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Balance by BistroMD Review 2022: Food as Medicine

Written by: Matthew Ryan on Jul 7th, 2022

Overview

Looking for a meal delivery service focused on health and medical issues? We’ve got just the service for you: Balance by BistroMD. It’s a company whose main focus is the health of its customers. It’s always seeking new ways to improve your health through food and a proper diet.

In that vein, it offers nine different specialized diets which constitute a menu of over 100 recipes. All are healthy and all are tailored to specific medical needs from diabetes to gluten intolerance and more.

So, if you’re looking to use food as an instrument to help you manage a particular medical issue and improve your health, you’ve come to the right spot. Take a look at Balance by BistroMD. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

What I Liked

What I Didn’t Like

  • Limited customer service options

  • High shipping price

  • A bad customer service experience

Balance by BistroMD Is Best For

  • People with specific medical issues

  • People looking for healthy meals

  • People looking for pre-prepped meals

Balance by BistroMD May Not Be Great For

  • People with strong (dangerous) allergies

  • People looking for pre-sorted ethnic cuisines

What’s on the Balance by BistroMD Menu

Balance by BistroMD is a meal delivery service that’s predominantly focused on health and healthy diets. To that end, it offers a lot of variety by providing the following meal plans: Gluten Free, Diabetic Friendly, Mediterranean, Heart Healthy, Menopause, Low Sodium, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, and Low Carb. Altogether, that’s a pretty impressive array.

And even more good news is that each of these submenus doesn’t skimp on providing choices. The entire Balance by BistroMD menu contains over 100 meals and snacks. These items rotate in and out according to the season. The week I examined the menu, it contained 85 total items – a pretty impressive amount.

The submenus are constructed from this list of meals. At the time I checked all the menus, I found that each submenu contained well over 20 menu items. In fact, the Heart-Healthy menu contained 50 items. I mean, WOW!

In terms of nutrition, the menu items are all high-quality. There’s an excellent variety of proteins and vegetables including chicken, beef, fish, pork, cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, and more.

The only cuisine that gets its own menu is Mediterranean – largely because of its health benefits. However, there are other cuisines scattered throughout the listing. These cuisines include African, American, Mexican, and Italian. A slight downside is that you can’t filter by cuisine and have to browse the full menu if you’re looking for a particular cuisine.

All the meals come prepared and can be cooked in the oven or in the microwave. In the oven, the meals take approximately 30 minutes or less to heat. In the microwave, they can be heated up in six minutes or less.

There are no specific “kid-friendly” meal plans, but if you search through the listing you may be able to find a few meals suitable for children like Chicken Bacon Mac and Cheese and Chicken and White Bean Chili.

Balance by BistroMD stacks up pretty well when compared to other meal delivery services. I mean, 85 options per week? That’s enough choices to construct a menu of lunch and dinner selections for an entire week without repetition. You might even be able to throw in a bunch of breakfast choices, too!

Of course, you don’t want to forget about snacks. The week I was looking, Balance by BistroMD had 29 snack options that fell into the following categories: Sweet & Salty Crisps, Cookies & Bars, Cheesecakes, Jerky, Shakes, and Nuts & Fruit. Whatever suits your craving!

In terms of customization options, Balance by BistroMD doesn’t allow you to customize the meals or swap any ingredients. The meal listed on the menu is what you get. Balance by BistroMD states that this is due to a need to preserve the nutrition profile of its meals. 

That is, if you swap one ingredient for another in a Heart Healthy meal, the end result may NOT be a Heart Healthy meal. And Balance by BistroMD is trying to provide food tailored for very specific purposes. This lack of customization may mean the service isn’t ideal for those with allergies or major dislikes.

That being said, Balance by BistroMD has one of the best computerized filtering systems I’ve ever seen. The only limitation is, that at the time of writing, there’s no way to filter for allergens such as tree nuts or eggs.

However, there are meal plans for Gluten Free and Dairy Free, as well as the seven other options I listed above. You can filter for meal types and main ingredients such as Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Seafood, Pasta, Plant-Based, and Soups & Stews.

And the best thing about the filtering system is that all the filters are stackable. That means you can filter for both chicken and beef, or both Heart Healthy and Diabetic Friendly, at the SAME TIME. In fact, you can even filter by all four of those criteria – as well as others – if you need to.

A word of warning, though. All of the kitchens used by Balance by BistroMD handle the full gamut of ingredients in their meal preparations. As a result, there’s always a small chance of cross-contamination. So, if you have severe allergy issues, you should contact one of the Balance by BistroMD concierges or, perhaps, look elsewhere.

The last point to mention is that all the pics on the menu contain diet tags (like Heart Healthy, Low Sodium, Menopause, etc…) in the form of small graphics. When you hover over the graphic, the appropriate name flashes up on the screen. This makes differentiating between meals in different diets very easy especially if you’re browsing the entire menu.

