5 Ways Nutritionists Actually Get Their Clients to Photo Food Log

Mundane, numerical-driven food logs are so last year! There’s a new type of food logging gaining traction with nutritionists that’s been shown to be more effective: it’s photo food logging. Rather than a numbers-driven journal, photo-based food journaling, like that in the Healthie platform, lets clients quickly snap a picture of their food and post it to the app. Healthie allows providers to enable custom tracking metrics such as pre-meal hunger, post-meal fullness, perceived healthiness of the meal and more. This science-backed style of journaling enables clients to view their food as a whole, rather than hyper-focusing on numbers.

Food photos have been shown to be an accurate tool for estimating the nutrient content of meals and proper portion sizes. Studies prove that photo food journaling can lead to:

  • Improved taste perception of food
  • Better recall of details surrounding meals (including who, what and when meals were enjoyed)
  • Fewer barriers to journaling
  • More adventurous eaters
  • Healthier food choices
  • Increased mindfulness in food choices
  • Increased compliance due to fewer feelings of judgment about food choices

After all, photo food journaling won’t help your clients if they’re not doing it!

Here are the top 5 ways nutritionists actually get their clients to photo food log:

1. Set expectations up front

Before clients purchase a counseling package with you, let your clients know your expectations of partaking in photo food logging. Successful Healthie users will often state expectations on their website, in an initial phone call or in a package description.

One Healthie user states, “information about the Healthie app and food tracking is on my website, so that when they [prospective clients] meet with me, it’s not the first time hearing about it.”

 

2. Make it easy for your clients to photo food log

“From the second my clients sign up to work with me, they are given the tools they need to succeed in photo food logging,” states Emily, a happy Healthie user. “Healthie allows you to customize the welcome email that gets triggered to clients, so I include intentions about downloading the Healthie app and tracking food/workouts/weight, etc.”

By providing the needed tools , such as the Healthie app, photo food logging becomes a seamless and expected component of working with you.

 

3. Explain why photo food logging is so important

As one Healthie nutritionist states, “On the first call, I educate my clients on why it’s so important and what the evidence shows to be most effective for helping them reach their goals.”

By teaching your clients the benefits of photo food logging, you’re showing them, “Hey, this is for YOU, not for me, but we’re in this together!”

 

4. Support photo food logging from day one

Believe it or not, your clients’ success with photo food logging is more on you than on them, especially in the beginning of your work together. From day one, engaging with most entries is essential, so your clients know you’re checking in on them. If you don’t see your clients’ food logging, send a message to nudge them along.

Then, at each appointment, ask your clients how tracking is going. Are they finding it difficult? Do they enjoy it? What would make their food logging experience more enjoyable? Airing any potential obstacles is the first step in preventing any barriers!

 

5. Always use positive reinforcement

Be the motivational coach your clients are looking for… especially when it comes to photo food logging! Since the 1920s, behavioral research has shown that positive reinforcement is a beneficial tool for helping individuals learn new behaviors.

Encourage your clients’ photo food logging by always leaving a positive comment – even if their choices aren’t exactly what you had hoped for! By providing positive encouragement, your clients will be more likely to continue to photo food log, which is a photo in the right direction towards reaching their goals!

 

Happy food logging!

Chelsey Amer

Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN is a New York City-based registered dietitian nutritionist with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Chelsey started her virtual nutrition private practice in 2016 to help women find their food freedom and feel their best with mindful weight management techniques. Chelsey runs a successful food blog, CitNutritionally.com, where you can find deliciously nutritious, simple, food allergy friendly recipes. As a member of the marketing and partnerships team at Healthie, Chelsey spends most of her days writing, speaking with members of the Healthie community, and hanging out on social media!

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