Getting Started With Thrive365

I have diabetes. How does this system work for me?

This system is designed for people with non-insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes. If you have non-insulin dependent type 2 diabetes, Thrive365 is a new program that can help you plan a balanced diet. It is based on data collected from numerous diabetes experts about the best foods to choose. What does this mean? It means eating the same kinds of nutritious foods that all people should have, while also managing carbohydrate intake and other nutrition goals that are especially important to living well with diabetes. And living well with diabetes is not just about good eating. It is equally important to follow an overall lifestyle that supports diabetes management, like regular exercise, glucose monitoring and tracking, and healthy social connections.

Before trying any new eating system, always consult with a qualified health professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator). Thrive365 complements, but cannot replace, professional dietary advice. It is also important to remember that no single system can meet the needs of everyone, so look for the best fit for you.

How does Thrive365 compare to other well-known diabetes meal planning methods (for example carbohydrate counting, exchanges, or the plate method)?
Thrive365 offers you a new method for planning your diet. Our solution brings together the nutritional balance advantages of exchanges with the simplicity of a single score and our Healthy-Eating Guidelines.

How does Thrive365 align with recommended nutrition for people with non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes?
Thrive365 can help people with non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes confidently make food choices that align with key nutrition recommendations for people with diabetes. People with diabetes do not need special food, but they do need to manage carbohydrate intake, limit saturated fat, and make other choices that help build a nutritious diet. To help you follow this important food planning advice, Thrive365 offers a personalized score, meal plans, food scores with nutrition content, recipes, restaurant meals… inspiration, and more.

I use insulin. Can I use Thrive365?
No. Thrive365 should not be used by people taking insulin or using insulin-pump therapy, including people with type 1 diabetes, because matching insulin dosages to food intake is a critical need for these individuals. If you do use insulin, talk to your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) about the diet planning options that best suit your needs.

How do I create an account?

Creating an account is simple.

First click on "Register" from the menu on the top right of the Thrive365 home page. You will need your email, a password, your zip code and a screen name to register. This is so that the information you enter is personalized for you. Your screen name is the name that will show on your main page when you sign in and will be the name that shows up on any Thrive365 communities.

You will then be asked for further information including details on your age, gender, height, weight and activity level in order to create your Personal Food Score.

Are there situations where I am not allowed to sign up for Thrive365?

Unfortunately if you meet any of the following criteria you will not be able to register for a Thrive365 account:

  • You have type 2 diabetes and are using insulin.
  • You have Type 1 diabetes.
  • You are pregnant or lactating.
  • You are under 18 years of age.
  • You have any other medical condition (e.g., congestive heart failure, type 1 diabetes, Crohns disease, eating disorders, kidney disease or on dialysis, pregnant or lactating with diabetes, liver disease or abnormal liver function tests, organ transplant, pancreatic disease, heart attack or stroke within the past 6 months, BMI >45, ulcerative colitis, gastric/intestinal bypass surgery or gastric banding, celiac disease/gluten sensitive enteropathy and current cancer diagnosis/treatment).

If you meet any of these criteria, it is important that you talk to your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) about the diet planning options that best suit your needs. This is because your nutrition needs may vary if you respond in the affirmative to any of the conditions mentioned above.

How much does Thrive365 cost? Is it a free service?

Thrive365 is currently in development and the initial pilot website and mobile app at launch are provided for free. In addition, there is a premium mobile app, and you can purchase this premium mobile app through the mobile app stores [initially iTunes] in order to access a greater set of restaurant data and leverage the restaurant features such as restaurant look-up and location finder which are available on the app.

Once the program launches formally, we expect to provide a free mobile app and a program offering basic food scoring capabilities and services with a more extensive paid mobile app and website that will make available all components of the system at a reasonable and affordable price.

Thrive365 Personal Score and Food Scoring
How is my Personal Thrive365 Score calculated?

Your Personal Thrive365 Score is calculated based on your gender, age and the height and weight data and physical activity level that you entered into the system when you registered. If your activity level or weight changes significantly, please make sure you update this information in the "Edit Profiles' section of the website or app so that your revised Personal Thrive365 score can be re-calculated.

Do I need to hit my personalized score exactly? Why?

Yes, to get the full benefits of Thrive365, you should hit your score exactly at each meal and snack. Sticking to the Healthy-Eating Guidelines and the meal plans provided for your personalized score can help you balance important nutrients throughout the day.

Can I save or bank part of my score for another meal?
No. You should hit your target score exactly at each meal and snack.
How can two foods have the same score when they seem so different in their nutrition?

A food's score is a single number that represents multiple nutritional attributes found in a serving of that food, including macronutrients like saturated fat and other nutrients of concern like sodium. Each attribute is considered as the food is scored. Foods vary quite a bit in their nutrient composition, so it is not possible to predict the score of a food simply by looking at one or two nutrients in a food.

