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First Impressions: bistroMD Review + Coupon

Jessica Hapak
ByJessica HapakApr 7, 2022 | 9 comments

bistroMD
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bistroMD is a doctor-designed meal delivery service that is passionate about providing healthy and tasty meals tailored to weight loss. They offer various programs tailored for both men and women along with a diabetes-friendly program, a heart-healthy program, a gluten-free program, and a menopause program. I was really intrigued by the premise of bistroMD - sure, you can make healthy food for a specific health concern like high cholesterol or diabetes, but would the pre-made, frozen food actually taste good enough that you could stick to the weight loss program? Read on to learn more about what bistroMD has to offer.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Subscription Details

Subscription Box: bistroMD

Price:  10 Meals are $149.90, 14 Meals are $188.86, 20 Meals are $219.80

Delivery Options: Your purchase will auto-renew every week, so don't forget to cancel, customize your meals, or skip the weeks that don't work with your schedule.

Shipping: $19.95

First Impressions

 

The meals come packaged in dry ice, with warnings to not touch with your bare hands. If you ordered snacks, they are nestled on top with a foam layer in between the snack box and the rest of the meals.

My meals still arrived frozen rock-solid, which I appreciated- come the warmer months here in south Louisiana, not all of my meal delivery boxes make it intact, but I feel pretty confident these would given how frozen they were.

 

Your order comes with literature, including steps for success, guidance on snacking, exercise, and weight loss, and the encouragement to celebrate non-scale victories. In my life, I have spoken with weight loss surgeons and registered dieticians, and one thing I really appreciated as I was going through the literature provided by bistroMD was how similar the information about their program was compared to the recommendations provided by professionals. bistroMD really focuses on this being a lifestyle change to better your overall health, and I appreciate they weren't promoting fast but dangerous ways to try to lose weight. That made me feel like I could trust bistroMD as a potential customer moving forward even beyond this review- because I really do need to figure out what to do for lunches at work, and in an ideal world my solution would be a healthy one.

bistroMD Review

Grilled Chicken Pesto with Farro Salad

 

Calories: 450; Protein: 38g; Total Carbohydrates: 29g, Dietary Fiber: 4g; Total Sugars: 5g; Total Fat: 9g

This was the first bistroMD meal I tried, and it left a good first impression. To start, their chef-created pesto smelled absolutely delicious- the smell filled up the kitchen when I was heating up the meal, and I couldn't wait to taste it because it smelled so good. Luckily, the taste did not disappoint, and it was a great sauce over the moist chicken breast. I can be really picky over the chicken I eat- I won't order grilled chicken salads at certain chain restaurants just because the chicken is rubbery with a weird texture. bistroMD sent an entire chicken breast that was grilled and then microwaved, yet somehow it remained juicy and flavorful. That entire (small but mighty) chicken breast meant this dish was packed with protein, so it kept me full from lunchtime until I was home from work and ready to figure out dinner. As my first healthy frozen meal, this far exceeded what I had been used to from Lean Cuisine in the past.

Beef Steak & Ale Stew

 

Calories: 320; Protein: 25g; Total Carbohydrates: 20g, Dietary Fiber: 5g; Total Sugars: 9g; Total Fat: 15g

I love to cook, so personally, I found it a little inaccurate to call this a stew since a stew implies a thicker liquid. My own nuances aside, I would have loved some type of mashed potato (or mashed cauliflower?) to soak up the liquid of this stew, and I found the side of cauliflower on its own to be a little bland with a slightly water-logged texture. The meat in the stew had a really nice flavor, but I did find it to be a bit chewier compared to the tender chunks of beef I use when I simmer a stew in my crockpot all day. Even with my criticisms of the meal, though, I enjoyed it overall, this did leave me feeling satisfied with my lunch, and I would order it and eat it again.

