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As a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner, you are assisting your patients achieve better health through nutrition. A large part of the success of their program depends on how well they follow your advice. Nutrition Coaching can make a marked difference to patient compliance. 

The old adage of “You are what you eat.” may apply here, but there’s more to the story. It’s not just about eating fruit instead of chips (though that’s pretty important). There is also an often-overlooked factor that should be included. 

It’s all very well to say, “You need to watch what you eat.” or “Stay away from unhealthy eating habits.” But it’s also about how and when you eat your meals and snacks.

Let’s dive into why this is important to keeping them healthy and happy.

Why How You Eat Matters

Even if your patients are eating the healthiest salads in the world, if they’re gobbling it down super-fast in front of the TV, they’re not getting all the benefits. Here’s why paying attention to how they eat is a game-changer:

Eat Slowly: Chewing their food and eating mindfully helps the body digest food better. It also gives the brain time to realize they are full, so they don’t end up overeating.

Focus on the Food: When they’re not distracted by a screen or a book, they can enjoy their food more. This means they’ll likely be more satisfied with less food.

Eat Together: Sharing meals with family or friends isn’t just fun. It also helps them slow down and can even make them choose healthier foods because they’re in good company. 

There’s another factor at play that the military seems to know about and applies in their exercise routines. Have you ever seen soldiers running together and their Drill Sergeant is singing along with them while they run? There’s a reason they do this, besides the morale of it. It keeps the soldiers breathing in cadence with one another and helps keep their breathing in optimal timing for more effective fitness. 

Similarly, when they’re at a table with friends, advise them to take time to breathe and chat in between bites. That way they will digest the food at a far more optimal rate than if they were sitting alone, wolfing down their meal. 

The Magic of When You Eat

Now, let’s talk timing. Believe it or not, when you eat can be just as important as what’s on your plate. Here are some time tips to keep your patients feeling awesome:

Breakfast Is a Big Deal: Ever heard “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? There’s truth to it. Eating a good breakfast helps your patients do better at work and their kids do better in school it also keeps them from getting too hungry before lunch. Nutritionist Adelle Davis was quoted as saying that to keep fit and avoid obesity, one should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

Keep a Schedule: It’s best to eat meals and snacks around the same time every day. This helps the body know when food is coming, so it can manage energy better.

Nighttime Noshing: Eating too late at night might make it harder to sleep. Encourage them to finish eating at least 2 hours before bed, so the body isn’t working overtime when they’re trying to rest.

Simple Steps to Eat Smarter

Here are some easy tips you can impart to your patients to get them on the road to eating better, not just in terms of what but also how and when:

Make Mealtime Special: Turn off the TV and put away their phone. Enjoying their food without distractions is a simple way to eat healthier.

Plan Your Meals: Think about what and when they’ll eat ahead of time. This helps avoid last-minute junk food choices.

Family Dinner Date: Try to have at least one meal a day with family. It’s a great time to catch up and encourage each other to eat well.


Eating right is not just about choosing carrots over cake. It’s also about taking the time to enjoy the  food, paying attention while they eat, and keeping a regular eating schedule. By providing excellent Nutrition Coaching, you can focus your patients on the how and when as much as the what. They’ll soon be on their way to making healthy food choices. 

So, next time you sit down to talk with your patients about nutrition, remember that it’s not just what’s on their plate that counts.

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