Determining a proper nutrition assessment can be a daunting task whether you are a nutritionist, dietitian or personal trainer. What percentage of carbohydrates, fat and protein do they eat? How can you tell if a client is lacking in certain nutrients and vitamins just by looking at them? Are they getting enough selenium, potassium or vitamin B? Are they getting too much sodium or cholesterol? And even if the client is lacking in selenium, what foods do they need to eat to make up for it? Without knowing this vital information in a nutrition assessment, how is one to create a proper meal plan regiment to address and modify the client’s dietary needs?

Using the right nutrition assessment tool is crucial for the dietary health professional. Not all software programs are equal in their ability to perform nutrition assessments. There is a simple solution for nutrition assessment that can be done in 3 easy steps, with the right software analysis software program. Make sure the one you use can provide reports that show nutrient deficiencies and excesses.

The first step is to have your client provide a detailed diet diary. This diary needs to be for enough time to get a good representative snapshot of their eating habits and food intake. This time frame is usually five to seven days. The client records every food and drink they eat and the quantity. For example, a breakfast diary for day one might be three eggs with one quarter ounce of ham, one ounce of cheddar cheese and eight ounces of whole milk. This is done for each meal and snack every day.

Step two of the nutrition assessment is for the health professional to use their nutrition software program and enter the data from the diary into the analysis portion of the program. This can typically take from 30 to 45 minutes. Once the information is entered the software should be able to create 3 detailed reports. The first report will show the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein. The second report provides a detailed list of nutrient deficiencies and just as important, what foods contain this nutrient. The third report lists the types of excesses typically found in many diets, like cholesterol and sodium.

With those reports, step three is to review the results with the client and develop and issue a meal plan that corrects their eating habits. A proper nutrition assessment software program will also be able to help provide many options for a meal plan, along with shopping lists, and recipes, to help the client implement your plan.

While nutrition assessment can at first seem like a very troubling task, with the right tools and procedures, the health care professional can be assured the proper modification to the client’s diet is provided and can be as simple as one, two, three.

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