Best Diet Plans

Updated May 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
28 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
196 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best diet plans

Many people who struggle with their weight find themselves in an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting. Not only is it unpleasant and unsustainable, it’s simply unhealthy. That’s why a structured diet plan is often the solution. In addition to recipes or ready-packed meals, diet plans offer guidance and support to help you adopt positive changes to your lifestyle and mindset.

Diet plans are all about moderation and understanding portion size. Let’s face it: counting calories and measuring food is a full-time job. It’s a weight off your shoulders if you already know what and when to eat. With more time and less stress, it’s much easier to stick to your long-term goals.

Get a jumpstart on your journey with a diet plan. We examined the leading programs to help you find one that suits your needs. Keep reading to see what’s in store with each diet plan — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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If you like the sense of community and interactivity with your diet plan, join a gym and take group fitness classes. You’ll develop camaraderie with instructors and fellow students, and it’s great motivation to keep active.

Key considerations

Who benefits from diet plans

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to try a diet plan, think of all the obstacles that stand between you and your goal. It could be that time, organization, or your lack of experience — or interest — in cooking are impacting your dieting success. See if you fall in any of these categories:

  • Someone who needs structure: If you’re someone who does well with a regimen, schedule, or structure, a diet plan takes the guesswork out of your eating routine.
  • Someone with a limited activity level: Individuals with limited mobility can benefit from a diet plan as a paced, healthy path toward weight loss. If you’re unable to create a calorie deficit with exercise, this type of plan can help.
  • Someone who doesn’t like cooking: Not everyone loves spending time in the kitchen. A diet plan with ready-made meals can help you save time and minimize your culinary efforts.
  • Someone who is pressed for time: It’s hard to lose weight if you don’t have time to prepare healthy meals or exercise. Diet plans help with time management and organization to keep you on track.

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it’s time to expand your horizons and start comparing diet plans

How diet plans work

Caloric considerations

Diet plans all have the same goal: to create a caloric deficit that incites weight loss. This is based on your BMR, or base metabolic rate. This is used to calculate how many calories your body requires on a daily basis. That’s why you’re asked so many questions during sign-up; the diet plan aims to put you on the right path with a healthy, sustainable calorie deficit.

Food education

Diet plans also incorporate food education into their programs. This is usually done informally, so you acquire knowledge as you go. Besides learning about calories and basic macros like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, you’ll learn the importance of food pairing and moderation.

While often overlooked, food education is one of the most important takeaways from diet plans. Once you change the way you understand food, it’s easier to maintain healthy eating habits — which is a recipe for success when it comes to sustainable weight loss.

Mindset change

Another goal of diet plans is to promote a healthy mindset during your journey. With many plans, you receive positive reinforcement, constructive criticism, and support from plan community members. Diet plans work on redefining your relationships with food for the better.

Popular features in diet plans

Jumpstart programs

Jumpstart programs may be standalone diet plans, or they may refer to the first phase of a diet plan. These intend to help you dive into the program without much ado. The instructions or meals are straightforward and user-friendly, and they help you become acclimated to the diet plan.

Phased programs

Many diet plans are segmented into phases. These plans incorporate mild nutritional and caloric changes that create enough of a deficit for regular weight loss. Depending on the changes, you can begin your journey, push through plateaus, or enter a maintenance phase.

Ready-packed meals

Ready-packed meals take a variety of forms with diet plans. In some, you’ll pay for shelf-stable packaged foods to incorporate into your meals. In others, you’ll receive meal deliveries with ready-packed meals or with the full range of ingredients needed to cook your own. Keep in mind that the less cooking you do, the more expensive your plan will be.

Culinary support

If you’re more independent or want to save money with a diet plan, choose one with culinary support instead of ready-packed meals. With this type of plan, you’ll receive recipes, weekly meal plans, and pantry lists. Some diet plans that offer in-person meetings occasionally host cooking seminars, as well.

Apps and platforms

The majority of diet plans offer online access to platforms, apps, or both. This is an attractive feature to users who already spend considerable time online or using their smartphone. Apps and platforms add to the overall convenience of the diet plan. You can log food, check calorie counts, join a forum, and manage your account in one place.

Apps and platforms of some diet plans can be synced to popular fitness and food tracking apps, including Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, Google Fit, and Apple Health. With these diet plans, you’re able to transmit information to a single place instead of fumbling with data and metrics manually.

Interactive coaching

With technology as dynamic as it is, interactive coaching is a major perk of many diet plans. This offers an individualized approach to your journey through wellness coaching. Some plans include weekly check-ins through video chat, and others provide support through quick and personal responses to messages.

When it comes to interactive coaching, be mindful that the wellness coach or counselor you speak with is usually certified through an in-house program. You may not have access to their professional background or licenses to determine their level of expertise. Luckily, companies that create diet plans invest in building a robust force of dieticians, nutritional coaches, nurses, personal trainers, and even licensed therapists for their support network.


Bathroom scale: GreaterGoods Bluetooth Connective Body Fat Bathroom Smart Scale
Accurate weigh-ins will help you track and assess your progress, so invest in a quality bathroom scale. We like this one from GreatGoods, which can sync with health apps like Fitbit, Google Fit, and Apple Health. It also features a back-lit digital display.

Fitness tracker: Apple Watch Series 5
Stay on top of your daily steps goal and other metrics with a fitness tracker. We like the Apple Watch, which includes the Apple Health app that tracks heart rate, steps, and more. You can even sync it with certain diet plans and listen to music while you exercise.

Diet plan prices

When comparing the price of diet plans, look at the monthly breakdown. You might be pleasantly surprised by how affordable they are. On the other hand, the sticker price might be quite shocking, so do your research before signing up to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Inexpensive: The most affordable diet plans typically cost $25 or less per month. For these, you’re signing up for a subscription program in which you receive recipes, some coaching, and access to online communities.

Mid-range: Diet plans with more customized coaching can cost closer to $50 to $100 per month, depending on how often you meet with your coach or group.

Expensive: If you’re looking for a deluxe diet plan that includes ready-packed meals, coaching, and extensive online support, you could spend anywhere from $100 to $300 per month — sometimes more.


  • Treat yourself after small victories. It’s no small task to commit to a diet plan. Don’t be afraid to honor small achievements along the way, whether it’s a pedicure or a new pair of yoga pants. If you’re going to treat yourself with a special snack, use the opportunity to practice self-control and moderation.
  • Try new recipes in the plan. If you’re a creature of habit, live a little … try a recipe from the diet plan you wouldn’t normally entertain. You might be pleasantly surprised and end up expanding your palate.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Most diet plans limit or restrict alcohol consumption. However, some diet plans include recipes for healthier versions of your favorite mixed drinks.
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If you have any health conditions, it’s imperative to consult with your doctor before beginning any diet plan.
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