Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem offer prepared single-serving weight-loss meals. It’s therefore not as easy or straightforward to pick 1 over the other as you may think. There are some key differences between each that I think it’s best to be aware of before diving in. Some of these differences are pretty significant, so read on to find out what they are.
I’ve put these services to the test and have analyzed each extensively. You’ll find that there are instances where you may want to choose 1 over the other, and vice-versa. But knowing exactly which 1 to choose for what purpose can be challenging. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with everything you need to know.
I feel that it’s clear that BistroMD is the winner. You’ll find it offers whole foods-based meals designed by professional dietitians – and, you’ll be able to consult with them when you purchase any of the meal plans. Speaking of plans, it offers several more than Nutrisystem, and the meals themselves are of much higher quality as well.
Nutrisystem (from $8.54 per day)
🍔 Menu Variety:
BistroMD (150+ choices per week)
⏰ Prep Time:
It’s a tie
BistroMD (6 dietary plans)
👍 Ordering and Delivery:
🙋 Customer Support:
Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem work with a more or less 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.
Keep in mind that both services offer prepared, single-serve meals specific to weight loss. This means they’re probably not very suitable for kids. Neither service is really designed to feed the entire family.
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, it also currently has more than 195 bites on the menu, although some of these might only be available seasonally.
Meanwhile, Nutrisystem’s 150 items include snacks, 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. Some ready-to-eat meals include 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…
BistroMD’s flash-frozen meals are varied and regularly offer a good mix of proteins – 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.
For instance, you could get the European-inspired Shepherd’s Pie, Caribbean-influenced Jerk Spiced Tilapia with Mango Pineapple Salsa, or the French Salmon Provençal.
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.
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.
Diet meal delivery services are designed to control your caloric intake so that you lose weight. This generally means you have less flexibility than with other meal delivery services – particularly in terms of taking out and adding ingredients. But this also means not counting calories or weighing each gram of food you eat for the rest of your life.
However, neither service allows you to customize individual dishes. And, neither menu nor meals can be mixed and matched.
BistroMD’s plans include the Signature Program for either men or women and several more. Here’s a list of the plans:
Heart Healthy: Here, you’ll get breakfasts, lunches, and dinners containing fewer calories, and less sodium, total fat, and saturated fat than what the US dietary guidelines recommend.
Gluten Free: This is, of course, a meal plan with meals that contain zero gluten. The meals meet the FDA gluten-free standard to not contain wheat, rye, or barley.
Keto Flex: Keto diets are generally aggressively low-carb and high-fat. That’s where Keto Flex comes in – enjoy a more balanced approach with slightly more carbs and slightly less fat.
Diabetic Friendly: Here, you’re getting meals that have actually been designed by a doctor – Dr. Caroline Cederquist, MD. She’s designed the program to help you effectively control diabetes, lose weight, and for general good health.
Menopause: This one’s for women who want to lose weight during menopause. Insulin resistance is the enemy of managing weight gain and type II diabetes. It’s been designed to maintain stable blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
If you’d like to find out exactly how they differ, you can use the handy Compare Program feature under Programs.
Although BistroMD claims that these programs can be customized, the individual ingredients in its prepared meals cannot. It’s simply about custom-building the menu to suit your taste (so you can remove any suggestions from the BistroMD dietitians, for example).
BistroMD will work with you to choose a plan that excludes allergens if you have any allergies or food sensitivities. These include tomatoes and dairy, for instance. However, the help it can give you may be limited and the company can’t promise that cross-contamination won’t occur. Also, excluding ingredients will exclude the entire meal.
Nutrisystem, on the other hand, offers standard plans for men and women, as well as a few more – just not as many as BistroMD. But things tend to get quite confusing, so I’ll do my best to break it all down in an easy-to-digest manner.
But before that, keep in mind that all plans come with 1-on-1 weight loss coaching and the NuMi SmartAdapt app. Those are the only things that stay consistent throughout each plan. Aside from that, here are the exact plans you can get.
