Making lifestyle changes doesn’t happen over night. It takes thought and planning. When it comes to making dietary changes, having a nutritionist by your side can make a big difference! So you are cutting out gluten? What will you eat instead? How will you overcome food cravings? We sat down with Innate Food Expert & Holistic Nutritionist, Liane Wansbrough, to ask her the FAQs on meal planning.
Liane Wansbrough, Holistic Nutritionist

Liane Wansbrough, Holistic Nutritionist

Should every person making dietary changes be equipped with a meal plan? Who needs a meal plan and who doesn’t? 

A meal plan can show people how to implement healthier eating behaviours on a very practical level. This is why most people can benefit from a meal plan because it provides new ideas, recipes and structure. If I have a client who enjoys cooking and is already an experienced cook, a meal plan may not be necessary. They may need a few recipes to get started. These clients are people who buy cookbooks and look up recipes on-line and have the time and inclination to do this. Even in these cases though, if a client is trying to make dietary adjustments they always come into that first appointment wondering what they should eat.

What kinds of information are you looking for from your clients when putting together a meal plan? 

For meal planning I’m trying to understand the client’s needs. We generally cover dietary preferences, what foods they are currently eating and what foods they would be open to eating. If the client tells me they don’t like kale I don’t try to get them to eat it. I start by giving them a meal plan that incorporates foods they already like. I am also listening for lifestyle factors such as how much time they have to cook, whether or not they enjoy it, if they are cooking for a family and what kind of experience they generally have in the kitchen. Budget is always a prime thought in my mind along with accessibility of ingredients.

 Do people follow meal plans and if they fall off the wagon – how can you help them get back on? 

People will fall off the wagon with eating because that’s the nature of it—becoming healthier isn’t necessarily a linear process. There will always be ups and downs and starts and stops. I think it’s important to emphasize not to throw in the towel because of a bad week or month of eating. I don’t actually expect that a meal plan will be followed rigidly. It’s more about providing a foundation to work from. Even if clients only try 50% of the plan they will still develop skills for shopping, meal prep and likely discover a few recipes that they really like and will refer back to over time.

New Years is a time when people are looking to feel lighter after the holiday season. Are all meal plans the same for weight loss? Do you have your clients count calories, follow portion sizes or start with more general eating habits? 

Weight loss meal plans do differ depending on a client’s needs but the overall philosophy is that it will be anti-inflammatory and supportive of health and fat loss. I don’t want my clients to count calories but I do like them to be aware, in general, of what an “average” 2000-calorie day looks like. I prefer to work with portion sizes because it’s easier for people to visualize.