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Written by: Kenaz Filan on Jan 10th, 2023

BistroMD vs. Nutrisystem 2023: The Surprising Winner Is…

With their prepared, single-serving meals and dedicated diet plans, both BistroMD and Nutrisystem are great for helping you to stick to a weight-loss regime. But which is best? 

After some in-depth research comparing the pros and cons, I have to declare BistroMD the winner of this weight-loss competition. Along with its scientific approach, the service’s doctor-designed meals cater to a range of needs, with programs for menopausal women, the gluten-intolerant, and more. 

Not only that, it’s more sustainable in the long run. Nutrisystem promises quick results and is considerably less expensive, but BistroMD is a healthier and tastier way to learn better eating habits that will help you keep the weight off. Read on to find out more… 

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Nutrisystem (from $8.54 per day)

🍔 Menu Variety:

BistroMD (150+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:

It’s a tie!

🍴 Customization:

BistroMD (six dietary plans)

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

Nutrisystem

🙋 Customer Support:

It’s a tie!

Menu Variety

Winner: BistroMD

Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem work with a more or less permanent rotating menu, with occasional new additions. So it isn't surprising that both services promise more than 150 options, to help you avoid having to eat the same things every week.

a sausage and egg bagel on a plate

BistroMD's Bagel Sandwich with Egg, Turkey Sausage, Cheddar & Carrots is a high-protein breakfast with only 270 calories.

However, BistroMD actually has more options if you also consider its rather appetizing EATS (Essential And Tasty Snacks). As well as its prepared meals, you can pick up snack bars, protein shakes, and even calorie-controlled desserts like the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake.

If you count its breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items, BistroMD currently has more than 195 bites on the menu, although some of these might only be available seasonally.

A cinnamon breakfast bar

Nutrisystem's Cinnamon Bun Bar is one of the snack bars you will be eating frequently on the Nutrisystem plan.

Meanwhile, Nutrisystem’s 150 items include snacks, alongside breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but how much variety you get depends on the plan you choose. Only the Uniquely Yours Max+ and Complete plans have access to all the menu items, including the frozen meals. 

If you choose the service’s Basic plan you can only access Nutrisystem’s shelf-stable pantry meals – some of which need to be cooked, others of which are ready to eat. Expect breakfast items like baked bars and muffins, or meals such as Chicken Pot Pie or Hearty Beef Stew. 

Of Nutrisystem’s 33 dinner entrees, 20 are frozen and just 13 are pantry-ready, so choosing Nutrisystem’s Basic plan will definitely cramp your menu choices. So, BistroMD has the upper hand in terms of numbers – but what’s on offer matters just as much… 

A plate of roasted chicken with lentils and carrots

BistroMD's Berbere Chicken is a delicious Ethiopian treat with just 280 calories.

As it happens, BistroMD has the upper hand there as well. BistroMD’s flash-frozen meals are varied, regularly offering a good mix of chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and fish. In addition to customer favorites such as Sloppy Joes and the Four Cheese Ravioli, you’ll find other globally-inspired cuisines, too.

Despite being calorie-controlled, all BistroMD’s meals are designed to be nutritionally balanced, high in protein, and low in sodium. There are some veggie and plant-based options available, too. 

a bowl of beef stew

Nutrisystem's Hearty Beef Stew is one of its many lower-calorie takes on comfort food.

Nutrisystem’s menu, on the other hand, features mostly calorie-controlled comfort foods, many of which are heavily processed. While the meals have some Asian, Mexican, and Italian influences, they’re pretty standard fare like quick-cook Kung Pao noodles and ravioli in a meat sauce.

Meal Customization

Winner: It’s a tie: BistroMD offers more diet-specific programs while Nutrisystem allows for easy filtering.

Diet meal delivery services are designed to control your caloric intake so that you lose weight. This generally means you have less flexibility – particularly in terms of taking out and adding ingredients – than with other meal delivery services. 

