What to Look for in a Nutrition Assessment Form (And Ones We Recommend)

Are you launching your private practice and looking for the best nutrition assessment forms to accurately and efficiently collect client data? A high-quality form allows you to gather enough of the right information without asking your clients to retell their entire life story.

Not only does this post cover strategy to select and develop your unique forms, we also have a round-up of many pre-built assessment forms that are available right here on RD2RD…some of which are free to download and start using right away!

In addition, we have some tips for using templates to save you time as you are documenting in your Electronic Health Record (EHR). No one wants to spend hours upon hours documenting session notes! In fact, we’re so passionate about efficiency, we wrote a whole blog post about it: Charting Tips for Dietitians: Your No Hassle Guide.

Excited to optimize your process? This is the post for you!

Let’s start with what should be included in your nutrition assessment form. 

did you know RD2RD has pre-built nutrition assessment forms?

What should a nutrition assessment form include?

The Nutrition assessment form is one of the five primary documents that we recommend you have as you launch your business. The other four are detailed in this blog post, with examples you can find on RD2RD: 5 New Client Forms Every Private Practice RDN Should Have.

The purpose of a nutrition assessment form for dietitians is to gather the information about your clients that best guides the care and recommendations you provide for your client or patients.

You want the form to gather enough information and details that your recommendations are based on what is really going on in their lives, their goals, and any compounding factors.

But the nutrition assessment form also needs to be balanced against not asking a person to explain or detail information that won’t affect your care or recommendations. No need to ask them to write pages and pages of information that take them a long time to complete with information and data that you won’t actually use.

First, let’s start with the basics.

Free basic nutrition assessment form

Where is the best place to start? With a basic, unbranded free nutrition assessment form for adults. This form is a basic chart that can be used as a form for your clients to fill out or as a document for taking notes during your client session. It is also customizable to your needs and preferences.

Download the free Adult Nutrition Assessment Form.

Specialty assessment forms based on your area of practice

As you specialize, you may find it helpful to seek a more focused nutrition assessment form for your niche. The data that would guide nutrition recommendations for a client after bariatric surgery is quite different from someone managing kidney disease, just as the needs of a college athlete are different from a college student with disordered eating.

Here we have curated examples of our very favorite nutrition assessment forms in specialty practice.

Bariatric

For dietitians working with bariatric patients, this free, unbranded, and customizable form is specially made for you!

Download it right here: Free Bariatric Nutrition Assessment Form.

A laptop computer and two glasses of water on a table in soft focusWeight Inclusive

For dietitians working in a non-diet approach, this is the form for you. Not only does it include a comprehensive seven pages of questions for your client to explore their relationship with food, eating, and exercise, it also explores readiness to change and family history and dynamics.

This form is intended to be used by your clients, before your first nutrition counseling session. 

New Client Nutrition Assessment, non-diet, weight inclusive.

Gut health: IBD, Crohn’s, and IBS

For dietitians supporting clients with digestive disorders, you need to know the specific medical history of their conditions, including digestive symptoms, past medical procedures, and medications. This form has all of this data and more!

P.S. this one is free! IBD Nutrition: Nutrition Assessment Form.

Intuitive Eating

If you’re working in a non-diet space, these Intuitive Eating forms will help to capture your approach better than a traditional form.

With these Intuitive Eating nutrition assessment forms, we’ve included examples of more traditional intake forms as well as a couple that are more an assessment on readiness to change.

New Client Nutrition Assessment, non-diet, weight inclusive: this 7-page nutrition assessment questionnaire was written from the perspective of a non-diet, HAES-aligned, eating disorder dietitian and can be used in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient.

 

Intuitive Eating Initial Assessment Guide provides you with a 4-page reference guide, structure, and suggested questions for your very first interaction with new clients!

Intuitive Eating Readiness Handout and In-Depth Questionnaire is a great starting point before reading the book with a client, as well as helpful in identifying for the client and practitioner if the client is ready to begin intuitive eating.

And if you’re new to the Intuitive Eating realm, this post explores What Does an Intuitive Eating Dietitian Actually Do?

Sports Nutrition

For dietitians working with athletes, you need to know about specific nutrients, hydration, trainings schedules, and more. These nutrition assessment forms are the winning ticket!

