By Elise Gordon M.S., RD/LD
There are many different options when it comes to meal planning. We like to try to match a plan that would be best for you and help you meet your needs. You can however start with one type of Meal Plan and decide that it is not right for you and then try another. Also as you move through the eating disorder recovery process, you may want to move from calorie counting to servings or mix and match meals. This is a good sign as you work towards MindFull Eating and normalization.
This is writing down everything you eat, with portion sizing and calorie values. The goal is to make a certain number of calories by the end of the day. Your dietitian will be working with you on what this calorie goal is and how it needs to be increased over time.
CALORIE COUNTING WITH BLOCKS
This is essentially the same as calorie counting, however it assigns certain calorie amounts for blocks of time, i.e. Breakfast Block (incorporates Breakfast and AM Snack), Lunch Block (incorporates Lunch and PM Snack) etc. This is very helpful if it is hard for you to space your food intake out throughout the day. It also seems to be less overwhelming to think about calorie blocks vs. the whole calorie amount for the day.
FOOD GROUP SERVINGS
This meal plan follows the food pyramid as far as food groups and ensuring you eat a certain number of servings from each food group (not to be confused with the exchange system). You will still have a calorie goal but this will be expressed in number of servings from each food group. It is not as exact as calorie counting ,but it a great way to make sure you are incorporating all foods into your plan.
MIX AND MATCH MEALS
If you seem to eat the same way or need more ideas of what/how much to eat, your dietitian can help make up Mix and Match Meals that will reflect all your food preferences. You can make up at least 5 different days of meals and snacks and eat those in their entirety to ensure a certain calorie intake. This is helpful if you are very indecisive with what or how much to eat . It will keep you on track for the day.
The Plate Plan is a fun way to visualize how your plate looks and it ensures that you are getting everything you need. It shows portions of starch, protein, vegetable, fruit and dairy. It helps you to get variety and balance in your diet, while feeling like you are following some ground rules for eating.
These are very detailed and rigid, and are not used very often in our meal planning. Sometimes in a very stressful situation, it can be helpful to plan out an entire meal or day if needed. Your dietitian will work with you on this as situations arise.
Our eating disorder recovery programs are customized to each individual. One of the therapy classes that we are very proud of is our Cooking Classes which offers a cookbook written by Walker Wellness staff. Please contact us for more information if you are struggling with food, fear foods, food addictions or eating disorders.