercise

The Numi app has a fitness section with exercises listed for users to try. The exercises are written as though you already have a working knowledge of the movements rather than as step-by-step guides, which could be difficult for beginners or people getting back into an exercise routine. The main focus of the Nutrisystem diet program is primarily weight loss, but weight loss without weight training or resistance training can result in loss of muscle mass, which can be dangerous for older adults.

Not enough food

Most significantly, even with the snacks and assuming our tester ate the entirety of the meals, a full day of eating with Nutrisystem resulted in a total of 890 calories. While consuming such a low calorie count may speed up initial weight loss, it falls short of the daily recommended calorie intake, which should be at least 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 for men, according to Harvard Health. 

Though weight loss is typically achieved with caloric restriction, what I have noticed with my clients who have used these products is that they characteristically tend to regain all of the weight they lost after stopping Nutrisystem. In a sense, it is a form of caloric deprivation which may actually slow metabolic function and the ability to use food for energy efficiently in the long term.

Lena Bakovic, registered dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching.

Legal filings

In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Nutrisystem for claiming, without scientific evidence, that their new weight loss technology, NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss System, would enable people to lose 20–40 pounds in 40 days. Nutrisystem alleged that a biocommunication scan could signal the body to keep hormones in a “fat-burning zone.” 

The company also paid people to provide testimonials of their dramatic weight loss based on a diet of 800 calories per day without commenting on the potential risks. The FTC mailed 3,483 checks totaling more than $1.95 million to people who bought the NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss System between 2012 and 2016. Each consumer received a refund of $560.54.

Nutrisystem plans

All of the brand’s plans come with a starter guide, a recipe book for cooking flex meals, and access to the free app, Numi. When creating your plan, you can choose your own meals or opt for their pre-selected “chef’s choice” meals. 

Uniquely Yours

Uniquely Yours is a basic plan and the most budget-friendly option. People who choose the Uniquely Yours diet program receive frozen meals, pantry staples, and snacks five days a week. In addition to the included options, users can add flex meals to Numi to track their macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein. Flex meals are those you prepare from scratch or order from a restaurant. You can also add to the base Uniquely Yours plan by purchasing a la carte products like protein shakes. 

Uniquely Yours Max+

Uniquely Yours Max+ includes high-protein frozen meals, snacks, and protein shakes five to seven days a week based on your preferences. The Max+ plan offers more meal varieties than the base Uniquely Yours plan, and just like the base plan, users can add and track flex meals using the Numi app. A la carte products like protein shakes can still be purchased in addition to the included food available through the plan. 

Complete 50

Complete 50 is Nutrisystem’s program for people 50 and older. Based on your preferences, it includes high-protein frozen meals, snacks, and protein shakes for all seven days a week. The Complete 50 plan is advertised to burn fat, retain muscle for men, and reduce belly fat for women during menopause.

Nutrisystem D: Diabetes Plan

Nutrisystem D includes high-protein frozen meals, snacks, and low-glycemic protein shakes seven days a week. It’s advertised to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar and insulin levels with safe, effective weight loss. 

The diabetes plan also promises people can lower their A1C, a measure of blood sugar levels, by up to one percent in six months with some notable caveats. The studies were funded by Nutrisystem and did not include people who take insulin. A study of 18 randomized controlled trials comparing Nutrisystem with competitors demonstrated a reduced A1C by 0.3 percent at six months. 

Key features of Nutrisystem

Standard Features of Nutrisystem
Track your meals, exercise, and hydration on the Numi app. Track your meals, exercise, and hydration on the Numi app.
Provides recipes to cook outside of pre-portioned meals. Provides recipes to cook outside of pre-portioned meals.
Reminders to eat and track meals. Reminders to eat and track meals.
Online groups for accountability and community. Online groups for accountability and community.
Coaching sessions via phone or chat. Coaching sessions via phone or chat.

How much does Nutrisystem cost?

The website lists price plans for women, men, partners, and people with diabetes. You can set up the plan for auto-delivery of your monthly food selections. 

Plan for Auto-DeliveryFor WhoCost Per Day
Uniquely YoursWomen$11.07
Uniquely Yours Max+Women$12.86
Complete 50Women$14.64
Uniquely YoursMen$12.32
Uniquely Yours Max+Men$14.64
Complete 50Men$16.43
Uniquely YoursPartners$9.25
Uniquely Yours Max+Partners$10.77
Complete 50Partners$12.29
Basic Diabetes PlanPeople with diabetes$9.64
Uniquely Yours Diabetes PlanPeople with diabetes$11.08
Your Ultimate Diabetes PlanPeople with diabetes$12.86

The cost will vary based on your chosen plan and if you decide to purchase add-ons. Nutrisystem advertises a money-back guarantee if you cancel within the first week and return the unopened foods. The guarantee is valid on your first-month plan as a Nutrisystem customer but not for returning customers, partner plans, transition and maintenance plans, or a la carte purchases.

Nutrisystem’s promise of a seven-day, money-back guarantee does not match the dozens of complaints on the Better Business Bureau website, which contains reviews of people claiming they canceled their service within the week yet continued to be charged. Many reviewers said they had difficulty getting a satisfactory answer to why Nutrisystem’s billing department continued to charge their credit cards. 

Handbook Tip

When canceling the service, be aware of extra fees. If you do not return unopened products, you may be charged a $125 early cancellation fee, according to customer support. Call customer service at 800-585-5483 to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA#), which is required when returning food.

