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      November 15, 2018

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Prepared Meals

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  6. Blue Apron
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  14. Home Bistro

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Bistro MD vs Plated

Best Prepared Meals

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

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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.

Continue reading below reviews

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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2 stars
Plated

PLATED Visit Site

Cost:

Per-serving cost of $9.95 to $11.95

Free shipping on all plans over $60

Plated takes a slightly different approach to Prepared Meals. Like many services, they send you fresh ingredients and recipes to prepare, but their primary aim is to help you gain confidence in the kitchen by broadening your culinary horizons - and maybe your taste buds, too.

Weekly menu options include dishes like Salmon with Salsa Verde and Steak Gyros. There are also dessert choices, such as Fig Shortcakes and Napoleons. Each recipe can be made in an hour or less.

The main decisions you'll need to make are how many servings you'd like each meal to provide (2, 3, or 4) and how many meals you'd like to prepare each week (again, choosing from 2, 3, or 4). A two-serving, twice a week plan is regularly priced at $47.80. The largest plan, with four servings per meal, four times a week, costs $159.20. When we visited Plated, they were offering a 25% discount promotion on the first week's delivery, for all of their various plan configurations.

This service doesn't come with specific plans for people who want gluten-free entrees or vegan desserts - rather, you choose from 20 recipe options, including main courses and treats, from every weekly menu. However, you are able to customize your subscription in a few ways, like omnivore or seafood lover, so that you're only shown the choices among the 20 that meet those criteria.

Plated offers the most flexible delivery schedule we've found, with deliveries possible every day except Sunday. Your shipment is expected to maintain its refrigeration through midnight on delivery day, so you won't have to rush home to get your ingredients into the fridge.

Unfortunately, Plated also has one of the weakest customer satisfaction policies in the industry. If something is missing from your package, or if you're unhappy for any reason, Plated says that they may, at their sole discretion, issue you a credit. That would be fine if there were no issues with their deliveries, but with a significant number of customers receiving moldy or otherwise spoiled ingredients, the $12 credit that Plated offered them was nowhere near enough. In addition, many customers said that the recipes weren't anything to rave about, and that the ingredients received were commonly available at their local supermarket - not the high-quality items they expected from a premium Prepared Meals service.

Finally, we saw several complaints that referenced Plated's gift cards. In order to use a gift card, the recipient has to provide their own credit card information to the company - which inadvertently left some of them as subscribing customers to a service they didn't want. That isn't a good way to make gift-givers or recipients very happy.

In comparison with the competition, Plated does have a unique approach to delivering Prepared Meals. However, their reputation with their customers doesn't leave a good taste in our mouth - literally or figuratively - especially with such a lackluster approach to returns and refunds. Choose a higher-ranked service to get fresh ingredients and recipes you'll actually enjoy.

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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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