What is Nutrition Therapy?
Nutrition therapy involves food-based education and goal setting between a registered dietitian and client and is intended to help people:
- Improve their relationship with all foods.
- Develop the capability for relaxed eating.
- Increase nutrition knowledge.
Nutrition therapy begins with the registered dietitian gathering information from a client based on his or her health history and family history, lifestyle assessment, review of lab tests to assess nutrition status and food intake assessment.
After the initial assessment, the dietitian and the client will set long-term goals. These goals will be worked on through setting multiple short-term goals throughout the course of treatment. For eating disorder treatment, the registered dietitian will collaborate frequently with a client's treatment team that will consist of a therapist and possibly a psychiatrist and a general practitioner.
The registered dietitian will work with the client on his or her relationship with food. Through nutrition goal setting, nutrition education, meal outings and cooking experiences, the dietitian and the client will work together to foster a sustainable relationship with food. Eating disorders decrease the mind-body connection and whether a client is suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or disordered eating, nutrition therapy will aid in re-establishing that connection towards fostering a sustainable relationship with food.
Eating disorder nutrition therapy is most beneficial when the dietitian and the client meet weekly, at least at the beginning of treatment. Follow up sessions can range from 30 minutes to 50 minutes, depending on the needs of the client and the length of treatment. Nutrition therapy can also involve parents and loved ones, and this is typically recommended in eating disorder treatment.