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      July 20, 2018

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Prepared Meals

  1. Bistro MD
  2. Veestro
  3. Home Chef
  4. Sunbasket
  5. Hello Fresh
  6. Blue Apron
  7. Diet To Go
  8. Gourmet Station
  9. Harry & David
  10. Magic Kitchen
  11. Personal Chef To Go
  12. Martha & Marley Spoon
  13. Plated
  14. Home Bistro

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Bistro MD

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Bistro MD vs Home Chef

Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Bistro MD and Home Chef.

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Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?

You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.

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Best Reviews

2018

Prepared Meal Reviews

4.5 stars
Bistro MD

BISTRO MD Visit Site

Cost:

Starting at $6.74 per serving

Shipping is $19.95 per delivery

Created by Dr. Caroline Cederquist in 2005, bistroMD was developed as a result of her interactions with patients she worked with at her clinic for medical weight loss. Her observations showed that even completely dedicated clients faced challenges when figuring out how to develop healthy eating habits at home. Every Prepared Meal designed for bistroMD is formulated to allow customers to lose weight while resetting their metabolism, through eating foods that contain the proper balance of micronutrients.

You'll find four main menu plans in bistroMD's Prepared Meals: Standard, Diabetic, Gluten-Free, and Menopause. Once you've chosen the plan that's right for you, you'll decide whether you want to have bistroMD entrees 5 or 7 days per week, as well as your preference for breakfast/lunch/dinner or only lunch/dinner on those days. There are also a handful of other menu plans, like Silver Cuisine, Women's Program, and Men's Program; you can find those links at the top of the page, to get more details about the specific nutritional focus of each plan.

Once you've ordered your Prepared Meals, the dietitian team at bistroMD will design a unique plan for your weekly delivery. You'll always be able to see ahead of time which entrees have been chosen for your plan. Find something you don't like in your scheduled shipment? No problem: remove unwanted entrees from your plan and replace them with ones that you like from among the 150 available meals for that week.

There's also no cooking required with bistroMD Prepared Meals: everything delivered by the service is pre-cooked from all-fresh ingredients, frozen in a vacuum-sealed pouch, and then shipped in a container with dry ice right to you. Your tasty-and-healthy meal only requires a few minutes in the microwave to be fully ready to eat.

You won't have to sign a long-term contract when choosing bistroMD. However, a few customers have reported that they were charged for Week 2's deliveries before receiving Week 1, not giving them the opportunity to try the food first. Keep an eye on that, especially if you're not sure how long you'll be using this Prepared Meals service.

Fortunately, bistroMD's satisfaction guarantee promises, "We'll do our best to make it right or refund your money", and most customers report that the business keeps that promise - although some were only offered partial refunds for less-than-perfect deliveries. On the other hand, bistroMD has a good "A" rating with the BBB, and company representatives are very proactive when responding to customer complaints.

One very compelling reason to choose bistroMD for Prepared Meals is their price. When we visited the site most recently, there was a limited-time discount of 25% on the first week of any plan. Promotions aside, bistroMD tends to be the most affordably-priced on the market while still providing high-quality entrees.

See for yourself: the default plan has 7 breakfasts/lunches and 6 dinners ("My Night" is a once-per-week dinner where you're expected to practice your healthy eating habits when cooking for yourself or eating out) and has a regular cost of $179.95. With the 25% savings offer on the first week, those 20 Prepared Meals would only cost $134.96. Competitor services usually cost $9 or more per serving.

bistroMD also gives you access to support through individual and group sessions, dietitian consultations, and weekly wellness emails from their trainers, doctors, nutritionists, and the "resident foodie".

Naturally, bistroMD won't be your go-to Prepared Meals provider if you're looking to spend time in the kitchen learning how to cook new things, or if you're not trying to lose weight. On the other hand, if you really like the idea of having nutritionally-balanced, delicious meals delivered to your doorstep - and weight loss is your goal - bistroMD is a terrific way to help you make that happen.

