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How to Create a Meal Plan for Clients

How to Create a Meal Plan for Clients

By learning how to create a meal plan for clients, you could significantly expand your personal training business through a unique selling point. 

In this article, we’re going to guide you through the process of creating a meal plan for clients, by offering expert tips and advice on how to do so in a manner that will benefit their specific needs.

In order to learn more about the nutritional needs of individuals, why not enroll on OriGym’s Advanced Sports Nutrition course

This industry-leading qualification can provide you with the necessary knowledge and experience required to launch a successful career, as well as build more tailored meal plans for your clients. 

Content:

What to Consider Before Writing a Meal Plan for Clients 

Thinking about creating a meal plan for clients

Creating a meal plan for clients is easier said than done, you could simply give your clients a generic ‘healthy’ outline to follow and send them on their way, but that wouldn’t be beneficial in the long run.

Much like you’d specifically plan your personal training sessions for an individual's goals and fitness levels, so too must you tailor a meal plan for clients and their specific needs. 

Within this section, we’re going to walk you through factors that you should consider prior to this creation process, all of which can stem from hosting a meal planning assessment. 

 A meal planning assessment acts in a similar way to a personal training consultation and will allow you to meet with the client one-to-one in order to discuss their goals and diet. 

This meeting will also help to ensure that you will create a meal plan the client will actually stick to and enjoy. 

PT creating a meal plan for clients

It’s all well and good creating a generic meal plan that will help a client achieve goals, such as weight loss, but if you fail to take into account their preferences and existing lifestyle, then it’s likely the client will find it difficult to stick to this template. 

To ensure that you know how to create a meal plan for the clients’ specific needs, we would encourage you to ask questions that will allow you to extract valuable information regarding dietary needs and preferences.

Examples of these questions could include: 

  • What are your existing fitness goals?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Do you have any cultural food preferences?
  • Which foods do you like and dislike?
  • How Often Do You Exercise?
  • How much time do you spend cooking?
  • What is your weekly food budget?

These questions will provide you with a significant amount of information needed to craft a personalised meal plan for the client in question. 

But why should you take these factors into account? Let’s take a closer look at each.

#1 - What Are Your Existing Fitness Goals?

Trophy for meal plan for clients

In the interest of explaining how to create a meal plan for clients, we will begin with the most important question you can ask as a personal trainer. 

In order to ensure your clients get the most out of your service, you should seek to compliment their fitness goals with a diet plan and exercise routine that will help to drive them towards success. 

For example, a client may come to you looking to gain muscle mass, and as a personal trainer, it is your responsibility to ensure this is done in a safe and efficient manner.

How to write a nutrition plan for clients

In order to begin working steadily towards this target, you could implement SMART goals that are uniquely specified to the individual. For example, their final goal could be to gain 5lbs in lean muscle over the course of 2 months.

To achieve this goal, you could assign the client strength and conditioning workouts that will then be paired with a diet that is high in protein and amino acids. 

This will be vital for ensuring that muscles grow and repair over the course of training.

If your client has this goal in mind and consumes meat and/or animal products some foods you could recommend include:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Tuna 
  • Lean Beef 
  • Milk 

How to write a nutrition plan for clients plant based

Alternatively, vegan and plant-based protein sources can be found in foods such as the ones featured in the graphic above.

Therefore, the foods that are recommended within meal plan templates for clients must be reflective of their end goals. 

Without this information, you can’t possibly expect to generate positive results that clients will be pleased with.

#2 - Do You Have a Current Meal Plan?

Existing meal plan for clients

Something you should always consider is a client’s existing meal plan and day-to-day diet, as this can greatly influence the final nutrition guide you provide.

An existing meal plan can change for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • A client wishes to focus on a different type of exercising
  • The client has altered their goals 
  • Dietary alterations, such as becoming vegetarian 

Let’s look at the first point as an example, a client may have shifted their focus from weight training to focus on cardio. 

Their existing meal plan cannot stay stagnant and must be adapted to complement the new cardio routine.