Basic: For both men and women, the basic plan includes items from the classic, non-frozen menu. It’s designed to give you enough breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for 5 days per week.
Uniquely Yours: Here, you’re basically getting the same classic breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for 5 days per week – but you can also add the classic frozen meals and snacks, along with Restaurant Faves to your order.
Uniquely Yours max+: Again, you’re getting the exact same thing as the Uniquely Yours plan for 5 or 7 days per week. However, you’re also getting access to the Hearty Inspirations meals that contain more protein than average.
Max Vitality: Here, you’ll get the exact same thing as the Men’s Uniquely Yours max+ plan, but it claims to help you lose weight without compromising muscle growth or T-levels if you’re over 50. You also get unlimited support with lifetime access to on-demand coaching.
Men’s Uniquely Yours max+: The Men’s Uniquely Yours max+ plan also adds FUEL protein shakes which claim to add more protein to your diet with fewer calories. You don’t get these shakes with the Women’s Uniquely Yours max+ plan since women require far fewer calories than men, on average.
Complete 55: This is a plan designed specifically for women over the age of 55. It’s targeted at those women who may be going through menopause. Plus, just like the men’s Max Vitality plan, you get unlimited support with lifetime access to on-demand coaching.
Something I like here is Nutrisystem’s extensive menu filtering system. For instance, you can filter the menu based on a variety of common allergens. You could filter the menu by ingredients like soy, nuts, fish, and more. The more filters you add, the fewer meals you’ll have available since when you click to exclude something, all meals including that ingredient will be excluded.
Just keep in mind that, while this is helpful for dieters with sensitivities or dislikes, Nutrisystem isn’t suitable for those with severe allergies.
Ordering from BistroMD is so much easier than Nutrisystem. The site is simple, easy to navigate, and doesn’t constantly try to upsell you stuff which is the polar opposite of Nutrisystem. With BistroMD, it’s as easy as clicking on Shop in the top-right, choosing your plan, and continuing to the checkout screen.
Both Nutrisystem and BistroMD offer 5- and 7-day plans, which means you can have up to 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. However, there’s 1 downside to ordering from BistroMD which is the delivery area.
When it comes to delivery, BistroMD only ships to the continental US due to the nature of its flash-frozen meals. Nutrisystem, on the other hand, 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.
If you need to change or reschedule your delivery, you’ll need to do so by the weekly cutoff date which is Wednesday at 5 pm EST the week before your scheduled delivery.
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 your order.
If you want to change your order or reschedule a delivery, the weekly cutoff is 6 pm EST the day before your order processes. And, unlike BistroMD, Nutrisystem does offer an app called NuMi, but it’s for tracking calories and doesn’t work for placing or tracking orders.
In terms of unboxing, let’s first talk about Nutrisystem. In the dry box, the ingredients come nicely segmented, separated, and labeled for easy identification. There are physical paper cards included in each box that explain what everything is in detail.
You’ll also get a separate delivery box containing your frozen meals. This is a pretty massive box since the entire thing is made from styrofoam, and is insulated to keep things from thawing out. It’s filled with dry ice, so make sure not to touch that as it can cause severe damage to your hands and body!
Once you receive your box, some meals require microwaving, and some can be prepared on a stovetop or skillet. Others can be enjoyed straight out of the package. In terms of storing your meals, there are several considerations you should be aware of.
For instance, non-frozen meals can be stored in a cool, dry location and don’t need to be refrigerated or frozen. A perfect place for these would be a cabinet, pantry, or cellar. Anything frozen must be kept frozen until you’re ready to eat.
In terms of cooking, some things need to be cooked directly from frozen like the Chicken Bianca Pizza. Keep in mind that I can’t tell you what the exact preparation instructions are for every dish. You can find this information in the documentation included in your delivery box, or on Nutrisystem’s website.
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.
Let’s now talk about BistroMD. You’ll find the unboxing experience to be relatively similar to that of Nutrisystem, with there being 1 small difference. For instance, Nutrisystem’s orders come in 2 shipments – 1 for frozen goods, and 1 for non-frozen goods. BistroMD’s orders arrive in 1 single shipment.
