On today's episode of Nutrition for Your Business, we’re talking about how to create awesome nutrition plans your clients will love to follow.
This is a topic that applies to every health professional who gives nutrition advice. Whether you are working with clients one-on-one or running group programs, the quality of your nutrition plans will have a major influence on the happiness and satisfaction of your clients and more importantly, the long-term success of your business.
The information you provide to your clients is just as important as how you provide it. You can’t just throw out some verbal advice and hope for the best. A beautifully laid out plan is like a treasure map that will guide your clients to the pot of health gold they are searching for.
But, let’s be real here. Creating great nutrition plans is not easy. It’s hard work that takes time and brainpower. That’s probably why most nutrition professionals don’t offer meal plans. But we firmly believe that you need to learn how to create powerful, personalized plans if you want to deliver the absolute best client experience.
Now we’ve seen a lot of bad nutrition plans in our day. But we’ve also seen some really great ones. So we’ve taken everything we’ve learned and rolled it into a super-powerful four-step process that will help you to create nutrition plans your clients will love, follow and happily pay for.
This is a four-step process:
- Step 1: Assessment
- Step 2: Goal Setting
- Step 3: Supporting Resources
- Step 4: Follow-up
Let’s dive into each step one-by-one.
Step 1: Assessment
All great plans start with a thorough assessment, which will help you to get to know your client, their history and their current problems. Assess not only their health but their lifestyle and relationship with food as well.
Without an assessment, you’ll be making a lot of assumptions about your client and their ability to follow your advice. And we all know that as health professionals, it is never safe for us to make assumptions.
When it comes to building nutrition plans, we recommend using a dedicated meal planning assessment to help you really understand your client’s lifestyle, current diet, and food preferences.
There are really specific questions you should explore with your client so that you can ensure you are creating a nutrition plan that really caters to their unique needs. To save you a ton of time and make this assessment super easy, we’ve created a super handy Meal Planning Assessment Tool that contains all the questions you need to ask to create a great nutrition plan like “How many times do you eat per day?” and “How many meals per week do you usually eat out?”. Click below to download it now.
Download our free Meal Planning Assessment Tool here.
Once you have completed your assessment, you will be ready to move onto step two.
Step 2: Goal Setting
Research clearly shows that people who set goals are more successful. But there is a real art to goal setting, and a great nutrition plan needs to set great goals. So let’s talk about how to do that.
First, be sure to involve your client in the goal-setting process. Don’t create your client’s goals for them. Instead, work with them to set goals so that they feel ownership of them.
When someone feels ownership of their goal, they are much more likely to commit to it and achieve it.
A great goal should be detailed and include what your client wants to achieve, how they will achieve it and when it will be accomplished by.
Once you have the goal, put it in writing with your client. People who write down the exact process they will use to achieve their goals are much more likely to achieve them. Also encourage your clients to share their goals with the people who they look up to, as this also will increase their success rate.
In terms of how many goals to set, research has shown that it is best to focus on one goal at a time. Multiple goals will compete for attention and therefore will become more difficult to achieve. It also makes it hard to know what is the top priority. So when writing your nutrition plans, start with one goal and make it your client’s biggest priority. Work with your client to achieve the goal, and then set more goals from there.
Once you have done your assessment, you’ve set goals with your client and have written them down, it is time to move onto step three.
Step 3: Supporting Resources
Your clients are much more likely to follow your advice if they have great resources like meal plans, recipes, grocery lists and prep guides to help them succeed.
Just like goal setting, there is an art to creating effective resources. You can’t just throw a bunch of stuff together and expect your clients to sift through it to find what they need. Provide your clients with personalized resources and lay them out in a way that is easy to follow.
A lot of practitioners give their clients a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, and while this is a great starting point, it often leaves the client still wondering what to eat and how to make the foods from their approved list into delicious meals they will enjoy.
Studies have shown that when following a meal plan, people tend to eat healthier. We’ve seen firsthand that clients are much more successful when they have a meal plan or a recipe book to guide them.
When putting together a meal plan or a recipe book, don’t choose difficult recipes that require tons of ingredients and time. Instead, keep meals simple. This will help your client realize that eating healthy doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. This realization alone has the power to change their eating habits forever.
Also, don’t try to get away with giving your client a one size fits all meal plan or recipe book. People notice this. And when you hand them a plan that has, say, broccoli on it when they clearly told you they hate broccoli, they’ll lose trust in you.
Take the time to customize your resources to your client’s unique needs that you discovered during the assessment phase. Yes, it requires more time but it will make your clients more successful.
Next, spend time going through the plan with your client and talking to them about meal prep, grocery shopping and how to follow the plan. Going through the plan with your client is an added touch that often goes overlooked, but it will really help them succeed.
Step 4: Follow-Up
Your beautiful, customized nutrition plan is now in your client’s hands. You’ve gone over it with them and they are ready to take it and start working towards their goals.
At this point, don’t just send them on their merry way and hope for the best. Before your client leaves this appointment, be sure to book a follow-up appointment.
We know that many practitioners worry that the cost of frequent follow-ups will be off-putting to clients, and so they try to offer more value by packing weeks of information into a single visit. But this approach usually backfires because it’s too overwhelming. Feeling overwhelmed and going long stretches between appointments is a recipe for your client ghosting you.
Your clients have likely already tried to accomplish their goals on their own unsuccessfully. They came to you for accountability and connection, so make sure you give them that support.
It’s also a good idea to check in before their next appointment to see how things are going and ask a few questions so you can get an idea of how they’ve been doing and what you’ll need to discuss. So before your appointment, send an email that asks open-ended questions like “how are you feeling?” and, “is there anything you want me to know before our next meeting?” This will help you better prepare for your next appointment and ensure that your time together will be as valuable for your client as possible.
Never underestimate the power of following up. It is so important.
Remember: at the end of the day, your new clients are far more important than any would-be client. They’re the people who have believed your promises, taken a risk on your services and given you their hard-earned money, trusting that you can help them feel better and live a healthier life. Now is not the time to give them some half-assed nutrition plan, like a poorly formatted document, or worse, nothing at all.
It might seem like the health industry is completely saturated, but when you take the time to go the extra mile by creating awesome nutrition plans, it’s never crowded.
A nutrition plan can make or break your client’s success, so follow this process to make them awesome.