Carbs meal plan for clients

To fuel cardio, your clients are going to want to add more carbs to fuel the extra energy required of your body. Honey for example, will help to regulate your blood sugar during times of intense workouts such as marathons. 

In the instance of increasing your cardio workouts, you should also look to ensure that a client is increasing their protein and overall calorie intake dramatically too. 

This will help to ensure that your muscles will recover and reduce the risk of injury.

It’s important to ask this question after learning their existing goals, as it will allow you to make alterations based on where they are now and where they want to end. 

#3 - Do You Have Any Existing Allergies?

How to create a nutrition plan for clients with allergies

Before recommending ANY food to clients, you must check that they have no prior existing allergies. 

By asking this question within your initial meal planning assessment, you will be able to adapt your proposed template accordingly.

According to the NHS, the most commonly recurring allergies are:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • tree nuts
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • some fruit and vegetables

Reactions can vary from mild bodily rashes, to severe cases of Anaphylaxis which could potentially even result in death. 

How to create a nutrition plan for clients with allergies 2

Clients should typically know whether they have these existing conditions, but accidents can always arise. 

Regardless of whether a client is aware of their allergies or not, we’d strongly advise including a health and safety sheet with your proposed meal plan templates for clients.

Should any symptoms arise upon consumption of a food product, a client will be able to immediately inform you in order to make adaptations. 

#4 - Do You Have Any Cultural Food Preferences?

Create a meal plan template for clients

Similar to the previous point, as a personal trainer looking into how to create a nutrition plan for clients, you must consider that cultural preferences can also influence the foods that will be consumed.

For example, those who follow the Hindu religion view cows to be sacred animals. Therefore, you won’t be able to recommend food products, such as lean beef, as this could be quite insulting for certain individuals.

Similarly, Jewish individuals have religious laws that forbid them from eating pork and shellfish. Both examples can illustrate how a client’s culture could influence their dietary requirements, an aspect which should be taken just as seriously as allergens.

Cheering crowd for meal plan for clients

When creating a meal plan for clients, you should do so with an element of cultural sensitivity.

Instead of offering food that may cause offense, try to offer alternatives that are just as nutritionally beneficial to a client’s end goals.

With a Level 4 qualification in Advanced Sports Nutrition you will be armed with the knowledge required to make these suitable substitutions. 

However, without the correct training, you could struggle with this aspect immensely. 

#5 - Which Foods Do You Like or Dislike?

Bad meal plan for clients

When creating meal plan templates for clients it's easy to think that you know best. After all, you're the one with the qualification. 

You may provide the client with a meal plan that you believe will benefit their end goal. However, upon delivery, you may find that they are struggling to stick with the program because they simply don’t enjoy any of the meals you have presented before them.

This will not only waste your time, but it will make your client feel defeated and as if they have wasted their money hiring you to begin with.

Good meal plan for clients

To stop this from occurring you must ensure to question some of your client's personal preferences when it comes to food. 

This will allow you to create a meal plan that they’ll actually stick to because they enjoy it.

For example, a client may really enjoy eating burgers and other foods that are high in harmful fats. 

In this instance, your plan could incorporate homemade alternatives that will allow clients to feel the benefits of healthy eating, without compromising their personal preferences to the point where they become miserable.

#6 - How Much Exercise Do You Get?

Asking clients about their existing exercise habits and routine will also help you when it comes to shaping an individualised diet plan.

As a personal trainer who offers dietary advice, one of the biggest factors you should consider is calorie intake vs exercise frequency and intensity. 

As a trainer, you absolutely need to determine a client’s caloric expenditure prior to creating an exercise or dietary plan. 

This relates to the amount of calories your clients are consuming in the food, and the amount they're later losing through physical activity.

This is also directly influenced by a client’s existing goals, for example, if they’re looking to gain muscle mass they’ll need a positive energy balance, where they take in more calories than they burn.

It’s been found that the average human needs to consume over 2,800 calories in order to create a single pound of muscle.

However, just because your client will need more calories does not excuse unhealthy eating, and you should still stress the principles and importance of healthy eating. 

