BistroMD: Healthy meals delivered to your doorstep (and a discount!)
We’re already three months in to 2013 and though New Year resolutions may have been tossed out the window long ago, it doesn’t have to be a fresh year to make some healthy changes in your diet. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy to make from-scratch, healthy meals every night for your family when you’re juggling work, kids and other responsibilities. Setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations is the quickest way to fall off of any bandwagon. Some nights (many nights), we opt for convenience foods because cooking and clean-up can take so much time – and prepping and packing a truly nutritious breakfast and lunch to take with you to work the next day is time consuming. If your diet is full of processed convenience foods, you know how difficult it can be to ‘let go’ of some of those guilty pleasures and it’s very easy to get discouraged (in the beginning, at least) once you realize how much time and prep it takes to create a variety of healthy meals, 3x a day. Why not make it easy? If you’re like me, the easier it is, I’m much more likely to stick to it!
I’ve always been curious about BistroMD. The program stood out to me above most other home delivery meal plans or “diet programs” and I wanted to give it a trial run to see if it might be an option for me, especially when I know I’m going to have a couple of busy weeks out of the month. Juggling work and the infamous toddler, it’s difficult to remember to eat balanced meals and find time and energy to make sure that not only my dinner is balanced, but also my breakfast and lunch. Making separate meals for my tiny picky eater leaves me with grabbing something quick and convenient for myself. I talked with the folks at BistroMD to learn more about the program and asked several questions. I’m very leery of “diet” foods (think those horribly chalky faux-chocolate meal bars), artificial sweeteners that claim to be better for you and other fad diets that just don’t work for my lifestyle (calorie counting, point systems, no carbs, high carbs, no meat, etc.). I was reassured that the BistroMD meal plan was created by a doctor, Dr. Cederquist, who helps patients achieve healthy weight loss and believes that food is a natural medicine, and that the meals actually taste good and are created by chefs who know good, simple food. Still a tad skeptical (mostly at the fact of it actually being craveable), I tried a Work Week Plan (i.e. 5 days of food with no snacks… you can add snacks, if you wish, for an additional $1.50 per snack – women receive 2 snacks per day and men get 3.) The 5-Day plan got me five days of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Everything came flash-frozen and clearly labeled. No boxes of just-add-water oatmeal or “meal bars”. There were no duplicate meals, so every day I had something new to look forward to which I really enjoyed.
I was really surprised to see that everything actually looked good in its frozen state and could instantly tell that this would not compare to anything I’d find on the frozen aisle of my grocery store.
Perhaps what impressed me most was the portion size and hearty options for lunches. Breakfasts included a main entrée and a side and the lunch menu was interesting and offered many dishes I would usually enjoy at dinner. Dinner dishes were a bit lighter (though still appropriately portioned and plenty filling) with mostly salmon or grilled chicken dishes.
Each meal is color-coordinated so it’s very easy to tell which are meant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I stocked my freezer of my meals and was really excited to begin the program the next day. My intention for the program was all about taste and convenience… and of course, the healthy factor. I didn’t focus as much on weight loss since I was just trying it out for a week, but they have plenty of success stories if you need inspiration.
I looked forward most to my breakfasts. I’m a fan of starting the day on a savory note, so my favorites were the English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich (a soft, multi-grain English muffin stacked with egg white, turkey sausage and cheddar cheese) and the Odyssey Chicken Crepes with Waldorf Apples which were incredibly flavorful and filled with grilled chicken, dried red onion, spinach and feta cheese béchamel and served with a side of cinnamon apples and Craisins. They also had sweet breakfast options too – like the Buckwheat Berry Pancakes served with a blueberry and strawberry compote and two slices of smoky, salty, Canadian bacon. I even let #BabyBites sneak a pancake and it was a huge hit with her.
Lunches that made an impression included the Tofu Curry Stew (though it’s cooked in the microwave, the tofu came out very tender and moist and there was just the right amount of curry to give the stew a rich flavor that was complemented well with different veggies. Coconut milk gave it a decadent creaminess and hugged the dish together) and the Island Spiced Pork (The rub on the pork had just the right amount of heat and the jerk-seasoned cauliflower kicked things up a notch. The different textures of the dish – the cauliflower, plantains and pork – made a smaller portion of food feel as if it were a
Standout dinners included the Roasted Norwegian Salmon with young leaf spinach, a wild rice medley, oven-dried cranberries and toasted, sliced almonds, garnished with fresh dill and a lemon Dijon dill sauce. I found that with most of the dinners, the entrées themselves were very flavorful and well-seasoned (many of them had a sauce component like this one), though the sides were simple and usually left in their natural state. I add a pinch of salt to the spinach to liven it up a bit, but the salmon needed no help and was moist and tender. The Salmon with Pepper Coulis dinner I tried was also a winner, oven-seared and served over fire-roasted red and yellow bell pepper coulis, with a side of quinoa and sprinkling of sun dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives for a flavor punch.
All of the grilled chicken dishes were good – I was surprised at how much grill flavor every chicken entrée had and how the breast meat was incredibly moist. The Chicken Breast Stuffed with Broccoli & Cheddar had to be a favorite for me.
Of course, I didn’t fall in love with every dish I had, but each meal, even the non-standouts were a far cry from anything I’d find at my grocery store and were very filling. If you find dishes that you really don’t enjoy, you can place them on a ‘Do Not Send’ list and they’ll be sure it never gets included in your future menus. But, I would encourage you to keep an open mind and give every dish a shot — some of the ones I was most skeptical about ended up being my favorites! Whether you’re looking to shed a few (or many) pounds or just eat more healthfully and maintain your weight, BistroMD has convenient meals that can accomplish both and the program couldn’t be any easier. The price tag may seem high ($129.95 for the 5-day program I tried), but if you’re short on time, the convenience factor really makes it worthwhile and is much better (health- and taste-wise) than running through a drive-thru three times a day.
With the program, you’ll also receive weekly weight loss tips, health information, fitness tips and free one-on-one consultations with your personal Registered Dietician (you can schedule weekly check-ins with them or just ask for advice as questions arise pertaining to achieving your goals).
As a nice little treat and incentive to try out the program for yourself, we contacted BistroMD and are excited to announce they that they are offering our readers $50 off your first week of food by using the code ‘PHOENIXBITES’ at checkout.
Order online at order.bistromd.com.
By Amy Martin, PhoenixBites Editor in Chief