I Just Signed Up To Meet With A Dietitian...Now What?!

RD Blog Post

Most people know that nutrition is highly important to maintain their health and prevent or manage chronic disease. While some search Google for answers, others seek out professionals and coaches for help. Many people report wanting to meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD), but aren’t quite sure what they are or what exactly happens during a consultation. 

At Foodsmart, we like to refer to our team of Registered Dietitians as Personal Nutrition Coaches (PNCs for short) because that's what they'll be for you; a trusted source to help you and your family meet and maintain your health goals. Wondering how they do it?  Here’s a list of commonly asked questions about what our PNCs can do for you and why you should meet with one!

Check out our list of Personal Nutrition Coaches here and book your visit today!

First off, what IS a Registered Dietitian? How are they different from nutritionists?

Here’s the bottom line: ANYONE can call themselves a nutritionist. You can call yourself a nutritionist if you have even the slightest interest in the subject. The term nutritionist doesn’t require any sort of board certification or training hours. Some professionals, especially those who work in the fitness realm, will seek out nutrition certifications to expand their knowledge of nutrition. These certifications are great for building a good knowledge base, but there are limitations to what they can practice.

A Registered Dietitian, on the other hand, is required to get a master’s degree in nutrition, complete at least 1,000 internship hours, and pass a board exam before they become an RD. With all those training hours and board certification, an RD has a much more specific range of knowledge. You can find RDs in hospitals, school food service, community programs, food banks, private practice nutrition counseling, government entities, sports teams and food companies like Foodsmart!


What can I expect during a consultation with a Foodsmart RD?

Most of our PNCs each have their own specific set of training, skills, personalities, and areas of expertise. However, each PNC is trained to not just “write out a diet plan” and send you on your merry way! Our Dietitians do so much more than that!

Our team is trained to help problem solve and work alongside you to create attainable, realistic health and nutrition habits depending on your goals. They are also trained to prevent and manage disease states, from diabetes to irritable bowel syndrome.

During your first visit, you'll chat about:

  • Your current health goals, why you want to achieve them and any limitations
  • Past & current medical history for you and your family
  • Gut health 
  • Any recent labs/testing
  • Medications
  • Stress levels
  • Previous diet history
  • Cooking skills
  • Food budget
  • Food likes/dislikes
  • Food allergies/intolerances (or suspected ones)
  • Hydration status
  • A “snapshot” of your normal eating habits
  • Current fitness or exercise routine

With this information, they can help you create small, achievable goals and help to keep you accountable!

Do dietitians tell me what to eat during our consultation?

No! They may make recommendations based on your health goals and help you come up with attainable habits to get you there. For example if you have a goal of reducing your cholesterol, they may recommend you eat more fiber. Instead of just giving you a list of “high fiber foods”, they’ll discuss with you your favorite veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and how you can realistically implement them into your diet to boost your fiber! They often provide supporting recipes, menu plans, or meal/snack ideas to further help you.

Do I only meet once with a Foodsmart PNC? Or multiple times?

That depends on your health goals, but to optimize your success it is best to meet with a PNC as much as you can. This helps with establishing long-term, sustainable health habits. Making change is hard! It’s human nature to not want to change, so it takes time to create new habits. Having accountability and evidence-based nutrition knowledge from our team is highly beneficial throughout your health journey.

Do some dietitians have specialities?

Yes! There are many dietitians who focus on one type of patient or client. There are pediatric, sports, renal, weight management, diabetes, and gut health dietitians that work primarily with specific clientele. Some even have additional board certification in those areas. If you have a specific issue, such as celiac disease or are training for a marathon, you may want to seek out the help of a dietitian who has a certain specialty. However, all RDs have a wide range of knowledge, so if your options are limited any RD will be helpful to coach you along your goals!

Still have questions? You can always  reach out to us. Every single one of our PNCs are highly trained in the field of nutrition and health, and are motivated to help you succeed in achieving your goals. Check out our list of PNCs here and book your visit today!

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