Dietary recommendations such as those listed above need to be translated into a diet plan for the individual. This is best done with the advice of a physician and the help of a dietitian. It is standard practice for a physician to prescribe a diet for an individual and for a dietitian to assist the patient in devising an individualized meal plan.
The following are some considerations in devising a dietary plan to achieve the goals of a dietary prescription.
- Food intake should be consistent but should take into account lifestyle and physical activity.
- The total daily energy intake should be distributed consistently with at least three regular meals each day.
- Total energy intake must be individualized, because it varies with age, sex, and body weight and is affected by physical activity. It can also be greatly altered by illness. (Dietitians employ standard methods to estimate daily energy requirements. One of these methods is the Harris-Benedict equation.)