We all know that eating healthy is an essential pillar of good health but often are not clear on what that means when it comes to your own health goals. This is when a good dietitian comes in.
What is a dietitian?
Put simply, a dietitian is a food and nutrition expert.
Dietitians are trained and credentialed health professionals with the title of a registered dietitian, RD for short. In an ever-evolving field, registered dietitians keep up with the latest science and must complete continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. They are not prone to be lured into fad diets or the latest health craze.
How can a dietitian help?
- Assess nutritional needs – All nutritional plans are NOT created equal. A good dietitian will work one-on-one to understand their client’s needs. Every individual who wants to lose weight or improve their diet to manage a health condition has their own unique needs.
- Educate with the science – In an environment where one day something is good for you, and the next day it’s bad for you, where diet fads are saying ‘eat this, not that’ – dietitians are experts at cutting through the confusion and working with patients to help them understand the facts about nutrition and healthy eating.
- Tailor individual nutritional plans – Specific nutritional goals and existing health conditions inform nutritional recommendations and help empower clients to manage their conditions better:
- Obesity and weight management
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Heart disease
- Renal disease
- Food allergies
- Digestive conditions
- Eating disorders
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Some plans may emphasize calorie intake while others may focus on specific nutrients or incorporate a variety of certain types of foods.
- Encourage strategies for success – Just as nutritional needs vary from person to person, so do the challenges dietitians can help their clients overcome. This may include:
- Meal planning and choosing healthy food
- Planning and cooking healthy meals at home
- Choosing wisely when dining out
- Avoiding triggers and overcoming temptations
- Offering accountability through regular sessions
- Promote a healthy lifestyle for the community – Dietitians often champion good health in their own communities. From teaching community education classes to serving as role models, they are advocating health.
How do I know when I should see a dietitian?
The reasons to see a dietitian are seemingly endless. If any of these are a concern to you and you want help, it might be time to make an appointment.
- You think you may have a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity
- You are irregular – or have gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation
- You have IBS, acid reflux, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or colitis
- Dairy throws your system out of whack
- You have tried every diet
- You have heartburn or acid reflux
- You’ve noticed changes in your appetite
- You’re doing everything right and can’t shake the weight
- You just want to lose weight
- You just want to gain weight
- You’re always thinking about food
- You have hormonal issues
- Your bloodwork showed abnormal results
- You’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease
- You’re going through cancer treatments
- You overeat, or binge eat when you’re emotional
- You want to get pregnant
- You want to maximize your athletic performance
- You want help with meal planning
- You’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes
- You want to control blood sugar levels
- You’re managing life before or after gastric bypass
- You’re caring for an aging parent
- You have heart disease – high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- You want practical lifestyle advice
- You’ve got a picky eater in the household
- You want to make smarter food choices for yourself and your family
To meet with a Welia Health registered dietitian, call 320.679.1313. Appointments are available at all Welia Health clinic locations.
Note that a referral may be required. Contact your insurance carrier to confirm nutrition counseling is covered by your health plan.