It’s not fair to expect children to switch from cookies to kale without telling them why it’s important.
Easiest Diets to Follow
The easier a diet is to follow, the better the odds of sticking to it. So user-friendliness was one of the factors experts considered in rating the 32 popular programs below. Is the diet filling and tasty? Does it impose stringent requirements such as eating a certain number of times per day? Are unique foods required? The experts put Weight Watchers at the top, viewing it as flexible, tasty and allowing plenty of eating throughout the day.
Dieters can eat whatever they want as long as they don’t exceed their allotted daily points. No foods are forbidden, occasional treats are encouraged, and the plan emphasizes all-you-can-eat fresh fruits and veggies. Experts liked the optional weekly meetings, since support is crucial to compliance. They also applauded Weight Watchers for being realistic, flexible, and filling. It scored more than a full star above the average in this category and was crowned the easiest diet to follow.
Built around prepackaged, home-delivered meals, Jenny Craig takes the guesswork out of dieting. That makes it very easy to follow for those needing portion control and discipline, one expert noted. Meals include favorites like apple cinnamon waffles, lasagna, fish and chips, and cookies, and a Consumer Reports taste-testing panel found them good overall. Like Weight Watchers, Jenny also got praise from the U.S. News experts for structured support, via counselors who work one-on-one with dieters.
Its name is based on the word flexible, so this diet is easy to follow. It landed toward the top of the ranking list, and experts praised it for encouraging dieters to make changes where they can rather than eliminating entire groups of food or following strict rules. Because this isn’t an extreme diet, experts say it’s easy to stick to and reap long-term benefits.
Experts commended the emphasis on diverse foods and flavors. Dieters can tailor the menu to their tastes and preferences, and are even encouraged to have a glass or two a day of red wine. Since there’s no hard and fast calorie range, going hungry isn’t a concern, which helps make the Mediterranean diet moderately easy to follow.
Grab a couple of meal replacements and you’re good to go. The diet’s convenience factor places it among the easier programs to follow, experts said. Slim-Fast products come in many flavors, from chocolate cookie dough to French vanilla, and dieters need only worry about preparing one home-cooked meal per day.
The diet’s score of just above 3 stars, out of a possible 5, was well above average. No foods are banned and filling choices like fruits, veggies, and soup are emphasized. Nor does it call for drastic changes—the focus is on making smart, maintainable tweaks. One expert praised Volumetrics for being “straightforward”; another called it “family-friendly and sustainable.”
Sticking to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan is moderately easy. While it’s less structured than some commercial diet programs, the experts liked that it doesn’t restrict entire food groups; dieters focus on balanced meals and snacks like chicken salad, whole-wheat rolls, and almonds. Experts also appreciated that DASH doesn’t require tedious prep or unconventional ingredients. An ample supply of online recipes and guides are available to help dieters along.
This diet is also moderately easy to follow. Its eating pyramid promotes foods with low energy density, meaning dieters can eat more while taking in fewer calories. Restaurant meals are allowed, and there are lots of resources (including tips and recipes) that help dieters stick to the plan.
Another moderately easy program, thanks to heat-and-eat, home-delivered meals. The downside: Dieters must cut back on dining out, and adjust to eating different meals than the rest of the family. Still, Nutrisystem’s simplicity makes it a “good way to get started” on a diet, said one expert.
Developed by the National Institutes of Health, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is moderately easy to follow. There are lots of online resources, including meal plans and recipes, but dieters must decode nutrition labels on their own. The experts appreciated the emphasis on fiber-packed fruits and veggies, which help keep hunger at bay.