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Balance by BistroMD is a frozen meal delivery service designed to make healthy eating easy and convenient.
The service offers over 100 dietitian-designed and chef-created meals, as well as several specialty menus to suit a variety of dietary needs.
This article takes a closer look at Balance by BistroMD to help you decide whether it could be a good option for your lifestyle.
Balance by BistroMD was developed by Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a board certified bariatric specialist, to provide dietitian-planned and chef-prepared meals and snacks.
Meals are delivered straight to your doorstep, arrive frozen and fully prepared, and take no more than 6 minutes to reheat in the microwave.
The company prides itself on offering a large variety of dishes to choose from, all of which are prepared fresh in small batches and quickly frozen.
Meals are typically delivered within 2–5 business days and arrive in insulated, 100% recyclable packaging.
Unlike other meal delivery services on the market, Balance by BistroMD doesn’t require a membership, subscription plan, or minimum order.
Instead, you can choose which and how many meals you receive, allowing you to create a custom meal plan each week.
However, for those who’d prefer not to worry about remembering to place an order, the company offers concierge services that allow you to set up a recurring order of your favorite meals and snacks.
The service also offers nine specialty diet menus to choose from, including:
- Heart healthy. Meals provide less than 600 mg of sodium and less than 3.5 grams of saturated fat.
- Low sodium. Meals provide less than 600 mg of sodium.
- Diabetic. Meals are designed to support stabilized blood sugar levels and contain 25 grams or fewer of net carbs.
- Low carb. Meals contain no more than 25 grams of net carbs.
- Menopause. Meals emphasize lean proteins and are lower in carbs.
- Gluten-free. Meals are free of gluten-containing ingredients and periodically tested to ensure they meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for gluten-free items.
- Dairy-free. Meals are free of all dairy products.
- Vegetarian. Meals emphasize plant-based foods and include plant-based sources of protein, as well as fish and seafood.
- Mediterranean. Meals are inspired by traditional eating patterns of the Mediterranean region and emphasize fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and low fat dairy.
Selecting your meals is a straight-forward process. Simply scroll through the service’s rotating list of options and add each meal and snack that you want to add to your virtual shopping cart.
To make choosing meals even easier, you can filter by meal type, specialty diet, popular meals, and new menu additions.
The company states that it uses only high quality ingredients that are free of nitrates, phosphates, and other additives. It also prides itself on using less sodium than most store-bought frozen meal options.
Customers can view the ingredient list and nutritional information for each meal when selecting their meals. However, it’s important to note that the service doesn’t allow for any ingredient substitutions.
Additionally, unlike some other meal delivery services, Balance by BistroMD doesn’t regularly use organic items and provides very little information on the sourcing of its ingredients.
As a result, it may not be the best option if you prefer to eat organic, local, or sustainably sourced foods.
Unlike BistroMD, which is designed specifically for weight loss, Balance by BistroMD is designed to help individuals maintain a healthy weight.
Still, as meals provide just 240–400 calories, eating mostly Balance by BistroMD meals may result in weight loss depending on your calorie needs and total food intake for the day.
Additionally, each meal is designed to be nutritionally balanced, providing 20–25% of calories from healthy fats, 30–35% from complex carbs, and 40–45% from lean protein sources.
The exceptions are the diabetes-friendly and low carb menu options, which contain 25 grams or fewer of net carbs per serving.
Importantly, meals containing 240–400 calories are unlikely to meet the calorie needs of most adults. Following a low calorie diet may result in compensatory metabolic changes that make weight maintenance more difficult in the future (
Balance by BistroMD offers a variety of chef-prepared breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, making it easy to find dishes that fit your food and flavor preferences.
Each meal is prepared fresh in small batches, frozen, and shipped in insulated containers to ensure optimal quality.
Once you receive your delivery, you can store your meals for up to 1 year in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat one, simply reheat it in the microwave or oven.
