Readiness for Enhanced Nutrition Nursing Diagnosis & Care Plan

Readiness for enhanced nutrition

Defining Characteristics

  • Expresses willingness to improve eating habits
  • Expresses knowledge about healthy food choices
  • Expresses knowledge about healthy fluid choices 
  • Consumes adequate food and fluids 
  • Follows appropriate guidelines about food intake (i.e., or ADA guidelines) 
  • Safe preparation and storage of food items

Expected Outcome 

  • The patient will show appropriate meal selection 
  • The patient will verbalize the benefits of adopting healthy eating habits
  • The patient will integrate healthy meal planning and prepping into his or her daily routine
  • The patient will maintain weight within the normal range 
  • The patient will use U.S Dietary Guidelines to prepare meals 
  • The patient will create meal plans and dietary habits to maintain nutrition goals long-term. 

Assessment and Interventions 

Assess the patient’s motivation for changing their eating habits. 

The exact reason for wanting to change a dietary lifestyle can vary from person to person. Knowing the “why” behind the patient’s motivation allows healthcare staff to personalize the care plan further.

Obtain a baseline knowledge from the patient about nutrition and meal preparation.

With this information, healthcare staff can create individualized learning sessions without teaching items that the patient already knows. 

Assess for any hurdles for improving the patient’s nutritional lifestyle. 

The patient might be willing to change his or her diet habits, but the environment and other circumstances have to align with the patient’s new intentions. For example, unusual working hours, lack of time to prepare meals, low income, and cultural preferences could compromise implementing new diet habits.

Determine the patient’s BMI, and obtain body measurements. 

This information provides a baseline for weight loss and the calorie amount the patient should consume each day. 

Teach the patient about the appropriate amount of calorie intake. 

Most people eat an amount that is too high in calories per day compared to their activity level. Teaching the patient the correct amount of calorie intake and activity level will make the weight loss process more manageable. 

Instruct the patient to follow reputable dietary guidelines such as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines or use resources such as 

These resources provide a great amount of information about the different food groups and the nutritional value of food items. Using approved recourses helps to learn the correct way to prepare food. These dietary guidelines are written and updated by dietary experts. 

Encourage the client to eat from the different food groups and explain the benefits of each food group. 
Fruits and Vegetables 

1 to 2 cups of fruit each day 
1 to 3 cups of vegetables each day 
Fruits and vegetables contain essential electrolytes and fiber to maintain important body functions. They are rich in vitamins and help prevent chronic diseases.  
An easy way to teach the patient to eat various fruits and vegetables is to encourage a colorful selection. Tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, turnip greens, and other colorful foods would be all great choices. 

Whole Grains
3 to 8 ounces per day 
Compared to refined grains, whole grains contain fiber, and vitamin B. Encourage the patient to eat whole grains to receive all the health benefits. 
Fiber from whole-grain foods might help reduce cholesterol and may lower the risk of heart disease. It also helps with weight management and aids with digestion. 

Protein: Lean meat and seafood 
2 to 6 ½ ounces per day; 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week
Poultry, meats, seafood, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds are part of a healthy diet. Many dietary guidelines discourage excessive red meat and processed meat consumption and encourage them to replace it with more beans and other protein-containing foods. Red meat is linked to an increase in mortality for cancer and cardiac disease. 
Encourage the patient to alternate meat-based meals with soy and bean alternatives. 
Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids that are important for heart health.
Protein is needed to help build bones, cartilage, muscle, and skin. They also help in the production of enzymes and hormones. 

2 to 3 cups each day 
All milk products and products that keep their calcium content, such as yogurt and cheese, are part of the dairy category. Guidelines recommend consuming low-fat dairy products. Dairy food intake is known to increase bone health and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This food group entails many vitamins such as vitamin D and B12.

Oils are not a food group, but they are a vital part of a balanced diet. Most healthy fats come from plants, nuts, and fish. Oils are a significant source of vitamin E; however, they should be consumed in limited amounts. 

Instruct the patient to avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Encourage an increased intake of vegetable oils. 

According to many studies, a reduced consumption of trans fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Encourage the patient to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. 

Fiber plays an essential role in gut motility and digestion. It also makes the person feel full for a longer time. 

Encourage the client to decrease the amount of added sugars, including soft drinks. 

Added sugar usually adds calories but no valuable nutrients.

Teach the patient how to identify healthy food from food packages. 

Food labels provide information about the amount of certain nutrients and the serving size of a specific food. For example, the amount of trans-fat, cholesterol, sodium, and whole grains can be found on a food label and help patients make better food choices. 

Encourage to drink the recommended amount of water. 

The amount of water that a person should drink depends on that person’s size, age, and gender. Reputable guidelines recommend 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. 

Teach about portion sizes. provides some guidance on how big a portion should be on the plate. Even healthy foods can amount to too many calories when consumed in large amounts. 

Help the patient make healthy food choices when eating at a fast-food restaurant.

One meal contains almost the amount of calories of an entire day. So it is most important to make smart choices when it comes to fast-food restaurants. Choosing grilled over fried options, salad over fries as a side, and vinaigrette over creamy dressing will make a tremendous difference in the amount of calories of a meal.

Encourage the patient to decide on a meal of choice beforehand when eating at a restaurant.

Looking at the menu with countless options can be tempting and lead to impulsive behavior in choosing a meal high in calories. Knowing beforehand might limit these behaviors and help go for a healthy option on the menu. 

Encourage the patient to attend a basic nutrition and cooking class. 

Learning how to prepare healthy meals allows the patient to be more creative and keeps them motivated longer. Meal preparation is an integral part of nutrition, especially for long term change of a nutritional lifestyle.

Teach the patient healthy tips for food preparation at home. 

Use salt sparingly and substitute with herbs for seasoning.
Use low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt. 
Replace cooking oil with vegetable oil or olive oil.
Include fruits and vegetables in every meal.
Fill have of your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Preparing food at home with these tips will give the patient more control over what goes into the food than eating out. Cooking at home usually leads to less calorie consumption than when eating out.

Include family and friends in the nutrition education process. 

The patient is more likely to follow through with the change in eating habits if the entire family provides support and does not distract or tempt the patient to go back to their old habits. 

Education/ Discharge Planning/Continuity of Care at Home

Provide the patient with resources that they can refer to at home.

Apps to track their weight loss and nutrients of food. 
Websites such as to refer to nutritional facts about foods.
Nutrition websites with healthy recipes.

The information has to be easily accessible at all times, so the patient has a convenient resource. 
Provide printed material about foods and diets with nutritional value. 

With the learning material provided, the patient feels more motivated to continue diet habit changes at home. 

More Care Plans:

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis & Care Plan

Imbalanced Nutrition: More Than Body Requirements

Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements

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Ackley, B., & Ladwig, G. (2014). Nursing diagnosis handbook (10th ed). Maryland Heights: Mosby Elsevier.

Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. (2014). Nursing care plans (8th ed.). Elsevier.

MyPlate | ChooseMyPlate. (2020). Retrieved from[Link]

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