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)
|🥦Ingredient Quality and Nutrition:||BistroMD|
⏰ Prep Time:
It’s a tie
BistroMD (6 dietary plans)
👍 Ordering and Delivery:
🙋 Customer Support:
|👑 Overall Winner: ||BistroMD|
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.
Both services offer prepared, single-serve meals specific to weight loss. This means they’re not very suitable for kids. And neither service is designed to feed an 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.
BistroMD currently has more than 195 items on the menu if you count its breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items, although some of these might only be available seasonally.
Meanwhile, Nutrisystem’s 150 items include breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but how much variety you get depends on the plan you choose. Only the Uniquely Yours Max+ and Complete 55 plans give you access to all the menu items, including snacks and Hearty Inspirations meals.
If you choose the Uniquely Yours plan, you can only access shelf-stable pantry meals – some of which need to be cooked, others of which are ready to eat – and Top-Rated frozen options. 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 50 dinner entrees, 34 are frozen and just 16 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.
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.
BistroMD lets you search by program, so you can always find your available meals for the week. You can choose breakfast entrees on every menu but the Vegan plan, which only offers lunches and dinners. Here are some BistroMD meals that really stood out for me.
Best BistroMD Breakfast Entree: Artichoke, Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata (280 calories)
Best BistroMD Dinner Entree: Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce (330 calories)
Best BistroMD Vegan Entree: Roasted Cauliflower and Lentils with Charred Red Pepper Sauce (310 calories)
Best BistroMD Snack: Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake (180 calories)
Nutrisystem has a great selection of filters that let you find exactly the meal you want. You can exclude spicy foods, tomatoes, tree nuts, fish, and other ingredients. (Keep in mind that the more filters you choose, the more limited your choices will be). I was impressed by these menu items:
Best Nutrisystem Breakfast Entree: Cinnamon Roll (180 calories)
Best Nutrisystem Lunch Entree: Chicken Mozzarella Melt (220 calories)
Best Nutrisystem Dinner Entree: Merlot Beef with Root Vegetables (320 calories)
Best Nutrisystem Snack: Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake (130 calories)
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 sodium, total fat, and saturated fat levels at or below American Heart Association recommendations.
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.
Vegan: Carb-conscious 100% plant-based meals designed with a healthy balance of macronutrients, more protein, and fewer carbs than highly processed store-bought vegan meals.
Each plan has a slightly different offering. If you’d like to find out exactly how they differ, you can use the handy Compare Program feature under Programs.
BistroMD claims that these programs can be customized, however 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.
Essentials: This plan gives you access to some frozen menu items, but it doesn’t include snacks. Otherwise, it’s the same as the Basic plan.
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.
Complete 55: Max Vitality: Here, you’ll get the exact same thing as the Men’s Uniquely Yours max+ plan, plus 7 days worth of meals and 28 shakes per shipment. 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.
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.
Nutrisystem isn’t suitable for those with severe allergies. However, the filters are still useful for dieters with sensitivities or dislikes.
BistroMD is the clear winner here. Nutrisystem’s reduced-calorie meals rely largely on heavily processed food, while BistroMD uses fresh, wholesome ingredients prepared by chefs and flash-frozen to retain nutrients and flavor.
Whenever possible, BistroMD uses ingredients from local, family-owned farms. All seafood is sustainably sourced, all beef is rBGH-free, and all chicken is hormone-free. There are no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans fats, MSG, or nitrates. You can check ingredient lists and nutritional information on the BistroMD website.
The recipe for BistroMD’s Meatloaf with Honey Bourbon Glaze shows that the meatloaf is made with protein-rich quinoa instead of bread crumbs, while the cheesy quinoa side dish is a healthy lower-carb alternative to macaroni and cheese that combines low fat cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses.
Nutrisystem also provides nutritional information and a complete ingredient listing on its website. While the calorie count for the Rotini and Meatballs is good for weight loss, the ingredients list shows a lot of questionable items like textured soy protein, beef flavoring, and modified corn starch. And while BistroMD uses organic produce when available, Nutrisystem uses some genetically modified produce.
Nutrisystem offers no information about the quality of its meats or seafood. While most Nutrisystem meals contain no preservatives due to the processing methods used in creating them, some meals and snacks contain preservatives like BHT, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate. But Nutrisystem includes customer ratings that help you see the way fellow Nutrisystem users felt about each entree.
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.
It’s easy to change or reschedule your BistroMD delivery. You’ll just 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.
Nutrisystem also allows you to amend your order online. 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 everything in detail.
Nutrisystem sends 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!
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.
Some Nutrisystem meals require microwaving, and some can be prepared on a stovetop or skillet. Others can be enjoyed straight out of the package. Some things need to be cooked directly from frozen, like the Chicken Bianca Pizza. You can find the cooking instructions for each dish in the documentation included in your delivery box or on Nutrisystem’s website.
Nutrisystem offers some environmentally-friendly packaging, such as its 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.
BistroMD’s unboxing experience is similar to Nutrisystem’s, although you’ll only get a single shipment. It doesn’t split out frozen and non-frozen goods.
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.
BistroMD 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. Both companies’ frozen meals will need to be stored in your freezer.
All of BistroMD’s meals are freshly prepared and flash-frozen, whereas Nutrisystem offers some frozen meals and a lot more shelf-stable, processed snacks. 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.
Most of Nutrisystem’s frozen meals can go straight from the freezer to the microwave. Other 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.
Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem have a prep time of just a few minutes, so it’s extremely convenient and easy to cook your meals.
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.
Both services offer more support than straight-up customer service. You’ll find a variety of options, including 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.
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. Pricing for the maximum order is around $8.54 per day.
Nutrisystem only offers free shipping on larger, pre-paid autoshipped orders. Other auto-shipped plans start from $7.99 per month.
Bear in mind that Nutrisystem offers pretty small portion sizes and some of its lunches are just cereal bars or similar. Also, some of Nutrisystem’s meals require you to add your own side dish of veggies to be complete.
You’ll still have to do some grocery shopping with Nutrisystem, for things such as vegetables, fruit, and dairy products for its recommended “flex meals” – so keep this in mind when adding up costs.
BistroMD’s plans are a bit easier to understand. 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 Use code SAVE50 for 50% Off & Free Shipping on one week of meals to ALL Customers!, 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 and frozen weight loss snacks and meals
$8.24 per serving
Free when you pre-pay;
From $7.99 for one-time orders
Free for larger, prepaid, auto-shipped orders, from $7.99 for other auto-shipped plans
$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 Essentials 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. If you ask me, it edges out Nutrisystem in almost every way. Most importantly, the food just looks yummier. The Nutrisystem diet relies too much on bars and other meal replacements.
BistroMD also wins for health. If your goal is to find a healthy method to lose weight and sustain it, BistroMD's scientifically-backed plans are the ideal choice. The meals are less processed than Nutrisystem's, and there's a wider overall variety.
Its meals are chef-prepared using fresh, quality ingredients and are flash-frozen to maintain freshness and nutrients. This is an area where Nutrisystem falls short in comparison.
Still, Nutrisystem has a couple advantages. It is much more affordable than BistroMD, and you might prefer the convenience of a healthy grab-and-go snack. Go for it if this sounds up your alley, but my nod today goes to BistroMD.
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.