Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: January 10, 2023
BistroMD is a company that offers weight loss programs and a convenient meal delivery service. Their method fosters healthy eating habits and wellness through an ample choice of healthy, ready-to-eat meals, individually tailored meal plans, and personal counseling from registered dietitians.
BistroMD aims to be your personal nutrition coach, cook, and delivery service, all in one. But does it work?
We hope that by the time you finish reading this BistroMD review, you will be able to decide whether it is worth a try.
BistroMD Overview: How It Works
Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a board-certified bariatric specialist, developed the idea of BistroMD and started the company together with her husband, Ed Cederquist. Their goal was to promote health and wellness by making tasty, nutritionally balanced meals readily available to all—even people who have no time to cook.
The outcome was BistroMD, which combines medically sound health principles with meals that feel like they’ve come straight from a high-end catering service.
The BistroMD weight loss program’s major highlight is the all-included meal delivery service: you get nutritious, fully prepared frozen meals delivered to your door.
BistroMD’s programs are customizable for individual preferences, including a selection of vegetarian and diabetic-friendly products. Members get access to a private online community and coaching from registered dietitians who specialize in weight loss.
Here’s a brief video explaining their diet in more detail:
Ready to learn more?
Meals & Menu: What You Get To Eat
BistroMD’s menu has a wide selection of over 150 options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can mix and match dishes according to your preferences to create a customized weekly plan. If you tried a dish and didn’t like it, it’s easy to swap or remove it.
You won’t find bland, tasteless food on the BistroMD menu. Instead, their lunch and dinner roster features delicious-looking dishes such as meatloaf with honey bourbon glaze, lasagna with garden marinara, and roasted turkey breast with cranberry chutney.
Breakfast options are equally tempting. Forget about toast and scrambled eggs; with BistroMD, you can eat cheese omelets with turkey sausage, 7-grain waffles with strawberry compote, and chicken dill crepes with fruited quinoa.
Some BistroMD programs are geared towards specific nutritional needs, such as:
- Heart Healthy
BistroMD Meal Programs: An Overview
Here’s a brief overview of some specific features of the BistroMD plans.
The recommended women’s plan from BistroMD includes three daily meals and two snacks, totaling 1,100-1,400 calories. 40-50% of that amount comes from lean protein, 30-35% from complex carbohydrates, and 20-25% from healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and omega-3-rich foods like salmon.
The men’s program is similar to the women’s program, but with a slightly higher amount of calories.
All Heart Health program meals strictly follow the AHA’s (American Heart Association) recommendations for calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Each meal contains no more than 3.5 g of saturated fat and 600mg of sodium.
The meals in this program feature creative substitutes for gluten-containing carbohydrates and comply with the FDA gluten-free standard. This option can be an enormous relief for people who have experienced the many pitfalls of menu planning, shopping, and meal prep for a no-gluten diet.
All the meals in this program are designed specifically to maintain healthy and stable blood glucose levels. This option restricts the number of carbs per meal to 25g. The daily and weekly meals are planned to include a balanced carbohydrate intake.
The menopause program is very similar to the diabetic-friendly one. The reason is that women going through menopause may experience blood sugar fluctuations and insulin overproduction, two factors that contribute to weight gain.
Each meal in the menopause program contains 25g or less of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber).
BistroMD emphasizes food quality: the company’s chefs and dietitians developed and approved all the recipes to maximize nutritional value and taste.
All BistroMD meals are composed of fresh ingredients and contain no trans fats, hormones, MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrates, artificial coloring, or aspartame.
You can check the list of ingredients and nutritional value for all products when you choose your weekly menu.
BistroMD offers a wide variety of meals and customization options. For example, you can choose to remove gluten, soy, lactose, or dairy products.
However, if you wish to follow a vegan, paleo, or ketogenic diet, you’ll find it more difficult to accommodate your food preferences with BistroMD.
If you have severe food allergies, BistroMD might be a problematic option since their meal processing facilities aren’t allergen-free.
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Individually Tailored Meal Plans
Often, dietary plans require a bit more flexibility than following the standard guidelines for parameters like age and BMI. For example, if you have a physically active lifestyle, you probably expend more calories than average and will need to adjust your caloric intake accordingly. Or maybe you need your meal plan to be vegetarian, and heart-healthy, and diabetic friendly.
