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Most of you already know about BistroMD, a popular meal delivery service that creates a comprehensive weight loss plan geared towards trimming down and getting healthy. Balance is BistroMD’s maintenance mode, but it’s also a good option for people who just want to eat healthy, ready-made meals.
I was impressed with BistroMD on a lot of levels, so I was looking forward to trying Balance as well. I didn’t sign up for a week’s worth of meals (and I’ll explain why in a minute or two). But I did order several meals from Balance to test out the product and service. Here’s how my Balance by BistroMD experience went.
How Balance Works
To start things off, Balance has a totally different ordering process than other meal delivery services, some of which I really liked and some of which I did not. What makes Balance’s ordering process so different is that unlike other services that require you to choose a plan and put in payment info before you can select your meals, Balance actually lets you pick your meals first.
This is one aspect of the service that I really, really like. It’s actually a major pet peeve of mine when I get to a meal delivery service, and they ask me for my money before anything else. I was happy that Balance gave me the ability to pick out my meals and snacks before forking over my credit card information. It’s also very easy to see your total building. This lets you decide if you want to add another meal or if you want to cap the order at a certain price. Well done, Balance.
What I didn’t like about the process was the initial confusion I had. Maybe because I’m used to the plans and pre-fab programs from other meal delivery services, the lawlessness of it all kind of felt like the wild wild west. So, it took a few minutes of fiddling around the site to really get my bearings. But then I got it, and everything was smooth sailing from there on in.
By the way, presumably one of the reasons Balance ordering is like this is fairly simple. There are no plans to choose from. This is a major benefit of the service. You have no subscriptions to worry about and no membership requirements to fill.
I like this for a few reasons:
- You won’t have to worry about forgetting to cancel your order if you’re going away, don’t want meals delivered, or have enough food for the week. Forget to cancel or miss the deadline, and you end up paying for food you didn’t want and probably won’t even eat.
- Sometimes, meal delivery services limit your ordering abilities to two or four portions. But what if I want three? Do I have to order another plan to get one more meal? Having free-range ordering is the ultimate convenience in my book. And it lets you get exactly what you want.
- This is the biggest perk: you can order one-off meals. Since there are no subscriptions or plans to adhere to, you can just pick something off the menu and order it on the spot. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for a single meal because of the shipping fees (more on that below), but the flexibility to be able to order however much or little you want is phenomenal.
Ordering is pretty simple (once I figured it out!):
- Choose the meals you want, and put them in your shopping cart.
- Create an account or log into your existing one.
- Pay for your order, and wait for your meals to arrive.
Easy, right? Having all those choices staring you in the face might make the process initially overwhelming but all in all, it was really simple to place an order.
Next up, let’s take a look at the food options available from Balance. I was very pleased with the variety of meals you could order from this service. There’s a huge range of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, along with snacks to tide you over and supplements to boost your day.
Balance also has helpful categories to meet the necessary requirements for special dietary needs. The categories are extensive, including:
- Low sodium
- Low carb
The meals themselves come in a huge range of flavors, styles, and tastes, so there is plenty of variety to suit anyone’s taste buds. Some of the dishes available are:
- Blackened Chicken with Creamy Smoked Paprika Sauce
- Roasted Cauliflower and Lentils with Charred Red Pepper Sauce
- Grilled Salmon with Champagne Sauce
You can get breakfast items like apple cinnamon oatmeal with scrambled eggs, homestyle waffles with scrambled eggs and maple syrup, and a bagel sandwich with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese.
Balance also has snack bars like dark chocolate coconut, salted caramel pecan, and glazed cinnamon bun, granola mixes, and a variety of snackables like parmesan Italiano chips, honey almond cookie crunch, and southwest nacho chili crisps. These come in packs of five, six, or eight, depending on the snack. There are also protein shakes in an assortment of flavors for bulking up and staying full longer.
Balance has an impressive selection and earns full points for it. What’s really great about Balance is that it includes a ton of information about each meal on the website. You get the nutrition information (calories, fat, protein, carb content, etc.), so you can easily plan your meal choices according to your calorie requirements or dietary needs. You also get a detailed breakdown of exactly what ingredients were used to make the recipe. This is not only interesting and useful for people who are trying to avoid certain foods, but it’s a smart allergy-awareness method.
