I receive some variation on these question relatively frequently. The people asking this question seem to think that finding substitutions at a grocery food or health food store is going to save them a little bit of money. They are usually hoping the find frozen or convenience foods that are as effective at helping you lose weight as the Nutrisystem meals. This is actually going to be a very tall order for a couple of reasons. I will discuss this more in the following article.
The Requirements That You Would Need To Meet To Find Something Comparable To Nutrisystem Meals In A Supermarket Or Grocery Store: In a nutshell, they want you to consume somewhere between 1200 and 1500 calories per day. This is going to include three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) desserts, snacks, and the fresh sides that you add to every meal. Since you’re eating so often, obviously each meal, dessert and snack that is provided by the diet is going to need to be low in calories. Most of the breakfasts, desserts and snacks are in the 100 – 150 calorie range. Many of the lunches and dinners are well under 300 calories each. This range is hard to find in grocery store options and this doesn’t even tell the entire story.
Because calories are not the only thing that is going to be important. The diet’s meals also are very low in carbohydrates and sugars while maintaining high levels or protein, fiber, and nutritional value. This is equally as important as the calorie content. The reason for this is that this ratio helps you to burn fat as well as calories because you’re cutting back on the carbs that your body will often use for fuel. There’s a technical name for this (ketosis,) but the main idea is that you’re losing both weight and fat by taking in less carbs and calories.
It is very difficult to find grocery store meals that are this low in calories AND carbs and sugars while also being high in protein and fiber. Many diet foods will add some sugar to help to hide the taste. Slim fast shakes are a good example. Some of them contain as much as 18 grams of sugar.
But it’s really the lunches and dinners where you see the biggest difference. If you were to compare Nutrisystem’s pizza with say a pizza from lean cuisine, you’d see that there’s a big difference. The lean cuisine product has around 320 calories and a whopping 53 grams of carbs. This is in stark contrast to 220 calories and 28 carbs contained in the Nutrisystem product. If you add these differences up for even three of the five meals, it can make a huge difference in your calorie and carb intake for the day.
When I was asking myself this exact same question, I simply browsed many of the diet products at the grocery store and compared them to the similar products from Nutrisystem. I can’t think of any product that I found that was comparable in all the variables (calories, carbs, proteins, sugars, and fiber.) Instead, many of the products contained much more calories, sugars, and carbs and not nearly as much protein and fiber. Many of the store products were also quite high in sodium and contained questionable ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
It’s a pretty straight forward task to check this out for yourself. And, I have to say that often, you might not be saving as much money as you had hoped. If you buy a Nutrisystem package with coupons, you’ll generally be paying just over an average $2.10 – $2.25 per meal. Many store diet products costs more than this, not to mention the gas and time it takes you to gather all of this up. So while you can most certainly give any foods a try that you’d like, I personally do not think that they would be as effective, but that’s only my opinion.