Green Chile Pork with Southwest-Style Salsa

 

Calories: 280; Protein: 24g; Total Carbohydrates: 28g, Dietary Fiber: 5g; Total Sugars: 5g; Total Fat: 8g

There isn't a whole lot of cheese on top of this dish, but there's just enough so that once I pulled it out of the microwave and saw the melted cheese covering the tender shredded pork, I was excited to dive into it. As a fan of green chilis and spice, I definitely found this to be on the mild side, but it really gave me burrito bowl vibes thanks to the rice and the corn and black bean salsa. I think this would benefit from a squeeze of fresh lime juice and tomatillo salsa or hot sauce, but I enjoyed this and this is another meal I would eat and order again- it left me feeling full until dinner time.

Smoked Chipotle Pork & Eggs

 

Calories: 250; Protein: 25g; Total Carbohydrates: 16g, Dietary Fiber: 4g; Total Sugars: 3g; Total Fat: 10g

I was happy to see that when customizing your meals, bistroMD lets you select breakfast meals even if you only are doing the lunch and dinner plan. That works so much better for my lifestyle, where I am left scrambling for breakfast and lunch but can usually put together dinner without too much of an issue. If I liked the breakfast meals, I could see myself ordering bistroMD again in the future and using it for breakfast and lunches at work- but first I had to see how the food measured up. I liked this smoked chipotle pork and eggs dish, but I don't think it will be for everyone. The texture was very one-note- the cowboy caviar was kind of mushy, the eggs didn't have the firmest bite to them, and the meal overall felt like it was lacking a crunch. The salsa had a small kick to it I found really flavorful and yummy, and I didn't even feel the need to douse this dish in ketchup the way I do most egg-based breakfast dishes. Even without the crunch, this went into the win column for me because it kept me full until lunchtime- and it could have lasted me a little later into the afternoon if I needed it, too.

Chicken Rice & Cheddar Casserole

 

Calories: 290; Protein: 31g; Total Carbohydrates: 21g, Dietary Fiber: 4g; Total Sugars: 5g; Total Fat: 8g

I was looking forward to trying this dish, but it was my least favorite one in the box. The casserole texture was very mushy and the flavor was a bit bland. The broccoli had a good texture, but it was overly salty in a way none of the other veggies in any of the other meals I tried were. The combination of these things made this meal rather off-putting, and I didn't end up finishing the dish.

Red Curry Tilapia with Rice & Mixed Vegetables

 

Calories: 300; Protein: 33g; Total Carbohydrates: 26g, Dietary Fiber: 3g; Total Sugars: 5g; Total Fat: 8g

I was really hesitant about trying out frozen, then microwaved fish, but I figured that doing so would make this a more well-rounded review. I needn't have worried - bistroMD knows how to treat their proteins right, and since tilapia is such a mild fish it was really just a vehicle for me to enjoy the red curry sauce. I wouldn't be in a hurry to order fish dishes in the future, but this one wasn't bad.

Chicken Piccata

 

Calories: 320; Protein: 33g; Total Carbohydrates: 31g, Dietary Fiber: 6g; Total Sugars: 8g; Total Fat: 7g

I was excited to see how bistroMD would treat a pasta dish, and while this wasn't bad, I don't think I would order it again. This had the same nice-quality chicken breast that the chicken pesto dish had, and the chicken remained moist and flavorful even after being heated up in the microwave. There were plenty of penne noodles with an al dente bite to them, but I was missing a creamier sauce I would normally have on pasta. This dish specifically would have benefitted from some extra capers and a squeeze of fresh lemon. bistroMD does encourage using your own herbs to spruce up your meals, and if I had some in my office I think this would have been the dish to use them on. Overall this left me feeling satiated, but it wasn't the most exciting.

Chicken Cacciatore

 

Calories: 250; Protein: 30g; Total Carbohydrates: 18g, Dietary Fiber: 5g; Total Sugars: 9g; Total Fat: 7g

bistroMD knows what they're doing with their chicken- the chunks of chicken in this chicken cacciatore remained tender and not rubbery, and the tomato sauce they were coated in had a nice flavor. The snap peas in this dish still retained a crunch to them, but not in an undercooked way. Overall, this was a solid lunch.

