We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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BistroMD Review 2024: All You Need To Know

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Author Kenaz Filan
Kenaz Filan
Updated on Feb 14th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Overview

BistroMD meal delivery service aims to make losing weight as easy as possible. Meals are planned by a doctor and a team of dietitians and cooked by professional chefs. BistroMD also takes a unique approach to its health programs, with dedicated meal plans for diabetes, heart health, menopause, and more.

I was skeptical about how nice flash-frozen meals could really taste and whether BistroMD’s holistic approach actually works. So I decided to test it out for myself and get all the details for this BistroMD review. I’ve checked out the ordering process and sampled a variety of meals, so you know exactly what to expect.

Overall, BistroMD is a solid service for those serious about weight loss. It’s also great for those with specific dietary needs, like low sodium, keto, or gluten-free. However, the portion sizes are smaller than I would have liked, and I wasn’t a fan of every dish I tried. I’ll walk you through everything I discovered so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you.

Pros

Cons

Plans backed by scientific research

Shipping is expensive at $19.95

Dietitian consultations available

You can only order meals for 5 or 7 days

Eco-friendly packaging

Meals may get repetitive long term

Current deal – Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week

What’s on the BistroMD Menu

Photo of 10 packaged prepared meals on a table in front of a BistroMD delivery box

The BistroMD menu has over 150 options on a fixed menu. Dishes rotate on a rolling 6-weekly menu to offer a bit more variety. I chose 10 dishes to try from the Signature menu. This menu includes options that are available across the other BistroMD plans.

Meal Options

There are many tempting options among the whopping 150+ chef-prepared entrees. All of these dishes are available on the Signature menu, and each specialized plan contains a subset of these. For example, the Heart Healthy menu contains 100+ meals and the Keto Flex offers over 85 meals.

Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a physician and expert in bariatric medicine, founded BistroMD. She set out to create a program that covers every element of weight loss, from professional advice and community support to the food itself. BistroMD's menu supports your weight loss goals while providing balanced nutrition.

Each BistroMD meal contains 25 to 30 grams of protein, with low glycemic carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels healthy and fiber to help you feel satisfied. 

Its programs generally limit calorie intake to 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day, which will definitely result in weight loss but may not be sufficient for active adults. If you’re combining your calorie restriction with strenuous workouts, you should check out our list of the best fitness meal delivery services.

For most programs, the menu is heavy on meat and fish. The addition of the vegan program means there are now 25 meals suitable for vegans (and vegetarians). Each meal has, on average, 13 g of plant protein and around 286 calories. These vegan meals focus on healthy whole foods rather than relying on processed meat alternatives. There are plenty of breakfast options too, all packed with protein and fiber. 

BistroMD works hard to limit the number of duplications within each 6-week program so you won’t feel like you’re eating the same food over and over again. It adds new recipes regularly, so you’ll be able to try something new.

The dishes you’ll find on the menu are mostly American comfort food. Think burgers, casseroles, and meat and veg dishes. Some meals are inspired by other cuisines. On the Signature menu (the whole range of BistroMD’s meals) I found around 15 Italian meals, 15 Mexican-inspired meals, and a small selection of meals with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai flavors.

Apart from the entrees, BistroMD recommends 2 or 3 snacks per day in your meal plan. This is called the BistroMD EATS program, which stands for Essential and Tasty Snacks, which is a novel approach to snacking. These treats are loaded with nutrients to help cut down cravings and avoid unhealthy food decisions. When you sign up, you will be prompted to add these to your order as BistroMD “encourages snacking”. 

The menu itself is fixed, and your meals will be auto-filled based on your plan choice. If you’d prefer a different option, you need to change each meal individually. This is a somewhat frustrating process when it is organized by lunch and dinner options. This structure might be good if you prefer a regimented diet and aren’t particularly fussy about your meals.

Diet

Is BistroMD Good For This Diet?