One thing you could focus on is discussing a client’s food consumption in relation to the time of their workout. 

When crafting a meal plan for clients you could recommend consuming protein 15 to 20 minutes before, during, and within one hour of working out in order to improve muscle gain. 

This doesn’t have to be as complicated as a steak dinner and can include the likes of protein drinks and supplements.  

#7 - How Much Time Do You Spend Cooking?

Meal plan for clients prep time

Now that we have discussed the client's dietary requirements we will now shift our focus onto external elements which can influence how you create a meal plan. 

It’s unrealistic to assume that every client has a significant amount of time to spend cooking every day. 

By assigning meals with a high prep and cooking time, you could prompt an unhealthy relationship between some clients and their food. 

This meal plan template for clients should feel effortless, rather than dominate every aspect of their life. 

Meal plan for clients cook time

Clients should be able to fit this plan around any prior obligation they have, be it professional or personal. 

As such, during your initial meal planning assessment, you should try to get a sense of a client's regular weekly routine. 

For example, if they have less time on weekdays you should strive to provide nutritious meal options that can be easily prepared or even prepared overnight. 

In contrast, you could offer more complex recipes for weekends, during which time clients will have more time to prep and cook.

 

#8 - What is Your Weekly Food Budget 

Financial meal plan for clients

When questioning how to write a nutrition plan for clients, their weekly food budget will arguably be the most important piece of information you can acquire. 

You could realistically create a meal plan template for clients that will be highly rewarding, but if they can’t afford the items then it’s going to be a waste of time for both parties.

You should ask clients questions relating to their weekly budget, without being too prying of course. 

This will allow you to tailor your meal plan for the client's preferred supermarket and weekly expenses.

You should be as strict as possible when it comes to this influential factor, as some clients may not be able to afford to go over their budget. 

This may require you to do some research of your own, such as finding out where clients could get a proposed item at the cheapest price. 

Creating a meal plan for clients shopping

Once you have a meal plan in mind, use this research to create a shopping list for your clients. This will tell them exactly what to buy, and where they can buy it for the cheapest possible price.

Organise your list into subheadings according to how the standard store is set out, this will stop clients from wandering around without a clear goal and buying unhealthy foods.

This could look like this:

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy Products  
  • Meats 
  • Fish

You should also include strict measurements in your shopping list, in order to ensure clients don’t under or over purchase. 

This may be somewhat challenging, but as a personal trainer with a specialist qualification in advanced nutrition, you should be able to adapt to any situation that may arise. 

For budget-friendly advice, we would recommend checking out our article on the Personal Trainer Meal Plan.

 

Become a certified Sports Nutritionist

Enroll on OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition Course today! 

How To Create a Meal Plan For Clients

Creating a nutrition plan for clients

Now that you have a better understanding of what factors could influence this process, we can now focus intently on how to create a meal for clients.

Within this section, we’re going to focus on a variety of teachings that should be kept in mind during the creation process. 

Remember, much like a workout program this meal plan should be tailored to the unique client. Therefore, you should implement your better judgment in order to determine an approach that will be most beneficial to the client in question.

#1 - Make It Easy to Follow

Writing a nutrition plan for clients

When it comes to creating a meal plan template for clients, there is no such thing as too easy. The less work a client has to do in this process, the better. 

They should be able to follow this template without even thinking.

If you have created a plan that is highly complex, there is a chance your client won’t stick to it and could consequently drop you as a personal trainer. 

We have already touched upon one way in which you can make this process easier, and that is to incorporate healthier alternatives to the client’s favourite recipes.

This will prompt clients to enjoy your proposed meal plan more than they would if you recommend unfamiliar foods, or ones that they personally don’t enjoy. 

Part of making this easy for clients is meeting them halfway. No one likes drastic change, but these small healthy alternatives can positively influence their life, without making them too uncomfortable.

Creating a meal plan template for clients

Another way in which you can make it easy to follow is by reminding clients of what meal is ahead for the following day. 

