Healthier Eating: 10 Strategies For Improving Your Client’s Diet Quality

Helping clients with healthier eating

The benefits of healthier eating are lifechanging and play a role in optimising our mental and physical wellbeing, reducing our risks of chronic diseases, living a longer, happier life, and so much more. However, sometimes it feels like we are flooded daily with information on the latest trends of what constitutes healthy eating or what we must do or not do to eat healthier. In a bid to keep up with these latest trends, it begins to feel more like a chore to eat healthier, and that’s no fun!

As a nutrition professional, clients would seek your help when they begin to feel overwhelmed and are looking for simpler ways to achieve healthier eating habits. You may help them make this gradual transition to healthier eating with a few general recommendations before taking a more personalised approach.

By helping your clients make a number of dietary and lifestyle modifications, their health and wellbeing could be significantly improved.

How can you help your clients make the necessary changes to promote healthier eating?

While personalised nutrition beats any kind of same-for-all recommendation, there are a number of healthy eating strategies which largely apply to the general population and anyone wanting to maintain health and reduce disease risk.

Even within each of these strategies, different individuals will have different needs. For example, the recommended amounts of essential nutrients often vary depending on the life cycle – such as a pregnant woman needing to increase her intake of Omega 3 EPA and DHA.

Let’s explore ten recognised food and eating practices for healthier living. These could be used as a starting point for making positive dietary changes to support health goals.

Take note of the strategies that your client is already implementing, and those that may need more attention!

Ten strategies for making positive dietary changes

Keep an eye on excess sugar consumption

Excessive sugar consumption on a regular basis is very detrimental to overall health. We can keep an eye on this by limiting our consumption of sugary drinks, concentrated or natural fruit juices (like orange juice, apple juice, pineapple juice), energy drinks, shakes, and commercial smoothies.

Also, we can monitor our excess sugar intake by minimising our consumption of sweet spreads, sweets, cakes, muffins, ice-cream, desserts, cookies, and pastries.

Moderate intake of high-starch carbohydrates

Keeping our blood sugar under control is important for mood regulation, skin health, cardiovascular health, brain health, and for mitigating the development of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

High-glycaemic, high-starch meals may spike our blood sugar and exacerbate meal-induced inflammation (as shown by increased IL-6 and GlycA levels).

The high-starch, high-glycaemic foods to consume in moderation are white bread, white rolls, white bagels, eggless dry pasta, white rice, crisps (chips), crackers, biscuits, and other bakery.

Trim the fat

Fatty meals can result in too many triglycerides in our blood after eating and digesting the food. If your triglycerides increase a lot after eating and stay high for a long time, this causes an increase in post-prandial (post-meal) inflammation, which in the long run can disrupt the normal functioning of cells, tissue, and organs.

Trimming the fat can include minimising our consumption of fatty or processed meats; using less oil or fat while cooking; avoiding or limiting fried foods, including pre-fried foods like fish fingers, chicken nuggets, frozen oven chips (crisps), or battered fish; and avoiding artificial trans-fats from partially hydrogenated (hardened) oils such as margarine.

Include long-chain Omega 3s

The long-chain Omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) are the main types of Omega 3 used by the body and are beneficial for brain health (e.g. memory), mental health (e.g. mood regulation), gut health (e.g. mitigating gut hyperpermeability), skin health, and so much more.

How much EPA and DHA? The EFSA guideline suggests a minimum of 250mg of EPA and DHA daily, and minimum of 500mg of EPA and DHA daily if there is cardiovascular risk.

We can try to incorporate foods rich in long-chain Omega 3 such as egg yolks, full-fat dairy, or a high-potency EPA/DHA supplement into our diets. Plant sources of Omega 3 include flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and vegan (microalgae) EPA/DHA supplements.

Keep food toxicants away

Frying, burning and barbequing foods generate genotoxins (such as HCAs and acrylamides) that not only increase DNA damage but may also cause unhealthy low-grade inflammation in the body. This may also translate into impaired gut cell function and increased gastrointestinal cancer risk if consumed regularly and excessively.

How can we keep these food toxicants away?