How can one food have a lower score than another and yet its calories are higher?

Calories are not used when determining a food’s score. The score is a single number that represents a variety of nutritional attributes contained in a serving of that food. Each attribute is considered as the food is scored. Since foods vary so much in their nutrient composition, the score of a food cannot be predicted by looking at the calories in a food.

I would love to find out the score of my favorite recipes and use them in my meal plan. Is that possible?

Yes. Just access the "Custom" tab and use the "+Add Custom Recipe" tool.

How do I measure the right portion size if I don't have a way to determine the ounces, cups, teaspoons, etc.?

  1. For beverages: use one clenched fist to estimate 8 fluid ounces
  2. For cooked meats and canned fish: use the palm of your hand to estimate 3 ounces
  3. For cereals, soups, salads or mixed dishes: use two cupped hands to estimate 1 cup
  4. For pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, hot cereals, potato salad, beans, puddings: use 1 cupped hand to estimate 1/2 a cup
  5. For most dressings, toppings, sauces, dips and spreadable items: Use two thumbs together to estimate 1 tablespoon

Food and Meals

How many meals a day will I be able to eat?

Thrive365 offers three meals and one snack per day to encourage the distribution of nutrients over the course of the day.

How do I choose what foods to eat for a particular day?

You can choose a meal using the Search Foods section. You can search for individual foods using the "Foods", "Recipes", "Favorites" and "Custom" tabs. Alternatively you can use the "Meal Plans" section to find a range of pre-set meal plans that match your Personal Thrive365 Score. If you don't like all the food items in a particular meal plan, simply delete that item and search for another one to replace it.

I can't find some of the foods I'm used to eating in the food search. What should I do?

If you have searched our current database and cannot find a specific food, use the "+Add Custom Item" tool. Just check the "nutritional facts" panel on the food or beverage that you wish to consume and enter these into Thrive365 and follow the steps outlined. The score for this item will then be generated automatically and saved.

What if I feel there is too much (or too little) food for me in my meals? How can I eat less or more food while still using up all of my Thrive365 Score?

It is important that you feel satisfied with the amount of food offered in your meal plan. If you feel your meal plans are not offering the right amount of food, change the foods you eat to better match your appetite. Remember that some foods will have a higher food score per portion than others. For example the food score for one cup of a certain brand of tomato soup is three, while the food score for 1 cup of fresh raspberries is zero.

Therefore, generally, you can replace a single “high” score item with with several “low” score items, so as to enjoy a bigger meal while sticking to the same Meal Score. But also, there are a number of food items (including raspberries) with a zero food score and these are listed under "Freebies" section. If you are still feeling hungry and want to eat more, you can add these freebies to your meal without exceeding the Meal Score.

I'm used to eating six small meals a day instead of three meals and a snack. Can I follow this plan and still continue with six small meals?

No. Thrive365 breaks your daily eating occasions into three meals, and one snack. It is best to work with your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietician or a certified diabetes educator) if you wish to divide further your daily score over six smaller meals.

The quantities of carbohydrates vary somewhat from meal to meal. Should I be concerned?

Thrive365 is not based simply on carbohydrates, it takes into account a range of nutrients that affect diet quality. As a result, individual foods and meals will vary somewhat in carbohydrate grams, but the Meal Score can help you stay on track with several nutrients that need to be managed when you have diabetes.

The example meal plans provide 45-60% of calories from total carbohydrates, consistent with dietary guidelines for healthful eating and diabetes recommendations. If you plan your meals and snacks using the score, and follow the tips and guidelines, you will typically stay within this range.

Whether this approach is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Talk to your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) about your needs. Our suggestion: print out a weekly view of your meal plan and blood glucose logs to share with your diabetes healthcare professional.

Do I have to eat the snack?

Yes. Thrive365 breaks your daily eating occasions into three meals, and one snack. Snacks can be important for helping you get important nutrients and for spreading-out carbohydrate and calorie intake over the course of the day. Therefore the snack is an important part of your daily meal plan and should not be skipped.

I planned on having a turkey sandwich for lunch, but roast beef was the only option. Can I just swap out one meat for another?

Replacing one food for another is fine as long as you still meet your Thrive 365 score for that meal (it may be necessary to adjust the portion size). To swap a food item with something else, simply delete the food item you no longer want to consume and then search for the item you wish to eat in the "Search Foods" section. Then drag and drop your new food item onto your daily meal log.

If you have a recipe that you want to eat that is not in our database, another option is to use the "+Add Custom Recipe" tool from the "Recipe" tab of the "Search Foods" section. Create your recipe by searching for ingredients and dragging them over to the ‘ingredients' section. You will need to add the number of portions and serving size as well as a description of how to make the recipe. The score for this item will then be generated automatically and saved.

I don't cook. How do I plan my meals?