This can be done through a variety of means, such as:

  • Texts
  • Phone Calls
  • Meal planning softwares 

Whilst the first two points are fairly self-explanatory, meal planning softwares are useful tools that can help to both create templates, as well as send reminders to clients. 

Later on in this article, we will discuss how to choose the right meal planning software for your clients, and provide a shortlist of examples that we’d personally recommend

By sending clients consistent reminders, they won’t feel as lost when it comes to preparation and cooking. 

Instead, they can simply look down at their phone and receive a notification and tailored guidance.

As a personal trainer, you should always go the extra mile for a client, doing whatever you can to make their experience with your service as fulfilling as possible. 

By doing these basic acts of service, you can guarantee that the proposed meal plan template for clients is as easy to follow as possible. 

#2 - Concentrate on Portion Sizes!

Meal plan for clients portion size

One of the big misconceptions regarding food and nutrition is that any kind of ‘unhealthy’ food will cause drastic consequences. 

That is not the case, and you shouldn’t deprive clients of the occasional treat, just because certain foods they enjoy are considered to be ‘bad’ for them. 

Instead, you should stress that they can still eat these, just in smaller quantities.

According to health organisation BUPA, recommended portion sizes are as followed:

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • One medium fruit - Apple, Orange or Banana 
  • Two small fruits - Kiwis, Satsumas or Plums
  • One large slice of a larger fruit - Pineapple 
  • A dessert bowl of salad 
  • Three heaped tablespoons of beans, peas and lentils


Meat, Fish, Eggs, Beans and Other Non-Dairy Proteins 

  • 60-90g of cooked meat
  • 140g of cooked fish
  • Two medium-sized eggs
  • Four tablespoons of lentils 
  • A handful of nuts

Starchy foods meal plan for clients

Starchy Foods:

  • 40g of cereal 
  • Two slices of bread
  • One pitta bread
  • One baked potato 
  • Five-Six new potatoes
  • 75g of rice or pasta  

Dairy Products:

  • A 200ml glass of milk
  • A carton of yoghurt 
  • 30g of hard cheese 

When questioning how to create a meal plan for clients, we would stress the importance of portion sizes. 

Meal plan templates for clients food portion

Be sure to label a recommended portion for each and every item to appear on your proposed meal template. 

Without this, clients may be over or under-eating, both of which could negatively impact upon their health and fitness. 

However, if your client confesses that they are routinely struggling with the prospect of portion sizes, it may be worth advising them to invest in a portion control plate

This product will directly help them to break up each section of their food, in order to meet the daily recommendations. 

#3 - Stress the Importance of Meal Prepping

Meal prepping for clients meal plans

When creating a meal plan for clients, it will be helpful to stress the importance and beneficial qualities of meal prepping. 

For those unfamiliar with this process, it requires you to cook a large batch of food in advance, before distributing it between several containers to consume throughout the week.

If your client is struggling to stick with the routine that comes with cooking regularly, this will be a great solution. 

Not only will it stop temptation from breaking the client’s concentration throughout the week, but it will also save them time in the process.

Meal prepping for clients meal plans  2

Never again will there be an excuse such as ‘I was too tired after work to prepare a healthy lunch for tomorrow', as the meal will already be pre-made and ready to go in meal prep containers.

We’d recommend advising your client to set a few hours to the side on a Sunday in order to complete this task. 

This may be a somewhat time-consuming task, but it provides a solid foundation of support for clients that will protect them from diverting from your proposed plan.

 

#4 - Make Healthy Snacking Options

Snacks include in a clients meal plan

But creating a meal plan for clients extends far beyond just meals, and as a personal trainer offering nutritional advice, you should also provide snacking options too.

One of the large misconceptions surrounding dieting is that you have to deprive yourself of any kind of snacks. 

However, these foods should still be available to your clients, but through controlled qualities.

For example, you could advise your clients to separate snacks such as crisps out of their bag and into Tupperware boxes. 

This will provide a nice portion that can be directly monitored, with the idea that once they’re gone, they’re gone.