Weight loss

BistroMD is excellent for weight loss

Diabetic

BistroMD has a diabetic menu

Low-sodium

BistroMD has a low-sodium menu

Gluten-free

BistroMD has a gluten-free menu

Keto

Bistro has a keto menu

Vegetarian

BistroMD has some vegetarian meals

Pescatarian

BistroMD has some pescatarian meals

Vegan

BistroMD has a vegan program

Paleo

BistroMD isn’t suited for the paleo diet

Losing weight on the BistroMD program breaks down into 3 stages:

  • Reclaim – take control of what and how much you eat

  • Transform – your body adapts to this new way of eating and you start losing weight

  • Stabilize – it takes about 6 months for your body to get used to its new weight

BistroMD helps you manage each of these stages. From professional trainers to health coaches, BistroMD supports you throughout your entire weight-loss journey.

Customization

BistroMD's plans are tailored to dietary preferences, giving a certain level of customization. The Signature plan that I opted for offers the widest menu selection. While you can switch plans, BistroMD emphasizes consistent meal choices for optimal results.

Unfortunately, you can’t swap out sides or change ingredients in the meals. You can choose certain meals to be removed from your weekly menu based on your preferences and dietary needs, but that’s it. So if you’re dairy-free, then you can exclude all the meals containing dairy, but the recipes can’t be modified. Screenshot of BistroMD account page showing all meals removed from plan

There are 7 plans, with different programs for men and women:

  • Signature: Combines the science of healthy weight loss with the convenience of chef-prepared meals.
  • Gluten Free: Free of wheat, rye, or barley and tested to the FDA gluten-free standard.
  • Heart Healthy: Meals contain less than 600 mg of sodium and 3.5 grams of saturated fat.
  • Diabetic: Designed to promote stable blood sugar with 25 grams or less of net carbs per serving.
  • Menopause: Created to keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
  • Keto Flex: This is designed specifically for those making a start to their weight loss journey and/or trying a light version of keto without giving up all carbs.
  • Vegan: This new plan is suitable for plant-based dieters and features whole foods and plant proteins.

You can find the full ingredient list for each meal available both on the website and on the cardboard sleeve wrapped around each meal, so you can check the allergens before ordering a certain dish. Other than the gluten-free meal plan, BistroMD meals are subject to cross-contamination so those with severe allergies should check with their physician before signing up.

You can add non-starchy vegetables, a daily serving of fruit, and 8 ounces of low-fat milk. Think of these as extras, not replacements for the meals, so always consult with the in-house dietitian if you want to eat more because of feelings of hunger.

Unboxing

My BistroMD box arrived in great shape, and everything was as expected. Until I opened the box and discovered something I’ve not seen from other food delivery companies before – dry ice instead of frozen ice packs. Photo of a sealed BistroMD delivery box with instructions to freeze the meals on arrival

I was very impressed with how eco-friendly the packaging from BistroMD was. Each part was clearly labeled with recycling instructions. The foam and plastic bags were recyclable, and even the foam insulation was compostable. The dry ice simply evaporated.

Photo of an open BistroMD box containing packs of dry ice with warning labels on

Every meal had a clear label containing the recipe name, nutritional information, storage, and heating instructions. There was even a clear best before date. However, these were over a year away, as the meals are designed to be kept frozen. Your meals are still safe to eat for a couple of days if you defrost them in the refrigerator.

Cooking and Eating with BistroMD

There’s no cooking to be done on your part with BistroMD. All of the meals come in microwavable containers. That means you can have a delicious lunch or dinner ready in 6 minutes or less, with no cleanup.

All the meals arrive in microwave-safe trays. BistroMD recommends heating your meals in the microwave after thawing them overnight in a refrigerator. However, I didn’t remember this and had no trouble heating them from frozen. It probably just added a few more minutes to the overall heating time.

If you’re using a microwave, you can simply remove the tray from the cardboard sleeve without puncturing or peeling off the plastic film and heat it like that. For a conventional oven, you need to take off the plastic film and put a pan under the tray (or transfer the meal to an oven-safe container).

Photo of the back of BistroMD's Vegetable Red Curry meal packaging

Oven heating instructions aren’t provided on the cardboard sleeve, which I thought was strange. I could only see a guide for heating frozen or thawed food in the microwave. If you do want to prepare your meals in the oven, cook them at 325 F. No times are given by BistroMD as it’ll vary, but the internal temperature of your meal should be at least 165 F.

