|Battle the Bulge|
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) 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 DealWhether 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.
Freshen UpWhile processed, prepackaged meals may require additional foods for a dieter to feel full and get all the basic required nutrients, daily menus from companies providing fresh gourmet diet foods -- including
Food on the BrainWhat NutriSystem and Jenny Craig lack in food freshness and quality they make up for in counseling, which the companies consider a vital part of any diet plan. Counseling comes free with membership. Jenny Craig representatives offer the service at individual locations, and NutriSystem has a staff of behavioral psychologists fielding calls from distressed dieters tempted to quit. Regardless of the diet plan, a big part of what the diets are designed to teach is portion control. "We recommend taking their food and putting it on a plate so they can eyeball what a portion looks like," says Lynn Dolgicer, a Jenny Craig Center Director in New York. "Then later,
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