Following a Meal Plan: Helpful or Harmful with BED? 

Mother and child hugging during meal time

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Many approaches are used to help an individual overcome binge eating disorder, including various behavioral therapies, medical nutrition therapy, pharmacotherapy, and more.  For the person who is struggling with abnormal eating behaviors and a chaotic relationship with food, learning to make peace with food is an essential part of the recovery process.  How can a person who is dealing with binging episodes throughout the day or unable to eat a meal normally begin the process of establishing healthy eating habits?

Meal Plans Can Help

One important thing to understand is that binge eating disorder is a psychiatric illness, and for these reasons, nutrition intervention alone is not sufficient to help a person overcome binge eating disorder.  Working with a treatment team that includes both a nutritionist/dietitian and a therapist/counselor is the most effective approach for helping a person overcome binge eating disorder.  This can ensure that physical, nutritional, emotional, and psychological factors are considered and addressed in a holistic manner.

Food For SkincareNutritional therapy incorporates a variety of tools that can assist a person in the process of normalizing food and eating habits.  This may include the use of a meal plan, which can serve as guide that outlines general meals and snacks that should be consumed throughout the day.  For a person who may not know what a “normal” portion is or how much should be eaten throughout the day, a meal plan can be a resourceful guide.

Meal plans should always be constructed and recommended by a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorder recovery and monitored to ensure efficiency.  A dietitian can help make adjustments as needed and oversee that the meal plan is providing sufficient calories and nutrients.  A meal plan is meant to give general guidelines and is intended to help support a person’s transition to becoming an intuitive eater.  While it can be easy to become comfortable sticking to a certain way of eating, meal plans are meant as tools and guides for the recovery process.  If you are in recovery from binge eating disorder, be sure to reach out for the appropriate support you need to help you through the journey.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you or someone you love in recovery from binge eating disorder?  How did a meal plan serve you throughout your recovery process?


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2015. Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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