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4 stars
Home Chef

HOME CHEF Visit Site

Cost:

Prices start at $7.99 per serving

Free shipping on orders over $45

Home Chef has one of the longest histories among businesses that provide customers with regular deliveries of fresh ingredients and simple-to-prepare recipes. They deliver over 10 million meals a year, definitely establishing Home Chef as a recognized service in the Prepared Meals marketplace - and with their growing relationship with the Kroger brand of families, you're likely to see even more of this company in the future.

Every delivery comes with fresh, already-portioned ingredients to be used in recipes that are ready for the table in 30 minutes or less. Feel free to browse their available entrees before signing up for the service; you'll find Creamy Parmesan Steak Penne, Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Korean Fried Chicken among the customer favorites. You will have to enter your email address in order to see your specific choices for Prepared Meals packages.

As you begin that process, keep an eye out for pop-ups; we got an offer of a $30 discount on our first order if we gave them our email address, so you may get a similar promotion. Later, while we were getting our account set up, there was another "flash sale" discount of $10 on a future order.

To get started, you'll need to select how many Prepared Meals you'd like to cook each week, from 3-6. Home Chef is one of the only services that has options for larger families: each of your meals can serve 2, 4, or 6 people, depending on what you choose. Another convenient feature of Home Chef's Prepared Meals is that you can plan your selections as far as five weeks in advance, allowing you to sit down and figure out more than a month's meals in a short time.

Another part of customizing your Prepared Meals is choosing your menu style. Do you like to eat meat? Vegetables? Seafood? You can select any or all of them to be included in the entrees you receive. You'll also be able to specify if you're looking for low-carb or low-calorie options, or if you want certain ingredients to be avoided (like milk, soy, red meat, mushrooms, shellfish, wheat, or pork).

Finally, enter the address where you want your Prepared Meals to be delivered and select the day you prefer. Make sure not to miss that step, because it defaults to Tuesday if you don't choose another day of the week. In our area, available delivery days were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

In the past, Home Chef was criticized for not making their cancellation and refund policies abundantly clear - but comparing those policies with their competitors', Home Chef's are very similar. Weekly deliveries can be cancelled or paused anytime, with no long-term contracts. If you're not completely satisfied with their Prepared Meals, you can request a refund or credit. Be aware that if only part of your delivery had a problem - like a bruised apple or wilted basil - Home Chef may issue a replacement or a credit only for that part of your shipment, not for the entire package.

It seems that the Better Business Bureau also thinks that Home Chef is doing a good job in responding to customer complaints: at the time of this review, the BBB still rated Home Chef as an "A+". Looking at customer reviews presents a more mixed picture. Several of the more recent comments mentioned issues with the new delivery service chosen by Home Chef; packages were delivered late or to an incorrect address multiple times. Other customers had problems pausing or canceling the service, still receiving shipments even after submitting the request to put it on hold. Even customers who report being very satisfied with Home Chef sometimes mentioned missing ingredients - even essential ones like fish or chicken, and not just smaller components like cinnamon or garlic salt.

Home Chef continues to be a solid option if you like cooking but want the convenience of having ingredients and recipes delivered to your home. They're especially likely to be your Prepared Meals company of choice if you have a big family and don't want to order two packages just to feed everyone at your table. But, we recommend that you inspect every delivery carefully to make sure that all of your ingredients came in the box, and that you get in touch with Home Chef representatives right away if anything comes up short.

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Continued from above

If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.

On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.

When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:

  • Menu. What does the provider offer? Can you choose from many different plans, like Vegetarian or Mediterranean? If you're trying to meet a special dietary need, like gluten-free or keto-friendly, will there be options for you? Does the type of Prepared Meals they send - reheat-and-eat vs. some cooking required - work for your situation?
  • Price. What will it cost to get your Prepared Meals? Can you choose to buy specific entrees a la carte, or do you have to buy a package?
  • Amount of Food. If you have a large family, is there a plan that will satisfy everyone? Are the serving sizes enough to fill you up?
  • Customer Service and Reputation. What have other people said about the experience of buying Prepared Meals from this business? Are packages delivered on time, with ingredients that are still fresh and properly refrigerated? If not, does the company's customer service department respond appropriately with a refund or credit?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!

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