Today’s blog is a little different to my usual posts. Recently I was kindly offered to trial a brand new online nutrition software aimed at Nutrition Professionals – Nutrium.
Initially, I wasn’t sure that Nutrium would be beneficial to me as I don’t work as a clinical nutritionist or have many clients other than a few skype consultations with parents.
However, Manuela from Nutrium talked me through the uses of Nutrium and after spending a few weeks giving it a really good test I found it to be super useful and now often find myself wondering how I actually coped without it.
This post may be more relevant to my Registered Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian readers, and especially interesting for the readers who are recent graduates thinking of tools that might come in useful in their upcoming careers.
Interestingly I found that Nutrium worked for me in a way that wasn’t expected as it tends to contain useful tools that you can use in a way that works for you. I’ll go through how it may typically be used and also how I have found it useful to me too, just in case there is anyone out there, like me, who doesn’t do clinical work too often.
Firstly a bit about Nutrium:
“Nutrium is an online nutrition software that consolidates the efforts of nutrition professionals and their clients by providing both the ability to monitor progress and compliance.” In other words Nutrium provides a simple and user-friendly tool kit to run consultations with clients and help to monitor their ongoing progress.
The package allows Registered Nutritionists and Dietitians to input client details, nutritional assessments, create meal plans, schedule and confirm appointments AND offers an app to help clients keep track and stay motivated.
The whole aim of Nutrium is to make consultations and the data collected from them easier, simpler and all in one place.
The whole online programme is GDPR compliant and confidential and has 7 main sections for recording data and keeping information from consultations with clients:
- Information – this tab is simply for recording information on the patient, including name, health history and aims from the consultation. You can also add a photograph of your clients if that’s something that works for you.
- Measurements – This tab is for including information about the client such as anthropometric measurements and details on cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight.
- Planning – This section is mainly for setting goals and targets that will support the development of meal plans on the next tab. For example you can set goals for BMI and macronutrient distributions which will help establish what the meal plan might be on the next tab.
- Meals – This section is where a practitioner would input foods and meals to create a meal plan for the client. In this section you can see information on the client’s food diary, energy of the meal plan, macronutrient contribution and the levels of certain vitamins and minerals too.
- Recommendations – where the RNutr sets specific recommendations for the client based on fluid intakes, exercise and foods to avoid, for example.
- Analysis – Here the programme compares the meal plan with what nutritional goals (energy, macronutrients etc) were set and shows micronutrient values of the meal plan in comparison to the Reference Nutrient Intakes.
- Deliverables – This final section allows you to select what information you can print/send or share with your client as well as a way to make and track appointments and send instant messages to your client all through the programme so no paper or emails are necessary.
The above is super useful for anyone regularly working with clients and it’s extremely adaptable, allowing you to work with clients to make individual, tailored goals.
The programme also caters for young children, selecting dietary recommendations based on their age. So you can add a one year old and the calories/macronutrients and micronutrients compared will be relevant for that age group.
Macronutrient distribution set in the planning tab
The contribution of macronutrients in the analysis tab
However, I did find that if you were working with a 1 year old, a lot of the information on the measurements section for example wouldn’t be relevant and it would be useful if the data to be input was relevant for the age to make the programme cleaner and easier to use. For example if you were working with a 1 year old, you wouldn’t have a need for Blood Pressure measurements or body fat percentages and having those visible makes it seem less relevant for young children.
How I have been using the programme:
The thing I have found the most useful when using the programme is probably not for the use with which it was intended. I really appreciated the fact that the programme has an inbuilt food database that you can use when creating recipes/menus and meal plans. I’ve therefore been using Nutrium in the same way that I might use Dietplan or Saffron – to check the nutritional composition of individual foods/meals and recipes.
I’ve therefore personally found Nutrium useful in the following 4 ways.
1. Analysing food diaries (in Section 4 – Meals)
To do this I have mainly been using the “meals” section (section 4) and inputting food diaries (instead of suggested meal plans) to provide me with a person’s nutritional intake – this allows me to make specific recommendations for where changes can be made in a person’s diet.
When inputting food diaries (or meal plans) in the ‘meals’ section you can then go to the analysis tab where you will see this:
Distribution of micronutrients intakes based on meal plan
You can select the database you use and base it on the age of your patient (in information) where the relevant RNIs will then be compared to current micronutrient intakes of your client. The only thing missing? Having the actual RNI recommended figures specified for each age group on the programme too.
Personally I have used this to input my own son’s food diary and to see if and where he may have nutritional shortfalls in the food he’s eating (FYI I actually found that his vitamin A intake was slightly falling short on the day I inputted the data and so have been able to make amends to his diet to take account of this.) I think this feature is very useful for anyone wanting to analyse food intakes or meal plans.
2. Making recommendations on improving macro and micro-nutrient intakes (Section 6 – Analysis)
You can also use the analysis page to check out what foods are contributing the most to each macro or micro nutrient (based on the foods entered in the meals tab). For example, the below image shows the foods that are contributing the most to saturated fat intakes for my example client.
Foods contributing most to saturated fat intakes from the meal plan
3. Nutritionally analysing recipes
You can also use the “recipe” section in the tabs to the left to create recipes and nutritionally analyse them which is very handy for anyone who regularly needs to produce recipes for brands or for their own website. I haven’t had a need to use this function yet, but it is something that I do regularly in my work and so I am sure there will come a time when it’s needed.
4. Comparing the nutritional content of individual foods
Lastly, another of my favourite sections was the “foods” tab where I was able to search specific foods and look at their nutritional composition. You can use this to search by food or by nutrient which helps when trying to write quotes for press about the nutrients in certain foods. It would be great if the programme could highlight somehow when a food is “high” in certain nutrients or a “source of” certain nutrients, based on EU Nutrition legislation – this would hugely help nutritionists working with brands who are wanting to make claims about products
Nutrium really is a very easy to use online nutrition software. You can use it as I do as a nutritional analysis package and to find out nutrient contents of foods/food diaries and recipes or you can easily use it as a resource for keeping track of all your consultations with clients. Nutrium are so open to feedback and are making updates and changes to their package all the time – it’s such a relief to see a company who is flexible, especially as nutrition is a field that is ever changing and so data analysis software needs to do the same.