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Defining an effective nutritional and treatment plan for a patient includes a comprehensive dietary history. By identifying habits, preferences, and aversions, nutrition plans can be developed that deliver required nutrients in a way that is palatable for the individual. Dietary history includes intake, frequency, and allergies, as well as cultural, and religious considerations.
Required data for assessing a patient's dietary history
- Regular meal choices and frequency - Food allergies - Difficulty chewing, swallowing, nausea, or vomiting - Vitamin and mineral supplements - Alcohol use - Changes in taste, smell, or appetite - Cultural or religious food limitations
Patient Food Diary
In addition to the items discussed above, it is often helpful for a patient to keep a food diary. This table should list the times, frequency, location, types, and amounts of food consumed including meals, snacks, and beverages. It is also helpful if the patient keeps track of activities that may affect caloric or nutrient usage
The patient food diary should account for all consumption ranging from a packet of ketchup to a cup of coffee. Even the most minute details of a diet can have a significant effect on the amount of available energy and nutrient content.
Combining the information gathered from the patient's dietary history and daily food diary a nutritionist can determine where the diet may be lacking in order to better facilitate healing.
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