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BistroMD Review: Does this weight loss meal service live up to the hype?

Our experts reveal what you can expect from bistroMD and whether it succeeds in attention to healthful nutrition, tastiness, personalization and pricing

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2020

BistroMD Review

Meal delivery services are wildly popular, and for good reason: time is scarce! But fast, convenient foods and successful, healthy dieting seldom go hand-in-hand.

That’s where bistroMD enters the picture. BistroMD is a meal delivery service whose flash-frozen meals are planned by a doctor and a team of dietitians and prepared by professional chefs, with the goal of improving your health and helping you hit your weight loss goals. 5 minutes or less is all it takes to get a medically smart, chef-prepared meal.

Sounds fantastic, right? It’s bistroMD’s mission to be your personal dietitian, chef and delivery service. So, have they succeeded? We’ve tested bistroMD’s service and will give you all the details about pros and cons and whether you should try it.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Robust selection of nutritionally smart meal programs.
  • Our testers found the meals to be delicious.
  • Flexibility to customize meal plans to suit your lifestyle and hit your weight loss goals.
  • Free consultation with dietitians in order to personalize your plan.
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free programs available.
  • BistroMD currently offers our readers 25% off + free shipping.

Cons

  • Shipping costs extra for Alaska and Hawaii.
  • In Alaska, only delivers to Anchorage, Fairbanks and Eagle River.
  • Other meal services offer more variety for vegetarians.
  • No vegan options
Our Top Picks

BistroMD

With hundreds of healthy and delicious meals, expert support and reasonable pricing, bistroMD delivers. Click below to explore and get 25% off your first order.

BistroMD makes dieting convenient and delicious, while providing you with a team of supportive dietitians to make sure your meal plan succeeds for you. The best plan for you depends on your own weekly schedule.

Bottom Line

Unless you’re vegan, you should really give bistroMD a try if you’re looking to lose weight without sacrificing taste and convenience – highly recommended!

Why You Should Trust Us

Innerbody recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test, experience and order from each service we review. Our review of bistroMD is no different. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally this review of bistroMD, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

Background of bistroMD and Its Approach

Anyone who has tried losing weight knows how difficult it is to do so while still eating delicious foods and finding the time to organize a successful diet. Trying to lose weight while sacrificing tasty food often fails because, well, we like food that tastes good, don’t we? Who wants to work hard all day and then eat something that isn’t delicious?

Founded in 2005 by Dr. Caroline Cederquist and her husband, Ed, bistroMD is actually one of the older meal delivery services available, so it isn’t some fly-by-night operation. Dr. Cederquist’s 20-year medical background in weight loss management and Ed’s foodie passion mean that the company’s programs boast solid medical and nutritional foundations while also tasting good. We enjoyed testing bistroMD because we found the meals to be delicious. This isn’t bland, flavorless food, and yet it will help you achieve your weight loss goals.

BistroMD’s weight loss philosophy is medically grounded and based around three stages of dieting:

  • Reclaim: In the first stage, bistroMD’s meal plans help you to curb your unhealthy cravings and also begin to alter your metabolism.
  • Transform: In this second stage, your body is responding positively to these metabolic changes and you’ll begin to see the transformative effects.
  • Stabilize: Be patient during this final stage, as it might take around six months, but your body weight in this phase will stabilize.

Types of Meal Plans and Personalization

BistroMD fully understands that we’re all unique–different health backgrounds, different routines and consequently different needs from a delivery service. Their solution? A robust set of standard options and then the ability to personalize with the help of dietitians.

As a company, bistroMD is committed to using ingredients from local farmers markets, farms, and environmentally responsible sources. All meats are hormone-free, and meals will never contain trans fats, added MSG, artificial coloring, nitrates or aspartame.

Standard meal plan options

First, bistroMD offers a handful of meal programs out of the box. And within these programs, they tailor the meal plan based on your gender.

  • Standard Weight Loss
  • Heart Healthy
  • Diabetic-Friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-Free
  • Menopause

Diabetic-friendly meals contain no more than 25g of carbs per meal, and your meal plan will ensure consistent carbohydrate intake as recommended.

The heart-healthy program is similarly tailored based on current medical recommendations. This means each serving will contain no more than 600mg of sodium and 3.5g of saturated fat.

Thanks to Dr. Cederquist’s understanding of hormonal balance and metabolism, she and bistroMD’s team of registered dietitians can offer a menopause meal program to help customers maintain healthy weight. These meals focus on maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Frequency of meals

Second, bistroMD has four different standard packages based on your desired frequency of meals:

  • 5-day full program (breakfast, lunch and dinner for those who want only the convenience of weekday meals).
  • 7-day full program (a full week of nutritionally tailored meals - breakfast,lunch and dinner - removing all the guesswork).
  • 5-day lunches & dinners (weekdays, skipping breakfasts).
  • 7-day lunches & dinners (full week, skipping breakfasts).

This decision will determine the price of your membership plan.

Personalized meal plans are easy with bistroMD

But what if you want to tailor the plan to suit your specific needs? What if you suspect that you’re already more active than the average person, or you only need a few meals each week, rather than 5? Or you’re a vegetarian who also needs a diabetic-friendly meal plan?

Fear not: you can develop a custom program tailored for your personal needs. BistroMD provides a phone number so that its members can consult with staff dietitians to create a personal plan for success. As a member, you can simply call (866) 401-DIET (3438) and you will be able to work with the experts at bistroMD. They’ll craft a meal plan that delivers the meals you need and helps you reach your own nutritional and weight loss goals.

