BistroMD is the winner here in the BistroMD vs. Nutrisystem battle. They both provide a great way to stick to a weight-loss regime with their prepared meals, but I did some in-depth research and compared the pros and cons.
I put BistroMD on top because of its scientific approach and special dietary meals, including a plan dedicated to menopausal women. And, well, because it’s healthier in the long run. Nutrisystem promises super quick results, but it’s not enough to support a sustainable lifestyle.
Winner: BistroMD is the clear winner here.
BistroMD and Nutrisystem both work with a more or less permanent menu, with occasional new additions. So it isn't surprising that both claim to offer 150+ options, to avoid frequent meal repetitions.
However, BistroMD actually has more than 150 options if you consider its very appetizing EATS (Essential And Tasty Snacks) as well. If you count breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snack items, BistroMD currently has 179 options on the menu, although some of these might only be available seasonally.
Nutrisystem, meanwhile, has 170 items on its current menu including breakfast, lunch/dinner, and snack items. Only the Uniquely Yours Max+ and Complete plans have access to all menu items. The Basic plan has only 100 options to select from.
So, BistroMD has the upper hand on the number of dishes it offers. However, this isn’t all that matters – what’s on offer matters just as much. As it happens, BistroMD has the upper hand there as well. BistroMD meals are largely gourmet, with a mix of different protein types including chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and fish.
In addition to favorites including Sloppy Joes and Four Cheese Ravioli, you’ll also find other world cuisines, including Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, and Asian. For example, the Beef Chipotle Chili with Corn Pudding or the Sweet and Sour Meatballs.
The Nutrisystem menu, on the other hand, contains mostly comfort foods, including three different Mac and Cheese options, a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and plenty of wraps, soups, and pizzas. Nutrisystem’s lunch menu contains more snack-like meals than actual entrées, with several bars and soups. However, the dinner menu is all real meals.
Nutrisystem also has some world cuisine options with Asian, Mexican, and Italian dishes in the mix, like Kung Pao Noodles, Chicken Enchilada, and Ravioli in Meat Sauce.
Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem offer meals based on their respective weight loss programs, so if you’re looking for a specific diet like keto or paleo, these are not the services for you. Instead, you’ll find programs designed to meet gender-specific caloric and nutritional requirements.
Within this broad classification, BistroMD offers a Standard program, a Heart Healthy program (meals with less sodium and saturated fat), a Diabetic program (meals with 25g or less net carbs), a Menopause program, and a Gluten Free program.
Although BistroMD claims to let you customize any of these programs, it isn't as flexible as many others.
For example, while you can pick your own meals for the week and swap or remove any suggested by the BistroMD dietitians, you still have to pick from a relatively unchanging menu. Also, you can't replace or leave out ingredients for each meal, including any allergens.
Nutrisystem, on the other hand, offers a standard meal plan for men and women and also diabetic-friendly and vegetarian-friendly options. You can’t customize recipes but you can filter out meals based on a variety of allergens including soy, nuts, fish, etc.
It’s easy to order from both companies. First, you need to select the plan you want and create an account. Then, you select the meals and snacks, and you’re ready to pay at checkout. Ta-daa.
Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem deliver to the continental US only, so you’re out of luck if you live in HI or AK at the moment.
Much like any other prepared meal delivery service, BistroMD delivers meals weekly. Each meal comes neatly packed in individual plastic containers with a cardboard sleeve.
The packaging is largely recyclable, something I always appreciate. The outer box, cardboard partitions, and paper packaging can all be recycled.
The plastic containers can also be recycled. The only questionable part of the packaging is the film wrap, which is used liberally.
Nutrisystem has now switched to more environment-friendly packaging as well, with its biodegradable boxes.
Given that most Nutrisystem meals are pre-packaged, there is plenty of plastic and paper used. While the paper packaging and containers can be recycled, you’ll have to check your local recycling facilities for the plastic wrap on bars, cereals, and other similar items.
As for delivery, Nutrisystem delivers your meals every 28 days, ensuring you’ll be fully stocked for the month. You can’t nominate a delivery day – your first package will arrive between 1-10 business days from ordering.
Winner: An inarguable tie!
Nutrisystem and BistroMD both deliver heat-and-eat meals. The only difference is that all of BistroMD’s meals are freshly prepared and flash frozen, whereas Nutrisystem offers some frozen or cooled meals and a lot of pre-packaged meals.
While both companies’ frozen meals need to go into your freezer, the pre-packaged Nutrisystem meals come with a healthy shelf-life. With BistroMD, all you have to do is put them in the microwave or oven as recommended. With Nutrisystem, some dishes require you to add boiling water.
