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Jenny Craig Diet - How Much Does It Cost?

During January of every year you see celebrities touting and endorsing the popular food selling diet programs. One of the ones most advertised is the Jenny Craig Diet. Just how much does the Jenny Craig Diet cost?

Well, we'll try and break out the different costs but we will also give you our Jenny Craig Diet Review at the same time. It's hard not to talk about the whole plan when discussing the costs.

There are two factors in any analysis of what Jenny Craig cost. the first is the "Plan Cost" and the second is what the foods they sell you costs. Depending on the time of year and any promotions, the plan costs can vary widely. They run specials all the time for getting you to try it for the first two weeks and offer it as low as $36 for a 6 week trial. But after any special the price goes up and there are many ways they package the plans based on special services. Always remember that the devil is in the details on many diet programs that sell food.

But let's say you just walk in the door with no specials going on, you basically have two options in the Jenny Rewards system. One is $399 and the other is $359 (these may slightly change depending on specials offered or as a closing method to entice you to join now). Each are a 12 month program that includes weekly one on one counseling, motivational information, and individualized menus based on preferences. These plans change all the time and there are special offers that come and go. But if you look at the long haul, the figures above are representative of the many variations of the plans available.

The Jenny Craig food costs vary like the plans but often is offered at a discount and averages $18-$22 per day, depending on your selection. They do have special 3 day or 7 day deals for as little as $39.99 for the 3 day but there are restrictions. Most  How much does the Jenny Craig Diet cost?

of the food is frozen, so you better have plenty of freezer space if you go for large orders. The food is is typical low cal food, not bad. but not as tasty as regular food. And the one thing about any food supplied diet program is the food is processed. Probably no worse than the commercial offerings in the store but they too use some ingredients in the processing that are not the best things like dyes, preservatives, etc. 

That means even though the food may be low calorie and have low fat content it also has all the issues with any processed food. You can't make large quantities of food that doesn't include some type of chemical additions. Like artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, artificial colors, additives for freshness, MSG, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and processed meats just to name a few possible areas of concern. The cooking methods often take out the minerals and vitamins (don't worry, they put them back in chemically) that the foods start out with when raw.

You can visit the local office each week for your counseling session and pickup your weekly low call food selections or they do have an in home option that delivers your food (which you pay for) and counseling can be done over the phone.

The program basically starts with low calorie food, then moves to normal food, and then recommends a healthy eating and proper exercise regime. Not unlike most low calorie food diets. Their goals are to show you how to lose 1-2 pounds per week. If you stick to any low calorie diet you can lose weight.

So let's say you want to lose 20 pounds. And you are successful based on their goal of 1-2 pounds per week. So that would be at least 10 weeks on the diet, but we'll cut you a break and say 12 weeks. It's easy to miss one or two week's goals of 1-2 pounds weight loss.

So if the food averages $12-$18, we'll use midway of $15 cost per day. 12 weeks would be 84 days so your food cost would be $1260.00. And then add the $359 for the initial fee. And keep in mind that this does not include any off the menu items like fresh vegetables, fruit, or dairy. And those can add up pretty quickly but we'll leave that cost out since all of the food supplied diets have the same problem and added costs.

So the total cost would be $1619.00, so divide that by 20 and your cost per pound of weight lost is $80.95. This example is based on you losing the 1-2 pounds per week, which may not happen every week. Many people fall off the wagon for a week or two and some just get tired of the food before they complete the time necessary.

And if you look at the weekly cost of approximately $150.00 per person, that's a good chunk of change. Even with today's higher cost in food, that kind of budget would feed a family of four quite well. And speaking of the high cost of food, in 2013 food costs have gone up so I would bet that Jenny Craig food has too.

Most of the plans try to wean you off the food starting at the halfway point and change your eating habits. That's a positive thing in my opinion but as with most prepared food programs people stop losing weight when they stop eating the food.

Did I mention that the counselors have no formal training or are required to have any nutritional certifications? And that they really are commissioned sales people, and from what I've read, very good sales people? Is the counseling based on dieting advice or keeping you in the program?

The number one complaint about the Jenny Craig Diet is that people don't feel they got their money's worth in both results and service. I'm not sure how you put a value on weight loss by the pound, but over $80 per pound does sound a little high.

Another popular complaint is the food is not filling, generally contains about one third of fiber requirements (daily recommended is 25 grams) and doesn't contain much good fat. You can learn about good and bad fat here: Low Fat Diet Plan.

But if you need help in losing weight and want an easy to follow menu with low calorie food this program could help. I'm sure that Valerie Bertinelli and Queen Latifah didn't worry about the cost and it worked for them.

The low cal frozen foods in your local grocery store are priced about the same so I don't see a big difference in going that route. What you are paying for on either one is the convenience. Of course you could just buy the food and fix it yourself which would cut the cost well over 50%.

So it comes down to a personal choice, and what your budget may determine. The problem with the Jenny Craig Diet or any low call food diet is when you stop eating the low calorie food, you have a good chance of gaining the weight back. You also pay a premium for the food.

Interesting footnote: Jenny Craig and Lean Cuisine are owned by the same company who makes their food, Nestle Nutrition. In fact if you look at the labels and packaging of the two brands you will see the resemblance. So if you don't need the counseling and want to plan your own daily meals you could do the same weight loss plan yourself using the Lean Cuisine brand of low calorie food. I actually like many of the Lean Cuisine dishes and often eat them when I'm too lazy to go out or even cook at the house. 

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