By putting these snacks into small boxes the risk of overeating is significantly reduced. In contrast, when there is a large bag, clients could mindlessly eat through a significant amount of calories as there is no direct end in sight.

Healthy snacks include in a clients nutrition plan

However, if your clients are looking to cut out these kinds of habits entirely, you could recommend a list of healthier alternatives of usual favourites such as:

  • Cereal bars 
  • Homemade baked tortilla crisps 
  • Kale Chips
  • Nuts - e.g. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, and Cashews 
  • Peppers and guacamole 
  • Dark chocolate 

As someone with a position of authority, you must stress to clients that they should never starve themselves in pursuit of their fitness goals. 

Snacks should be eaten in moderation, and if a client is hungry they should listen to their bodies and provide it with sustenance. 

#5 - Adjust The Meal Plan Accordingly 

How to create a nutrition for clients specifics

When discussing how to write a nutrition plan for clients, many wrongly assume that this is a one time event. 

However, in contrast, this meal template should be adjusted over the course of time.

This is why the ‘initial’ meal planning assessment is called just that - this should be a recurring meeting that is held between you and your client to ensure the longevity of their success. 

During these follow-ups, your clients should feel free to discuss what they enjoy about their meal plan, whilst also sharing issues they may be struggling with.  

Roadblocks are normal for everyone, you should be sure to create an open environment in which clients won’t feel bad for coming to you with these issues. If anyone is struggling, you should be receptive to this feedback and make the proper adjustments.

Personal training meeting

In contrast, the meal plans for clients shouldn't solely be affected by negative feedback. In fact, you should also be receptive to a client’s success and adapt accordingly to this too. 

For example, once a client has achieved a specific training goal they’re not going to remain stagnant, they’re going to advance to a further target. 

A meal plan should act in a similar fashion - once a client has hit one of their primary goals, you should work alongside them to ensure that their future is reflected in an updated plan.

This could be an amended version of the existing meal plan, or you could scrap this in order to keep things fresh and create a whole new template from scratch. 

This is largely dependent on the wishes of the client and whether they’d like to explore different recipes and meal options.

These are the five main factors that you must take into consideration when crafting a meal plan template for clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a meal plan for clients, we think you’ll also enjoy these other OriGym articles:

 

Become a certified Sports Nutritionist

Enroll on OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition Course today! 

How To Introduce Your Proposed Meal Plan For Clients

Providing clients with designed nutrition plan

Now that you know how to create a nutrition plan for clients, you may now be questioning how to deliver this information to your clients.

This particular guidance will be beneficial for clients who have never received this type of information before. 

So, when it comes to delivering a meal plan to a client for the first time, you should focus on covering the following topics:

#1 - Teach Clients to Read The Proposed Recipes & Serving 

Recipe to be included in clients meal plan

If your client is new to, or inexperienced with cooking their own food, you should educate them on how to properly read recipes. 

Take a look at the example we have included from BBC GoodFood.

Here we can see that the portion size has been highlighted, with this recipe being suitable for 2 servings.

Following this you should remind your clients to read any preparation notes diligently, this will keep their cooking time fast and efficient.

If a client isn’t interested in making large portions and instead just wants one serving, you should teach them how to divide the ingredients accordingly. 

Recipe to be included in clients meal plan 2

 For example, the screenshot featured above is the corresponding list suitable for vegan tacos.

If a client only wants one serving instead of the recommended two, be sure to tell them to half all of the proposed ingredients. 

When delivering this information you could say something along the lines of:

Every recipe to feature within your meal plan will state the total number of servings in the top right-hand corner. Next to that you will see the prepping and cooking times of each recipe, try to stick to this as diligently as possible.

Unless expressly stated otherwise by me or another dietary professional, you should stick to one portion per meal

Ideally, during your initial meal planning assessment, you could discuss whether clients would want leftover potions, which brings us on to our next point.

#2 - Personalised Notes: Modifications and Leftovers 

Providing clients with designed nutrition plan2

Throughout the creation process of this meal plan template for clients, you should opt to leave personalised notes suitable for the individual client. 