Sports & Fitness Nutrition Fillable Initial Consultation Questionnaire & Food Journal (Just add YOUR logo!). These documents include a 3-page intake sheet as well as a 2-day food and training log for your clients to fill out. These documents are available to you in BOTH an electronic and password-protected MS Word format, as well as a PDF format.

Initial Assessment Template Sports Nutrition intake form was created by a dietitian working with college athletes. The form includes questions about personal info, disordered eating behaviors/ potential red flags for ED, Hydration screen, Iron screen, snacking and meal tendencies, eating out, menstrual cycle, and overall goals.

If you’re ready to pursue additional training and certifications in the sports arena, we have our favorite options rounded up in this blog post: The Best Sports Nutrition Certifications (And a Few to Skip).

Eating Disorders:

Are you looking for a comprehensive assessment template to use with eating disorder clients and others with behavioral health nutrition needs? This tool is the one for you: Initial Assessment Template for use in Private Practice for Eating Disorders and Behavioral Health Nutrition.

It is open-ended with questions and provides your client a safe space to share her/his behaviors and dietary counseling needs.

ADIME/Inpatient

If you’re newer to clinical, or simply are ready to save time, this inpatient assessment form allows you to easily gather essential information to include. (For example past medical history, labs, medications, etc.)

This form is a great resource for dietetic interns, new dietitians, or returning dietitians to the clinical setting. Clinical Nutrition Assessment Form Template.

Long Term Care

One of the things that sets this form apart is that it includes a section to guide your Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam: LTC Nutrition Assessment Form.

This form is designed using both paper & computer charting. It is suitable for multiple settings such as initial appointments, long-term (LTC) and acute care settings, group homes, and skilled nursing facilities (SNF). ADIME Nutrition Assessment Charting Form Template.

Pediatric/Infant/NICU

For those of you who are working in a NICU setting, this nutrition assessment form is a modifiable document that ​​includes an example of a NICU nutrition assessment as well as a follow-up form.

NICU Nutrition Assessment & Follow-Up Note

How and when to ask clients to complete a nutrition assessment form?

Ok friends: you have your form, it is ready to gather the information that you need to do your job well. How do you ensure that your clients complete the forms when you need them? It all comes down to your systems. Let’s explore!

As the business owner, there is more than one “right” way to work with your clients and ask for them to provide you with the information that you need to best help your clients to be successful with their nutrition goals.

Your job is to curate a system that makes information-gathering as seamless as possible. Here are a few options to consider, to try, and to adjust until you find the system that works best for your practice.

Bring the forms to the first appointment

While having key information before the first session can be helpful, more detailed history can be obtained during the visit. Have the forms available for your clients to download from your website and/or send them after your client books their first appointment.

Submit via email

Print or provide fillable PDFs to your clients and ask them to submit them via secure form or email. Remember that HIPAA can apply and that you need to ensure that form submissions are properly encrypted. (And if the term HIPAA just made your stomach sink, click here: Unraveling HIPAA Compliance for Your Nutrition Private Practice.)

Submit via practice management software

You can also have your clients submit their forms via your practice management system (sometimes called an EHR). Completing forms via computer or smartphone is getting more and more common in the medical world and saves paper!

If you’re looking to utilize technology or learn how to have efficient systems that save time and frustration, you’ll want to check out this RD2RD Live Show featuring Jen Hernandez, RDN, CSR – Onboarding 101: Create the Ultimate Client Experience.

If you’re using Practice Better, you are going to want to check out this complete client form bundle that Jen made, with everything from a Discovery Call Application and Health Insurance Verification Guide to a six-page Client Intake Form and a four-page Meal Plan Intake Form. 

Key takeaways: nutrition assessment forms

The best nutrition assessment forms for dietitians in a clinical setting or private practice gather enough information for the dietitian and client to make constructive and effective nutrition plans, but not so much that you’re wasting valuable time asking your client to answer questions that won’t change your recommendations.

This can be a balance, and something to fine-tune over time, but with the right template, you are starting ahead of the game! 

If you make a nutrition assessment form in the future, be sure to create your own store on RD2RD so that your hard work can keep working for you, generating passive income as you support your fellow dietitians.

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