Balance By BistroMD Costs
Now, for the business of this business. Balance prices range from $5.99 for an English muffin sandwich with egg, turkey sausage, and cheddar cheese to $13.99 for a plate of grilled salmon with creamy pesto sauce. The higher-priced items are reasonable for the industry, and the lower-priced items are actually a steal. The only other service that compares is EveryPlate, but it only delivers meal kits. So, you have to make the meals yourself. $5.99 for a prepared meal is an excellent price. Here’s a quick look at what type of pricing structure we’re dealing with using Balance meals:
|Breakfasts||$5.99-$9.89||1 unit per price|
|Lunches & Dinners||$7.49-$13.99||1 unit per price|
|Snacks & Shakes||$10.99-$17.99||5-8 counts|
Like I said, very reasonable. Particularly when you start comparing it to other meal delivery services. One drawback of using this meal delivery service is the high shipping fees. Standard two to five-day shipping costs $19.95. Ouch. Even if you have to charge shipping, it would be nice to keep the rates lower like some other services such as Green Chef or EveryPlate.
Read More: Meal Delivery Comparison
On the other hand, Balance does have a generous helping of special offers to help bring down the costs. One of these is free shipping, which totally alleviates the shipping price issue. So, when you get deals, Balance is easily one of the most affordable meal delivery services out there. Here are some of the deals I’ve seen:
- Free shipping on all orders of $99 or more
- 15% off of orders of $149 or more
- 20% off of orders $199 or more
- 10% off your first order plus free shipping
Balance MD Pros & Cons
Balance is an excellent service with a lot of benefits and only a few drawbacks. Here are my impressions:
No minimum orders or membership/subscription requirements: Like I already said, Balance wins big points for being possibly the most flexible meal delivery service out there. No subscriptions means I can order what I want, when I want it, and not have to deal with the headache of canceling or pausing orders when I don’t.
All meals are fully prepared and ready to eat: The ultimate in convenience. You just heat and eat these meals. Dinner’s ready in minutes with no effort on your part.
High-quality ingredients: All ingredients are fresh, high-quality, chemical, and additive-free.
Meals designed by registered dietitians: This is a big plus if you’re still trying to lose those last few pounds or if you’ve put in the work and already shed them. Balance meals are healthy and nutritionally-balanced to satiate you while filling you up with a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbs.
Good for special dietary needs: Balance has a huge variety of recipes ideal for specific dietary needs. From vegetarian to low sodium, Balance covers the menu.
High shipping fees: $19.95 is really a lot to pay for shipping, even for FedEx. Of course, I do have to reiterate that Balance throws you frequent free shipping coupons. So, this negative is sort of parenthetical.
Doesn’t ship to Hawaii or Alaska: While Balance does ship to the entire continental United States, if you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you are plain out of luck. Might be time to consider relocating.
Not a diet plan: This is a really important point to make. Balance is not a diet plan. There are people who can lose weight eating these meals, but if your goal is to shed several pounds, you’re better off opting for a real, dedicated diet meal delivery service like Jenny Craig or Balance’s parent company BistroMD.
Who is Balance By BistroMD Best For?
Balance is a great option for:
- Dieters who want flexibility: If you are trying to lose weight and can’t hack the stricter diet plan systems, Balance could be a good solution. Its got the most flexibility while still giving you healthy, well-balanced meals to keep you on track.
- People with specific dietary needs: With so many options, there is plenty of food for anyone no matter what your dietary needs are.
- People with no time to cook: Balance meals come prepared and ready to heat when you want them.
- People on maintenance mode: Once you’ve done the hard work of taking off weight and just want to stay there, Balance is an excellent way of doing just that.
- Anyone looking for a more convenient option once in a while: No minimum order means you can order once in a while, whenever the mood strikes you.
Who It’s Not For
Balance doesn’t work for anyone looking to lose a lot of weight. If you need a serious diet plan, choose a service that is more all-inclusive.
Balance is one of the best meal delivery services I’ve ever tried. It is easy to use, easy to eat, and easy on your waistline. The variety is par excellence, and the quality and taste of these meals are also terrific. Bottom line, Balance by BistroMD gets two big thumbs up.