Unfortunately, I found the meal portions to be on the small side. I’m not following a weight-loss diet, so this may be why I felt hungry again not long after eating. It might also be the reason BistroMD pushes you towards buying its snacks. Given that each meal contains only around 300 calories, you’re eating less than 1,000 calories per day.

Portion sizes are definitely a lot smaller than most meal delivery services I’ve tested. In comparison, Factor’s prepared meals on its Calorie Smart plan contain up to 550 calories per serving, which is almost double BistroMD.

Photo of BistroMD's meal cardboard sleeve featuring a chef's tip about plating your food nicely and seasoning your meal

BistroMD has included a handy chef’s tip on the packaging for each meal. It suggests plating your meals nicely and adding seasoning. After eating the meals, I can definitely see why. Despite the exciting mix of ingredients used, the lack of salt made most of them quite flavorless.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Beef Burrito Bowl

This dish was 1 of the best out of the 10 I tried from BistroMD. The quality of its individual components really stood out. The dish features a variety of elements, like beef, which is ideally served hot, and guacamole, which is usually enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. I’m amazed that each component was cooked just right, which is an achievement in itself.

Photo of the cooked Beef Burrito Bowl in a microwaveable tray

Despite the health-conscious tweaks in this dish, like the high-protein green pea guacamole, the flavors were comforting and satisfying. I did add quite a bit of salt and hot sauce, which made it even more enjoyable. I’m not really sure this is allowed on a strict BistroMD program, but I much prefer saltier and spicier flavored meals.

African Peanut Stew

I was super excited to try the African Peanut Stew from BistroMD. You don't often find many African dishes in the US. This made the stew stand out, and it quickly became one of my favorite meals of the week. It's not every day you get to try something so different!

Photo of BistroMD's African Peanut Stew cooked in a microwave container

The stew was a bit low on salt, which seems to be the case with most BistroMD meals, but it still tasted great. The spices and the sweetness from the coconut milk made it really flavorful. It's a nice change from the usual meals I have, even if it could’ve used a little more seasoning.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya

The Chicken and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya from BistroMD was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I really appreciated how authentic Cajun/Creole ingredients like spicy andouille sausage and fresh okra are used – it made the dish feel genuine. But the rice wasn't quite there, and I feel it could’ve been better.

Photo of BistroMD's Chicken and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya dish cooked in a microwaveable tray

Despite the rice issue, I'm a big fan of this kind of food, so I'd definitely pick this jambalaya again. I think it really needs some hot sauce to bring it all together. Not sure if BistroMD is cool with that for folks on strict diets, but a little extra spice would make it perfect!

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Harissa Cauliflower

This plant-based dish wasn't really my thing. As someone who often goes for vegetarian curries, I was looking forward to this meal. But it didn't live up to the “spicy” and “harissa” in its name – I was expecting a lot more flavor. Instead, it was kind of watery and bland, which was a bit disappointing.

Photo of BistroMD's cooked Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Harissa Cauliflower in a microwaveable tray with a spoon

The quality of the ingredients was good, though. That's something I've noticed with these meals. But I usually eat food that's saltier and spicier, so maybe that's why this felt a bit off. I get why the meals go easy on the salt – it's better for low-sodium and heart-healthy diets. Still, I think the flavors could have been ramped up in other ways to make this dish stand out more.

Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce

This was the only fish dish I tried from BistroMD. The Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce was alright but nothing too special. Microwaving fish can be tricky and is always hit or miss, and honestly, it's pretty impressive that it turned out edible. Fish in the microwave can be a real gamble.

Photo of BistroMD's Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce heated in a microwaveable tray

I've noticed a few seabass dishes on the menu that have similar styles – like 1 with a mango sauce instead of pineapple. The green beans that came with it were of decent quality, but they were just plain green beans. It would have been nice to see a bit more creativity or flavor in the sides.