For example, if your client has stressed that they would like to have leftovers due to their busy schedule you could leave a note recommending them to double the proposed portion size. 

Additionally, as a qualified personal trainer, you should know the importance of substituting and amending aspects of your proposed training for clients. 

Similarly, throughout this article, we have stressed the importance of making these types of amendments to your proposed meal plans for clients.

One element that you should include in this plan is proposed substitutions. This could greatly benefit a client who may:

  • Have dietary restrictions
  • Personal taste preferences
  • Be cooking for other individuals

Substitutes for personal trainer meal plans

Providing a list of alternative products and substitutions such as the table featured above from the New York Times can greatly benefit your clients as it gives them a wide variety. 

This makes the proposed meal plan more accessible and less intimidating, clients won’t feel as confined with these types of substitutions and will feel as if they have some control over what they’re eating.

Inform your clients of the existence of these personalised notes by simply saying something along the lines of:

You may notice that I have left personalised notes on some of the recipes. These include points where I feel you can double up your dinner-time positions, in order to have leftovers for lunch the next day (per your request)

Furthermore, I have also included possible substitutes throughout the recipes. Feel free to make your own choices when these options are available to make this process more enjoyable

Remember, you should be doing everything in your power to make a meal for clients that they’ll actually enjoy. Without these personalised notes, your plan may come across as too rigid and hard to follow. 

#3 - Estimated Meal Timings

Watch timing meal plan for clients

Meal timings can be somewhat challenging to pin down, largely due to the fact that some clients schedule may vary on a daily basis due to influential factors such as:

  • Work
  • Social life 
  • Sleeping patterns 
  • Biological influences - e.g hunger 
  • Psychological influences - e.g negative mood 

These influences may make it difficult for personal trainers to recommend set times for their clients to eat. 

However, despite all of these factors you should at the very least offer some semblance of guidance on this matter when possible.

Watch timing meal plan for clients

In this instance, when providing the proposed meal plan template for clients you could say something along the lines of:

Try to eat your meals between the times of 8AM and 8PM. This will allow your digestive system to rest during the night, instead of working overtime during your sleep.

Your meals can take place at any point within between these proposed times

Delivering all this information is important in order for clients to fully understand what is being presented before them, and why you have made the decisions in question.

If a client is really tight for preparation and cooking time, you could recommend meal planning services such as Hello Fresh.

These services are great for those who don’t wish to spend a lot of time cooking or have little to no prior experience within the kitchen. 

Every week, meals will be delivered to your door freshly prepared into correct portions, all you have to do is follow a recipe.

One of the best things about services such as Hello Fresh is that your clients can personally select how many meals they wish to receive. 

This will allow them to plan according to their schedule, ensuring they have kits for days in which they are busiest.

But you don’t necessarily have to provide this information on your own, as there are multiple different types software you can use to assist within this process. 

Software You Can Use to Help Create Meal Plans for Clients 

Software you can use to create a nutrition guide for clients

This software can help to display the sports nutritionist’s proposed plan in a way that's easy for the clients to read and understand. 

Within this section, we’re going to discuss some online software and tools that you can implement in order to create and deliver meal plans to your clients. 

#1 - That Clean Life

ThatCleanLife

The Clean Life is a highly adaptable tool that can help you during every stage of the creation process. You can even conduct the initial meal planning assessment virtually through this software. 

This is highly beneficial if you operate as an online personal trainer, dealing with clients who aren’t within your immediate vicinity to meet face to face.

Through this process you can pose questions relating to clients’:

  • Lifestyle 
  • Food Preferences 
  • Goals 

Following this assessment, you will gain access to the clients’ answers, which will then allow you to create a meal plan from The Clean Life’s back catalogue of recipes. 

ThatCleanLife Plan

This will include 16-20 recipes, with 4-5 options for each meal and snacks throughout the day. Please note, when using ThatCleanLife you won’t build the plan yourself, but merely provide the recipe options to clients.

Once these are shared, it is the client’s responsibility to build the plan themselves, which can be seen in the screenshot above.

