Open Questions For Health, Wellness, Nutrition and Fitness Coaches

One of the key concepts in Motivational Interviewing (MI) is OARS which stands for 1. Open-ended questions, 2. Affirmations, 3.Reflections and 4. Summarizing.

Open questions invite client’s to “tell their story” in their own words without leading them in a specific direction. Open questions should be used often in conversation but not exclusively. Of course, when asking open questions, you must be willing to listen to the client’s response.

Open questions are the opposite of closed questions. Closed questions typically elicit a limited response such as “yes” or “no”.

So far, so good, but what are some real-world coaching examples when it comes to nutrition and fitness?

Below are some examples of open questions for health, wellness, nutrition and fitness coaches.

Open Ended Questions: Planning Meals

– Describe your grocery shopping system. How do you decide what to eat for the week?

– What’s working well for you on how you plan your meals? What’s not working well?

– Which part, if any, of the way you plan your meals are you interested in changing?

– How do you see this change improving other areas of your life?

– What would you need to be successful if you made a change in the way you plan meals?

Open Ended Questions: Eating Meals

– Tell me about foods you eat regularly

– What do you commonly eat for breakfast?, for lunch? and for dinner?

– What are your go-to meals?

– What kinds of foods do you reach for when you are in a rush? When you are upset?

– What other foods, if any, would you like to be able to make?

– Tell me what foods you prefer?

– What foods do you detest or hate?

– What foods are neutral or in between “prefer” and “detest”?

– Tell me how you came to detest (insert name of food).

– How did you come to dislike (insert name of food)?

Open Ended Questions: Preparing Meals

– How comfortable are you in the kitchen?

– How long do you prefer to spend preparing a (breakfast, lunch, dinner) meal?

– Describe your preferred cooking methods (baking, boiling, sautéing, microwaving, grilling, frying)?

– What are your preferences in terms of taste, texture, and ethnic cuisine?

– Describe the meals you know how to make and enjoy making

– What flavors, textures, colors or food groups are you hoping to add to your meals?

– How do you prefer to get new recipes or meal ideas?

Open Ended Questions: For Fitness

– What do you enjoy about (insert activity, such as walking in the park)?

– How does your body feel when you are active? During? After?

– How does being active influence your mood?

– How does being active influence your sleep?

– How do your blood sugars run on the days you are active?

– What most concerns you about being physically active?

– What tends to get in the way of being active?

– How do you feel about being physically active?

– When you see yourself being active, what kind of activities do you see yourself doing?

– If you decided to start working out tomorrow, what would need to happen?

– What’s not working well with your current physical activity routine?