You can search in the "Food" tab directly for a range of food items that do not require complicated preparation. Alternatively, from the list of Meal Plans provided, replace any recipes with alternative meals. You might even want to mark some of these meals so they appear on your Favorites list. Keep in mind that many of our recipes are very easy and quick to make, even if you do not consider yourself a cook. Visit the Recipes tab to check them out.

When I eat out, how do I figure out the score of a food I'm going to eat?

Eating out can be a challenge for people with diabetes. One of the great benefits of Thrive365 is its functionality when you dine away from home. This is a primary benefit of our mobile app, providing you the ability to score foods and plan your meal choices when you're on the go.

Thrive365's searchable databases include a large number of restaurant menu items from leading chains of restaurants. As long as the restaurant and menu items are included in the database you can search for your meal using the "Search Restaurants" section on the premium app using either the restaurant name or the location finder.

In addition, the premium app includes location based services that enable you to find restaurants in your vicinity and score their menu items. This unique tool further helps you stay on track when eating out of home.

If your preferred restaurant meal is not included then some restaurants make nutritional information available. You should request this information before you plan to eat so you can calculate scores for menu items using the "+Add Custom Item" feature. Then these restaurant foods can be added to your meal plan. It's important to be aware of the portions you plan to eat when eating out.

What should I do if I'm ill and don't feel like eating (or am not able to eat)?

Ask your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) for specific advice on your meal plan.

What is a "Freebie"? Can I eat as many of these as I like?

Freebies are specific zero-score foods and beverages that can be easily incorporated into your meal plans because they have minimal calories and carbohydrates. You need to stick to the serving size listed for freebies, since increasing the amount you consume might mean the score is no longer zero.

There are some alcoholic beverages that I enjoy. How should I count these?

Alcoholic beverages are not part of the recommended meal plans. However, if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, diabetes experts recommend that you limit it to 1 drink or less per day for women, and 2 drinks or less per day for men.

Alcoholic beverages are included in Thrive365's searchable database. Therefore you can count the score of alcoholic beverages in your meal log just as you would any food, adjusting serving sizes as needed. For mixed drinks, you can add the ingredients of the drink individually to your meal log by searching the food database. For example, add the distilled spirit and then add any mixer that is used. It is particularly important to count the score of mixers that contain calories such as tonic, orange or cranberry juice, and regular soft drinks. There are also "zero score" mixers in the database such as water, club soda or diet soft drinks.

Diabetes and Blood Glucose Management

My blood glucose readings are different since starting this Eating Plan. What do I do?

Any questions or concerns that you have about blood glucose or about the meal plans you should talk to a healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator). Thrive365 complements, but cannot replace, professional dietary advice. You can print out a weekly view of your meal plan and blood glucose logs to share with your diabetes healthcare professional.

Losing or Gaining Weight

Will I lose weight on this program?

Although Thrive365 is not a weight loss program, you may lose weight by following the meal plans. If you are following Thrive365 and its accompanying meal plans and you want to lose weight, but so far have not, we suggest you first check to see that you are sticking to your target meal and snack scores exactly and that you are consuming the portion sizes recommended by the meal plan. Measuring cups and a food scale can be helpful early on to make sure you are correctly estimating portion sizes.

Remember that the best way to lose weight (and maintain a healthy weight) is to combine changes to your diet with regular physical activity. However, ask your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) if you need special testing before beginning or changing your exercise or physical activity pattern. You should also find out from your healthcare professional if you have specific limitations while exercising because of your diabetes or any other condition.

If I eat less than my score will I lose even more weight?

Thrive 365 is not a weight loss program (although you may lose weight as a result of sticking to Thrive 365's carefully planned meals). Unless your healthcare professional (such as your physician, a registered dietitian or a certified diabetes educator) recommends otherwise, you should not deviate from your assigned personalized score. Your target meal and snack scores are designed to meet your nutrition needs while you manage your diabetes.

Technical Questions

How do I update my personal details and change my password?

It is important to keep your details up-to-date. Your level of physical activity and weight all have a direct impact on your Personal Thrive365 Food Score. Should these change it is important to update your details so your Personal Score is updated to reflect the current situation and to ensure that Thrive365 continues to tailor meal plans around your present nutritional requirements.

Having created an account you can then modify your details by logging into your account and clicking on "Edit Profile" section. You can then complete the personal details form with the required information. You can also change your password from the "Edit Profile" section of the website.

How do I use Thrive365 on my smart phone, or tablet device.

Thrive365 is also available for mobile devices and tablet computers. You can either log into the website, as normal, using the device's browser, or you can install the Thrive365 app via the app stores. The simplest way to install the mobile app is to click on the "Download the Mobile App!" image located to the right of the home screen. Alternatively you can go directly to the mobile app store for your device [currently only iTunes] and then search for and install the "Thrive365" mobile app from there.