The BistroMD meal delivery service is designed to make losing weight and improving health 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. For one thing, are the flash-frozen meals tasty? For another, does BistroMD’s holistic approach actually work?
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.
Personalized plans backed by scientific research
Current deal: Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week
Shipping is expensive at $19.95
Limited choice for vegetarians and no vegan options
BistroMD may be a weight-loss delivery service, but a lot of thought and creativity has gone into the taste. There are many tempting options among the whopping 150+ chef-prepared entrees on offer and I was thrilled to see a few dishes containing alcohol, which is often discouraged on a calorie-controlled diet!
Rest assured that even the meals with culinary twists like alcohol flavorings will work with a weight loss diet, as the menu is created by dietitians, and each meal clocks in at less than 450 calories.
The menu is heavy on meat and fish, so if you’re a vegetarian you might feel a bit limited in choice. If you’re vegan, you’re out of luck. Factor may be a better choice with a dedicated vegan menu of prepared meals.
There are breakfast options too, all packed with protein and fiber. I like these homestyle waffles with a side of scrambled eggs and sausage.
As for variety, BistroMD works hard to limit the number of duplications within each six-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.
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.
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.
Now, let’s look at what’s on the menu. The dishes you’ll find on the menu are mostly American, Mexican, or Italian. Some are inspired by other Mediterranean (Greek, French, North African) cuisines 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 a bunch of the Italian words on the menu.
The menu does have some kid-friendly meals such as simple and familiar burgers and meatballs. But as the dishes are adult-size single servings, it could get expensive to feed your whole family with BistroMD.
Plus, the plans are designed to help you, as an individual, achieve your personal weight loss and wellness goals. Having said that. there’s a discount available for families or couples of the same household (after the initial first-week discount) you can access by contacting customer service.
Now, let’s dig into the science behind the food because BistroMD isn’t your average one-size-fits-all meal delivery service.
Founder Dr. Caroline Cederquist is a certified physician specializing in bariatric medicine. She’s had first-hand experience with patients that needed to lose weight under all kinds of circumstances. Cederquist also witnessed the biggest obstacles her patients faced.
That’s why she founded BistroMD with her husband – to create a program that covers absolutely every element of weight loss, from the professional support to the food itself.
From looking at the range of programs, you can see BistroMD has put a lot of thought into its offerings. There are six 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: Designed for those who want to jumpstart their weight loss journey and/or “go keto” without giving up their beloved carbs.
Losing weight on the BistroMD program breaks down into three 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 six months for your body to get used to its new weight
The way that you manage each of these stages – which can take anywhere from weeks to months – is where the BistroMD community comes in. From professional trainers to health coaches, BistroMD promises to have your back throughout your entire weight-loss journey.
Apart from the entrees, BistroMD can include two or three 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.
Apart from the entrees and snacks offered by BistroMD, you can choose to add non-starchy vegetables, one serving of fruit each day (as a dessert), and eight 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.
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:
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 first 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 any time you want and can. This means that you’ll receive all meals in the box in a frozen state.
How long can you keep it in the freezer? Well, if kept continuously frozen, for up to a year. Yeah, that’s right. No more wasting food in this household!
After you take the meal out of the freezer and into the fridge to thaw, it’ll be safe to eat for up to two or three days after it’s been completely thawed. Pretty much like the usual leftovers from home-cooking. But you can also heat them without thawing them first in case you forget to do that in advance.
Now back to the packaging. When it comes to being eco-friendly, BistroMD goes further than any other weight-loss meal delivery service I’ve seen. Its sustainable shipping methods are comparable to organic, low-calorie meal delivery services, like Sunbasket.
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. I just love this idea.
You can find lots of info in the FAQ about recycling on BistroMD’s website, including a cute – and useful – video.
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 six 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 traditional 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, including time, and wait one or two 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).
One thing I can never wrap my head around when testing weight loss meal delivery services is the amount of food you really get. With BistroMD, the portions are on the generous side and are designed to leave you feeling satisfied. If you’re a snacker, you should notice less of an urge to start rummaging through the cupboards.
I really like how this Sloppy Joe looks both decadent and satisfying.
