Dara Bergen, MPH, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, with broad experience in food and nutrition. She has worked in clinical, community, and corporate nutrition settings. She currently has a private practice in New York specializing in weight management, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bariatric surgery diet management, pre and post natal care, gastrointestinal disturbances, and general wellness. Based on current eating patterns and food preferences, Dara’s clients get an individualized plan, designed to achieve personal nutrition and fitness goals.
LIDA: Could you provide a brief synopsis of your nutrition app.
Dara: While working with clients in private practice for the past decade, I have seen the benefit of tailoring recipes for each client. Providing generic meal plans can be a real source of frustration for those trying to make lasting dietary changes. My clients were asking for sample meal plans that were exciting and not boring! That was the inspiration for my nutrition app, meals4me! Users can enter their specific nutrition profile and a BMR is created. They can then choose to lose, maintain, or gain weight, and appropriate caloric-controlled menus appear. Users can pick through a months worth of different breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Ingredients can be added to one weekly shopping list for convenience and a favorite list can be created. Meals4me is available for iphones and for android phones. Our diabetic and vegetarian versions will be ready shortly. You can check out the app’s website at www.meals4me.com.
LIDA: Did you have any assistance with the development of the meals4me app?
Dara: Yes I did. I partnered with experts regarding the technology and programming of the app but all of the recipes were created by me.
LIDA: Is there a way to determine how successful your app is?
Dara: Yes there is. My clients can give be feedback which has been overwhelmingly positive but also I can check to see how many downloads there have been with the meals4me app.
LIDA: What advice would you have for nutrition professionals such as registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered now that you have successfully developed this app?
Dara: I would suggest that we all try to think ahead and be forward minded especially when it pertains to technology. We need to stay AHEAD of the technology. I have found that we need to remain flexible with how our clients access information and what method of communication/information they prefer. For example, most of my clients love technology which is why this app is of importance to them. I have also found other ways to incorporate technology such as sending reminders via text messaging and also using skype as a way to stay in touch with my clients.
For additional information, please visit Dara’s private practice website at www.foresthillswellness.com and www.meals4me.com for specific information regarding the nutrition app.
About the Author
Lisa Samuels is a Long Island native who is currently a Dietetic Intern at LIU Post. She has a B.A. in Art History from Ithaca College, a B.S. in Nutrition from LIU Post & was also a practicing baker for two years. Lisa has finally found her calling. Combining her love for food, writing, and nutrition, she strives to bring you the latest news in the field.
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