Nutrition Coaching 101 PART 4 | How to Coach Clients on Nutrition with Meal Photos

As a personal trainer (and a Trainerize team member!), I am super passionate about health and fitness. As a result, I offer a lot of things to my clients for free, as sales tools. I’ve offered video coaching for free before, and now I’m offering meal photos analysis.

Whenever I sign a new fitness coaching client, I tell them if they’re willing to send me pictures of their meals, I will give them feedback on what they’re eating, for free.

Sure, we all want to get paid for the work we do—but in my experience, clients get hooked on nutrition support during those first few weeks. Not only do they tend to stick with the nutrition coaching long term, there is also a possibility of them buying more in-depth nutrition coaching too!

So today, I’m sharing a few clients’ actual meal photos—and I’ll provide insight into the feedback I gave the clients and the impact it had on their diets.

Eating whole foods

Breakfast Before:
Two pieces of toast and an egg
Breakfast After: One piece of toast, one egg, half an avocado and an orange

Not only is the after more filling and nourishing, doesn’t it also look way more delicious?

What I told the client: It’s great that you’re eating whole wheat toast, but let’s try to choose better quality bread. Read the nutrition label and make sure sugar isn’t in the top three ingredients! Then, think about adding more color to your plate. Substitute one of the pieces of toast for something else from another food group.

  • Throw in a fruit or veggie for micronutrients
  • Add a healthy fat to keep you full longer

Effort level: Very little! Took me 30 seconds to look at the picture on the left and type up two sentences to send as a message.

Return on investment: Very high! My client was so happy that I cared enough to help them. They felt better over the course of the week and as a result stuck to their workout routine better. Also went to sleep on time each night because they wanted to stick to their workout schedule. This is the snowball effect of healthy choices!

Note that I used the terms quality, color and food groups. There’s no macro counting or grams or meal planning, just advice on making healthier choices.

Adjusting portions

Lunch Before:
Pasta with some meat and veggies
Lunch After: Salad and a chicken breast on the side (not shown)

Dinner Before:
Rice with chicken and frozen veggies
Dinner After: Beef & Zucchini “burgers” from scratch with no bun, salad on the side

Healthier lunches and dinners were quick to appear for this client after my initial feedback!
In the before photos, you’ll see big servings of carbs with very little vegetables. In the afters, the client was thinking more about portions and added way more color! She was ambitious off the top with the bun-less burgers—removing carbs completely—because she had a mellow day and wasn’t feeling that hungry! Her salad shown here was an effort to get her veggies in because she knew she was going out for Italian later that night. This client learned to create balance in her diet, according to her needs.

What I told the client: Think about your portion sizes. Cut the rice in half and add more veggies and lean protein. Add more color to your plate!

Effort level: Also very little! This is a typical adjustment—most clients struggle with portion sizes and not getting enough veggies in their diet. This one was so easy for me to help with.

Return on investment: Also very high! The client felt a difference in their energy levels and mood. She also felt more educated about what she should be focusing on with her diet—which will empower her to make healthier choices going forward.

Meal photos are a gamechanger

Analyzing meal photos has been such an efficient and effective way to introduce nutrition coaching in my business. In my experience, clients are so appreciative of the fact that I’m offering a complimentary service that they jump right in! Everyone loves free stuff! It really makes a great first impression while the client is on a free trial or is newly training with me.

Getting to talk about meal photos is another touchpoint other than training. I find it’s a really effective way to increase engagement without overdoing it on the fitness training talk.

Plus, clients get to see another side of you! Sharing recipes, talking about what you’re eating and sharing a relatable story of your own when your client is struggling helps build rapport.

⚡️TZ Pro Tip: Want to support your clients on healthier eating? Why not start a cooking club?! Offer a weekly cooking class, or a weekly group nutrition coaching call where you share tips and tricks on grocery shopping, reading labels, portion sizes, food groups, and meal prep—and share favorite recipes, too!

I encourage you to try meal photos in your nutrition coaching! Trust me, you’ll see an immediate difference in how your clients are eating, for very little effort on your part—and your clients will definitely see the effects!

🍓 We’re excited to share that a better new way to deliver nutrition coaching is here! From allowing clients to track their meals right within the app to delivering sample, custom meal plan suggestions in seconds and so much more, you’ll empower your clients to make healthier choices and level up on their health. Read our latest blog.