The Nutrisystem Meal Plan Explained

Article posted in: Nutrisystem
finished Nutrisystem first week

The best weight loss plan not only helps you lose weight, but it also helps you learn healthy eating habits for long-term success. That’s exactly what your Nutrisystem program was designed to do.

Whether you want to lose a lot of weight or just get a little healthier, Nutrisystem plans are dietitian-designed to provide the right nutrition, right from the start. Once you reach your goal, you’ll transition to a healthy lifestyle that you can manage on your own or with our help! It starts with weight loss but doesn’t end there.

With our delicious food and easy-to-follow meal plans, you’ll drop pounds at a healthy, steady rate of 1-2 pounds per week on average while enjoying tasty food and acquiring knowledge about healthy eating.

Ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about your Nutrisystem meal plan.

Does your plan include 7 in 7?* Your first week will look a little different. Click here to learn more! >

Nutrisystem Meal Plan Overview

Nutrisystem meals are ready-made, perfectly portioned and packed with flavor. They’re specially formulated to deliver results and keep you feeling full and satisfied. In addition, you’ll enjoy fresh grocery add-ins including PowerFuels, SmartCarbs, Vegetables, Extras and Free Foods (more on these below!). These foods are plan-approved and easy to incorporate.

Check out the image below for a high-level overview of what you’ll eat on a typical day on Nutrisystem:

Nutrisystem day

Grocery Add-Ins

Adding nutrient-rich, wholesome foods into your meals and snacks is essential for maintaining optimal health and wellness on Nutrisystem. It also helps you practice healthy habits for a lifetime of success. We’ve broken these add-ins into the following categories, making them easy to incorporate into your plan:

smartcarbs, powerfuels, vegetables, extras, free foods

SmartCarbs are carbohydrates that contain fiber and typically register lower on the Glycemic Index. That means they are digested more slowly, helping you feel fuller longer. They include items like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, fruit and starchy vegetables like potatoes.

PowerFuels consist of healthy fats and high-quality proteins. They provide energy, keep you satisfied and help maintain muscle. They include items like meat, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds and avocados.

Vegetables are a great way to stay full and satisfied while you lose weight. Non-starchy veggies are packed with nutrition and low in calories, so they are unlimited on Nutrisystem. However, we do recommend that you eat at least 4 servings per day. This includes familiar staples like leafy greens, broccoli, onions and tomatoes.

Extras can make your meals and snacks more sweet, savory, spicy or satisfying. These optional add-ins include ingredients like coffee creamer, salad dressing, honey and condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise. Your are limited to 3 Extras per day.

Free Foods contain less calories than Extras but still provide major flavor. Because these foods are so low in calories, they are unlimited on your Nutrisystem plan. They include spices, herbs, lemon juice, hot sauce, low-sodium broth, certain condiments and beverages.

Check out the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide for examples and serving sizes of each add-in category! 

You’ll enjoy added flavor and variety by incorporating grocery add-ins into most of your Nutrisystem meals. Here’s one example of a Nutrisystem meal complete with add-ins:

plate it up nutrisystem grocery add ins

Flex Meals and Snacks

We don’t just teach you how to lose weight. We also teach you how to keep it off. Most Nutrisystem plans include Flex meals—meals and snacks that you create using the easy guidelines we provide.

Flex meals give you the opportunity to try your hand at cooking your own healthy meals and snacks from scratch. You can also use them for making smart decisions while enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

In addition to your daily allotment of SmartCarbs and PowerFuels, you’ll be using the SmartCarbs and PowerFuels to create your Flex Meals. You’ll eat Flex meals and snacks in place of Nutrisystem food. The type and number of add-ins suggested for your Flex meals will vary based on your specific plan and daily calorie goals. Click here for everything you need to know about making Flex Meals! >

Does your plan include 7 in 7? You’ll start adding in Flex meals in week 2, unless you are on a plan with 7 days of Nutrisystem food each week.

Here’s one example of a Flex meal for lunch:

flex meal example

Your Nutrisystem Meal Plan

The graphs below shows what a typical day may look like on Nutrisystem. Please note that your meal plan may vary depending on your specific program. If you use NuMi SmartAdapt®, you will need to check the NuMi® app for your specific PowerFuel and SmartCarb goals.

More than 100 lbs. to lose? Add 1 PowerFuel and 1 SmartCarb to your plan each day. If you are using NuMi, it will automatically include these add-ins for you.

Nutrisystem Complete

Nutrisystem Standard Complete Meal Plans

Nutrisystem Complete 50+

Nutrisystem Standard Complete 50 Meal Plans


Nutrisystem Meal Plan Tips for Success

1. Don’t deprive yourself! Daily grocery add-ins are a delicious part of your plan and they’re essential to your success.

2. We recommend exercising for 30 minutes each day. Activity can be broken up into three 10-minute sessions to fit your schedule. Get tips and tricks here! >

3. If you need some Flex meal inspiration, check out The Leaf for thousands of tasty recipes! Check out our recipe section here! >

5. Stock up on Nutrisystem Protein Shakes for easy PowerFuels: 1 Shake = 1 PowerFuel!

6. Hearty Inspirations premium meals cut down on grocery add-ins: They count as 1 Nutrisystem Dinner + 1 PowerFuel + 1 Vegetable serving on the program.

Nutrisystem 101 – Meal Plan Overview Videos

Nutrisystem for Women:

Nutrisystem Complete 50 for Women:

Nutrisystem for Men:


It’s important to know that changing your diet or exercise or losing weight could affect some medical conditions and medications. Your doctor may need to adjust your medications due to changes in your diet, exercise, or weight while on Nutrisystem. Make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any weight loss program, including Nutrisystem. Please be sure to eat all of the food that is recommended on the Nutrisystem program. Failure to follow the program and eat all of the food recommended may increase the risk of developing serious health complications. At Nutrisystem, we care about you. That’s why we champion safe, effective weight loss—no fads, no gimmicks, just better health.