Unboxing

When your order from Balance by BistroMD arrives it should contain, primarily, three things: dry ice to cool the contents, insulation to keep the cool air from dissipating and warming, and however many prepared meals you ordered.

The meals arrive in microwaveable containers that are stacked together in the cooler. It’s recommended that you unpack your order immediately upon arrival. Once unpacked, you should place the meals in the freezer.

Balance by BistroMD meals have an impressive shelf life in the freezer: up to one year after the production date. Of course, once you try them, you’ll probably finish them off in a far shorter time.

Like many companies these days, Balance by BistroMD has developed a recycling plan for its packaging. The coolers in which the meals are shipped can be reused in a number of ways – from urban planters to beach coolers and more. Coolers can also be donated to the Red Cross or a local food bank. More details are available on the website.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that all the boxes are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. They’re also printed with vegetable-based ink. And the coolers are made with 60% post-consumer recycled foam products. As you can see, Balance by BistroMD is dedicated to environmental-friendly, sustainable business practices.

Cooking (and Eating) with Balance by BistroMD

The meals provided by Balance by BistroMD are all prepared meals that arrive frozen so must be stored in the freezer and then heated before being consumed. The company does offer a number of snacks that are either shelf-stable or can be eaten straight from the fridge.

As mentioned earlier, every Balance by BistroMD meal can be heated up in six minutes or less in a microwave. If you prefer to use an oven, it should take no more than 30 minutes. You have the option of heating the meal up from frozen if you’re in a hurry, or you can thaw the meal for 24-48 hours beforehand.

Generally, clean-up is quick and easy. You can simply throw out the microwave-safe container or, if you used an oven, wash the one or two pots or pans you might have transferred the meal into.

As the meals are premade, there’s virtually no preparation on your part required. All the sauces should be already applied to the meal. All the vegetables and everything else should be chopped and contained within the meal. All you have to do is stick the meal in the microwave (or oven) and press start.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Like I said above, there were 85 meals or so on the main menu. Trying to narrow that down to a short list of the most intriguing meals offered is a little difficult. Nevertheless, here are three meals that just make my mouth water.

Beef Chipotle Chili

I’m a big fan of chili. Ever since I had my first bowl, years ago, when vacationing with my parents in the Adirondacks, I’ve always had a taste for it. This dish consists of beef, hearty black beans, and a delightful mix of bell peppers and corn salad – plus a few spices. Taken all together, it’s sure to be a delectable dish to tantalize your taste buds.

Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Chicken

Chicken is another one of my favorite foods. And, although I hated broccoli growing up, now, as an adult, I’ve developed quite a taste for it. This broccoli cheddar stuffed chicken is sure to delight. The mix of broccoli and smooth melted cheddar is a perfect match for chicken. Plus, don’t overlook the garlic veloute and honey roasted carrots, not to mention the barley salad. Yum!

Turkey Breast with Honey Orange Glaze

I’m a big fan of turkey, too. It’s one of my favorite meats. And, incorporated into this meal, it promises to dazzle. Imagine a choice slice of turkey breast covered with a sweet honey orange glaze – delicious! Round it out with a fluffy farro salad with expertly cooked green beans and you got yourself a meal!

Shipping & Delivery

Balance by BistroMD delivers anywhere FedEx ships to in the continental United States. At this time, deliveries to Alaska and Hawaii aren’t possible. Shipments are sent out from the company’s frozen distribution center from Monday through Wednesday.

The time taken to get the delivery to your door depends on how far away you live from the distribution center. Processing an order can take up to two days. Most processed orders will take two to five business days to travel via FedEx Ground.

Should something happen, and you need to reschedule a delivery, there’s nothing to worry about. All you need to do is contact the Balance by Bistro concierge team (contact them at CustomerService@MyBalanceMeals.com). Act quickly, though. Once an order is picked up by FedEx, it can’t be canceled, rescheduled, or altered in any way.

If you want to set up an automatic weekly order, you can contact the concierge team to help you set that up. The only stipulation is that the meals are fixed so you’ll be eating the same meals each week. If you want to receive a flexible varying order every week, you’ll have to contact the parent organization, BistroMD.

In any event, the company will provide you with the tracking information on your order so you can keep an eye on it.

Subscription

Signing up for a Balance by BistroMD subscription is pretty basic and straightforward. Similarly, managing the subscription is fairly easy as well.

How to Sign Up

In order to sign up to Balance by BistroMD, just follow these steps:

1: Select Get Started on the homepage

2: Add Meals to Your Shopping Cart

3: Login/ Register

4: Provide Account and Billing Info

5: Create Account

As you can see, it’s pretty simple.

Managing Your Subscription

Managing your subscription is also easy. You can update your shipping address or billing address from your account at any time. Just select the Add a New Address option and then add, edit, and/or delete as desired.

