Choosing a Meal Planning Tool for Your Private Practice

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

“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.

woman holding tablet in kitchen planning meals

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.

“I add the EatLove intake form as an attachment in the initial assessment note shared with my clients for their reference. As part of our first session, I also give them a tour of EatLove and provide examples of how they can use the system. This has provided a ton of value to my clients not only during but beyond our first session.” -Jen Hernandez

Jen Hernandez

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.

I’ve found it to be most beneficial for clients who struggle with knowing where to start with meal planning, prepping, and cooking more. It’s just overwhelming in the beginning! For example, I got a client started with the plans and she cooked exclusively from them in the beginning of our time together. As we moved along, she became more confident and gradually started incorporating some of her own recipes. Now she feels confident enough to do it completely on her own which is such a win for me!

The plans also bring in some affiliate income, but I’m more excited about having a streamlined meal planning solution for clients that doesn’t involve me spending hours creating them.

Leanne Ray

Meal plans are one tool in our toolbox of resources to help our clients to achieve their health and wellness goals. 

page image of meal plan template
  • I agree to receive electronic communications from RD2RD. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

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

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.

GOmealplans are professionally backed meals plans based on evidence-based science. They are easy to use as is or to customize to a particular need. The app is very user friendly for both the consumer and practitioner. I highly recommend adding GOmealplans to your professional services to increase client goal attainment and satisfaction.

Keren Reiser

Key Features

  • 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

GoMealPlans provides me everything I could possibly need to run my weight loss program; including individualized meal plans, tracking systems, an in-messaging feature and the ability to load my own training videos right into the software. The best part is that it’s all in one place - in an app on my client’s phone! GoMealPlans is a very modern solution to help me save so much time and money!

Andrea Drew

That Clean Life 

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.

For me, I primarily love the ease of implementation and customization. I’m not a tech-savvy person and I find TCL incredibly user-friendly. The other thing that attracted me to this program were the foods that were offered. I consider myself a “real food RD” and I loved the menus that were created and the ingredients used.” - Chloe Schweinshaut

Chloe Schweinshaut

Key Features

  • 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

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.

“If you’re interested in finding a system that provides your clients with meal plans, but absolutely hate the idea of making meal plans, I would one thousand percent recommend EatLove! This is truly the meal planning tool for RDs that hate meal plans. With EatLove, clients can create their own meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes! I really enjoy that they can choose how much or little they want time they want to spend with it. It’s really been an amazing benefit to both myself and my clients!”

Jen Hernandez

Key Features

  • 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 

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.

“What I love most about Meal Garden is the database, the ability to add my own recipes and compile family meals out of a few recipes. I mostly work with families and many are looking for meal ideas that can be served family-style and have simple starch options for more selective kids. The Meal Garden seemed a perfect choice for me.”

Natalia Stasenko

Key Features

  • 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

"I am using Meal Garden only for a very specific audience and it works well for me. I think we need more meal planning tools for families. Simple meals, easily deconstructed, flexible, taking minutes to put together, minimal cleanup. Most recipes and meal plans are too difficult to follow for families where one or more kids are picky eaters or there is a baby starting solids."

Natalia Stasenko

Living Plate Rx

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.

“I use Living Plate meal plans. I found it very user friendly and was instantly hooked. Since then, other meal planning companies have reached out to me asking me to try their meal plans. I haven’t found any others that are as easy to use or have a layout that I like.”

Jenna Gorham

Key Features

  • 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)

“Living Plate offers a free 3-day trial and the RD gets notified when someone signs up. It’s a great, natural opportunity to reach out and offer extra support without being salesy”

Leanne Ray

Pricing: Pricing is per client

woman working at her desk

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. 

“I incorporate the meal plans into my packages and offer them a la carte on my website. The best way to monetize them is to incorporate them into packages and offer them as an added on bonus to make their life easier and bring my recommendations to life. I also started offering a service where I give a quick session with me plus a meal plan to give them strategy on how to best use the meal plan for their health goals and concerns."

Amanda Sauceda

“I also offer a service where I will send a meal plan for a weekly fee.”

Chloe Schweinshaut

Meal planning is not just a revenue stream for dietitians in private practice!

“I no longer see clients and now work as a nutrition communications and marketing consultant. Where possible, I leverage the meal plans as lead magnets for consulting projects. They are a powerful marketing tool and add value to my clients at no additional cost to me.”

Sarah Marjoram

And sometimes the goal is to grow your email list! Meal plans and recipe guides are a powerful lead magnet.

“I also recently made a lead magnet using a meal plan, which took me less than an hour, and grew my list by 200 people in just 6 days.”

Melissa Groves

Meal plans offer a big boost in value to your clients.

“I include personalized meal plans with my consultation packages. Sending custom meal plans increases the perceived and actual value for the client. Clients are thrilled with how personalized their plans are, the EatLove smart tools and their progress to their goals. Plus, they are willing to pay much more than what I was charging without EatLove.”

Theresa Montmorency

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.

More to explore

5 comments

  1. These are all good if you work with a “typical” population of people in Waban…
    Are any of these programs able to generate meal plans for different cultures or are we going to continue with forced assimilation?

Leave a Reply

setng cog