Helping Clients Cope with Food. Part 3

Know your limits

Many nutrition questions have simple answers that you can respond to with a few words of advice and a handout or two. Other times, you will want to refer clients to a nutritionist, such as a dietitian. People who seem really anxious about their diets and who have a lot of questions may benefit from personal counseling. A nutritionist will spend an hour or more with a client and give specific suggestions for improving each meal based on the client’s particular situation. Such a time-consuming task is beyond the scope of the question-or-two-after-class advice session.

Individualized nutrition counseling is especially important for clients with special health needs or for clients who prepare meals for a family member with health problems affected by diet, such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Pregnancy, lactation, food sensitivities, allergies and weight-control issues are additional challenges that can be discussed individually with a nutritionist.

What’s a kitchen?

A client’s lifestyle presents many factors that limit the type of advice you will give. A minority of clients love to spend time in the kitchen designing gourmet, low-fat meals for themselves and their families. Many people prepare meals for themselves and their families with limited time. A majority of North Americans spend 30 minutes or less preparing the evening meal. Some clients have meals prepared for them by another household member. And many clients eat out much of the time.

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