With over 100 items to choose from and 9 specific menus, Balance by BistroMD makes it easy to accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs and preferences.
For example, the service offers options for those following low sodium, diabetic, low carb, heart-healthy, and Mediterranean-style diets.
However, it’s worth noting that the vegetarian menu is technically a pescatarian plan, as it includes fish and seafood dishes. In fact, there’s a limited number of strictly vegetarian meals to choose from.
There’s also currently no strict vegan menu plan.
As a result, Balance by BistroMD is not the best fit for those following a vegan diet or who are vegetarian and looking for a wide variety of options.
While you can check for potential food allergens in the ingredient lists, the service doesn’t have an option to filter for common food allergens other than dairy or gluten.
Furthermore, as the meals are all prepared in the same facility, there’s a risk of cross contamination.
The one exception is gluten-free, as the company states it’s gluten-free meals are regularly tested to ensure that they meet the FDA’s standards of containing no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
Still, those with severe food allergies, including celiac disease, may prefer a service that specifically provides allergen-free meals.
Finally, while there are several low carb meals available, the service doesn’t offer dishes designed specifically for keto or paleo diets.
As Balance by BistroMD doesn’t offer subscription or membership plans, how much each order costs depends on your meal selections and the number of items you choose.
The price of meals varies by item, with breakfast options starting at $5.99 per meal, lunches and dinners at $7.49 per meal, and snacks at $10.99 per item. Note that snacks typically include 5–8 servings per package.
There’s an additional $19.95 shipping fee for all orders, which can make smaller orders quite expensive. However, the meals last up to 1 year in the freezer, so the most cost-effective strategy is to order a larger amount of meals at once and freeze them.
Both BistroMD and Balance by BistroMD provide dietitian-designed and chef-prepared frozen meals that can be quickly reheated in the microwave.
The services are also similar in that customers get to mix and match their meal and snack selections for each delivery. Both also offer specialty diet menus, including diabetic, menopause, heart-healthy, and gluten-free options.
However, the main difference is that BistroMD is a subscription-based, structured weight loss program with plans providing 1,200–1,400 calories per day.
As explained above, such a low calorie intake is far too low for most adults and may result in metabolic changes that make it challenging to maintain your weight in the future.
The full BistroMD program includes 5 or 7 days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, with meals costing $9.50–$10.50 per serving. There’s also a flat-rate $19.95 shipping fee for all deliveries.
In contrast, Balance by BistroMD is intended to simply support weight maintenance and healthy eating habits by offering reduced calorie, nutritionally balanced meals.
Lunches and dinners start at $7.49 per meal, and there’s no required minimum order size.
Despite not being marketed for weight loss, with 400 calories or fewer per serving, Balance by BistroMD could still be a good option for individuals who aren’t interested in a structured weight loss program but would still like to lose a little weight.
Balance by BistroMD provides fully prepared and nutritionally balanced frozen meals. As a result, the service is a good option for those who want to eat healthier but don’t want to spend time grocery shopping or cooking.
Additionally, with several specialty diet menus to choose from, and each meal containing 400 calories or fewer, it may be a good fit for individuals with specific dietary restrictions or preferences.
That said, the service provides limited vegetarian options and doesn’t cater to vegan, keto, or paleo diets. Furthermore, due to the risk of cross contamination, it’s not ideal for those with severe food allergies.
It’s also not the best choice for individuals who prioritize knowing where their ingredients come from and prefer to eat primarily organic meals.
Finally, given that the meals arrive fully prepared, the service isn’t a good option for those looking to learn how to make healthy meals themselves at home.
Balance by BistroMD provides nutritionally balanced, frozen meals to make healthy eating easy and convenient.
With over 100 items to choose from, 9 specialty menus, and no minimum order, the service makes it easy to create customized meal plans to fit your dietary needs and preferences.
However, the service may not be a good fit for everyone, including individuals with specific dietary restrictions or those who prefer to buy organic or local ingredients.