Beef Stuffed Grape Leaves with Tomato Sauce

 

Calories: 250; Protein: 20g; Total Carbohydrates: 23g, Dietary Fiber: 5g; Total Sugars: 8g; Total Fat: 9g

These beef-stuffed grape leaves were a fun meal to try- I can't say I've ever seen this dish offered in the healthy frozen foods section before. The grilled vegetables they were paired with tasted fine on their own, but I preferred tossing them in with the tomato sauce and grape leaves and eating them that way.

Merlot Chicken Meatballs with Grits

 

Calories: 280; Protein: 23g; Total Carbohydrates: 27g, Dietary Fiber: 4g; Total Sugars: 8g; Total Fat: 8g

This was my favorite meal in the entire box- I wouldn't hesitate to order this again, and order multiples of the meal in the same order. The grits themself weren't the most impressive- if you're from the South, just mentally block out what you'd normally expect grits to taste like because nothing about them is healthy. But the chicken meatballs were juicy and had good flavor, and that merlot sauce was out of this world good. Once I mixed it all together, my tastebuds were happy, my belly was fully, and I was left feeling shocked that a meal under 300 calories and under 30 grams of carbs could be so satisfying and enjoyable.

How were the snacks?

bistroMD encourages snacking throughout the day to prevent blood sugar spikes, and while you're free to choose your own, of course, they also off a snack add-on that you can choose to come with your meal delivery. It costs $25 to add 10 snacks to your five-day plan, and you can choose from options like protein shakes, jerky, trail mix, mini cheesecakes, bars and cookies, and chips and puffs. I was able to try the snacks out, and I liked some, while some I won't seek out again. With these snacks, it was more clear in the taste that they're trying to get you plenty of protein, and that definitely makes it harder to use these snacks as an emotional eating crutch if that is something snacks are to you. I didn't hate the jerky, though the texture was more chewy and moist compared to the store-bought jerky I am used to, and my favorites were the trail mix, though those nut blends were the highest in calorie. Even if these aren't the best snacks you'll ever eat, though, they're definitely a life-saver if you're on the go and need something in your stomach quickly with no time to microwave a meal.

How was the reheating process?

I'm sure we all know that all microwaves vary, but I did find that all of my bistroMD meals required extra time in the work microwave than the time listed on the back of the packaging. bistroMD recommends pulling out your meal the night before and letting it defrost in the fridge and then microwaving it for a shorter period, but you can also microwave it directly from frozen. I never got my life together enough to pull my meal out the day before, but other than needing a few more minutes to make sure those chicken breasts were properly warmed through, my meals were fine being cooked from frozen.

How does bistroMD compare to a program like Nutrisystem?

I've never tried Nutrisystem, but my mom gave it a shot when I went off to college. I remember coming home one weekend and seeing a bunch of the Nutrisystem-branded packaging in our cabinet- a lot of their meals are shelf-stable, whereas every meal sent by bistroMD is kept frozen until you're ready to eat. The Nutrisystem Uniquely Yours Diabetes Plan that comes with three meals a day, plus snacks, is $25.32 per day if you choose a one-month shipment ($709.07 for the month), and $13.93 a day ($389.99 for the month) if you sign up for the monthly auto-delivery. You do have to purchase an entire month's worth of food at a time. The bistroMD diabetes plan is $219.80 for 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners, however, you do not have to commit to a monthly plan nor will you be eating food that can be kept preserved without the necessity of modern electricity. You have to pay an additional fee to get snacks with your bistroMD order, however; your weekly fee does give you unlimited access to registered dieticians you can ask questions to.

Who is bistroMD For?

I definitely recommend bistroMD for those looking to lose weight, especially if they have diabetes, need gluten-free meals, or need a heart-healthy weight loss plan. It can be hard enough to lose weight as it is, but if you have additional medical concerns you're going to have a hard time finding pre-made food that fits your dietary needs. bistroMD would also be perfect for those looking to continue a post-weight loss surgery diet that is low calorie, low in carbs, and high in protein- I was surprised by how closely the principals aligned considering bistroMD does not market themselves to bariatric surgery patients.

My Final Thoughts

Even if you don't have a particular health concern beyond wanting to eat healthily or lose weight, bistroMD is worth checking out; the meals were much higher quality than what I could pick up in my frozen-food aisle, most of the meals were really enjoyable (I am sure there is a bit of trial and error as you figure out which meals are your favorite), and the simple ingredients lists used by the chefs who made the meals really made me feel good about what I was eating- I didn't feel like I was missing out. bistroMD is something that I could see myself purchasing within the next few weeks to keep stocked at my work fridge so I always have healthy, high-protein lunches (and a few breakfasts) handy. I appreciate that bistroMD focuses on science-backed methods and works with both a doctor and registered dietician, and they even make the registered dietitians available to you for you to ask your questions to. When I tried out the feature, I received an in-depth email response to my question that promised no quick fixes or magical solutions, but a realistic and honest answer that made me feel like I could trust the company more. I am curious about trying more meals from the company, especially more breakfasts, now that I have been exposed to the world of better-quality freezer meals.

What do you think of bistroMD?

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This review just covered 10 of the 150 chef-prepared meals made by bistroMD. Let us know if you would be interested in a follow-up review exploring more of their menu offerings!

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Jessica Hapak
Jessica Hapak
I am a staunch believer that pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza and when I’m not working as a family law attorney I enjoy hiking the Louisiana trails (alligator sightings are a favorite!) or relaxing with Duchess, my cat. I’m a sucker for anything labeled a mystery box and I’ve never met a bath bomb I didn’t like.

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9 comments

Snow

A few comments. First, what happens to all that packaging that these meals come in? I don’t know if I could in good conscience just toss all that away in the garbage (especially if I was getting weekly deliveries 😣). Second, it would be nice to know the sodium content of these meals. Lastly, for those who are trying to lose weight, I think one step in the right direction would be to just say NO to fast food and any beverage besides water/tea/coffee. Sugar is also a huge enemy and affects everyone negatively no matter their size. I know some people don’t think hard rules are good, but if something is just plain off the table, then the mind doesn’t have to worry about it (or be tempted by it). Keeping a diet/exercise log (like actual pen and paper….no technology needed) can also go a long way in helping a person stay consistent and accountable to their mission. ☺️

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Jody E

If you look at the photos the back of the package has sodium and all nutrition info.

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Pyckle

I’ve been curious about this one – thanks for reviewing it! Is there a coupon? I’m not seeing it ….

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Jessica Hapak

Hi Pyckle (love that name! 🙂). The post has been updated to include the link to the current active deal they have going!

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Susie

Glad you tried this service! Now I want to find a recipe for merlot chicken meatballs cause that sounds excellent. But I’m also really pleased that they are so evidence-based!

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Mary L.

I have such a hard time with the price of all these frozen meal services. Maybe it’s just the presentation in the plastic containers, but they always feel like slightly larger/fancier versions of what’s available at the supermarket. So I can see paying a little more for them, but not $15 a meal.

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Kristin

Agree for frozen dinners easy pass. For that price I’d rather cook and get fresh food.

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Dea

With shipping, it’s 17 dollars a meal!!!! At least they don’t skimp on the protein, like so many do. Groceries are expensive enough right now without adding at least $17 a day to your food expenses.

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Jessica Hapak

Hey Mary!
I think that’s a valid concern. My first dish I did put on a paper plate and I was pleased that it filled up the plate (for the illusion of a big meal if nothing else), but I didn’t really mind eating directly from the containers they were frozen in. The price is definitely steep, but I am not aware of supermarket meals near me that would mimic the nutritional requirements of a post-bariatric surgery diet, and that was a big reason I was so impressed with Bistro MD overall.

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