5 Mistakes You're Making With Your Nutrition Plans & How to Fix Them

Revealing some of the most common mistakes we see practitioners making when creating nutrition plans, and what you can do to avoid making these mistakes yourself.

Written by
Ashley Sauvé Ashley Sauvé
Published on

“My clients don’t follow their plans.”

“I don’t know how to keep clients coming back.”

“I’m not 100% confident in my nutrition programs.”

We get it. You went to school for nutrition science, and applying that science with actual human beings who are a bundle of complex emotions (and excuses) is an art unto itself.

But don’t worry! It is possible to build nutrition plans that are effective, straight-forward and will ensure the success of both your clients and your business. To help you get there, we are going to reveal some of the most common mistakes we see practitioners making when creating nutrition plans, and what you can do to avoid making these mistakes yourself.

Mistake #1: You Assess Health Instead of Lifestyle

Do you view your clients as a complex puzzle you can’t wait to piece together? Do you thrive off of interpreting lab results, decoding symptoms, and uncovering hidden causes of chronic health ailments?

That’s not always a bad thing, but if that’s all you look at, you may miss a huge piece of the puzzle: the human being at the center.

Let's say you see a new client, Bob, whose blood work shows that he is pre-diabetic. His cravings and energy problems are further proof of unstable blood sugar, and his diet diary reveals that every morning Bob’s breakfast of choice is a doughnut alongside the coffee he takes with two sugars.

The problem and solution might be very clear to you, so you suggest: “Bob, you need to start eating more protein at breakfast. Try some whole-grain toast with avocado and poached eggs instead of that doughnut.”

But wait. What about Bob's lifestyle? If you dig deeper and ask more questions, you might realize that Bob hasn’t turned on his stove in over three months. He’s not comfortable in the kitchen and feels that he has no time for cooking.

Bob doesn't know how to poach an egg, this advice overwhelms him and you never see him again. Womp!

Prevent this from happening by conducting a thorough meal planning assessment along with your health assessment. Use this Meal Planning Assessment Tool to ask the right questions.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Educate Enough

Research on human psychology shows people prefer to be asked to do something, rather than being told what to do. In addition, we are more likely to follow instructions when we fully understand why we are following them.

In practice, you can apply this information by thoroughly explaining the purpose behind every change you want your clients to make. Use analogies, diagrams, videos, and any other educational resources you can to teach your client how their body works and how they can keep it healthy.

Before adding any recommendations to your client's nutrition plan, be sure to ask: “how do you feel about making this change?”. Put the ball in their court and give them a chance to let you know if something isn’t realistic for them right now.

Engaging education can lead to fewer canceled appointments, better compliance, and happy, empowered clients, which are key ingredients for a successful practice.

To see a sample nutrition plan with clear recommendations, grab a free copy of 4 Steps to Creating Awesome Nutrition Plans for Your Clients.

Mistake #3: You Overwhelm Your Clients

If your client nutrition plans are packed with food recommendations, lab tests to get, supplements to buy, and lifestyle changes to make, you may be overwhelming them. When your clients can’t follow their plan, they get discouraged and embarrassed, making them more likely to avoid you.

So how many recommendations should you be giving in your plan?

Try to limit yourself to three changes or recommendations per appointment. Keep your recommendations simple so your client will succeed and be proud to report their progress!

Don’t be afraid to schedule more frequent follow-ups so you can build on progress and add more recommendations. Your clients are paying you to make it fun and simple so they can succeed.

Mistake #4: You’re Not Providing The Right Resources

Just because you wrote a ten page protocol doesn't mean you provided a good nutrition plan. Are you giving your clients the tools and resources they need to implement your advice?

Here are some additional resources you may want to include with your nutrition plans:

  • Meal Plans
  • Shopping Lists
  • Recipes
  • Prep Guides

All of these resources can be created in minutes with That Clean Life. Instead of spending hours putting together resources, you can use That Clean Life to build beautiful plans with delicious, easy-to-follow recipes and itemized grocery lists in minutes.

Watch a Demo

Mistake #5: Not Providing Next Steps

At the end of every session, let your client know the date of their next session and any check-ins that they can expect in between. Don't wait for them to follow-up or check-in with you!

It’s also important to explain the purpose of each visit, what you will be covering, and what you’ll need them to do or bring for the next consultation. This way, clients will be less likely to cancel because they are already aware of the purpose and importance of that meeting.