3 reasons why Dietitians are unlikely to give you a meal plan

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Jun 3, 03:23 PM in and . Comments [2].

Often when people come to visit me, they are asking for or expecting a 7 or 14 day “meal plan”.

“Oh don’t tell me what to do. I just need a meal plan” is what I hear, quite often.

This is a sentence Dietitians dread.

In fact, Dietitians are very unlikely to give you these kinds of meal plans for 3 main reasons:

1. They are restrictive – really who wants to eat from a set plan? What if you just don’t feel like what’s on the plan one night? We are all human with very different lives and family set-ups. Things get in the way. Life gets in the way. Following a set meal plan can be really inflexible. What we are about is trying to fit solutions with your life, not about “telling you what to eat”.

2. They are short term fixes – these plans don’t teach you to incorporate healthy eating principles and to make changes to your every day diet. For people to make long term changes, they have to have knowledge , drive and changes in behaviour. In fact, small changes over time are the best. Just following a plan for 7-14 days just won’t do it. Dietitians try to teach you ways to make changes for the long term.

3. They can be impractical for your life – “off the rack” meal plans may have foods you don’t like, involve recipes that are unrealistic or expensive and can include the need for a big old shopping trip. They don’t take into account that you are an individual with complex needs.

What your Dietitian will prefer to do is to chat to you about nutrition, teaching you about how you can make your own diet better whilst giving you practical tips to try to incorporate healthy changes into your diet and lifestyle. It has to fit you, like a glove. Short term meal plans is ripping you off. So next time your Dietitian says they don’t do set meal plans, don’t be cross -they are looking out for you xx

Image from Pixabay.

Tags: Flexibility, Holistic, Meal Plans, Restrictive Eating

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.


  1. Hello! I am Sunita Gupta from Nepal.I am a Dietitian. Here it is different from other places,we prefer giving meal plans to our patients because unless and untill we don’t do that people are not going to follow it strictly even though knowing the fact that following a set meal plan can be really inflexible. We try to give them alternative food items for a set meal example and educate them about the portion size and similar food items which help them manage their diet.Thank you.

  2. Thanks Sunita! Wow, it is so interesting to see how Dietitians work around the world. I guess we often do bespoke plans as “starters” but never expect people to follow them strictly. How do you find people are with the set plans?

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