Well, the short answer is… it depends! A meal plan is often used to help re-nourish the body and there isn’t a one meal plan that fits all. The reality is that figuring out how much to eat can be complicated and is based on several factors. Depending on the level of malnutrition, nutrition rehabilitation requires careful monitoring and guidance from a dietitian.
Nutrition rehabilitation is when the food your body needs to restore tissue that has been lost, regulate hormones again, normalize your metabolism, and so much more! Some people need more than others, and following a meal plan can help restore nutrition safely and prevent refeeding syndrome. Working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) is pertinent as they will be responsible for monitoring and adjusting needs.
The meal plan will provide a balanced diet and get enough nutrients and minerals by incorporating grains, dairy, protein, fats, fruits, vegetables, and fun foods. Generally, a meal plan consists of 3 meals and 3 snacks daily for the body to get consistent nourishment throughout the day. This may seem like a lot, but it’s important to remember that our bodies are made to eat frequently and not spend long periods without food. It’s also important to note that meal plans will change over time based on your body's needs.
Eating disorder recovery is a process and it takes time. When it comes to how much food you need, it will change over time. People with eating disorders often have nutritional deficiencies. The body needs to be re-nourished and that's why nutrition rehabilitation is an essential part of the recovery process. However, nutrition rehabilitation is only a part of the recovery process. It's important to understand that recovery is not linear and it takes time. Working with a team of health professionals with experience in treating eating disorders and having a support system can make recovery more achievable.