Article updated on July 19, 2023 at 5:23 AM PDT

BistroMD Review: A Meal Delivery Service Designed for Losing Weight

BistroMD serves up nutritious food by mail that's tailored for weight loss, increased energy, diabetes management and more. We put the popular meal delivery service to the test.

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Written by 
David Watsky
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David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Before, during and after earning his BA from Northeastern, he toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or the best way to cook bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
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7.8/ 10


Buy at BistroMD


  • Meals are generally healthy, low in calories, fat and sodium and high in protein
  • The meat dishes were mostly cooked well
  • Good for portion control
  • Tons of menu options each week
  • Supports specific health concerns and nutrition goals


  • Vegan recipes were just plain bad
  • Most dishes needed seasoning support
  • Not a good fit for big eaters
  • A bit expensive for what it is
  • Extra $20 for shipping on every box

BistroMD bills itself as a weight-loss meal subscription program, with recipe options designed to serve an array of nutritional and health goals. There are programs designed for managing diabetes, menopause and heart health. A diet is only as effective as the food is tasty, however. If the food isn't good, you're far more likely to cheat or give up. Honestly, who could blame you?

bistro md meal

Among some successful meals were a lot of misses.


The company was founded by a Florida doctor, Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D. and her husband Ed Cederquist, and thus takes a somewhat scientific and medical approach to healthy eating through rigid eating plans with regimented calorie intake. BistroMD also provides access to dieticians for subscribers. 

But after eating two weeks worth of BistroMD's weight loss meals, I'm not sure this healthy and low-calorie food is good enough to keep me coming back or to warrant the bloated cost. That total cost is only underscored by a $20 shipping fee each week, the priciest surcharge of any service we've tried.

Here's everything you need to know about BistroMD's weight loss meal subscription. 

How BistroMD works: Signup and ordering

Subscribing to BistroMD starts with a quick online quiz to identify your diet and nutrition goals, probing your eating and cooking habits, dietary restrictions and goals. Your answers will drive you toward one of seven options: signature, gluten-free, heart-healthy, keto flex, diabetic, menopause or vegan. 

Bistro MD quiz

The initial quiz helps BistroMD determine which meal program is right for you.

Screenshot by David Watsky/CNET

And that's about it for customization. BistroMD tailors its plans for men and women, offering slightly larger portion sizes to men -- but it does not factor in your weight, body mass composition or targeted weight loss goals as a certified nutritionist would.

  • Signature: The most popular plan, according to BistroMD. This one Includes all offerings, with more than 150 meals to choose from.
  • Menopause Friendly: Features more recipes with lean protein and 25 grams less net carbs per meal.
  • Diabetic Friendly: Meals containing 25 grams or fewer of net carbs to help regulate blood sugar.
  • Keto Flex: Includes meals low in carbohydrates and high in protein. 
  • Heart Healthy: This meal plan features recipes that have less than 600 grams of sodium and less than 3.5 grams of saturated fat.
  • Gluten-Free: All meals on this plan are free of wheat, barley and rye.
bistro md meals on website

A smattering of BistroMD meals from the service's website.

Screenshot by David Watsky/CNET

Once you've settled on a meal program, you select the number of days per week --. five or seven -- and whether you want lunch and dinner or breakfast, lunch and dinner. That means the fewest number of meals you can order per week is 10 and the most is 21. The more you order, the less expensive per meal -- but more on that later. 

BistroMD's extensive menu is categorized by breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees and snacks, and includes most of the information you'd want or need including calories, protein, fat content and carbs. Sodium and some other nutritional information are listed on the boxes when meals arrive but can't always be previewed online. I would have preferred it if they were. 

back of bisto md meal

Most BistroMD meals are around 300 calories.

David Watsky/CNET

BistroMD is a subscription, so if you don't pause or cancel they'll continue to send food -- and charge you for it. Meals are chosen for you but you can easily mark meals you'd rather not eat and have final veto power over what food arrives. All meals arrive frozen each week, so they'll need to be thawed before eating or stored in the freezer for later. There's no contract or commitment so you can try it risk-free and opt out whenever you like. You can also easily skip weeks of deliveries, so if your meals start to pile up in the freezer for any reason, there's no pressure to finish them all before the next box comes in. 

Nutrition support is available by email 

Subscribers to BistroMD are afforded access to nutrition support from registered dieticians via email or through the brand's Facebook group. Just email any question or concern about your eating plan or diet goals, and you'll receive a response within a day.

BistroMD plans and pricing

BistroMD's pricing is average. If you choose the maximal meal plan, with three meals per day for seven days, each costs $11. If you choose a five-day, three-meal-per-day plan, the cost jumps to more than $12.50 per meal. 

The big ouch to your wallet or pocketbook comes in the form of a $20 shipping cost on all orders. That's higher than any meal delivery service we've tested. By comparison, Fresh N Lean and Mosaic Foods (two of my favorite healthy meal delivery services), have similar meal pricing, but Mosaic charges just $10 per box and Fresh N Lean offers free shipping. 

