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BistroMD Review 2023: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Our Top Choice For 2023
Enjoy 50% OFF your first box and 20% OFF the next 4 boxes!
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Author Kenaz Filan
Kenaz Filan
Updated on Nov 19th, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Overview

The 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, and even menopause.

That being said, I had some concerns about this meal delivery service. I was skeptical about how nice flash-frozen meals could really taste and whether BistroMD’s holistic approach actually works. So I studied BistroMD, consulted colleagues, and weighed its claims carefully.

Overall, BistroMD is a solid service for those serious about weight loss but who still want to enjoy familiar meals with decent portion sizes. 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 – Use code SAVE50 for 50% Off & Free Shipping on one week of meals to ALL Customers!

What’s on the BistroMD Menu

Founder Dr. Caroline Cederquist specializes in bariatric medicine. She’s had first-hand experience with patients that needed to lose weight under all kinds of circumstances. Along with her husband, they started BistroMD and set out to create a program that covers absolutely every element of weight loss, from professional support to the food itself.

BistroMD's menu supports 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.

Meal Options

There are many tempting options among the whopping 150+ chef-prepared entrees. BistroMD may be a weight-loss delivery service, but a lot of thought and creativity has gone into the taste. I was thrilled to see a few dishes containing alcohol, which is often discouraged on a calorie-controlled diet. The menu is created by dietitians, and each meal clocks in at less than 450 calories.

BistroMD's Manicotti with Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese with Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, and Vodka Marinara Sauce

I like that BistroMD doesn't shy away from using creative alcohol-based sauces, including champagne or, like in this dish, vodka

For most programs, the menu is heavy on meat and fish, however the new 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 breakfast options too, all packed with protein and fiber. I like these homestyle waffles with a side of scrambled eggs and sausage.

BistroMD's Buttermilk Gluten-Free Waffles with Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Sausage, and Maple Syrup breakfast

I like how filling this breakfast is at only 350 calories thanks to the high amount of protein and healthy fats

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, Mexican, or Italian. Some are inspired by other Mediterranean cuisines (Greek, French, North African), and there’s even a bit of Asian fare. Still, they aren’t a match for all the types of ravioli, tortellini, and chicken piccata, just to mention some of the Italian words on the menu.

Apart from the entrees, BistroMD includes 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.

BistroMD's Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Real Dark Chocolate Cocoa, Almond Oatmeal Crust, Cream Cheese, Ricotta Filling, and No Artificial Sweeteners

Mmm, a sweet snack at only 190 calories? And it's healthy? Count me in!

BistroMD meals arrive in adult-size single servings. The menu does have some kid-friendly meals such as simple and familiar burgers and meatballs, but it could get expensive to feed your whole family with BistroMD. The plans are designed to help you, as an individual, achieve your personal weight loss and wellness goals rather than as family meals.

Having said that, there’s a discount available for families or couples in the same household (after the initial first-week discount) that you can access by contacting customer service.

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

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.

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

screenshot showing 6 of BistroMD's 7 personalized plans

I like how BistroMD keeps up with the customer's needs and recently added a Keto Flex plan that helps with PCOS symptoms, among others
  • 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

With BistroMD, I felt like I knew exactly what to expect. The hand-holding even extended to preparing me on how my box would arrive with a handy illustration:

A comprehensive illustration of the way BistroMD's food is packaged

You don't need to worry about your BistroMD meals arriving cool enough: the packaging is insulated and filled with dry ice

Your box includes your chosen meals and a weekly menu. Dinners and lunches are interchangeable, but the menu will suggest when you should eat each meal. Your 1st order will also contain a welcome kit with information to help make sure the program is successful.

All meals are flash-frozen after they’re hand-prepared by the BistroMD chefs, which not only locks in the taste but also extends the shelf life of the food so you can enjoy it at a time to suit you. This means that you’ll receive all meals in the box in a frozen state.

Meals can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year if kept continuously frozen. Yeah, that’s right. No more wasting food in this household!

Your meal will be safe to eat for up to 2 or 3 days after it’s been completely thawed. Pretty much like the usual leftovers from home cooking. But you can also heat them directly from frozen in case you forget to do that in advance.

