“Can you give me a meal plan?”
“Just tell me what to eat.”
If you’re like most nutrition professionals, you’re hearing these requests regularly! Luckily, there are several robust meal planning software tools available to help you quickly and easily develop plans that your clients will love and actually use.
This article features an overview of the most popular meal planning software programs on the market, along with insight from RDs who use these in their practice. They share why they chose the tool, how they monetize the meal plans, and what they’ve learned along the way.
Why offer meal plans?
The truth is that clients often seek out our expertise with the goal that we will tell them what to eat. At a minimum, they want ample suggestions for recipes and meals. They’re tired, frustrated by conflicting information, and don’t want to have to make one more decision: what’s for dinner?
However, meal plans can be time-consuming for us to create. Not to mention, balancing food allergies, preferences and nutrient prescriptions makes creating custom meal plans difficult.
Meal planning tools for nutrition professionals offer a solution. They streamline the process of creating meal plans by providing access to a database of recipes and tools like grocery lists to share with clients.
Having easy access to generating custom meal plans can add value for your clients as well as passive income for your business.
Trying to pick the best meal planning software options can be difficult. From the ability to customize plans based on lists of allergies and food preferences to macronutrient prescriptions and available recipe nutrient analysis, it can feel dizzying when considering the options.
While a product demo and trial are helpful for making your decision, hearing the insight from real dietitian business owners who are using the products offers value you can’t obtain from the product’s website.
What about teaching meal planning?
One common objection to providing meal plans is that clients don’t learn the skills needed to independently plan meals.
However, from the insight provided, you will see that meal plans are a teaching tool. Clients struggle with where and how to get started. A structured tool can help them on their journey. Just like kiddos might start with training wheels and graduate to only needing two wheels, meal plans can help your clients to make tangible progress and prevent overwhelm.
Recipe ideas provide a tangible example of how to incorporate more vegetables or create a satisfying meal even when avoiding allergens.
A meal plan can provide insight on portion sizes and frequency of consuming specific foods or groups of foods.
As nutrition experts, it’s easy to take our knowledge for granted. Skills that seem simple with practice can be overwhelming to learn. We forget how complex and daunting the task of choosing foods and planning meals can feel for clients.
Meal plans are one tool in our toolbox of resources to help our clients to achieve their health and wellness goals.
Best Meal Planning Software Tools
There are a lot of tools on the market, each with different price points and features. Here you can get an overview of each tool, along with real-world insight from RDs who use them!
Go Meal Plans is the perfect solution for dietitians who work with clients tracking their meals. Your clients can log their meals and snacks directly in their app and you can track their progress on your dashboard. Pre-made meal plans for keto, anti-inflammatory, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and more are available.
- Created by a registered dietitian
- Barcode scanner: add new foods to your database directly by scanning the package
- Includes grocery lists
- Easy to substitute foods based on availability or preference
- Can track and plan exercise goals
- Fitness videos included
- GO meal plans integrates with Apple Watch, Garmin and Fitbit.
Pricing: Starts from $40.95/month for 10 users. $99.00 activation fee plus first month billed in advance to get started
That Clean Life is well suited for dietitians who have patients with food sensitivities or food allergies; the meal plans are easily customizable to exclude common allergens. Many recipes appropriate for vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free. Each recipe can be further customized to your client’s specific needs; you can display or hide the calorie and nutritional information, double the recipe size for big families or cut in half to not overwhelm a single person with too many leftovers.
- Pre-made menu plans available to use immediately
- Can add your own recipes, and/or choose from their library of recipes
- Each recipe has a beautiful photo
- Can make recipe guides, shopping lists and other client resources
- Can plan for meals and using leftovers in menu planning
- Can choose to display or hide calorie information, depending on your client’s needs
- You add personalized notes and tips to recipes
- Easy to add your own branding to the products, even the pre-made ones
- Software is used by the RDN; products in PDF format are given directly to clients
Pricing: $60/month or $600 per year
EatLove Pro is quite popular for RDs in private practice, and with it’s innovative client-facing portal, it is no wonder! With more than 5,000 recipes, clients will never be bored by repetition.
- Intended to be used by nutrition professionals in multiple settings, including private practice dietitians, gym professionals, and retail dietitians
- Used to provide MNT for various conditions, including celiac disease, weight loss, hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis
- Software is HIPAA compliant
- Clients log into their portal via an app
- Follow your client’s progress using the patient dashboard
- Dietitian is charged monthly per client and gets to choose how much to charge their client
- Dietitians can join private Facebook group
Pricing: Available upon request from EatLove Pro.