How to use the Nutrisystem app

The Nutrisystem program provides a free app called Numi, which you can download to your iPhone or Android. The app allowed you to track meals, snacks, hydration, and exercise.

We could track Nutrisystem’s meals easily in the app, but manually entering meals outside of Nutrisystem’s meal kit took a significant amount of time. The app also pinged us with reminders to eat, which may be helpful for those who wait too long between meals and find their hunger becomes unmanageable.

iPhone screens displaying features of the Numi app
You can receive awards, track your exercise, and log your meals in the Numi app

Numi’s badge system rewards users for accomplishing certain tasks throughout the day. For instance, our tester was rewarded with an “exclusive” recipe for buffalo chicken flatbread after inputting biometric data into the app. 

Numi links to an informational section called The Leaf, which is viewable both on the app and online. The Leaf includes articles authored by registered dietitians and healthy recipes you can cook at home. 

The Numi app has exercises you can do at home or outside with little to no equipment. While the app doesn’t currently pair with Apple Watches, it does with Fitbits. Apple Watch users can track their exercise on their phones. 

iPhone screens displaying an exercise recommendation and recipe
You can find exercise routines and recipes in ‘The Leaf’ section of the app.

Our biggest complaint about the app and the website is the ongoing bombardment of ads and offers. The ads include a 30 percent off promo of Nutrisystem’s a la carte meals and snacks, discounts for recruiting new members, a Walking Weight Loss app for $99, and low-glycemic protein shakes.

If you are experiencing signs of an eating disorder

First, know that you are not alone. Eating disorders affect people all over the world. In fact, nine percent of people worldwide have an eating disorder. The Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) has the following resources available to people who are experiencing signs and symptoms of an eating disorder:

  • Call the Eating Disorders Helpline at 888-375-7767, available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (unavailable on most major holidays).
  • Join a virtual peer support group—there are general support and focus groups for LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC, caregivers, older adults, teens and young adults, siblings, men, people with binge eating disorder and more. 
  • Request a mentor for free using the Recovery Mentorship Program.
  • Browse the treatment directory to find a provider that specializes in eating disorders.

These resources can be helpful, but ultimately, you should talk to a health care provider about the symptoms you are experiencing. “I’d suggest contacting a registered dietitian, or therapist or counselor with experience in treating disordered eating and eating disorders. This is important because not many registered dietitians and therapists may know how to recognize the red flags and address the issues,” says Karin Evans, registered dietitian nutritionist at Top Nutrition Coaching.

Our final verdict

After two weeks of testing Nutrisystem for weight loss and portion control, we can say this diet program is not a long-term weight loss solution. The program lacked sufficient information about pairing weight loss with exercise and made several claims about dropping seven pounds in seven days, going against the recommendations of registered dietitians. Additionally, the actual food from Nutrisystem was not very good and our tester found several meal options that were hard to eat.

As an alternative diet program with healthy meals and more sustainable results, try Noom, Weight Watchers, Diet-to-Go, or the Mayo Clinic Diet

Whatever your weight loss goals, speaking with a registered dietitian or health care provider is important to ensure you get all the nutrients needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Drastic diets often end up backfiring in the long run. By taking your weight loss journey gradually and mindfully, you can achieve lasting health results while being kind to yourself and preserving your mental wellness.

Frequently asked questions

Based on current promotions, the Uniquely Yours woman’s plan costs approximately $300 per month, which does not include protein shakes or a la carte meals and snack items.

The average cost for the Uniquely Yours men’s plan is approximately $345 per month.

Nutrisystem recommends avoiding low-fat snacks, reduced-fat peanut butter, vitamin-enhanced water, salads from fast food restaurants, and multigrain bread. Low-fat or reduced-fat foods, and vitamin-enhanced water tend to have a significant amount of added sugar. Multigrain bread may lack the fiber you need to feel full.

The Nutrisystem diet plan advertises rapid weight loss, which may not be sustainable in the long term and could lead to a multitude of health problems. Our tester also found a lot of the meal options to be unappetizing.

  1. Ingels, J. S., Zizzi, S. (2018). A qualitative analysis of the role of emotions in different patterns of long-term weight loss. Psychology & Health, 33(8),1014–1027. Link
  2. Naidoo, U. (2023). Calm Your Mind with Food: A Revolutionary Guide to Controlling Your Anxiety. Little Brown Spark. Link
  3. Calorie counting made easy. (2020). Harvard Health. Link
  4. Osilla, E. V. (2022, September 12). Calories. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Link
  5. Dieting and gallstones. [PDF]. (2017). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Link
  6. McCarthy, D. & Berg, A. (2021. Weight loss strategies and the risk of skeletal muscle mass loss. Nutrients, 13(7). Link
  7. Marketers of ‘NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss System’ Settle FTC Charges. (2017, April). Federal Trade Commission Link
  8. G, A. (2024, January 11). Eating Disorder Statistics | ANAD – National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Link
  9. Chaudhry, Z. W., Doshi, R. S., Mehta, A. K., Jacobs, D. K., Vakil, R. M., Lee, C. J., Bleich, S. N., Kalyani, R. R., Clark, J. M. & Gudzune K. A. (2016). A systematic review of commercial weight loss programmes’ effect on glycemic outcomes among overweight and obese adults with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity Reviews: An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 17(8), 758–769. Link