BistroMD is more eco-friendly than any other weight-loss meal delivery service I’ve seen. The food arrives in a 100% recycled box insulated with an eco-friendly liner. This layer is made from biodegradable and compostable materials such as cotton that can also be reused as a hypoallergenic bed for your pet or to insulate reusable grocery bags.

You can find lots of recycling info in the BistroMD FAQ, including a cute and useful video.

Cooking with BistroMD

Good news! There’s no cooking to be done on your part with BistroMD. All of the meals come in microwavable containers, but they’re also safe for the oven up to 400F. That means you can have a delicious lunch or dinner ready in 6 minutes or less, with no cleanup.

The meals can be heated straight from frozen in your microwave or oven, but you can also thaw them in your fridge if you want a more even or quicker heating. Just make sure to use the meals within 48 hours after they’ve completely thawed.

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).

Make sure to follow the heating instructions on each meal’s cardboard sleeve and wait 1 or 2 minutes for the hot food to cool down before seasoning to taste and enjoying your meal. I’m mentioning this because I tend to burn my tongue when I’m too eager to eat and end up not being able to actually taste the meal (yup, just like a kid).

BistroMD portions are generous and designed to leave you feeling satisfied. One thing I can never wrap my head around when testing weight loss meal delivery services is the amount of food you really get. If you’re a snacker, you should notice less of an urge to start rummaging through the cupboards.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I really like how this Sloppy Joe looks both decadent and satisfying.

BistroMD's Sloppy Joe with a Whole Bun and Tangy Cabbage Slaw

Wow, BistroMD managed to make even a decadent sandwich like this into a nutritious meal

Many of the meals outline the reasons behind the ingredients. Here’s what BistroMD had to say about this dish:

“Get your napkins! A revamp of this traditional weeknight favorite reduces the sugar and boosts the protein when created using lean beef, plenty of vegetables, and a homemade sauce. Paired with a whole wheat slider bun from our small batch Vermont bakery and a tangy cabbage slaw to add a crisp crunch to this self-assembly sandwich kit.”

This gives you an idea of how much thought is put into designing each and every dish on the menu. And maybe even more importantly – you’re learning the ins and outs of healthy eating straight from the experts. You’ll retain this knowledge even if you stop ordering from BistroMD.

Another appealing dish was the Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf. Nothing screamed “diet” about this dinner.

BistroMD's Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf with Smoky Savory Tomato Bacon Jam, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, and Yuca Fries

I like how even meatloaf & fries can turn into a wholesome meal if you add the right sides and use the right cooking methods, like BistroMD does

BistroMD's Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf is topped with a smoky tomato bacon jam. Instead of traditional fries, BistroMD uses yuca fries, which are lower in calories and have a lower glycemic index. With 350 calories, 26 grams of protein, 14 grams of total fat, and 30 grams of carbs, this dish is far more satisfying than you would expect from a reduced-calorie meal.

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 1st order Use code SAVE50 for 50% Off & Free Shipping on one week of meals to ALL Customers!. 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.

And let’s not forget about the 15% family/couple discount. You can claim it after the initial first-week discount by contacting customer support.

Even though I focused on the Signature plan, I played around with some of the other programs to compare the prices. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were all the same price since many other companies often charge more for niche menus like gluten-free.

You can choose to only get meals delivered 5 days a week if the full 7-day plan is out of your budget. That might make your weight loss a bit slower (helloooo temptation on those other 2 days!), but it’s a bit easier on your pocket.

There’s also the option to choose a customized plan, like only lunches and dinners. This is great if you’re not a breakfast person or if you want to handle it yourself in a more affordable way.

You’ll be charged weekly the moment you select your plan and place your order, even if your previous delivery is still on the way. That’s due to the lead time for cooking and delivering orders (up to 6 days).

Unfortunately, BistroMD offers no money-back guarantee, returns, or exchanges for the meals you didn’t like. Not enjoying your meals due to having different tastes in food isn’t covered in its policy. However, you can get credit in your account if there are significant issues with shipping or packaging.

Shipping & Delivery

BistroMD currently delivers throughout the continental US only. Your meals can take up to 5-6 business days to arrive based on ground delivery time.

