This article was reviewed by Rachel Gargano MS, RD, CSSD, CBS.
What Should I Know about Finding the Best Nutritionist for Me?
- When you’re ready to invest in your health, finding a top nutritionist is the next step
- Three tips to find the top nutritionists
- What types of nutritionists are available to help you meet your goals?
- What is a nutritionist and how is that different from a dietitian?
- Is a dietitian a doctor?
- Learn how to get started on your health today and find a dietitian nutritionist that’s a great match for you!
When it comes to nutrition, it can feel like you need a GPS to navigate the ever-changing recommendations. New science and opinions seem to come out every day. Should I avoid gluten? Is eating too much fruit bad for me? Which supplements actually work?
Once you’re ready to take your health to the next level, it can be frustrating figuring out how to fuel your body. This is exactly when it’s time to get matched with a nutrition expert.
A top nutritionist dietitian will help you wade through all the nutrition misinformation out there, the fad diets, and the insane amount of health products. They also provide unique and individualized guidance to help you become your best health-and-wellness self.
Finding the best nutritionist for you doesn’t have to be hard. But it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Three Tips to Find the Top Nutritionists
Tip #1: First things first: Know what you’d like to accomplish with the nutritionist.
Are you looking to lose weight? Did you recently get diagnosed with high blood pressure and need guidance on the right diet? Are you navigating food allergies? Did you sign up for a marathon and have no idea what to eat now? Knowing what your goals are will help you find the right nutritionist for you.
Pro Tip: Write a list of the things you’d like to achieve to keep front of mind; your nutritionist will likely ask what you’d like to accomplish with their help. Your goals may change with time, but setting your sights on one or two initial objectives will help you get started with a top nutritionist.
Tip #2: Look for the right credentials.
You don’t want to work with just anyone. If you’d like to achieve real change and hit those goals, you want to have an expert by your side. As mentioned, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) holds an advanced degree in nutrition and dietetics, and many have certifications that allow them to specialize in specific areas, such as pediatrics, sports, or weight loss.1
Pro Tip: For the highest chance at your own success, find registered dietitian nutritionists with advanced education and certifications. For example, if you’ve recently been diagnosed with high blood sugar, you’ll want to find a nutritionist who specializes in diabetes, such as an RD who is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES).
Tip #3: Have a quick call to see if they’re the right fit. This is often called a Discovery or Inquiry call.
Every dietitian nutritionist has a different working philosophy, and you want to feel comfortable and confident that they can help you reach your goals. How we eat is very personal, so making sure your personalities jive and their approach feels right to you will go a long way toward success.
Pro Tip: Many times a nutritionist will chat with you briefly, fee-free, to help get to know each other. Ask questions and let the nutritionist know what works best for you.
What can you expect when you work with them? What are sessions like? If you work well with numbers and specific goals, ask them if they provide detailed strategies to help achieve those goals. If numbers aren’t for you, be sure to let them know if you’d prefer not to weigh foods (or yourself!) and take a more holistic approach to wellness.
Type of Nutritionists Available Based on Your Needs
A sports nutritionist has comprehensive knowledge of the interplay between nutrition and athletic performance at all levels. They provide evidence-based nutrition guidance for those who are fitness enthusiasts, people just getting started in their exercise journey, as well as elite athletes looking to improve their performance.2
Pro Tip: A sports dietitian of the highest credentialing is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). These top nutritionists have a minimum of 2,000 hours within the field and have been a dietitian for at least 2 years.3
What can you get out of an appointment with a sports nutritionist? They can help you understand which foods are best to fuel your body before and during exercise, as well as how to accelerate your recovery.4 They’ll guide you on what foods may improve sports performance and help boost energy. A sports nutritionist can also help you figure out what ingredients may be causing any digestive problems you encounter while working out.
Weight Loss Nutritionist
Can a nutritionist help you lose weight? Absolutely! Finding a top weight loss nutritionist is a sure-fire way to get started on this journey. Losing weight is incredibly individual–what works for your neighbor or family member may not be the right strategy for you. A nutritionist will help you figure out what works best for your body, take into account your food likes and dislikes, and find a long term solution to help get you to the weight you feel healthiest at.5
Pro Tip: While there are many registered dietitian nutritionists who can help you reach your goals in a safe and individual way, those who are exceptionally prepared to help you make progress in weight loss are those who are a Board Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM).6
We want the best for our children. And while we are learning everyday how to best parent our kids, knowing how to feed them is a confusing–and frustrating–part of life. From starting solids to picky eating, trouble gaining weight to zooming through the percentiles, there is so much to think about.
