Your Nutrition Practice: How to Evaluate and Create Change (Part 2)

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Let’s roll through an example to apply what we learned last week on how to create change that is sustainable as well as how to best move forward with creating your individualized nutrition practice! This example is an Athlete who needs help modifying her intake to best provide the energy she needs for her training days - on and off season - and create future goals to hone in on what she can do to make her own sustainable, nutrition practice.

Example: An athlete needs to prioritize balance meals for off season (trouble balancing meals and training, minimal to no prep)

Track current intake 

Breakfast (6am)- coffee and 1 piece whole grain toast, 1 tbsp butter 

Lunch (1pm)- granola bar (nuts and seeds), 2 slices of turkey, 8 oz water 

Snack (3pm)- 8 oz water, protein bar (20g protein)

Dinner (7pm) - 2 cups spaghetti, 1 c marinara sauce, ¼ c Parmesan cheese, 2 pieces of garlic bread (2 tbs butter), 8 oz 1% milk, mixed green salad with ½ c cucumber/tomatoes/shredded carrots, ¼ c cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp ranch dressing

Snack (9 pm): protein brownie, 8 oz 1% milk, 1 Cheetos snack pack, 1 apple

Reviewing this food log, what stands out to you? Is there one aspect that you think would be the most beneficial to change? How do you think this intake might be influencing performance and energy levels throughout the day?

Here are some examples of what a small and large goal could be for this individual:

Small goal: increase intake at breakfast/lunch. Currently the meals here are pretty minimal, specifically adding in a source of protein from either a quick smoothie instead of toast and coffee or in addition to this would provide additional nutrients and be a great way to add in another source of fruit/serving of vegetables if possible. 

Large goal: reduce portion sizes in the evening and disperse this intake throughout the day (spreading out intake will better regulate energy levels throughout the day and provide additional nutrition for any workouts/training that might be earlier in the day).

Plan: This athlete might consider preparing some of the ingredients for a quick smoothie in the morning ahead of time (freezing the ingredients to easily incorporate into a smoothie early in the morning) or packing a lunch that is quick to eat (a turkey sandwich + servings of fruit/veggie for example) to keep handy when she has time for lunch. For her larger goal this might also incorporate some additional planning in the form of meal prep and batch cooking to ensure that she is able to quickly prepare a healthy meal when she is at home and also think about portion sizes well ahead of time. 

Now that we have reviewed an example of what this could look like and how simple changes can be implemented in any busy routine, what will your first step be?

Here is a handy template to help you along the way! 

  1. Take Note

    1. Record dietary intake (whichever method you prefer)

    2. NOTES: 

  2. Highlight Goals (Small and Large)

    1. Small Goal:

    2. Large Goal:

  3. Plan

    1. What is your short term plan?

    2. How will you make this happen?

    3. What support do you have to help you make this change?

  4. Practice 

    1. What will be a marker to indicate you have successfully implemented this change?

    2. How will you continue to make this a sustainable part of your nutrition practice? 

Heather Gerrish