Food journaling remains one of the most valuable tools in a nutrition professionals arsenal. No matter the format, having clients keep a regular food journal will provide you with incredible insight into their dietary habits. The challenge comes from having clients log long-term, and to have food journaling continues to be an engaging way for provider and client to connect.
To help improve both the consistency and accuracy of food journaling, Healthie uses a photo food journal within the platform and mobile app. Photo food journaling allows clients to log images of their meals in real-time. As a more accurate form of food reporting, it’s then up to the nutrition expert to interpret, assess and discuss the nutritional quality of the meal with their client.
Here are 6 ways Healthie’s photo food journal tool can help client’s find long-term success:
1. Providers can give personalized feedback to clients
Clients have long been dissatisfied with “one-size-fits-all” approaches to nutritional care. When it comes to dietary changes and meal plan support, savvy clients are looking for personalized guidance. Photo food journaling allows providers to get a good sense of what their clients are eating: their preferences, portion sizes, dietary patterns and more. With a detailed oversight of a client’s intake, providers can properly assess and recommend the most effective dietary changes for each client.
Giving real-time, specific and actionable recommendations, allows clients to make the nutritional changes that will truly benefit their health.
2. Clients have more consistent logging and an improved sense of accountability
No matter what your client’s nutritional goals are, success comes from making consistent change. Setting small goals, and repeatedly achieving them helps to build healthier habits over time. One of the biggest challenges to working with clients, is helping them maintain that motivation and momentum.
Traditional methods of food journaling, along with calorie tracking, tends to be tedious and time-consuming for many clients. Photo food journaling offers an easier, more sustainable method of food logging. By virtually seeing your clients meals daily, you can strategically provide them with the encouragement needed to maintain their motivation.
3. Detailed settings allow clients to improve mindfulness
Currently in nutritional care, there is an industry shift towards intuitive eating as an effective way to make long-term, sustainable dietary changes. It’s a counseling approach that encourages clients to trust their body and emphasizes an improved relationship with food. One pillar of intuitive eating, helps clients regain a sense of their hunger and fullness cues. With Healthie’s photo food journal, providers have the option to adjust the settings that clients can view/track for each meal, including add pre and post-meal hunger scales.
With each meal, a client will be prompted to evaluate these sensations. As they slide their finger along the 1-10 numeric scale, they’ll see a description of what each number means (ie. 1= ravenous, 10 = overfull, sick). With consistent counseling, you can help your clients work on the appropriate dietary changes needed to consistently fall within a healthy range on the hunger scale.
4. Allows clients to draw connections between food and their emotions
Another level deeper within the Healthie food-journal is the ability to turn-on “emotions surrounding meals” setting. With this setting, clients will be prompted to select an emotion that they are feeling at their time of meal. They can either choose from the preset list of emotions (happy, sad, anxious, bored, etc) or free-text their response.
As a provider, working with your clients to draw connections between their food choices and their emotions is a powerful tool. By identifying trends, and teaching clients healthier strategies and coping skills to avoid emotionally eating, clients will learn lifelong strategies for healthie eating.
5. Emphasizes a “balanced” approach to meal planning
For many clients, finding a place of “balance,” with both their meals, and their relationship with food is paramount. Being able to help clients draw the connections between the foods that they eat, and the way that they feel can be life-changing. By working together to find this balance with each meal, and each snack, clients can begin to shed “diet-culture” perceptions on healthy eating, and make the life-long changes that will work for them.
Photo food journaling provides a way to clearly see the balance (or imbalance) at meals — was there proportionately enough vegetables on the place? Was the meal missing a carb? Were there too many sweets on the dessert plate? Using the images of their meals, you can work collaboratively with your clients to see where change needs to happen.
6. Helps put portion sizes into perspective, with expert guidance
Although calorie-tracking apps can be helping in providing detailed nutrient information, accurate information is dependent on correctly identifying portion sizes. It can be a challenge for most clients to diligently measure, weight and record each ingredient in their meals. There is a naturally a margin of error, as clients tend to under-estimate the portion size of their foods.
With photo food journaling, nutrition experts are able to see the meals and better assess the portions and nutritional quality of the meal. Help your clients work on both the quality and the quantity of their meals, with direct feedback on their recorded intake.
No matter which tools you use to connect with your clients between sessions, ongoing support is invaluable. By providing real-time, and tailored advice to your clients, they will feel motivated to follow their nutritional plan. With actionable goals and a realistic approach to meal planning, your clients will have long-term success in achieving a healthier diet.