If you would have asked Registered Dietitian and founder of NextGeneration Nutrition, Jessica Mantell, three years ago what the worst part of her job was, she wouldn’t think twice before saying “meal planning”.
Three years ago, Jessica was just starting her business. She was spending hours searching for recipes, putting together the plan, and calculating the nutrition information - all from scratch. A single meal plan could easily take her up to 10 hours.
As her practice grew and her patient load increased, she knew this process was unsustainable. But not offering meal plans was not an option. Jessica knew meal plans were helping her clients succeed.
“It is important to teach people how to eat and what to eat or what not to eat, but you also need to give them options and ideas of what that will look like. Some people don’t know how to prepare and cook their own healthy meals and meal planning gives them the power to be in control of how they’re eating and enjoy their meals.”
A fellow dietitian told Jessica to check out That Clean Life to help her offer meal plans in a way that scales. This seemingly small suggestion changed everything.
Fast forward to today, Jessica runs a successful nutrition business that offers personalized nutrition counseling, comprehensive lab testing and so much more. She helps clients who struggle with gastrointestinal issues and discomfort, food sensitivities, chronic disease, autoimmune disorders, and weight management. Jessica now sees 30 clients per week and using That Clean Life, she only spends a maximum of 30 minutes per client to create a highly personalized nutrition plan. Here’s how she does it.
Jessica’s Meal Planning Process
Step 1: A Thorough Initial Assessment
When working with clients one-on-one, Jessica first conducts a thorough initial assessment to identify needs, review bloodwork, and then decides on whether more lab tests are required.
Step 2: Lab Testing
Depending on the client and their needs, Jessica offers the following lab tests:
- Food Sensitivity Testing to identify what food intolerances or allergies the client has.
- Micronutrient Testing to understand the client’s current nutrient status.
- Microbiome Testing to assess the diversity of bacteria in the client’s gastrointestinal tract, digestive efficiency, and inflammation.
- Hormonal & Thyroid Testing to discover hormonal imbalances that can cause various symptoms such as weight changes, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, infertility, and more.
- Genetic Testing to understand how the client absorbs nutrients and detect any genetic weaknesses involved in absorbing and metabolizing certain foods.
Step 3: Create a Personalized Plan
Once Jessica has done the initial assessment and reviewed lab test results - she gets to work on creating the client a personalized nutrition plan.
Depending on the client’s needs, the nutrition plan may be a traditional meal plan that outlines breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, or a collection of hand-picked recipes.
It might seem like creating a nutrition plan for every single client based on their lab test results, lifestyle, food preferences, health goals, and culture is a difficult task, but Jessica leans on the many features within That Clean Life to quickly find the right meals for her clients and put together a beautiful, personalized plan.
Finding Meals That Exclude Certain Foods
Jessica uses her assessment data to quickly find meals that exclude certain foods. For example, if her client had food sensitivity testing done, Jessica uses tags to exclude whole food groups like gluten or dairy or individual ingredients like papaya.
Finding Meals High in Specific Nutrients
Jessica also uses That Clean Life to find meals high in specific nutrients. For example, if the client had micronutrient testing, Jessica uses the nutrient filters to quickly find recipes high in nutrients that the client is deficient in.
For example, if her client has a vitamin A deficiency, Jessica can use the nutrition filters within That Clean Life to find recipes high in Vitamin A.
Finding Meals That Include Certain Foods
If the client had microbiome testing, Jessica uses those results to tailor the personal nutrition plan and include types of foods the client can easily digest, or foods high in probiotics like kimchi or sauerkraut.
For clients who have hormonal and thyroid testing, Jessica adjusts the meal plan, by adding or eliminating iodine-rich foods like nori depending on thyroid levels.
Finding Meals Based on Culture
NextGeneration Nutrition is located in Miami, Florida, and Jessica works with clients all over the world. The cultural tags within That Clean Life allow Jessica to easily find recipes from various cuisines to better help offer nutrition guidance to different cultures and ethnicities.
“I work with people from a lot of different cultures like Cuban and Caribbean, so to have the recipe tags and filters to find recipes that people can feel seen in is huge. Since having this option, it’s been a game-changer as my clients are now more likely to implement the advice when it’s recipes from their culture.”
Jessica doesn’t always start from scratch with her nutrition planning. She uses the templates within That Clean Life as a starting point. For example, if working with a client who is a student athlete, Jessica can use and modify the Student Athlete Program. All templates come with a meal plan, grocery list, recipes, prep guide, and supporting evidence.
Once the meal plan or recipe collection is complete, Jessica exports it as a PDF document to share with her client, which includes her custom branding and business information.
“It adds so much value. When someone sees the meal plans, they don’t expect such a beautifully presented plan. The presentation and everything that I give my clients is super important to me because people are committed and if their plan looks good, then they are going to use it.”
Step 4: Introducing Clients to Their Nutrition Plan
After the initial consult, Jessica has clients schedule a follow-up consult, and this is where she shares their nutrition plan with them.
Jessica spends 15 minutes walking the client through their plan, grocery list, and prep guide. She finds that some clients will follow the plan exactly as it is and some will use it more so as a guide.
“When I give my clients their meal plan, they instantly feel like it was made for them. If they want more ideas on how to include a certain ingredient like salmon or have more healthy dessert options for their family, I can use the filters on That Clean Life to find dinner recipes that use salmon, or dessert options that already use ingredients from their meal plan. It’s so useful!”
Clients Need Personalized Plans
Many dietitians don’t offer meal planning as a service. But as more research shows how genetics, hormones, and microbiome differences between individuals impact their nutritional needs, consumers are seeking more individualized solutions.
That Clean Life has helped Jessica save an immense amount of time when it comes to incorporating her clients’ clinical test results into their nutrition plans. What used to take ten hours per client, now only takes 30 minutes. Jessica now meal plans 95% faster, works with hundreds of clients from all walks of life, and “creates an effective nutrition program that is not only enjoyable but personalized to fit each client's specific and individual needs".
Jessica’s clients love their nutrition plans and Jessica loves creating them.