Map of BistroMD's delivery area

BistroMD delivers throughout the continental United States

Each week, you have until Wednesday at 5 pm ET to make any changes to your menu because that’s when the chefs start preparing your meals. Then, at the beginning of the following week, you’ll receive your well-insulated package.

All BistroMD boxes are shipped using FedEx Ground. You’ll receive an email with the tracking information as soon as your box is handed to FedEx. At the moment, you can’t choose your delivery day as BistroMD has a very strict (and consistent) schedule for cooking and sending out meals.

As the timing of arrival may vary depending on your location, you’ll get texts or call updates via FedEx about both the day of delivery and when your package arrives that day.

However, you can temporarily change your location, which can be particularly useful when you’re visiting relatives across the country or you’re on a business trip. Nothing needs to interrupt your wellness journey!

How BistroMD Works

If you want to order from BistroMD, you’ll automatically agree to a weekly subscription. There are no one-time orders available because the plans are designed to have long-term effects on your health.

You can order meals for either 5 or 7 days and include 2 or 3 meals a day. The snacks can be added afterward separately if you want.

The minimum plan includes 5 lunches and 5 dinners, and the full plan includes breakfasts as well for a whole week, so a total of 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners (so you can eat out on Friday night, for example).

How to Sign Up

Signing up for BistroMD is easy. 

  1. Choose 1 of BistroMD’s 7 plans based on your needs and any medical conditions you might have.

  1. After selecting your program, you choose how many days you want to receive meals – the full program (which includes breakfast) or just lunches and dinners.

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

  1. When you enter your shipping information, you must also provide your gender, as the calorie counts differ between diets for men and women. Be advised that the recommended EATS snacks aren’t included with any of the plans and will cost you an extra $3.99 per snack, or around $40-$50 per week.

    You can contact a dietitian for a customized plan to fit your body type and caloric needs if you don’t fit within these guidelines.

  1. BistroMD’s dietitians get to work creating your program according to your needs and preferences as soon as your order has been placed. They’ll also work with you to create a unique menu geared toward any specific health conditions you have.

BistroMD will build you a weekly menu that you can see under My Menu when you log in. You can swap out any meals you don’t like the look of, but you can’t customize the recipes by adding or excluding particular ingredients. So the more ingredients you dislike, the more limited your choice of meals becomes because you’ll lose entire meals.

Managing Your Subscription

The cutoff for skipping a week or canceling or reactivating your plan is Wednesday at 5 pm ET. Until then, you’re free to make any changes to your order before the chefs start preparing your meals.

If it’s your 1st week, you can call to extend this deadline so you can get a chance to try all your meals before receiving your second order, no need to pause.

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 update your preferences in your dashboard, and your weekly menu will be updated by the dietitians accordingly.

You can make other order changes with the help of the customer support team, like changing the number of meals (by updating your plan) or updating the delivery address.

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 ET, or from 9 am to 6 pm ET over the weekends - alternatively, you can drop an email to the customer support team with any queries. If your call goes unanswered over the weekend, rest assured that voicemails and callbacks will be addressed promptly.

It’s easy to cancel your plan. Read this blog about the 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. It can even tailor programs to fit special health goals and lifestyles, which is a pretty cool bonus.

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 only offers a limited selection of breakfast entrees, making it hard to create a complete 5-day or 7-day menu.

  • 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?

Yes, it is. Dr. Cederquist talks about how stressed out her patients were with the dilemma of eating healthier. When you’re used to eating a certain way, and a certain amount, it’s not easy to shift your mindset and approach to food prep. BistroMD solves that problem, giving you exactly what you need, without the stress.

BistroMD is great for dieters with health conditions like celiac disease or type 2 diabetes. The Menopause plan is also a very thoughtful addition that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Of course, despite this being a medically backed program, you should still consult with your own doctor before starting a new diet.

The low-calorie meals are aimed at dieters and not athletes. If you work out a lot, you may find this weight-loss meal plan too restrictive. In that case, you’d be better off with one of the services on our list of the best meal delivery services for athletes.

FAQ

How much does BistroMD cost?

Prices 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 1st 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 find out how to cancel BistroMD here. You can do it directly from your account or call customer support to help you with any additional questions.

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