In that case, you will benefit from a phone counseling session with one of BistroMD’s staff dietitians. The expert you talk to will help you create an individual meal plan that answers all your nutritional needs and promotes your weight loss goals without compromising your health.
Are BistroMD Meals Frozen?
BistroMD ships frozen meals. Tight packing and dry ice ensure that all meals remain in prime condition until delivery. Microwave your food or heat it in the oven before eating. In five minutes, you can enjoy a professionally prepared, nutritionally balanced meal.
Weight Loss Results: Does It Really Work?
BistroMD operates on conventional dietary principles: a low calorie, high-protein diet plan. Specifically, most of their plans supply between 1,200 and 1,400 calories per day. About 40-45% of the total calorie count comes from high-protein, low-fat sources like meat, fish, and eggs.
Various studies have consistently shown that a high-protein diet promotes appetite control and therefore helps people lose weight. When you eat more protein, you experience a full feeling in your stomach for a longer time and thus eat less overall.
Reducing the calories you consume is another tried-and-true strategy: on average, an adult woman expends between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day. If you expend 2,000 calories, but your daily calorie intake is only 1,300, this leaves you with a shortage of 700 calories. Your body will start dipping into fat reserves o compensate for that difference, and you’ll begin to lose weight.
Keep in mind that drastically reducing your calorie intake can lead to adverse health consequences. Your metabolic system will sense a shortage and send an emergency signal to your brain: slow down that metabolism to save resources! This physiological reaction is what makes long-term weight loss so challenging. It also means that once you resume your previous eating habits, you will rapidly regain the weight.
With this in mind, the dietitians of BistroMD encourage the participants to consume a balanced diet for sustainable weight loss and complement their daily menu with a selection of nutritious snacks, vegetables, and fruits for lifelong health and wellness.
Three Weight Loss Stages
BistroMD has a weight loss system based upon the three following stages:
- Reclaim: battle unhealthy food cravings through balanced meals and promote a change in your metabolism
- Transform: begin to see effects as your body responds to the metabolic changes of a healthier diet
- Stabilize: enjoy a steady lower body weight and improved health
Depending on individual metabolism, it might take around six months to reach the third stage, so be patient!
How BistroMD Helps People Stick To a Meal Plan
Most people are excited and determined when they first start a weight loss plan—they see results and are elated. But then they get bored eating the same bland, tasteless meals over and over.
They are stressed or busy and have no time to cook, let alone look up recipes for dishes that are both healthy and palatable. They get tired, give up, and order takeout. They backslide, and their weight flatlines and eventually starts climbing up again. Ultimately, they are more discouraged than ever.
If bland meals and lack of time to cook have been your main stumbling blocks on the road to a healthy weight, BistroMD can help you solve this problem by convenient meal delivery and a varied menu.
After a busy workday, you can decompress in the evening knowing that a delicious, well-balanced meal from BistroMD is waiting for you in the freezer.
How to Order
BistroMD has a user-friendly site with a straightforward setup process. You will need to set aside about half an hour for site registration and filling out your preferences in an unhurried, thought-out manner. During the setup, you will:
- Create your site profile, including email, name, and gender (because recommendations may differ between men and women)
- Select your meal package (standard, dietetic-friendly, etc.) and specify the number of meals in your weekly plan (seven or five days a week, with or without breakfast)
- Start customizing your meal plan
Optimizing Your Meal Plan
BistroMD recommends that each new subscriber composes their individually customized menu plan right after registration. This advice makes sense since your needs and inclinations will largely determine the program’s success rate.
The dietitian team will process all the information you have provided during registration and suggest meal options that may suit your nutritional needs, weight loss goals, and individual preferences.
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Use the member area to specify your choices, select meal options, and pick the weeks on which you will require meal delivery (you can skip a week if you plan to be away on vacation, for example). You will see the dietitians’ recommendations, pick those options, or select from a wider choice if you prefer.
BistroMD’s meal plans offer hundreds of healthy, delicious possibilities. You just have to choose the ones that suit you.
- New members:
To receive your meals within the same week as a brand new member, you must sign up and make your first order with the company before Tuesday at noon EST. Specify your preferences for the first week as soon as possible after signing up. All new customers enjoy free shipping on their first delivery.