BistroMD pricing

Meal planPrice per mealWeekly total
Full program, 7 days $10.99$239.80
Full program, 5 days $12.66$209.95
Lunch and dinner, 7 days $13.56$209.95
Lunch and dinner, 5 days $14.99$169.90

Additional snacks add-on is encouraged

BistroMD also offers an add-on of three high-protein snacks per day for another $52 per week. The program encourages snacking and touts it as an effective way to keep your blood sugar and metabolism up and safeguard against grabbing that bag of potato chips or brownie in a weak afternoon moment. 


A look at BistroMD's snack selection. Some are more appetizing than others.

Screenshot by David Watsky/CNET

How to heat BistroMD meals

Most meals have only microwave instructions for heating them, typically between three and five minutes each. I tested a few meals that way but, in general, I tend to avoid the microwave whenever possible and use a nonstick skillet or air fryer, both of which produce better results than the microwave

Read more: There's a Right Way to Reheat Leftovers and It's Not the Microwave

What I ate and how I liked it

I tried more than 15 lunch and dinner meals from both the signature and (newer) vegan menus and ate them over the course of a few weeks. Here's a full breakdown.

Peanut stew with chickpeas: This was one of my favorite meals. It had a full flavor and was plenty filling. 

Vegetarian chili: This meatless chili was totally palatable. Not great, but not bad. The portion was a little small for me.

bistro md veggie chili

The vegan chili was good but not great.

David Watsky/CNET

Carrot and ginger stew: As a big fan of ginger, I had high hopes for this one but the overall flavor was too bland and muted for me.

Pulled BBQ beef with mashed potatoes and green beans: The beef was mostly tender. The mashed potatoes needed salt and the beans were just a bit overcooked, but this dish was still a hit. 

beef dish with green beans and potatoes

This small pile of pulled beef with beans and mash was a hit.

David Watsky/CNET

Pad Thai with tofu and snap peas: This was about the worst pad Thai I've had. It had almost no flavor at all, and the tofu was chewy. 

vegan pad thai meal

The vegan pad Thai was a big miss for me.

David Watsky/CNET

Mediterranean quinoa salad: The carrots in this healthy salad were chewy which really tainted the dish for me.

Roasted pork with olive tapenade: I wasn't expecting to like this one but the pork was cooked nicely and the olive tapenade was a fun twist. 

pork entree

The other white meat over rice with a salty olive sauce.

David Watsky/CNET

Mushroom couscous: This was another that got just a passing grade. Not bad, but nothing special and a bit bland for me. 

Harissa chickpea bowl with broccoli: This was fine once I drained the water from the bottom of the dish.

Harissa chickpea power bowl

Harissa chickpea power bowl.

David Watsky/CNET

Grilled salmon with creamy pesto: I tend to stay away from fish recipes in meal delivery, but decided to give this one a shot. It wasn't bad and the fish tasted fairly fresh, but I wasn't clamoring for more. 

Grilled chicken with Thai peanut sauce and quinoa: This Thai-inspired dish was much better than its culinary counterpart, the dreaded vegan pad Thai.

thai chicken dish

This was one of the larger meals in my delivery and the flavors all worked. 

David Watsky/CNET

Meatloaf with honey bourbon glaze: I didn't mind the meatloaf, but I found the green beans a bit too mushy. 

Vegan Mac n Cheeze with BBQ tofu: If it hadn't been for the chewy tofu, this would have been a much more appetizing meal. 

Portions are on the small side, but that's by design

BistroMD recommends men trying to lose weight should consume about 1,400 calories per day and women, 1,200. Because of that, portion sizes for BistroMD meals are slightly smaller on average than what you'll get from other meal kits. Though that's not necessarily a drawback -- especially if you're working on portion control -- it's a bit surprising given the price. The meals never left me feeling hungry per se, but in several instances, I wouldn't have minded a bit more. 

BistroMD vs. the competition

BistroMDFresh N LeanMosaic Foods
Price per meal $11-$15$10-$15$6-$11
Shipping $20Free$10
Meal options per week 150+18100+

Final verdict on BistroMD

BistroMD meals lived up to the promise of low-calorie meals that are made from mostly healthy ingredients. While I wasn't eating these meals with any intention of losing weight, I can certainly see how they would help achieve that goal. 

Much of the dishes with meat worked well and the service proved itself to be a solid option for someone looking to eat healthy, I'd advise against BistroMD's vegan food, which I found to be downright bad. BistroMD wasn't a fail but there are some better options out there for healthy meal delivery that offer tastier food for the same price or less. 

The healthy service does serve up a slew of tasty, diet-inspired meals but doesn't quite tick enough boxes to land on our list of best meal delivery in 2023. BistroMD is also expensive, and while I appreciated extras like dietician support, the meal prices are still high considering the portion sizes and mixed quality. A $20 shipping charge for each box makes the tab for BistroMD even harder to swallow. 

For more, see our list of the best meal delivery services for 2023

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