Overall, both advertise a prep time of a few minutes: five minutes for BistroMD and six minutes max for Nutrisystem. In reality, though, you may want to add a couple of extra minutes if you like your food steaming hot.
Even with the few extra minutes, both meal delivery services make it extremely convenient and easy to prep your meal.
It’s easy to get in touch with both BistroMD’s and Nutrisystem’s customer service.
With BistroMD, you can either email the customer support team with any questions, or give them a call Monday to Friday 8 am - 8 pm ET or 9 am - 6 pm on the weekends. Canceling is easy either by email or on the phone.
Nutrisystem can be contacted via phone and email, but also live chat. All of these channels operate from Monday to Friday 8 am - 8 pm EST and Saturday to Sunday 9 am - 5:30 pm EST.
Apart from this, Both BistroMD and Nutrisystem provide on-demand counseling to help keep you on track. If you have any dietary needs or special restrictions, a counselor can guide you to the meals and snacks that are best for you.
So, if you need more support than just straight-up customer service, there’s a variety of support you can reach out for. This includes weight-loss counselors, dietitians, and program consultants.
In comparison, Nutrisystem is a lot less expensive than BistroMD. The pricing is slightly confusing, though, as every plan has multiple prices based on how you decide to get it shipped.
You can save a lot of money (more than 50%) if you order multiple shipments upfront, and you’ll also get a cheaper price if you opt for auto-delivery rather than a one-off purchase.
The best deal is, however, the Complete Plan. It allows you to order six months’ worth of meals, either by paying upfront or by taking a small loan. If you are eligible for the loan, the costs drop to $5.82 per day. This truly is a bargain!
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 - $20 based on the type of items and the order value.
Another thing worth considering is that Nutrisystem has pretty small portion sizes and some of its lunches are actually just bars. Others need a side dish to be complete. So, you might just end up spending extra on non-Nutrisystem meals to fill yourself up.
Now let’s talk about BistroMD. You can either opt for the Full Program which includes three meals a day or the Lunch/Dinner option with two meals per day. With each of these, you can decide to get meals five or seven days a week. The more meals you order the lower your price per meal.
The seven-day Full Program costs $199.95 and includes 20 meals with seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and six dinners. It allows one cheat night for a well-deserved indulgence. So, technically, BistroMD’s lowest-priced meal is $9.99. However, when you factor in the shipping cost of $19.95, this goes up to $10.99 per meal.
The first order often comes with a discount, such as a 25% discount plus free shipping.
When ordering, you can add a set of 10 or 14 snacks (two snacks per day for five or seven days) for $20 and $28, respectively. However, you can't select which set you want at the time of ordering. This can only be edited after the order has been placed.
Healthy and nutritious weight loss meals
Quick weight loss meals on a budget
$8.24 per serving
$8.54 per day
$139.95 per week (lunches and dinners for five days)
$508.50 per month ($127.175 per week, six meals a day every day)
160+ choices (fewer for those on the Basic plan)
Five minutes or less
Six minutes or less
Onion, garlic, tomatoes, dairy, soy, egg, gluten, FODMAP
spicy foods, wheat, milk, lactose intolerance, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tomatoes, pork or pork gelatin, chocolate, sugar alcohols, onions, seeds, nuts or corn – diverticulosis
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 have picked an overall winner, and for good reason. BistroMD wins thanks to its science-backed nutrition.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to lose and keep off weight, BistroMD is the way to go. The service was started by doctor Caroline Cederquist and meals are 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 the freshness and the nutritional value.
Nutrisystem advertises itself as a “fast way” to lose weight, which is backed up by reviews. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds quickly, on a budget, Nutrisystem might be a good option for you.
The controlled portions and reduced daily 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 2022.
BistroMD might be a better choice if you want to follow a healthy weight loss diet (learn more about why BistroMD wins over Nutrisystem above). All meals are designed by professionals to ensure that you get all the nutrition you need. The company was founded by a doctor who specializes in weight loss, which pretty much says it all.
Nutrisystem is also great, but mainly for short-term weight loss. If you want to follow a diet for an extended period of time, BistroMD is the way to go.
BistroMD is better if you choose to follow a diet for a longer time, or if you have certain health issues. It features plans suitable for celiacs, diabetics, men and women of all ages – including menopausal women, as well as people who suffer from heart problems.
If, however, you’re looking to lose some weight quickly and on a small budget, Nutrisystem might be a better choice for you.
I would say BistroMD is a safe bet when talking about taste. You can read more above about how BistroMD features only real, chef-prepared food that is flash-frozen. It should taste similar to a restaurant dish after you heat it at home.
On the other hand, Nutrisystem has a variety of frozen, cooled, and shelf-stable foods. The last ones you need to make into an actual meal by adding boiling water or a side dish. That doesn’t always translate to a delicious meal.