This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Which Diet Foods Work?

Battle the Bulge
As the summer weather lures us to daydreams of barbecues, bikinis and relaxing poolside, plans to lose a few layers of clothing can be stopped short by the desire to shed a few pounds first.

For many, this will mean turning to prepared-food diet plans -- not surprising, since we're bombarded daily by commercials from companies such as NutriSystem (NTRI - Get Report) and Zone Chefs touting their both healthy and tasty meals as an ideal way to lose weight.

It can be difficult to choose one that's worth the investment, though, so here's how they stack up.

Package Deal

Whether your aim is to look good this summer or to make a permanent move toward healthier eating, starting a diet plan means giving up or significantly cutting back on certain meats, sweets and snacks, or opting for healthier versions of old favorites.

NutriSystem, Jenny Craig and Kraft's (KFT) South Beach Diet line offer low-fat versions of popular items such as beef stew, enchiladas and chicken fettuccine alfredo, and allow dieters to choose from a variety of packaged entrees and snacks.

NutriSystem sells its prepared meals through its Web site, Jenny Craig food can be ordered by phone or at local membership centers, and South Beach Diet foods are available in grocery stores. A daily menu consisting of three prepared meals and a snack or two costs $10 to $20 per day.

Some of the prepared entrees can be satisfying, but the replacement ingredients -- such as the low-fat and soy cheeses in Jenny Craig's cheese enchilada -- might give you the smell and taste of the real thing and leave your stomach feeling empty.

Thankfully, each plan recommends adding supplements of fruit, vegetables, milk and yogurt every day. Customers have some leeway in planning what they eat but are required to do additional grocery shopping.

Another downside to these diets is that some of these entrees, snacks and desserts contain processed ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup and chemical additives to make up for the taste and texture of cream, fat and sugar that are missing from the diet versions of old favorites.

And qualitywise, compared with authentic or fresh food, an offering such as NutriSystem's small serving of cheese tortellini is unfortunately most reminiscent of Chef Boyardee ravioli.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
CAG $41.60 0.00%
NTRI $19.49 0.00%
AAPL $93.99 0.00%
FB $102.01 0.00%
GOOG $682.40 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,973.84 +313.66 2.00%
S&P 500 1,864.78 +35.70 1.95%
NASDAQ 4,337.5120 +70.6750 1.66%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs