BistroMD has long been the leader in delivering diet meal plans nationwide. Like all companies, there are things we like, and things we don't, but this company has shown historically, the willingness to bend over backwards to improve their service.
BistroMD Diet Plan Review
Like most diet meal delivery services, the primary purpose of the "front-end" of the website is to show you just enough information to get you to commit to a purchase. BistroMD has a "back-end" side of their website where you can customize a menu, put future deliveries on hold, and chat live with employees during normal business hours. This is called "My BistroMD."
Once you agree to order and provide a credit card, you are on automatic delivery. You have until Wednesday, 5PM to make changes to your order or suspend future deliveries. Once the deadline passes, your order will be shipped at the beginning of the following week.
We found the need to contact customer service a few times regarding questions about our order. We first tried email, as the website suggests, and never received a response back.
When we tried to call customer service, we never got past a voice mail requesting we leave a message for a call back. We found it frustrating, but we did place our order during the first week of January, which is a busy time for any diet delivery service. We called over 15 times during the course of three days before we were able to get a representative on the phone.
- Tip: If you have trouble getting someone to pick up the phone, we recommend you keep trying until there's an available representative.
The representative was very nice. She confirmed that our email was received, and not answered. We were expecting our delivery on Monday or Tuesday, and we never received a notice that it was coming. It wasn't. The customer service representative told us it was coming Friday.
Our second week order was scheduled for Monday. We ordered a seven day breakfast, lunch and dinner meal plan, so we asked that the second delivery be placed on hold.
The "My BistroMD" section of the website allows you to generate a list of "approved" diet meals. We found the functionality poor, at best. If you are going to use this service long-term, it seems the company wants to send you the default menu of less compelling meals. When you select such a meal, like waffles for breakfast, you can be subject to a series of nag screens for related diet products.
Now comes the fun part, our detailed BistroMD review of their prepared diet meals.
BistroMD - Day One
- Breakfast: Rodeo Omelet with Sweet Potatoes. This was our first meal and it didn't reheat based on the instructions. The inside of the omelet was still frozen and had a crunchy texture. We already plated it, so we learned from our mistake. Outside of that issue, this is a very good breakfast. We liked the real egg whites instead of processed or powdered eggs other companies use. There were real bits of ham, diced peppers, and cheddar cheese, which we could taste. The roasted sweet potatoes were seasoned with thyme, but certainly missing salt and pepper. Add that yourself, and you have a winner of a breakfast!
- Lunch: Herbed Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce, Orzo, and Garlic Seasoned Broccoli. We loved that the Marinara sauce was homemade and not from a jar. The orzo was outstanding, too, and we wish we had more of it, even though the portion size was good. We didn't taste any garlic seasoning in the broccoli. The chicken breast wasn't breaded, which is okay for a diet plan. The company gets bonus points for not using a machine-processed chicken breast. Overall, you would probably be very happy with this as an office lunch.
- Dinner: Beef with Mushroom Marsala and Linguini and Italian Style Green Beans. It just so happens, the day before, our chef made braised beef with filet mignon. This beef is not the same as filet mignon, but it is real chunks of beef (not USDA select or canned beef) and much better than average. We especially love when a company uses real (and large) mushrooms over the cheaper canned ones. The sauce was good, but the Marsala taste was faint. The linguine was soft and didn't have an al dente texture. We found just a hint of seasoning on the vegetables, but we felt this diet plan was off to a very good start.
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Value is defined as what you get for your money, and we feel BistroMD is a leader in providing value to the consumers who choose this service. Our detailed BistroMD Review will explore this much further.
This is a screenshot from the menu preferences page, but we wanted to point out the lack of photos for available meals on the website. When you click on a product page for more information, we found descriptions and reviews blank. Certainly issues that would help us create a diet meal plan that we would enjoy, which we would assume, would also be the goal of the company.
It took us about 30 minutes to create our own custom order, but once it was saved, we didn't have access to it. We weren't sure it was saved, so we did it again, and again, after having the same problem. Basically, it looks like the My BistroMD section of the website isn't finished and doesn't function up to the standards we've become accustomed to from BistroMD.
"Tonight you can enjoy a structured break from the program."
As consumers, when we pay for a 7 day meal plan, we want 7 days of meals. To us, it seemed like a way to save a couple of bucks on the expense of the meal plan, When we finally got through to customer service, they said we could get a 7th dinner, we would just have to pay extra for it.
Here is what 7 days of breakfast, lunch, and 6 days of dinner looks like when you get home. You can see by the snow, we purchased our meal plan in the winter.
The box is not as heavy as it might look. It is big because of the thickness of the insulated cooler inside the box. It might be the thickest cooler, we have ever seen, and is an example of how BistroMD sets themselves apart from the competitors.
We are showing you this based on our experience. The outer cover has a huge yellow sticker warning you not to touch the dry ice. We kind of blew past it because we are very experienced in receiving frozen meals from almost all of the national meal delivery services.
Normally, you would just lift the bag of dry ice out of the box. It will evaporate over time. In this case, the bag was broken leaving chunks of dry ice exposed. Of course, one of our interns picked it up and had it stick to his hand. Not a big deal, but dry ice can burn the skin.
Lastly, we wanted to show you how well the box is packed. There is not a spare square inch for another meal, which made us wonder if this is why the 7th dinner was not included in the meal plan.
BistroMD may have the best packaging of all meal delivery services, and not just for people buying diet meal plans.
BistroMD puts each meal in its own cardboard sleeve that is uniquely labeled to identify the name of the meal. That is an added (and substantial) expense most meal delivery services won't do.
We were able to fit our 7 day breakfast, lunch, and 6 days of dinners on one shelf of our basement freezer. You can see how much space these meals would take in a top freezer too.
- Tip: If you position the meals so the name of the meals are displayed, you'll have an easier time finding the meals you want to eat.
It's this kind of attention to detail that makes this service one of the best in the industry.
One of the things we love about BistroMD Trays is that they are all BPA-free, meaning no plastic will leech into the food. This was also the first time we saw a tray shrink-wrapped, which is a significantly better (and more expensive) way to seal the trays.
We had one of our meals come with a broken seal on the tray. Although minor, we have noticed (from all vendors) that the food quality deteriorates when a seal is broken. The food could also become covered with frost, although that wasn't the case here.
- Tip: In the reheating instructions, it is recommended you allow time for the meals to defrost in your refrigerator. We highly recommend this, and 24 hours is usually good enough.
The meals we reheated from frozen did not reheat within the time listed on the label. We used a standard 1,100 watt microwave and found the inside of our omelet still frozen. After a few attempts, we found adding another 90 seconds was perfect, but every microwave is different, so you may have to test your meals a few times before you get it perfect. It is always better to undercook and add more time, than to overcook your meals.
If your program is on hold, some nag screens will prompt you to restart your deliveries and not allow you to do anything else. When this happens, you have to restart the browser, sign in again, and start all over. The process takes too long to do, and can be quite frustrating, in our opinion.
Customizing A Meal Plan
When you start to customize a meal plan, you start with the less compelling (in our opinion) default menu.
The 7 Day Meal Plan Comes with 6 Dinners
We have to say this really annoyed us, because nowhere (at least in non-legal fine print) does it say, before you give them your credit card, the 7 day meal plan comes with only 6 dinners. Here is how they explain it:
BistroMD - Day Two
- Breakfast: Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with a Zucchini and Sweet Potato Hash. We have always loved BistroMD's crepes and this one didn't disappoint. It's quite an impressive portion size for a diet meal, too. The crepe is stuffed with shredded chicken and bits of ham. The Bechamel sauce brings it all together very nicely. We wouldn't go out of our way to get more hash, but it was good enough to get some healthy zucchini and sweet potatoes into our body.
- Lunch: Meatloaf with Ground Turkey and Ground Beef, Bacon, and Cheddar Cheese Served with Sweat Potato Fries, Carrots and Spinach. There's really nothing better than a healthy-sized protein entree on a diet plan, and this meatloaf didn't disappoint. It is the first we ever heard of a 50% blend of beef and turkey from a diet delivery service. It is good, a little on the dry side, which can be expected when there isn't any natural fat to keep it moist. The sweet potato fries were okay, the carrots were okay, and the spinach was okay. They all needed to be seasoned, which we are finding to be a common theme with these meals, and none of them really "wowed" us, as far as taste goes, although they did accomplish their job of filling us up until lunch.
- Dinner: Vegetable and Three Bean Burrito Kit with Cauliflower and Cilantro. It's not like us to rave about vegetarian meals, we tend to be closer to the "meat and potatoes" type, but this vegetable and bean burrito was pretty darn tasty. We would have preferred it to be assembled for us, and imagined that someone taking this to work as an office lunch might make a bit of a mess. But that observation aside, there was a generous amount of beans and vegetables all held together by the melted cheese. We had trouble rolling it into a burrito that we could eat with our hands, which made us like it more. The roasted cauliflower was tossed with cilantro, which we didn't taste at all.
- Tip: If you watch any food shows on TV, you'll see the chefs almost violently criticize people for lack of seasoning. These meals are bland, and certainly need attention in that area. They are probably bland to support low sodium diets, or less salt in your food while you are dieting. But, if you need the food to taste GREAT and can lose weight by portion size alone, add just a little seasoning (salt and pepper) to bring out the flavor of the food.
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BistroMD - Day Three
- Breakfast: Tomato Pesto Omelet with Peaches. If you want to spend the time to customize your meal plan, you really can't go wrong with any of the omelets. This one was filled with diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and pesto sauce. We didn't get much of the pesto flavor, but this was still an outstanding, egg white omelet. The peaches on the side were very soft from the microwave and we didn't taste any basil. There is one tiny piece of basil in the close-up photo.
- Lunch: Manicotti with Vodka Marinara Sauce and Mixed Green Vegetables. This is a meal that over-promised and under-delivered a bit. Not that it was bad, because it wasn't; the meal came with one large manicotti which reheated to be very soft. There was an extra large amount of sauce, which probably added to the texture. We had a hard time lifting it out of the tray without falling apart. We are sure they used low-fat cheese as a filling, because it didn't have much flavor, but the sauce was outstanding, even though we didn't see a connection to the "Vodka" mentioned in the name.
- Dinner: Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf with Caramelized Onion Gravy. Another meatloaf, which was sent to us a replacement meal for one we ordered but wasn't in stock. Turkey can be painfully dry, and this one was no exception. If you tried this blindfolded, you probably wouldn't be able to identify what you were eating. It lacked seasoning, like most of their meals. The whipped sweet potatoes are the first vegetable we've tried that we can say we would look to order again. They are firm and packed with flavor. The seasoned cauliflower florets didn't seem seasoned to us at all. The chef might need a refresher course on what a caramelized onion is, as you can see in the picture. A proper sauce would have complemented the meatloaf perfectly.
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BistroMD - Day Four
- Breakfast: Salmon Benedict. When we selected this from the menu, we had visions of grandeur and loved the idea of a prepared meal delivery service finding a way to make eggs Benedict. This one fell short of our gourmet expectations, but it did pass our test, grading it on a curve for a high level of difficulty. The eggs are real, which is uncommon (believe it or not) but far from being poached or anything even close to that. We imagined there was going to be little tasty bits of smoked salmon (remember, we said most of meal descriptions are missing on the BistroMD website) sprinkled over a traditional Hollandaise sauce. There is more salmon than we imagined, but it is cooked through. The sauce was not similar to any Hollandaise, even on the most generous comparison, but it was good. The mixed grill was fine but under seasoned. If the omelets are a home run (and they are) this prepared breakfast was a double, plus an "A" for effort.
- Lunch: Beef Shepard's Pie. One of our staff members has a pet peeve about the difference between Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie. They are exactly the same thing except a Shepherd's Pie is made with Lamb, and a Cottage Pie is made with beef. There is no such thing as a Beef Shepherd's Pie. You may not care, that's okay. As you might be able to tell, we are experts on this meal, and this one fell short. The quality of the beef was a concern as two of our testers experienced tiny pieces of bone wedged into their teeth. The mashed potatoes didn't help the cause either. This would be a meal we recommend you replace.
- Dinner: Steak House Wrap Kit. Dinner more than made up for lunch. We had the vegetable burrito earlier and loved it. This is really the same thing with ground beef, we wouldn't call it steak. It was the same quality ground beef we had for lunch, but we didn't have any issues. The rice was good and not dry. It helped make the meal bigger than what you would expect for a diet meal. The caramelized onion, and brunoise peppers (a smaller cut than a dice) missed the boat to the party in our opinion. The magic of these burritos is in the cheese and how it holds everything together, both technically and in flavor. The creamed spinach side was the second vegetable side we will look for and order again.
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BistroMD - Day Five
- Breakfast: Steak and Onion Omelet with Sweet Potatoes. As you may have already gathered, we love the BistroMD egg white omelets, and this one was our favorite. Think of an omelet stuffed with Philly Cheesesteak Beef. Shredded and one of the few meals that was seasoned, this breakfast was a treat. The same wonderful cheese they used on the burritos would have been wonderful, but this is cheese-less. It reheats well and was quite enjoyable. The side of cubed sweet potatoes was good, but lacked seasoning. An occasional real potato for breakfast would be welcome, but we would recommend adding this to your regular breakfast menus.
- Lunch: Oven-Fried Catfish with Spicy Tomato Leek Sauce. We were so excited to see catfish on the menu, and we were not disappointed. How they did this, so the catfish and breading heats up in a microwave without getting mushy, is a mystery to us, but they nailed it. Spot on! The sauteed green cabbage was also outstanding, and the spicy tomato leek sauce was grand. It was actually pretty spicy; something most prepared meal delivery services shy away from. Now it won't burn your mouth off, but if you like some heat this sauce is for you. The red beans and rice were okay. The rice came out a bit dried out. It's far from a dirty rice you might get in New Orleans, but still an awesome meal to add to your menu.
- Dinner: Your Own Structured Meal. We've mentioned it, but we'll say it again. The seven day breakfast, lunch, and dinner doesn't come with a seven dinners. Just six. It is also not clearly explained anywhere on the website before you place your order. Instead, you get a night off to have a "structured diet meal." We thought the seven day meal plan should include seven dinners, like all the other diet meal delivery services do.
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BistroMD - Day Six
- Breakfast: Pulled Pork Crepes with BBQ Sauce and Apple Chutney. We only purchased one crepe breakfast this order because we've had them all in the past. If it is true that history repeats itself, then you can be assured any crepe breakfast from BistroMD will be outstanding. This one was no exception. Don't be afraid of the BBQ Sauce, it's very mild and not relevant to the dish. It's the combination of pork and cinnamon apples that make this breakfast one of the best you can buy from any company. If you select your own menu (and you should) of crepes and omelets you can go wrong.
- Lunch: Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf with Old Fashioned Tomato Sauce. We had this entree on day three. This time it's partnered with tomato sauce and some different sides. The corn is pretty straightforward. It's corn. The sweet red and green cabbage slaw is another vegetable side we will look for to order again, it was that good. We don't know what made the tomato sauce old-fashioned, it tasted like their base sauce to us. The brick of turkey meatloaf was exactly the same as our previous experience.
- Dinner: Beef with Mushroom Marsala Sauce. Basically, this is another duplicate meal, less the linguini. We did seem to get a bit more garlic flavor from the Italian-styled green beans. The linguini was replaced with spaghetti squash which was divine, and we wished there was more of it. We would have liked to see it in its own compartment in the tray, too, instead of just tossed on top of the beef.
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BistroMD - Day Seven
- Breakfast: Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise. This egg breakfast was better than the salmon Benedict we tried. The eggs are the same, but the Hollandaise sauce was a little more flavorful. The bed of spinach lacked seasoning, but wasn't watery. The bean, zucchini, and red pepper stew was watery, but okay.
- Lunch: Beef with Red Wine Sauce and Roasted Vegetables. This came out more like a stew than anything else. The barley was cooked perfectly and had some texture. The braised beef is the same cubed beef we had in other similar meals. The port wine sauce didn't bring as much rich flavor you might expect, and there were a couple of pieces of red onion and baby carrots.
- Dinner: Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf with Caramelized Onion Gravy. This is the same exact meal we had on day three. It was another substitution. No change in our comments.
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We paid $179.95 for our seven day meal plan. Had we used the BistroMD coupon above, we would have paid $118.95. We didn't get 21 meals, we received 20, so the cost comes out to $8.99 per meal. Had we used the coupon, the cost would have been $5.94 per meal.
The coupon gives you an opportunity to try the meal plan. You don't have to do it for seven days, they also have a five day plan. At $8.99 per meal, we think BistroMD offers good value and a realistic amount of food that won't leave you hungry for snacks between meals and after hours.
Are they perfect? No. No diet meal delivery service is, but they are one of the best solutions for weight loss when you don't have the time, desire, or money to shop and cook for yourself. Yes, we said money. You will probably spend more per meal trying to buy and prepare your own diet meals.
At the very beginning of this BistroMD review, we said we thought this company that one of the best values in the diet meal plan industry, and after testing this year's offerings, we still believe that.
- Long-time history of being one of the highest quality diet delivery services.
- Packaging and food storage designed for small freezer space
- Customizable menu. You can pick every meal you want
- Complete meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. No muffins, snack bars, soups, or sandwiches as meals like some other companies do to lower the cost of their program
- Crepes and Omelets for breakfast are best in the business
- Smaller menu options than years past with the same entree appearing with different sides
- We had great difficulty getting through to customer service over the phone and they never replied to our email
- Food shipment was four days late
- We had to add 90 seconds extra to the reheating times shown on the labels
- The seven day meal plan comes with just six dinners, which you will only discover after you give your credit card and sign up for the program
- My BistroMD section of website looks incomplete with missing meal descriptions, pictures, and customer reviews. The excessive nag screens to buy snacks or restart your deliveries (if you paused) are beyond annoying.
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This page was last updated: 9/13/2015