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      September 25, 2018

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Prepared Meals

  1. Bistro MD
  2. Veestro
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  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 Magic Kitchen

Best Prepared Meals

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

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Prepared Meals, please Click Here

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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3 stars
Magic Kitchen

MAGIC KITCHEN Visit Site

Cost:

Average cost of $11.99/serving; discounts available

Shipping rates start at $18-$20 per order, based on weight and distance

For more than 15 years, Magic Kitchen has made it their goal to offer Prepared Meals for seniors and more. Especially for those who don't have access to pots, pans, or a full kitchen, their flash-frozen, TV dinner-style meals are convenient and come in a variety of menu plans for different dietary needs.

Looking at the options provided by Magic Kitchen under the "Dietary Interest" part of the site, you'll quickly see why this service is so useful for seniors. Menu options include:

  • Diabetic-Friendly
  • Portion Controlled
  • Dialysis-Friendly
  • Renal Diet (CKD 3&4)
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Sodium
  • Low-Carb
  • Senior Diet
  • Vegetarian

No matter which one you choose, each Prepared Meal typically consists of two sides and an entree. Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach, Eggplant Parmigiana with Polenta & Spinach, and Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Sauté are some of the more popular entrees on the menu.

You'll find options for purchasing meals a la carte or as part of a package. If you'd like or order individual Prepared Meals, you'll find them categorized by Mains, Soups, Sides, Desserts, and Snacks. Some of those are listed as "family size", so if you need to have a cake big enough for visitors or want to serve a meal to guests from out of town, you'll be able to do all of your shopping in one place.

To get started with Magic Kitchen, you have to reach out to them by phone or email. While that's definitely less convenient than companies that let you sign up for Prepared Meals online, it's part of their process for getting you a customized package that perfectly meets your needs.

What will it cost? That depends on your unique plan, but here's the sample package offered for reference:

  • Low Sodium/Diabetic/Senior Complete Meal Program for 1 Person
  • 1 complete meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner): $75-$85 for 7 days
  • 2 complete meals (choose two from breakfast/lunch/dinner): $150-$165 for 7 days
  • 3 complete meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner): $225-$250 for 7 days

Signing up for the Magic Kitchen email newsletter could also be helpful. They give you information about special deals, and when we signed up we also got a 10% discount off our next purchase.

As with most Prepared Meals providers, there are no contracts or commitments with your plan. Deliveries can be shipped automatically on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. And, you can select the individual entrees in your plan or have them selected for you by Magic Kitchen staff according to the dietary parameters you've indicated.

All of your meals are prepared in and shipped from the Magic Kitchen warehouse in Kansas; they come packaged in dry ice in a recyclable, reusable Styrofoam container. Unfortunately, you have to pay at least $18 to $20 in shipping costs; your final cost is determined by the weight of your package and your zip code.

We appreciate the company's satisfaction guarantee. Should any of your meals arrive in bad condition or spoiled in any way, it will be replaced at no extra charge. And, if any of the Prepared Meals aren't 100% delicious, you can either ask that it be replaced in your next order or that you receive a store credit. Magic Kitchen aims for round-the-clock phone coverage for any questions or concerns, with primary business hours of 7:30A-11:30P Central every day.

Now, for the most important question: how do the Prepared Meals actually taste? Customer responses are a mixed bag. For some customers, especially within Magic Kitchen's primary audience (namely, senior citizens needing healthy meals that are simple to prepare), they and their caregivers say that it's been a good fit. But, others not in that particular group have complained that the meals get watery after being reheated, and that the unappetizing photos of the entrees are an accurate representation of how they taste. Plus, given that the meals have an average cost per serving of $12 or more, they're often disappointing for people wanting more than a reheat-and-eat Prepared Meal.

Magic Kitchen is a good resource for seniors and people who have a specific dietary plan to follow, who want the convenience of TV dinner-style meals that are also healthy. But, their Prepared Meals are priced on the higher end of the spectrum, and they're probably not too appealing for younger customers who want fresh ingredients and new recipes to try in the kitchen.

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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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