Likewise, you can perform other management tasks in your account like updating or changing your password, your email address, or any other personal details.

If you have any issues with your shipment, though, you can email CustomerService@MyBalanceMeals.com to contact their concierge team. Just make sure to do it as soon as possible, because once FedEx picks it up, you can’t make any further changes.

As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward. Nothing to worry about.

Customer Service

Balance by BistroMD’s one area of difficulty, in my experience with the company, was in Customer Service. On the website, the Contact section provides only an email form and a telephone number.

There are no chatbot or live chat options. These are my favorite means of contacting a company as it’s so much quicker and easier to get answers this way. Balance by BistroMD certainly isn’t the only meal delivery service without this contact option but I definitely choose to use it when it’s there.

What’s more of an issue was my own personal contact experience with the company. First, I sent an email using the company’s email form to inquire about allergens. It’s possible the first was just lost in transit or suffered some other technical mishap but having received no response after three days, I sent a second email.

In other regards, Balance by BistroMD is pretty standard in the Customer Service area. For example, the company offers refunds if your box or meals are damaged in transit. However, it doesn’t provide refunds if you simply don’t like the meal. Again, pretty standard.


Balance by BistroMD’s cancellation policy is explained on its FAQ page. It requires you to contact the concierge team (Customer Service) as soon as you can. As long as you contact the team before your order is shipped, you should have no difficulty adjusting the order or canceling it entirely.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$6.49 per portion

1 meal/week: $6.49* 

$19.95 or Free (over $99 order)

*Lowest price on the Breakfast Menu for the week in question.

One of the best things about Balance by BistroMD is that there’s no lower limit on the number of meals you can purchase. If you just want to order a single meal to try the service out, you can. That’s very rare among meal delivery services.

Of course, if you order only one meal, you still have to pay for shipping – which means you’ll be paying over $25 or so for the meal in question. In any event, all the meals are priced individually. As a rule, breakfasts tend to be less expensive than dinners and lunches. The starting price for meals is $6.49 per serving.

Shipping is normally $19.95 – which is higher than most other meal delivery services. In any event, the shipping charge will be clearly displayed in your shopping cart prior to your order being placed. Balance by BistroMD currently has a special offer running to bring costs down: Free Shipping on Orders Over $99.

The company also offers a variety of snacks. Each order of snacks is usually more expensive than most of the meals (snacks come in around $15.99), but that’s largely because the snacks come with multiple servings (usually around six).

As noted previously, the only reason you can get a refund is if the items purchased are damaged in transit. Balance by BistroMD has no other money-back guarantees beyond that.

The Bottom Line: Is BistroMD Worth It?

Overall, I think Balance by BistroMD is definitely worth it. Although I had a less-than-perfect experience with customer service, that’s an easy fix, and it’s far outweighed by the many positives the company brings with it. 

Ultimately, Balance by BistroMD is a great candidate for someone looking for a service offering a wide variety of diets tailored to specific medical issues. It’s a very health-conscious niche the company occupies, and it does so quite well.

FAQ

Is Balance by Bistro MD a good meal delivery service?

On the whole, Balance by Bistro MD is an excellent meal delivery service. However, it’s targeted at a specific niche in the market. Basically, its focus is on healthy meals and using food as a resource in medicine. To that end, it has nine different diet plans, each tailored to a specific medical issue from diabetes to heart health to gluten intolerance.

Are BistroMD’s Balance meals healthy?

Like BistroMD before it, BistroMD’s Balance branch is focused primarily on healthy and healthy food. You can enjoy a variety of meals featuring different proteins and vegetables. There are also a number of vegetarian and pescatarian meals if you follow one of these diets. The helpful filters for diet and ingredients, as well as the tags on the meals themselves, will help you work out which meals are best for you.

Are there a lot of options on the Balance by Bistro MD menu?

The Balance by Bistro MD menu has a whole host of options. In total, there are over 100 recipes. The options are spread across nine different meal plans, each of which usually contains well-over 20 options itself.

Additionally, the Balance by BistroMD menu not only offers lunch and dinner but offers breakfast and snacks as well. All in all, Balance by BistroMD is an excellent choice for people looking for a wide selection of meals.

About The Author

Matthew Ryan

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

Matt enjoys all sorts of cuisine from fast food to fine dining. He’s been writing professionally for about 10 years, starting in fantasy fiction and moving into on-line content writing in 2021. He lives in the Northeastern U.S. with his dog, Cicero (also a big fan of dining).

Matt enjoys all sorts of cuisine from fast food to fine dining. He’s been writing professionally for about 10 years, starting in fantasy fiction and moving into on-line content writing in 2021. He lives in the Northeastern U.S. with his dog, Cicero (also a big fan of dining).

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