While both Nutrisystem and BistroMD have wide menus, there’s no option to customize individual dishes.

BistroMD’s plans include the Signature Program for either men or women, a Heart Healthy Program (for meals low in sodium and saturated fat), a Diabetic Program, Menopause Program, Keto Flex Program, and the Gluten-Free Program.

a screenshot of the six different menu plans offered by BistroMD

BistroMD offers menu options for many needs, including keto, diabetic and menopause plans.

Although BistroMD claims that these programs can be customized, the individual ingredients in its prepared meals cannot – it’s simply more about custom-building the menu to suit your taste (so you can remove any suggestions from the BistroMD dietitians, for example).

The good news is, if you have any allergies or food sensitivities, BistroMD will work with you to choose a plan that excludes some common triggers, such as tomatoes and dairy – but the help it can give you may be limited and the company cannot promise that cross-contamination will not occur.

a screenshot of Nutrisystem plans

Nutrisystem offers five plans, including a Partner plan for couples and a Complete plan for significant weight loss.

Nutrisystem, on the other hand, offers standard plans for men and women, as well as diabetic-friendly and vegetarian-friendly options

Similarly to BistroMD, you can’t customize the ingredients in the meals but you can filter the menu based on a variety of common allergens, including soy, nuts, fish, and more. While this is helpful for dieters with sensitivities or dislikes, Nutrisystem isn’t suitable for those with severe allergies. 

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: Nutrisystem

Ordering from both services is easy. First, you need to select the plan you want, then create your account by filling out some basic info. Once you’ve chosen your meals and snacks, you’re ready to pay at the checkout – ta-daa! 

Both Nutrisystem and BistroMD offer five- and seven-day plans – this means you can have up to three meals a day, seven days a week, totally covered if you want to. Custom options are also available. 

When it comes to delivery, BistroMD only ships to the continental US due to the nature of its flash-frozen meals. Elsewhere, Nutrisystem will ship all non-frozen food items as far as Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Puerto Rico, and even to PO and APO boxes – making its pantry-ready meals and snacks super accessible to all.

Three boxed BistroMD entrees and three BistroMD snacks in bags

BistroMD works hard to make its meal packaging as environmentally friendly as possible.

Much like any other prepared meal delivery service, BistroMD delivers its meals weekly. Each dish comes neatly packaged in a recyclable plastic container with a cardboard sleeve. All the meals are flash-frozen and should go in your freezer when they arrive. 

All of the packaging is largely recyclable or reusable, something I always appreciate. The delivery box, cardboard partitions, and paper packaging can all be recycled, while the insulation can either be recycled, used for a grocery cold bag, or pet bedding! 

In fact, the only questionable part of BistroMD’s packaging is the film wrap, which is used rather liberally.

A Nutrisystem box on a doorstep

Since Nutrisystem delivers 28 days worth of food at once, be sure you have freezer and pantry space prepared!

Nutrisystem’s delivery works slightly differently and delivers your food every 28 days, ensuring you’re fully stocked up for the month. You can’t nominate a delivery day – your first package will arrive between 1 and 10 business days from the date of ordering.

Since its launch, the company has worked hard to offer more environmentally-friendly packaging, including biodegradable boxes. That said, because of the nature of Nutrisystem’s meals, lots of paper and plastic are used to keep the food items shelf-stable. 

While the paper containers can be recycled, you’ll have to check your local recycling facilities for the plastic wrap on bars, cereals, and other similar items.

Meal Prep

Winner: An inarguable tie. 

Both Nutrisystem and BistroMD deliver prepared, heat-and-eat meals alongside ready-to-eat snacks. 

The only difference between the two is that BistroMD’s meals are freshly prepared and flash-frozen, whereas Nutrisystem offers some frozen meals and a lot more shelf-stable, processed snacks.

While both companies’ frozen meals will need to be stored in your freezer, even Nutrisystem’s pantry-ready meals come with a pretty healthy shelf-life so there’s no rush to eat them straight away. 