Many of the meals outline the reasons behind the ingredients. Here’s what BistroMD had to say about this dish:
“Get your napkins! A re-vamp 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 one.
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.
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!
If you want to order from BistroMD, you’ll automatically agree to a weekly subscription. There are no one-off orders available because the plans are designed to have long-term effects on your health.
You can order meals for either five or seven days and include two or three meals a day. The snacks can be added afterward separately if you want.
Therefore, the minimum plan includes five lunches and five dinners, and the full plan includes breakfasts as well for a whole week, so a total of seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and six dinners (so you can eat out on Friday night, for example).
I decided to take a deeper look at the Signature program as this one was likely to have the greatest appeal to most people.
After selecting which program you want to try, you then choose how many days you want to receive meals – the full program (which includes breakfast) or just lunches and dinners. I wanted to check out as many meals as possible, so opted for the Full 7-Day Program.
At this point, it would’ve been useful to start adding allergy information or food preferences, but you can only customize your menu once you’ve filled in your personal and payment details.
I don’t like this method of doing things because I prefer to see upfront what meals a company offers and whether it’ll suit my tastes and requirements. In this case, you have the option of working with a dietitian to customize your menu to avoid certain foods.
Once you decide which program and how many days and meals, hit Order to go to the Create my profile page.
On the Program Options page, I could add snacks, which looked very tempting, but you can also add them later if you want.
It was tempting though!
Anyway, back to the weight-loss programs.
If you fit the recommended “average woman” stats, i.e., 5’0”-5’5”, you’re encouraged to eat three meals on the standard plan and add two snacks that total roughly 1,200 calories per day. For the average man (5’6”-6’0”), you’re recommended 1,400 calories a day from three meals and two snacks.
If you don’t fit within these guidelines, you can contact a dietitian for a customized plan to fit your body type and caloric needs.
Once you’ve completed your order, BistroMD’s dietitians get to work creating your program according to your needs and preferences. 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 it’s worth noting that 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.
If you want to skip a week, cancel your plan, or reactivate it, you can do it easily directly in your account. The cutoff date each week 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.
Good news for new customers: if it’s your first 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.
As for the meals themselves, you can manually change them 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 also do other alterations to your order with the help of the customer support team, like changing the number of meals (by updating your plan) or updating the delivery address.
It’s easy to get in touch with BistroMD’s customer service. You can either give them a call Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm ET or 9 am to 6 pm ET on the weekends – or you can email the customer support team with any questions.
If the team can’t answer your call on the weekend, voicemails and callbacks will be responded to as soon as possible.
It’s easy to cancel your plan. Read this blog about the entire experience for a step-by-step guide.
One of the things that sets BistroMD’s customer service apart from other meal delivery services is that you can contact a dietitian directly for support. They can also create programs for specific goals and lifestyle needs, which is a great extra touch.
$8.24 per portion
$19.95 a week
BistroMD isn’t cheap, but there was a decent discount going on when I started to fill out my order – Get 40% Off + Free Shipping on Your First Week. I was also glad to see free shipping on the first 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 for members of the same household. 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.
If the full seven-day plan is out of your budget, you can choose to only get meals delivered five days a week. That might make your weight loss a bit slower (helloooo temptation on those other two 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.
Just a quick heads up – 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 cooking and delivering orders (up to six 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.
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.
If you have specific health conditions, such as celiac disease or type 2 diabetes, BistroMD has got your back in your weight loss journey. 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.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, however, BistroMD probably isn’t the best fit for you and you may try an alternative like Factor instead.
Prices start at $8.24 per portion for a 7-day Full Program (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), which costs less per portion than the 5-day plan. You can opt for the lunch and dinner only plan, for either five or seven days, and the prices change accordingly. Don't worry, there's often a generous discount on your first order.
Yes. 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 400 calories as is, and each plan has a calorie limit already set based on your sex and potential health conditions so you can maximize the weight loss effects. If you have any concerns regarding your calorie intake, just ask the in-house dietitian!
It’s super easy to cancel your BistroMD subscription. You can get the full scoop here. You can do it directly from your account, or call customer support to help you with any additional questions.