Customize the second week’s meals before Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST. However, you can hold the second week’s delivery or cancel the service by Sunday.
- Starting from the following week:
Customize the next week’s menu, hold the following week’s meals, or cancel the service before Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST.
If you make no changes, the company will renew your order automatically each week, so make sure to follow weekly deadlines and customize your menu or cancel the service in time.
Every week, you will receive a shipment with your full weekly amount of healthy meals. Regardless of the plan you choose (five or seven days a week, with or without breakfast), the flat shipping fee remains the same. Freeze any meals you don’t plan to eat at once.
Be sure to make room in the freezer for your shipment of BistroMD meals.
BistroMD Pros and Cons
- A company founded by a reputable physician
- A wide selection of over 150 entrées for a varied, easily customizable weekly menu
- Most reviewers state that BistroMD meals are delicious
- Accommodation of some dietary restrictions and nutritional needs
- Customer support from registered dietitians to help you personalize your meal plan
- Some comparable service options, like Jenny Craig, are less expensive than BistroMD
- Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is more expensive and location-restricted
- Not suitable for severe food allergies and certain restrictions
- Offers fewer vegetarian options than other similar meal services
- Offers little information on whether ingredients are organic, sustainably sourced, or locally produced
- May require extra snacks to supplement calorie count
BistroMD Cost: How Much per Month?
BistroMD members can choose between several options:
- Full program: three meals a day, five or seven days a week. Price per meal: $9.50-$10.50. Price per week: $189.95 for seven days, $159.95 for five days.
- Lunch and dinner only: five or seven days a week. Price per meal: $11.50-$13. Price per week: $159.95 for seven days, $129.95 for five days.
- Snacks: optional addition for an extra fee
- Shipping: $19.95 per delivery in the U.S., excluding Alaska and Hawaii
New customers get perks such as free shipping and a 25% discount on their first order.
BistroMD puts forward special discounts and other incentives from time to time, so keep an eye on their website for the latest offer.
*Prices current at the time of publication – see current BistroMD prices at their website.
EATS: Essential and Tasty Snack Program
Far from being detrimental to your weight loss goals, healthy snacks can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Snacks will keep you from getting too hungry between meals and prevent overeating during the next meal. For some individuals, snacks are essential to stabilizing blood sugar throughout the day.
The key here is to choose your snacks wisely. To help you attain this goal, BistroMD offers the EATS (Essential and Tasty Snack) program. For the additional cost of several dollars a day, you get high-quality protein snacks that will help boost your fullness and throw off cravings.
The women’s weekly EATS program includes 14 snacks, while the men’s weekly program contains 21 snacks.
Most BistroMD snacks look incredibly tempting, and some seem almost decadent, such as the salted caramel pecan, the strawberries and cream cheesecake, and the espresso fudge cookie bites.
BistroMD Client Reviews
Many customers have left a glowing review stating that BistroMD has been a game-changer for them. Specifically, people say that the service helped them simplify meal planning, lose weight, and enhance their health and wellness. The impact can be compelling for those who live alone and have no motivation to cook for themselves or people whose family isn’t on board with their healthy lifestyle goals.
However, some mishaps are almost inevitable with such a vast network of frozen meal delivery services. Some BistroMD customers complain of receiving meals that differ from what they have ordered, list food quality issues, and express health concerns over meals that have arrived partially thawed.
Other review complaints focused on delivery delays, frustration with the customer service team, issues with order cancellations, and mistaken deliveries on weeks when the customer was away from home.
BistroMD can be an excellent option for people who:
- Want a convenient, fully mapped-out weight loss program—just stick to the meals you get, and you’re covered
- Don’t feel like cooking and prefer fully prepared frozen meals to save time on grocery store trips and meal prep
- Have specific dietary preferences
On the other hand, the program probably won’t work for those who:
- Have stringent dietary restrictions or severe allergies
- Are on a limited budget
- Want more independence and self-reliance in their weight loss program
Our bottom line review: while BistroMD is a reliable ready-meal weight loss program option, you could get a slightly cheaper deal with its competitors. For example, with Jenny Craig, a weight loss program featuring similar meal delivery services, a meal will cost you around $6.50.
We hope this BistroMD review has given you some insight into the service and made it easier for you to decide whether this concept is something you’d like to incorporate into your weight loss journey.