Recipes Summary


Cook Time

Calories Per Serving

Suitable Diets

Allergens

Best For

Beef Burrito Bowl

6 minutes

320 calories

Low-carb, diabetic, keto-flex, gluten-free

Milk

Low-carb dieters

African Peanut Stew

6 minutes

330 calories

Vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie

Peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame

Plant-based dieters

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya

6 minutes

350 calories

Gluten-free, low-calorie

None listed

Creole-inspired cuisine

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Harissa Cauliflower

6 minutes

290 calories

Vegan, low-calorie

None listed

Plant-based dieters

Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce

6 minutes

330 calories

Pescatarian, low-calorie, diabetic

Fish, tree nuts

Low-sodium dieters

Prices

Starting From

Order Size and Price (Before Shipping)

Shipping Fee

$10.99 per portion

20 meals: $219.80

$19.95 a week

$12.67 per portion

15 meals: $189.95

$19.95 a week

$13.57 per portion

14 meals (lunches & dinners): $189.95

$19.95 a week

$14.99 per portion

10 meals (lunches & dinners): $149.90

$19.95 a week

BistroMD isn’t cheap, but you can get a decent discount on your first order Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week. I was also glad to see free shipping on the 1st order. That’s quite a saving because shipping is $19.95 a week for subsequent orders.

Don’t forget that families or couples in the same household can benefit from a 15% discount after the initial first-week discount. This ongoing discount is available upon contacting customer support, ensuring you get the best value on your subsequent orders.

BistroMD offers the option to receive meals for just 5 days a week, which can be more budget-friendly than the full 7-day plan. Additionally, there's a choice to customize your plan to include only lunches and dinners, ideal for those who skip breakfast or prefer to manage it themselves.

BistroMD doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, returns, or exchanges for meals that don't suit your taste preferences. Its policy doesn't cover dissatisfaction based on personal taste. However, if you encounter significant issues related to shipping or packaging, BistroMD may offer credit to your account.

Shipping & Delivery

Once you place an order with BistroMD, you can’t choose your preferred delivery day. The order processing and shipping commence immediately. Subsequent deliveries occur every 7 days following your first delivery.

BistroMD delivers only within the continental United States. Depending on your location and ground delivery times, your meals may take up to 6 business days to arrive.

Image of a map of the US showing the continental US BistroMD delivery areas in green

You have the opportunity to modify your menu selections each week. Check your account page for your deadline for making changes. All orders are shipped via FedEx Ground, and you'll receive an email with tracking details once your box is handed over to FedEx.

Delivery times can vary, but FedEx provides updates about the delivery day and the package's arrival time. You also have the flexibility to temporarily change your delivery location, which is handy for travel or business trips.

How BistroMD Works

Ordering from BistroMD automatically signs you up for a weekly subscription. There are no one-time orders available because the plans are designed to have long-term effects on your health.

If you want to try the meals without a regular subscription, you can also try Balance by BistroMD. This offers BistroMD’s weight-loss prepared meals without any diet or support plans. Check out our full Balance review for all the details.

How to Sign Up

Signing up for BistroMD is easy. But make sure you’ve decided on the best plan for you before you start the process. There’s a quick quiz you can take on the homepage if you need support with this. This is useful if you have particular dietary needs and/or medical conditions.

  1. Head to the BistroMD homepage. Here, you can take the quiz or click Shop in the top right hand corner of the screen.  

Screenshot of BistroMD's homepage

  1. Choose 1 of BistroMD’s 7 plans and how many days you want to receive meals – the full program (which includes breakfast) or just lunches and dinners.

Screenshot of BistroMD's program and plan page

  1. Once you decide which program and how many days and meals, hit Order to go to the Create Account page.

Screenshot of BistroMD's Create Account page

  1. Enter your shipping information and provide your gender. This is because the calorie counts differ between diets for men and women. 

Screenshot of BistroMD's shipping address page

  1. Input your payment details, and you can start customizing your menu. Your payment will be processed as soon as you have placed your order.

Screenshot of Menu selection screen in the BistroMD account page

BistroMD recommends adding EATS snacks that aren't included with any of the plans. These will cost you around $40 extra per week. Be prepared for the pop-ups that encourage you to choose these healthy snacks during the signup process.

