Food & Nutrition Science

Meal Planning: How to Help Your Clients Get Started

If you’re a Nutritionist, Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Health Coach or simply in the business of helping other obtain optimal health, then one of the most common complaints you probably hear from your clients is that they simply don’t have time to eat healthy.  It’s both cheap and easy to grab a meal at a fast food drive-thru, whereas making a home-cooked meal takes a lot of time, planning, and effort. This is why so many Nutritionists these days are encouraging their clients to try meal prepping, which involves making a large number of meals for the week ahead of time.

If you’re trying to get your clients on-board with the idea of meal planning as a means of saving time and eating healthier, understand that they will need your help. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to get them on their way to prepping as much as a week’s worth of meals in one session.

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Have Them Invest in Quality Storage Containers

The right food storage containers can make all the difference when it comes to successful meal planning. Ideally, you’ll want your clients to invest in glass storage containers, as these can be put in the microwave, an oven is preferred, without having to worry about chemicals leeching into the food. However, if your client is on a budget, recommend a plastic container that’s labeled as being BPA-free. 

The best containers for meal prep will also have built-in dividers so that your client can easily keep their portions separated. This way, there’s no concern about certain foods potentially affecting the taste of one another. And of course, any food storage container being used for meal prep should have a tight seal, which will help to keep food fresh for as long as possible.

Help Them Choose a Day to Handle Meal Prep

Another aspect of meal prep that your clients may need help with is finding the time to do it. Depending on how many days of meals your client wants to cook in one sitting, they may need anywhere from a couple hours to an entire afternoon or evening to get the task done. For people who work a “traditional” Monday through Friday job, meal prepping on Sunday seems to be the way to go. However, things can get complicated for those with rotating days off or less consistent schedules, so you’ll want to sit down with them and help them figure out how much time they need and when to block that time out.

Make Sure They Understand Proper Portions

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to eat healthier is that of not realizing the proper portion sizes. Underestimating portions can lead to your clients taking in far more calories and fat than they realize, which can put a damper on their fitness goals. This is where you come in. While discussing meal prep, this is a great time to review portion sizes with your client. For example, you could show them how the typical portion size for one serving of whole grain sprouted pasta is about the size of a human fist. 

When it comes to meal prepping, make sure they also understand the proper ratios of food. For example, the majority of their plate (or food storage container) should be taken up by vegetables, whereas servings of lean protein and starches should take up smaller portions.

Help Them Select Meals With Similar Ingredients

Finally, make meal prep as easy as possible for your clients by coming up with a meal calendar with meals that require similar ingredients. For example, your client can cook up a large batch of cubed chicken breast, or vegan alternative, and mix things up by seasoning some of the chicken with Cajun spices, some with a lemon-garlic seasoning, and the remainder with just a little bit of salt and pepper. From there, your client has prepared three different flavors of chicken for meals throughout the week without any extra work involved.

These are just a few ways in which you can help your clients get started with meal prep. With the right amount of dedication and patience, your clients can begin eating nutritious and fresh meals every day of the week.

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