Meal Garden is a tool that can be used directly by consumers or as a business tool for Registered Dietitians. Pre-made meal plans are available to use as is, or can be modified to meet your client’s needs and preferences.
- Easy to use filters help you find the right recipes for your clients, fast
- More than 2,500 recipes in their databank
- Can personalize your products with your logo and branded colors
- Each of your clients will have a personalized and secure app, accessible from any device
- Can add specific dietary goals, for example a certain vitamin C level per day
- Can sort recipes by prep time
Pricing : $30/month or $360 per year
Living Plate was made by Registered Dietitians, for RDs. Plans for specific clients are ready to be used, including low-FODMAP and low-inflammation. For anyone less comfortable in the kitchen, cooking demos are available to broaden skills and comfort in the kitchen.
- Menu plans include the grocery lists your clients need
- Dietitian membership also includes access to content to make client handouts, newsletters and more, all with your own branding added
- Can remove nutrition information if that suits your clients (hey there, Intuitive Eating RDs)
Pricing: Pricing is per client
How to Monetize Your Meal Plans
Diversifying your business and having residual income bolsters your business to have fewer highs and then unexpected lows. Meal plans can be used in many different ways to strengthen and diversify your business. Here are a few ideas from our panel of experts.
Meal planning is not just a revenue stream for dietitians in private practice!
And sometimes the goal is to grow your email list! Meal plans and recipe guides are a powerful lead magnet.
Meal plans offer a big boost in value to your clients.
Helpful RD2RD Meal Planning Resources
From lists of meal/snack ideas, pantry organizers, portion guides and plate-based teaching tools, RD2RD has tools for use with clients.
H3: Grocery Shopping and Pantry Organization
- Supermarket Guide and Pantry Makeover
- Healthy Grocery List for Vegetarian Eaters
- The Nourished Living Grocery Guide
- The Grocery Store Tour Toolkit
H3: Meal Planning and Meal Prep
- Getting Started with Meal Planning and Meal Prep
- Meal Prep Made Easy Complete Workbook
- Step-by-Step Guide: Low FODMAP Meal Planning
- Christmas, Chanukkah and Thanksgiving Grocery Lists
H3: Portions and Creating a Meal
- Mini-Guide: Balance Your Plant-Based Diet
- Balanced Diabetes Plate Educational Handouts
- Low Potassium Plate Guide
- Bariatric Portion Plate
- Visual Portion Control Guide
H3: Meal and Snack Ideas
- Wholesome Snack Ideas
- On the Go Snack/Fueling Ideas for Athletes
- Easy Peasy Simple Snacking Guide
- Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas
- Building Healthy Salads
- Vegetarian Meal Ideas for Renal Diet
- Mix and Match Snack Ideas
- Gluten-Free Meal and Snack Ideas
Learn more about RD2RD and how you could sell tools to your clients. Create your store and list products for free! Open your own store today!
Special Thanks to Our Experts!
Amanda Sauceda, MS, RDN, CLT is a private practice owner specializing in food allergies/sensitivities and utilizes Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Natalia Stasenko, MS, RDN is virtual practice owner and online course creator specializing in feeding and pediatric nutrition. She uses Meal Garden for meal plans.
Basheerah Enahora, MBA, MS, RDN, LDN is a private practice owner specializing in mindful and holistic nutrition for women. She utilizes Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD leads a digital content creation agency consulting with brands and businesses in the nutrition industry. She utilizes Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Melissa Groves, RDN, LD is a virtual (and in-person) practice owner specializing in PCOS and fertility. She utilizes That Clean Life and Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Chloe Schweinshaut RD, LDN, CLT is a private practice owner specializing in family-friendly nutrition with a whole food and holistic approach. She utilizes That Clean Life for meal plans.
Theresa Montmorency MS, RDN is a consultant for a gym. She utilizes EatLove meal plans.
Jenna Gorham, RD, LN works with food and wellness brands and offers Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Leanne Ray, MS, RDN is a virtual practice owner specializing in practical nutrition for busy professionals and utilizes Living Plate Rx meal plans.
Jen Hernandez RD is a registered dietitian working virtually with patients to manage their kidney disease.
Keren Reiser RD is a registered dietitian who helps families with meal planning and healthy eating
Andrea Drew MS RDN LDN is a registered dietitian with additional formal training in culinary skills. Andrea is the founder of Culinary Dietetics and offers virtual coaching.