Is there a supermarket food that can be substituted for Nutrisystem foods?
I get some variation on these questions relatively frequently. People who ask this question seem to think that finding substitutes at a supermarket or health food store will save them quite a bit of money. They generally hope to find frozen or convenience foods that are as effective in helping you lose weight as Nutrisystem meals. This is actually going to be a very difficult task for a couple of reasons. I will discuss more about this matter in the next article.
The requirements you would need to meet to find something comparable to Nutrisystem meals in a supermarket or grocery store: Simply put, they want you to consume between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. This will include three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), desserts, sandwiches, and the fresh sides you add to each meal. Since you are eating so frequently, obviously every meal, dessert, and snack that the diet provides will have to be low in calories. Most breakfasts, desserts, and snacks have between 100 and 150 calories. Many of the lunches and dinners are less than 300 calories each. This range is hard to find in grocery store options and it doesn’t even tell the whole story.
Because calories are not the only thing that is going to be important. Diet meals are also very low in carbohydrates and sugars while maintaining high levels of protein, fiber, and nutritional value. This is just as important as the calorie content. The reason for this is that this ratio helps you burn fat and calories because you are reducing the carbohydrates that your body often uses for fuel. There is a technical name for this (ketosis), but the main idea is that you are losing weight and fat by consuming less carbohydrates and calories.
It is very difficult to find grocery store foods that are so low in calories AND carbohydrates and sugars at the same time that they are rich in protein and fiber. Many diet foods will add some sugar to help hide the taste. Light, quick shakes are a good example. Some of them contain up to 18 grams of sugar.
But it’s really the lunches and dinners where you see the biggest difference. If you were to compare the Nutrisystem pizza to, say, a lean kitchen pizza, you would see that there is a huge difference. The lean kitchen product has about 320 calories and a whopping 53 grams of carbohydrates. This is in stark contrast to the 220 calories and 28 carbohydrates that the Nutrisystem product contains. Adding these differences up for even three of the five meals can make a big difference in your daily calorie and carbohydrate intake.
When I was asking myself the exact same question, I simply looked up many of the diet products in the supermarket and compared them to similar Nutrisystem products. I can’t think of any product that I found that was comparable on all variables (calories, carbohydrates, protein, sugars, and fiber). Instead, many of the products contained far more calories, sugars and carbohydrates and not so much protein and fiber. Many of the products in the store were also quite high in sodium and contained questionable ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
It is a fairly simple task to check this out for yourself. And I have to say that often, you may not be saving as much money as you expected. If you buy a Nutrisystem package with coupons, you will generally pay a little more than an average of $ 2.10 – $ 2.25 per meal. Many store-bought diet products cost more than this, not to mention the gas and time it takes to put all of this together. So while you are sure to try any food you want, I personally don’t think they are that effective, but that’s just my opinion.