Meal planning software for dietitians and nutritionists – why to use one

What is a meal planning software

A meal planning software is an app (mobile, web or desktop) that helps a person to create a meal plan.

It provides nutritional information about the food that are included in the plan. Usually it calculates nutrient totals like the total number of calories, total quantity of proteins, carbs, lipids and so on.

The meal planning software that are focused on dietetics also include micro-nutrient totals (vitamins, minerals and so on).

In terms of user types we can split them in two categories: meal planning software for professionals (dietitians, nutritionists, doctors, health coaches) and for individuals.

Meal planning software for dietitians and nutritionists

About two years ago I was talking to a friend (a doctor) who is doing dietetics extensively. I asked her what does she use for meal planning for her patients.

The answer was: pen and paper. I thought it was a joke but it wasn’t.

We did some research and discovered that the options are limited and we believed we could build a much better one.

We believe that every dietitian and nutritionist needs to use a software for very simple reasons.

  • spend time with and for their patients instead of repetitive tasks that can be automated by a computer
  • cut the calculations (like BMI, Harris–Benedict equations, totals of calories, macro and micro nutrients)
  • communicate efficiently with the patients (encourage them to communicate but have control over the time and way of communication)
  • share the information (like nutritional plans, diet information, fitness plans, nutritional profile) with the patients in a modern way instead of communicating the information in many formats and communication channels
  • collect results and feedback from patients
  • there are a lot of benefits for clinical nutrition which requires more detailed calculations which are outlined in this article

Meal planning software totals

There is a big difference between an app for nutrition professionals and one for individuals. First of all, the professionals need superpowers. There is much more than just doing calorie counter and keeping a diet journal.

We see a software for professionals as a complete suite of multiple software: EMR (Electronic Medical Records), CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), meal planning software, communication interface and much more.

Meal planning software for nutrition students

The increased demand of dietitians and nutritionists has triggered a growth of nutrition schools.

It has been proved that using an interactive medical software improves the retention rate compared to traditional methods.

We believe in the future dietitians and nutritionists and this is why we are giving them the Nutritio platform for free during their studies. We want them to learn nutrition using modern methods and to be prepared to use these methods when they start working with real patients.

Software for Nutrition students

Meal planning software for individuals

There are a lot of nutrition apps for individuals. Most of them are just calorie counters and diet journalling tools.

Which is great! We strongly believe that chance starts at the individual level.

We strongly encourage people to use tools like these. Track your calorie consumption, macro-nutrient and micro-nutrient consumption! But keep in mind that a dietitian or nutritionist is a trained person who spent a lot of time in school, has absorbed much more from scientific books and studies than you can ever find on the internet and knows the relations between nutrition and diseases.

This kind of work requires dedicated software specialized to their needs.

How to choose one

If you are a dietitian or nutritionist and you are wondering what you should take into account when deciding which meal planning software to choose, we have identified the “must to have” and “nice to have” options for you.

Must have:

  1. food composition database – for every food in the database you must have the nutritional values like calories, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients
  2. automated calculations – invest your time wisely in patient motivation and communication instead of manual calculations
  3. patients management
  4. recipe builder
  5. great support – usually the startups have much better support and adapts better to your needs than big corporations
  6. data privacy – you don’t want your data to be sold or used for any purposes (can you defend in front of the Congress like Mark did?)
  7. security – the data you enter in a software is yours. Period. The owners of the software are responsible for the security of your data
  8. user friendly – “A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”

Nice to have: 

  1. communication tools – you might create the best diets ever but if you don’t communicate with your patients, collect feedback, adjust the diets and motivate them the diets will be just nice meals on paper
  2. support for clinics – the work of a nutrition clinic needs extra tools and features compared with a individual dietitian
  3. support for clinical nutrition
  4. appointment system
  5. support for remote practice – the borders tend to disappear even in the medical world. Choose a tool that can empower you to work with patients from everywhere in the world. Options like integrating your online payments system can make a difference in your work.
  6. templates – nutritional plans, information to share with your patients – everything that is predefined or can be predefined in order to be reused will save you a lot of time.

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