BistroMD meals come in individual meal containers, and every container is labeled clearly with nice, large lettering. It recommends you store frozen meals in the freezer or the fridge. A frozen meal placed into your fridge could take a couple of days to completely thaw and would still be safe to eat for 2-3 days, just like a regular, home-cooked meal.
It delivers its meals weekly, much like any other prepared meal delivery service. 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.
Both Nutrisystem and BistroMD deliver prepared, heat-and-eat meals alongside ready-to-eat snacks. The only difference between the 2 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 5 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 1 year, while the shelf-life of Nutrisystem’s frozen and pantry-ready meals ranges from 6 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.
The win here has to go to Nutrisystem since it offers live chat support. That’s something BistroMD doesn’t.
BistroMD can be contacted 24/7 via email or by phone Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm (ET), and 9 am to 6 pm (ET) on weekends. Canceling your subscription is also easy to do either by email or on the phone.
Aside from live chat, Nutrisystem can also be contacted via phone and email. 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). If you want to cancel your Nutrisystem plan, I highly recommend reading our related article on the matter as it can be quite confusing and involved, unfortunately.
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.
Each service also has an in-depth FAQ section that can help answer any questions you may have before reaching out to customer support.
In a straight-up comparison, Nutrisystem offers overall more affordable pricing. The pricing is slightly confusing, though, as every plan has different pricing based on how you decide to get it shipped. There are also way too many add-ons, extras, and upsell attempts that you really have to be vigilant about.
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.
The most bang-for-your-buck plan is the Uniquely Yours Max+. It contains enough meals for 5 or 7 days per week for an entire month, along with 1-on-1 coaching for weight loss. Of course, that includes free shipping, too. Pricing for the maximum order is around $8.54 per day.
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 3 meals a day, 5 or 7 days per week, or the Lunch/Dinner option, which is 2 meals per day. Note that the more meals you order, the lower the price per serving will be at around $8.24.
BistroMD's 7-day Full Program costs $219.80 and includes 20 meals – that’s 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners (allowing for 1 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 (2 snacks per day for 5 or 7 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 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.
Prepared, flash-frozen meals for healthy weight loss
Budget-friendly, shelf-stable weight loss snacks and meals
$8.24 per serving
$8.54 per day
$149.90 per week (lunch and dinner for 5 days)
$279.79 per month (6 daily meals)
150+ choices (+45 snack options)
Up to 150+ choices (fewer for those on the Basic plan)
5 minutes or less
6 minutes or less
Onion, garlic, tomatoes, dairy, soy, egg, gluten, FODMAP
Wheat, milk, lactose, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes, pork or pork gelatin, chocolate, alcohols, onions, seeds, nuts, or corn
Special Dietary Options
Diabetes-friendly, heart-friendly, gluten-free, menopause-specific, gender-specific
Diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, gender-specific
Online chat, email, phone
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 meals aren’t heavily processed like those from Nutrisystem, and there’s more overall variety.
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, on the other hand, just can’t compete with this.
To me, Nutrisystem has one major flaw – its meals are mostly processed. If you’re looking to lose weight, you’re probably also wanting to live a healthier life, overall. Processed foods don’t really facilitate that very well, if you ask me.
BistroMD, on the other hand, offers a similar weight loss program to Nutrisystem, but its meals are mostly whole foods-based and chef-designed. To me, this leads not only to weight loss but a healthier body overall.
Just like any food out there, BistroMD works no better (or worse) for weight loss. However, it has several tricks up its sleeve that could help you out. For one, you get to work closely with dietitians to aid your weight loss journey. Also, each meal contains the exact number of calories that will allow you to hit your weight loss goal without counting calories.
One of the highest-rated weight loss programs is Nutrisystem. It helps you lose weight by carefully curating a menu for you that contains the exact number of calories you need to lose weight. You won’t be required to weigh your food, or carefully track your calories. Pricing starts at around $8.54 per serving.