Snacking

BistroMD encourages snacking as well, because hunger between meals has been proven to impede people’s weight loss efforts. The important thing is to choose the right snacks, and that’s where their EATS program becomes a valuable additional tool. You have the option to add EATS (Essential and Tasty Snacks) to your membership. We found this to be a really excellent feature and well worth the several dollars a day of additional cost. The snack program features protein power snacks that are a potent tool in your weight loss effort, as they help you battle cravings that can throw you off. The Men’s Snack Program adds 21 snacks per week, and the Women’s Snack Program adds 14 snacks per week.

How the Setup Process Works

We found the setup process to be very straightforward and user-friendly. Nonetheless, because it’s important at the outset to give bistroMD important information about your preferences and meal goals right at the start, we recommend you begin the registration process when you have a half hour of time to complete it. This is the best way to make sure your first week of meals matches your thoughtful preferences.

Choosing a plan

Start by selecting your desired meal package and creating your member profile.

To choose your meal package, you will select from the out-of-the-box meal programs (standard, heart-healthy, menopause, etc) and then specify the size of the weekly plan you want to order (7-day versus 5-day and whether to include breakfasts).

Creating your profile means providing bistroMD with your name, email and gender (to best tailor your meal plan) and choosing a good password.

Start customizing your plan, with help from experts

Because the success of your meal plan depends on weekly deadlines and understanding your own preferences and needs, you should access your member area right away and begin working with the team. In fact, you can begin customizing your plan directly from the order confirmation page. It’s what bistroMD recommends, and we agree.

BistroMD’s team of registered dietitians will take the information you already provided during the ordering process and offer meal options tailored better for your personal nutritional needs and weight loss goals.

In bistroMD’s robust member area, you can easily specify your own taste preferences, change meal selections, and control which weeks you want food delivered or which weeks you’d like to skip. You’ll see all the meal options that the dietitian team identified as optimal for your nutritional needs. You can select from those options or instead choose from a broader selection, all of which are healthy but might not fit your nutritional needs the way that the dietitian-preferred meals would.

Bottom line: when it comes to which of the hundreds of meal possibilities you will receive, you’re in the driver’s seat.

And if you need more help customizing a plan that suits your needs best, call bistroMD at (866) 401-3438 to work it out with the team of dietitians.

NOTE: when you work with bistroMD’s team to customize your plan, bistroMD requires a week in advance in order to work out the proper nutritional changes and accommodate your needs.

Weekly Routines and Deadlines

The weekly deadlines are slightly different for first-week (brand new) members compared to ongoing members. NOTE: your order is auto-recurring for convenience, so if you need to change or cancel something, do so prior to weekly deadlines.

For brand new (first week) members

  • When to sign up and make an order so that you receive meals within the same week: Anytime before Tuesday at noon ET.
  • When to specify your desires for the first week of meals: Do this right away after signing up.
  • When to customize your second week’s meals: By Wednesday at 5pm ET. This may likely happen prior to you receiving your first week’s meals, which is why BistroMD gives you the opportunity to hold the second week by Sunday (See below).
  • When to cancel or hold the following week’s service: Do this by Sunday at midnight ET.

For all other members:

  • When to customize your next week’s meals: By Wednesday at 5pm ET.
  • When to cancel or hold next week’s meals: By Wednesday at 5pm ET.

Shipments arrive each week

Unless you put your service on hold the week prior by the deadline above, your shipment will arrive each week with your plan’s weekly amount of meals.

Shipments arrive on dry ice (the amount of which may vary depending on your meal selections). It’s always the same flat shipping rate (which, by the way, is waived for the first week!). Put your meals into the freezer immediately upon arrival.

Pricing

BistroMD prices depend not on the program you choose (diabetic-friendly, heart-healthy, vegetarian, etc) but instead on the number of meals you choose to be delivered each week in your plan. Here are the current prices:

  • 7-day full meal plan (breakfast, lunch and dinner): $189.95
  • 7-day lunch and dinner only: 159.95
  • 5-day full meal plan: $159.95
  • 5-day lunch and dinner only: $129.95

Current Discounts

As a sign of their confidence that you’ll like the product, bistroMD offers incentives to try it, such as free shipping AND 25% off on your first week. Right now, they’re offering an additional 5% off on top of those discounts, with a coupon code they provide at their website. Their discounts and incentives will change–check here for the latest prices and discounts.

It’s also important to remember that, with these various plans, you also enjoy:

  • Access to bistroMD’s team of registered dietitians (for both individual and group consultation).
  • A community of members like you, who can offer advice and support.
  • Weekly expert advice from bistroMD’s doctor, dietitians, trainers and resident foodie.

For the convenience, excellent nutritional value and access to professional support and guidance to ensure your dieting success, we find these prices to be very reasonable.

What Criteria Do We Use to Evaluate Dietary Support Companies?

At Innerbody, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For bistroMD and other meal programs, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Variety of meal options: How well does the meal service accommodate people with different dietary goals and tastes? It’s important that we can eat what we like to eat.

Nutritional value: Does the meal service operate with a firm grasp of nutritional needs of its customers?

Flavor: Do the meals taste good? Simple question, but if the answer is no, then nothing else matters!

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?

Customer support: How well does the company help you make the service ideal for you, with your unique dietary needs and lifestyle/routine considerations? How easy is it to plan and receive the meals delivered to your home?

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