BistroMD’s meals take as little as five minutes to cook in the microwave, though you can also heat them in the oven for tastier results. The dishes are designed to go straight from freezer to microwave – though you can thaw them out in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours beforehand if preferred. 

Nutrisystem’s frozen meals are also designed to go straight from the freezer to the microwave – while some require you to add boiling water to cook. 

BistroMD meals can be kept in the freezer for up to one year, while the shelf-life of Nutrisystem’s frozen and pantry-ready meals ranges from six to 18 months. 

Whichever service you choose, with prep times of just a few minutes, both BistroMD and Nutrisystem make it extremely convenient and easy to cook your meal.

 

Customer Support

Winner: It’s a tie: Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem do a great job here.

If you have questions or need advice, it’s easy to get in touch with customer service at both BistroMD and Nutrisystem.

BistroMD recommends that you either email the customer support team or give them a call Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm (ET), or 9 am to 6 pm (ET) on weekends. Canceling your subscription is easy to do either by email or on the phone.

Nutrisystem can also be contacted via phone and email, but also via live chat. All of these channels operate from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm (EST) and Saturday to Sunday, 9 am to 5.30 pm (EST).

As well as these customer service channels, both BistroMD and Nutrisystem provide on-demand counseling to help keep you on track with your diet plan. If you have any dietary needs, a counselor will guide you to the meals and snacks that are best suited to you.

BistroMD's subscription comes with unlimited access to its team of in-house dietitians. These dietitians can address any questions or concerns, and tailor your plan to suit your needs.

Likewise, you can reach Nutrisystem’s Weight Loss Coaches through chat, email, or phone. Nutrisystem Coaches are trained to work with you through every step of your weight loss journey and can provide the support you need to resist temptation and keep slimming down. 

So, if you need more support than just straight-up customer service, there’s a variety of options with both services. This includes weight-loss counselors, dietitians, and consultants.

Pricing

Winner: Nutrisystem – though BistroMD’s prices are well-justified.

In a straight-up comparison, Nutrisystem is much less expensive than BistroMD. The pricing is slightly confusing, though, as every plan has different pricing based on how you decide to get it shipped.

For example, you can save a lot of money (more than 50%) if you order multiple shipments upfront – you’ll also get a cheaper price if you opt for auto-deliveries rather than making a one-off purchase.

A screenshot of Nutrisystem's prices

You can save money by paying for your Nutrisystem order in advance, but a la carte orders are a lot more expensive.

However, the best deal is the Complete Plan. It allows you to order six months’ worth of food, either by paying upfront or by taking a small loan. If you’re eligible for the loan, the cost drops to as little as $5.82 per day. That price really can’t be beaten! 

A screenshot of the price of Nutrisystem's Complete Plan.

Nutrisystem's Complete Plan is a 6-month diet journey for those seeking significant weight loss.

Plus, Nutrisystem offers free shipping on all its programs. A shipping charge is only levied on certain a la carte orders and ranges between $7.99 and $20 based on the type of items and the order value.

However, another thing worth considering is that Nutrisystem offers pretty small portion sizes and some of its lunches are actually just cereal bars or similar. Also, some of Nutrisystem’s meals require you to add your own side dish of veggies to be complete. 

In order to help you maintain better habits, Nutrisystem expects you to do some grocery shopping for things such as vegetables, fruit, and dairy products for its recommended “flex meals” – so keep this in mind when adding up costs. 

Now, let’s talk about BistroMD – you can either opt for the Full Program, which includes three meals a day, five or seven days per week, or the Lunch/Dinner option, which is two meals per day. Note that the more meals you order, the lower the price per serving. 

A snapshot of BistroMD's prices on a 7-day full program for women.

BistroMD offers great food, but it is more expensive than Nutrisystem

The seven-day Full Program costs $219.80 and includes 20 meals – that’s seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and six dinners (allowing for one well-deserved night off). While that works out at $10.99 per serving, you’ll also need to factor in the hefty shipping cost of $19.95, taking this plan up to $11.99 per serving.