By observing good food hygiene practices such as washing hands before cooking or eating; minimising our consumption of foods with manmade chemical additives and artificial colours and flavours; avoiding the burning or browning of foods; and minimising the use of plastic containers to heat food.

Increase fibre and antioxidant intake

The fibre in plant foods cannot be digested by humans, but they are helpful in feeding ‘good’ gut bacteria and boosting the diversity of our microbial garden. Also, antioxidant nutrients are needed to make antioxidant enzymes in the body, which help to neutralise the ongoing damage from free radicals in DNA and cells.

We can increase our fibre and antioxidant intake by incorporating beans, lentils, or wholegrains (brown rice, millet, rye, oats, whole-wheat, corn, quinoa); incorporating dark green, leafy, and root vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, green beans, peas, peppers, watercress, carrots, courgette (zucchini), butternut squash, and sweet potatoes; and also by incorporating fresh fruit such as apples, grapes, berries, melon, or citrus fruit.

Keep salt at bay

Too much salt in our diet isn’t just about mitigating hypertension but also about minimising its negative effect on our immune system and in mitigating gut dysbiosis, too.

We can significantly decrease our salt intake by limiting our addition of table salt during cooking or when eating meals and minimising our intake of salty foods such as cured meats, hard cheeses, canned soups, canned pasta, and crisps (chips).

Drink wisely

All cells, tissues, and organs in the body need sufficient fluids to carry out their functions. Maintaining good hydration throughout the day is important, and this can be done by drinking regularly and aiming for at least 2 litres of plain water a day, or sugar-free, non-alcoholic fluids daily, such as filtered tap water, flavoured water, herbal or fruit teas.

Limit alcohol intake to no more than one alcoholic drink a day (e.g. one 175ml glass of wine, one pint of beer, or two small measures of 40%-strength spirits). If you must drink, drink wisely.

Keep caffeine away from bedtime

Avoid caffeine (from sports drinks, coffee, or black tea) at least 6 hours before bedtime.

Caffeine may increase night-time alertness and may delay sleep. The average half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours. This means it takes about 5 hours for half of the caffeine consumed to leave the body. But depending on the individual, it can be between 1.5 and 9.5 hours!

It is also worth paying attention to other foods or drinks that contain caffeine too. For example, a 100-gram dark chocolate bar may contain as much (if not more) caffeine as a cup of coffee! That is, 130mg of caffeine.

Top up with probiotics

Probiotics are living bacteria which can replicate in the gut and help colonise it with more diversity, which is key to mitigating dysbiosis: an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria leading to a number of unwanted effects including an overreactive immune system, weight gain, and mood disorders.

Incorporating foods that are rich in probiotics (beneficial live microorganisms) into our diets can provide a range of health benefits. Probiotic-rich foods may include fermented milks (kefir, probiotic yogurt, cottage cheese, biotic drinks), fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, miso, pickles, olives in brine), and probiotic supplements (cultures in drops or freeze-dried).

What about personalising your client’s diet?

While the above are only general strategies, they can serve as a starting point for your client, especially someone who is predominately eating high-fat or sugary junk foods. Then, as you continue working with your client, you can personalise their nutrition program based on their specific situation.

Remember, nutritional personalisation is key. For dietary changes to be effective and long-lasting, your recommendations must be personalised!

How can you acquire the skills and knowledge to make personalised nutrition recommendations?

Getting specialised by completing our Nutritional Therapist Certification can be your first step towards acquiring the unique knowledge and skills for helping your clients make the necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle, in a way that is personalised.

Discover how to:

  • Perform client assessments and detect nutrient deficiency risks
  • Recognise the impact of food on DNA expression and learn to do a nutrient check-up
  • Build personalised food plans and monitor symptom improvements
  • Put forward nutritional recommendations for over 40 common health conditions and so much more!

We have also made it easy for you to complete this certification by giving you access to a 7-day free trial. This means you can start learning immediately without paying!

Start your 7-day free trial here.

See Also

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© Copyright The Health Sciences Academy. The content, graphs and charts on this page have been exclusively prepared for The Health Sciences Academy and its prospect students, existing students and graduates. None of the content on this page and website may be reproduced, copied or altered without our explicit permission. Criminal and legal penalties for copyright and other infringement apply. All Terms and Conditions apply.





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