This may be more beneficial for getting clients to stick to their plan, as it will give them some semblance of control over what they’re eating and when.

#2 -Tesco Meal Plan

Tesco Real Food

Tesco Meal Plan is an effective but straightforward tool that all sports nutritionists should be looking to incorporate into their training. 

Trainers will be able to input the following information regarding their client:

  • How long the plan should last
  • Which days of the week the meal plan will begin
  • Food preferences and restrictions 
  • The desired amount of time the client wishes to spend cooking

Following this information, you will be able to personally select meals that will be suitable for your client’s preferences.

Tesco Real Food  meal plan

Furthermore, if you have been questioning how to create a meal plan for clients on a budget, there is also a filter option for this. 

When selected, you will be able to choose budget-friendly meals suitable for clients across a varied pay scale.

 

#3 - MyFitnessPal

My Fitness Pal

MyFitnessPal has been viewed as one of the most beneficial and popular personal trainer apps in recent years. 

As a market leader, you can use this software either on your phone or computer to set and track meal plans for clients. 

The free version of MyFitnessPal offers a high calibre of functionality, allowing you to set daily goals that your clients can hit in order to stay consistently on track towards their goals. 

This software also grants clients unlimited control over everything they’re eating. Should they ever be unsure of something they’re about to eat, they can simply do a quick search and find a plethora of information regarding the food's nutritional value.

My Fitness Pal 2

This type of information can be seen in the screenshot above, in which we have conducted an analysis of a simple can of soup. 

This will allow clients to feel more informed of what they’re eating, and will also allow them to make smarter decisions when it comes to choosing viable substitutes when relevant. 

These are merely three suggestions of what applications are available to help you with this process. For further advice, check out our article on the 13 best nutritional softwares for professionals

 

Become a certified Sports Nutritionist

Enroll on OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition Course today! 

FAQ 

#1 - What Qualifications Are Needed to Provide Nutrition Advice? 

Graduate to create meal plans for clients

Before you start creating meal plan templates for clients, you need to first receive an official qualification to do so. 

Please be aware that Personal Trainers can only RECOMMEND what their clients should eat and drink. Therefore, when delivering this meal plan to clients we’d advise you to say things such as: 

  • I Recommend...
  • I Advise...
  • I Suggest...
  • I Propose...
  • I Endorse...
  • I Urge...

In order to provide formally prescribed dietary advice, you will need to become a registered dietitian which requires a separate degree-level qualification.

In this section, we’re going to look at how you can specifically become a certified personal trainer who also offers nutritional advice to their clients.

Personal Training Diploma

Learn how to create meal plan templates for clients

OriGym’s personal training diploma can help to provide a strong foundation of practical experience and theoretical knowledge, from which a career in the fitness industry can be launched. 

Our PT Diploma is regulated by Ofqual and recognised by CIMSPA, these credentials certify this qualification to be of industry-leading quality. 

But if that wasn’t enough, we also have an ISO:9001 accreditation, to further echo the excellence of our teaching.

This qualification will teach you how to become a personal trainer, and will certify you with 

BOTH

Laptop used to create a meal plan for clients

These modules on this course include:

  • Anatomy, physiology and kinesiology for exercise and health
  • Principles of health and wellbeing for exercise, fitness and health
  • Applying nutritional principles to personal training
  • Programming Personal Training Sessions
  • Delivering exercise programmes for Personal Training sessions
  • Learning The Business 

Without this business module you would have no knowledge on important industry aspects, such as how to get personal training clients, rendering the entire purpose of this article pointless: How could you possibly create meal plans for clients, without clients to begin with?

For further advice on how you can start a personal training business from scratch, check out our YouTube video on the matter.

In short, this diploma will qualify you as a personal trainer granting you with the knowledge and experience required to provide advice relating to client’s health and fitness. 

Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition

Graduate with a nutrition qualification

Before looking at this course in-depth we must stress Sports Nutrition qualification isn’t necessary to provide nutritional advice. Realistically, anyone can give advice, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Instead, this qualification can provide you with grounded information required to learn how to create a meal plan for clients efficiently. Without it you may struggle to provide your clients with accurate and beneficial information.