When ordering, you can also add on a box of 10 or 14 snacks (two snacks per day for five or seven days) for $20 and $28, respectively – however, this can only be edited after the order has been placed.

New customers should take advantage of a discount code, such as Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week, which can bring the price of your first order down even further to $8.24 per serving.

Features Comparison: BistroMD vs. Nutrisystem


BistroMD

Nutrisystem

Best for

Prepared, flash-frozen meals for healthy weight loss

Budget-friendly, shelf-stable weight loss snacks and meals

Starting price

$8.24 per serving

$8.54 per day

Shipping cost

$19.95

Free

Minimum order

$149.90 per week (lunch and dinner for five days)

$279.79 per month (six daily meals)

Menu Variety

150+ choices (+45 snack options)

Up to 150+ choices (fewer for those on the Basic plan) 

Prep Time

Five minutes or less

Six minutes or less

Clean-Up

None

None

Convenient Options

Prepared meals

Prepared meals

Allergy Options

Onion, garlic, tomatoes, dairy, soy, egg, gluten, FODMAP

(Although cross-contamination can occur)

Wheat, milk, lactose, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes, pork or pork gelatin, chocolate, alcohols, onions, seeds, nuts, or corn

(Although cross-contamination can occur)

Special Dietary Options

Diabetes-friendly, heart-friendly, gluten-free, menopause-specific, gender-specific

Diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, gender-specific

Customer support

Email, phone

Online chat, email, phone

Special Deals

Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week

50% Off All Plans + Free Shipping!

And The Winner Is…

Even though the race was tight, I’ve picked BistroMD as the overall winner – and for good reason. 

If you’re looking for a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off, BistroMD’s science-backed plans are the way to go. The service was started by Dr. Caroline Cederquist and offers meals designed by registered dietitians under her guidance to ensure weight loss as well as wholesome daily nutrition.

As well as this, the meals are prepared by chefs with fresh, quality ingredients and are flash-frozen to preserve freshness and nutritional value.

Nutrisystem advertises itself as a “fast way” to lose weight, which is certainly backed up by reviews. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds quickly, on a budget, a Nutrisystem plan might be a good option for you.

The controlled portions and reduced calorie intake will accelerate weight loss but bear in mind that’s not always the most sustainable option long-term.

If you’re ready to take a step towards healthy eating habits and want to consider even more options, check out this round-up of the best weight loss meal delivery services of 2023.

FAQ

Which is better for weight loss, BistroMD vs Nutrisystem?

BistroMD is the overall better choice for healthy, lasting weight loss. Not only does BistroMD offer fresh, nutritionally balanced meals up to seven days per week, but it also offers ongoing diet support from registered dietitians to help you stay on track. Nutrisystem is less expensive than BistroMD and good for short-term weight loss, but if you want to follow a diet for an extended period of time, BistroMD is the way to go.

Which is better for you, BistroMD or Nutrisystem?

BistroMD is better than Nutrisystem for people who are looking to maintain weight loss, have certain health issues, or are looking for the tastiest diet meals they can find. While Nutrisystem is good for short-term weight loss, BistroMD wins our competition.

Which tastes better, Nutrisystem or BistroMD?

Though much of it comes down to personal choice, BistroMD is the clear winner in my taste test. While you’ll find yummy-sounding snacks and “meals” like muffins, cookies, and protein bars on Nutrisystem’s menu, many of the foods are heavily processed and some even contain GMOs. If you’re looking for healthier, chef-prepared ingredients that have been flash-frozen for freshness, you’ll enjoy BistroMD’s diet dishes.

About The Author

Kenaz Filan
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Based in New Jersey, Kenaz has decades of experience writing on many subjects and sampling the many cuisines his neighborhood has to offer. Working from home, Kenaz is writing a book between reviewing meal delivery services and raising a family.
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