Managing Your Subscription

The cutoff for making any changes to your plan is provided on your account page. Until then, you’re free to make any changes to your order before the chefs start preparing your meals. There isn’t an app, but the site is pretty clear and basic, apart from the overwhelming number of testimonials and promotions.

Screenshot of account page with order cutoff deadline

You can manually change meals each week before your deadline or let BistroMD rebalance your menu by itself so you’ll get a nutritious rotation of ingredients. You can also rate and favorite the meals you receive, which presumably helps BistroMD adjust recipes and create new dishes.

It’s really easy to skip weeks if you need to, and you can also change your plan size through your account. You won’t be able to adjust the delivery date as your scheduled shipments are set from your first order.

Customer Service

Reaching out to BistroMD's customer service is straightforward. You can either phone them from Monday to Friday between 8 am to 8 pm EST or from 9 am to 6 pm EST over the weekends. There’s no live chat feature, but you can email the customer support team with any queries.

The phone number seems to be the preferred method of contact and you can leave a message if you call out of hours. The staff can help with any inquiries or admin tasks. Most other services I’ve tried direct you to a chatbot or email in the first instance, but my impression of BistroMD is that it caters to a slightly older audience, which is why it makes the phone line so accessible.

Screenshot of BistroMD's FAQ page with a search bar and categories to choose from

There’s a robust FAQ page on BistroMD. I like that it’s really easy to search for exactly what you need to know. It’s easy to cancel your plan when you want to. Read this blog about my entire experience for a step-by-step guide to canceling BistroMD.

With BistroMD, you can actually talk to a dietitian, which sets its customer service apart from other meal delivery services. You can contact a dietitian through your account page by clicking on Member Support in the navigation menu.

How BistroMD Compares to Other Meal Delivery Services

  • BistroMD vs Factor: Factor’s prepared meals include some Calorie Smart offerings, but it’s not specifically geared toward weight loss like BistroMD, and it only offers a limited selection of breakfast entrees, making it hard to create a complete 5-day or 7-day menu. However, it offers heartier, larger portions (even on the low-calorie plan) so it could be better if you find BistroMD too restrictive.

  • BistroMD vs Green Chef: Green Chef is a great choice for people who are looking to eat healthier and keep weight off, but it’s not a dedicated weight loss service like BistroMD and doesn’t offer as many diets tailored to specific health conditions.

  • BistroMD vs Nutrisystem: BistroMD’s meals are much more appealing than Nutrisystem’s heavily processed food, but Nutrisystem is considerably less expensive, which may be important for dieters on a tight budget.

The Bottom Line: Is BistroMD Worth It?

BistroMD is a commendable choice for those focused on specific dietary needs and weight loss. During my evaluation, I found the portion sizes to be on the smaller side, and the meals could use a bit more salt. However, its meals cater to various dietary requirements, making it versatile for different health goals.

It offers an impressive variety of cuisines, ensuring that mealtime never becomes monotonous. The plans, which span 5 or 7 days, help maintain consistency in your diet without room for deviations. This structured approach is ideal for those who are serious about sticking to their weight-loss regimen.

If you’re still on the fence about BistroMD or seeking different options, we've compiled a list of the top weight-loss meal delivery services. These alternatives are worth exploring to find the perfect fit for your dietary preferences and lifestyle.

FAQ

How much does BistroMD cost?

Prices for BistroMD start at $8.24 per portion for a 7-day Full 3-meal Program, which costs less per portion than the 5-day plan. You can opt for the lunch and dinner only plan, for either 5 or 7 days, and the prices change accordingly. Don't worry; there's often a generous discount on your first order.

Does BistroMD work?

When I reviewed BistroMD, I found it an effective strategy for weight loss. BistroMD helps regulate your glucose level and reduce your insulin resistance, which makes you lose weight. Each meal comes in under 450 calories, and each plan has a calorie limit already set based on your gender and potential health conditions, so you can maximize the weight loss effects.

Can you cancel BistroMD?

It’s super easy to cancel your BistroMD subscription. You can do it directly from your account or call customer support to help you with any additional questions.

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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