Last updated on February 8th, 2023
[Disclaimer: This article was previously sponsored by Meal Garden. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by Meal Garden.]
Listen, I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t like meal plans and that I don’t offer meal planning services.
Or at least, what has become a standard for meal planning in the fitness and health industry.
Fitness professionals and health coaches without nutrition credentials giving away quick-fix meal plans for weight loss for free or at very low prices.
Not only does this undervalue the services of licensed and credentialed nutritionists and dietitians, but it’s also outside their scope of practice and illegal.
When I Google ‘30 day fitness meal plan’ I get 121,000,000 results.
The first hit is for a simple 30-day 1200-calorie weight loss meal plan because it’s “a calorie level at which most people will lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week”.
For the record, a toddler needs to eat more than 1200 calories a day and so should you.
So I cringe whenever I see people choose to forego working with a nutritionist or dietitian because ‘it’s too expensive” and instead choose to download or buy a free or cheap meal plan to try and solve their problems.
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t usually solve their problem.
I understand the appeal of a meal plan though.
When I work with athletes, one of the most common requests I get is for recipes.
They want meal plans, not because they want to be told exactly what to eat and when, but because they want inspiration and new ideas.
They want a simpler way to add variety to their weekly meals without having to spend hours searching for recipes on Google or Pinterest that match their taste preferences and dietary restrictions.
As a practitioner, it’s time-consuming to find recipes personalized to each of my clients when they ask for a suggestion.
I typically share a recipe of the week in my client Facebook group, but as you can imagine, not everyone benefits from the one recipe each week.
That’s why I started giving my clients access to Meal Garden.
Recipe Collections in Meal Garden
Meal Garden is a recipe and meal planning platform for health professionals that makes it easy and efficient to share curated meals with clients.
There are over 7,000 recipes in the Meal Garden database (over 3,500 of them have been reviewed by a team of health practitioners to ensure accurate images, ingredients and directions).
The team of nutritionists and dietitians at Meal Garden have also put together hundreds of pre-made recipe collections that you can copy and/or edit to share with your clients.
Collections like Budget-Friendly Recipes, Cooking for One, Gluten-Free, Make-Ahead & Freezer-Friendly, Vegan, Healthy Snacks for Athletes, and more.
You can add clients to Meal Garden so that they get their own dashboard which they can even access from an app on any device! The app is web-based, very easy to install and shortly you will be able to add your own mobile logo so your brand will be front and center and your clients won’t have to deal with the app store (which makes it less of a headache).
You have the ability to add recipe collections, meal plans and articles to each of your clients’ dashboards as you see fit.
The client can search for recipes with easy-to-use filters that can take into account dietary restrictions, meal type, cooking time, ingredients and keywords, and nutrients.
They can add these recipes to their calendar, see nutritional breakdowns and generate a shopping list.
When I start working with a new client, I add them to Meal Garden and give them access to 4 recipe collections designed specifically for athletes.
The rest is up to them because, like I said before, I don’t do personalized meal plans.
The flexibility to provide my clients with recipe collections instead of prescribed meal plans was the main reason I started using Meal Garden.
The feedback from my clients has all been positive.
“I have logged in and checked everything out. It’s a real slick system and presented really well! I plan to sit down with the recipes this weekend and pick out some new recipes to try.”Jess P
“I really like how it’s organized and of course the site looks amazing!”Marcia C
Grow Your Business With Meal Garden
Meal Garden is so much more than just a meal planning tool that helps you connect with your clients.
It can become one of your most valuable tools to help you grow your business too.
Once you create a meal plan or recipe collection, you have the option to download it as a PDF.
These PDFs can be a great lead generation tool for health practitioners who offer the meal plan or collection as a download in exchange for an email address.
You also have the ability to make your Meal Garden look like your brand, using your brand’s colours, logos and messaging.
I created a sample one week high-calorie meal plan for athletes as a giveaway in my free Facebook community and it was the most engagement I’ve ever gotten on a post.
Of course, I prefaced this as a sample collection of recipes for them to get inspiration from, versus something to try and follow to a T.
By using Meal Garden as a lead magnet you can provide potential clients with a glimpse of what they can expect when they work with you while growing your email list.
Get Started With Meal Garden
If you want to easily find, personalize and share professionally created recipe collections and meal plans with your clients and audience, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial for a limited time.