As with the previously mentioned qualification, this too has been recognised by CIMSPA and regulated by Ofqual.

OriGym’s Advanced Sports Nutrition certification can be done entirely online and takes an average of 12-weeks to complete

However, please remember that our online courses can be completed at your own pace, meaning you can take as much or little time as you please. 

Studying for nutrition qualifications

Once you have successfully enrolled, you will officially begin to learn how to become a sports nutritionist through the following modules:

  • Macros and Micros
  • Understand Nutrition Legislation
  • Understand the Relationship Between Nutrition and Physical Activity

Plus, Specialist Knowledge of:

  • Sport and exercise nutrition for athletes
  • Nutrition for the elderly and special populations
  • Meal Prep and planning
  • Obesity prevention in children
  • Nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Vegetarian and Vegan diets

All of this information is vital for ensuring that you can create a meal plan template for clients who require different dietary needs and restrictions. 

Qualification to create meal plan for clients

Upon graduation you will be in a position to begin advertising yourself as a qualified nutrition advisor offering dieting assistance and sports nutrition advice to personal training clients. 

As stated in the introduction of this article, this additional qualification can help to market your personal trainer business

Instead of just providing generic personal training sessions, you can offer clients additional services with nutrition advice and personally crafted meal plans. 

This can help to set you apart from other PTs within the local community, and will draw more clients towards your unique business. 

For example, the nutritional information you provide to clients can seek to compliment their existing workout routine, helping them work towards further their end goal. 

But before you dive headfirst into this process, we would strongly recommend taking time to consider specific elements which may affect how you create meal plans for clients. 

#2 - Should I Ask Clients To Count Their Macro Consumption Instead of Creating a Meal Plan?

Questions about meal plans for clients

Some personal trainers choose to opt away from learning how to create a nutrition plan for clients, and instead merely ask their clients to count their macro consumption levels.

Macronutrients or ‘Macros’ are groups of nutrients found in foods that provide us with energy. This includes:

  • Protein 
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Instead of providing recipes for clients to follow, these types of trainers will provide guidelines that look something like:

Eat 55g of protein, 250g of carbs and 40g of fats per day

Unfortunately, this information isn’t much use to clients who don’t have the same nutritional-based qualification as you. 

How to create a meal plan outline for clients

How are your clients supposed to know what meals to cook to fit these criteria? Furthermore, how can they be expected to know how to divide these factors across their three meals?

Learning how to track macros intake can be challenging for the inexperienced, which is why we would recommend including this information alongside your proposed meal plan, rather than on its own. 

This will create a fuller picture of the proposed meal plan template for clients, giving them more information relating to the nutritional value of each recipe. 

#3 - Can a Client Still Eat Out When on a Meal Plan?

Thinking about nutrition guides for clients

Personal trainers who are looking into ‘how to write a nutrition plan for clients’, may be questioning whether they should allow their clients to eat out. 

For clarity, client’s can absolutely eat out at restaurants during this process but they should try to stick as close to one of your proposed meals as possible. 

For example, if one option is a meal consisting of lean beef, perhaps recommend a steak.

Furthermore, you should recommend clients to ask for a takeaway container prior to their meal arriving. This is due to the fact that plates at restaurants often consist of 2-3 servings, which will double a client’s calorie intake.

By asking for this container clients can divide their foods accordingly and reduce the risk of overeating.

Before You Go!

Learning how to create a meal plan for clients can be a highly rewarding process, one which could see your clients reach their goals in a significantly faster period, if paired with a tailored workout program.  

Be sure to take time and diligence during the creation of each and every plan. If executed correctly this could result in you attracting more clients to your business and earning a higher salary as a result.

However, before this is possible you need to hold a respectable qualification such as OriGym’s Advanced Sports Nutrition course.

You'll learn invaluable skills to help you fully understand the core concepts of healthy eating, and how you can seamlessly integrate this into the plans you make for your clients.

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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