Research shows that what our children eat now will impact their health well into the future.7,8 Building healthy eating habits and a positive relationship with food early in life sets your child up for long-term success.
A nutritionist who specializes in pediatric nutrition can help you navigate the food challenges that pop up with your child: allergies, weight, healthy habits, selective eating, chronic diseases, as well as simply making sure they’re getting the nutrition needed for optimal growth.
Pro Tip: A top nutritionist with a pediatric focus often has a specialty certification, such as Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition (CSPN) or Certification in Maternal and Infant Nutrition.9
Prenatal and Postpartum Nutritionists
If your goal is to have the best outcome during and after your pregnancy, you’ll want to find a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in prenatal and postnatal nutrition. Pregnancy is one of the most important times to focus on nutrition; you are not only supporting your own health, but also the health of your growing baby.10,11 A pregnancy nutritionist can help make sure you and your baby are getting the right nutrition.
Postpartum nutrition focuses on recovery from pregnancy and delivery; quick and easy meal and snack ideas for when you have your hands full; as well as safe weight loss when your body is ready. When you take care of your postpartum health, you’ll be more likely to have the energy and stamina to take care of your little one.
Pro Tip: Nutrition professionals who work with women who are pregnant and/or postpartum may be certified in Maternal and Infant Nutrition, or have focused on continued education for prenatal and postpartum nutrition.
While a postpartum nutritionist will work with you to provide guidance to improve your health and recover, a breastfeeding nutritionist is someone who has further specialized skills to also help with all aspects of lactation.
Need help getting started with breastfeeding? Does your baby’s latch hurt and need adjusting? Wondering if your breastmilk supply is low? And how in the world do you operate that breast pump most efficiently? A breastfeeding nutritionist will help you overcome all your breastfeeding challenges as well as provide support in knowing what to eat–and what to avoid–while nursing your little one.
Pro Tip: The best nutritionist dietitian to work with you for breastfeeding support with will also be a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS), Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).12
Nutrition Therapy for other Health Conditions
There are many other health conditions that a qualified nutritionist is able to help with, including: renal (kidney health), diabetes, eating disorders, heart disease, gut health, and oncology. Using Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), registered dietitians work with clients to help them best manage these diseases.
Your nutritionist will provide tips on following a healthy diet and perhaps even provide delicious recipes to help you stick to your goals.
Want to get started finding the right dietitian nutritionist for your needs? Click here to learn how!
How to Find Nutritionists Near Me Today!
Now that you’re armed with information, it’ll be easier to find a nutritionist that will help you meet your nutrition and health goals. In fact, finding a nutritionist is easier than ever now that you can get connected with the best dietitians online and right at your fingertips.
There are a lot of apps out there that promise big success, but they aren’t individualized and personal. They don’t listen to your needs and goals and help create a plan with only you in mind. This is where Top Nutrition Coaching comes in. With the best nutrition experts in every nutrition specialty, you can be sure that you’ll find a dietitian who will be by your side every step of the way. You set the pace, you set the goals, and the nutrition experts help you get there.
What are you waiting for? Get started on your journey today. Learn more at TopNutritionCoaching.com
What is a Nutritionist?
Food and our health go hand in hand. In fact, Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A nutritionist plays an important role in understanding this connection and teaching us how to implement meaningful dietary changes in our own life.
The bottom line is that a nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert. They understand how nutrients affect the body, and how to develop plans for individuals that will promote good health, help prevent disease, and provide guidance on managing chronic illness.
While a dietitian nutritionist has gone through rigorous training to help a broad range of clients, many have additional education to help specific populations, such as diabetes, heart disease, oncology, maternal and infant health, and sports nutrition.
So this brings us to the next important question…
What Are the Benefits of Working with a Nutritionist?
There are many benefits to working with a nutritionist including the ability to tailor your diet and ensure that you get the right nutrients for your specific needs. While there are many types of specialties a nutritionist can focus on, they generally offer the same kind of baseline support:
They Create Customized Meal Plans and Provide Personalized Nutrition Care
Nutritionists are there for you and will take into consideration your family’s health history, your own records and goals, and curate a plan of attack from there. While anyone can make a plan, a nutritionist can create a strategy and will be there every step of the way to guide you on execution.
They Know The Path to Sustainability
Anyone looking for the help of a professional regardless of their pain point has one thing in common: they all want to make the right choice and make the change a lifelong one. Working with a nutritionist is less about quick fixes but it’s more about creating new habits that become easily integrated into everyday life in the long run. While many seek out the help of a nutritionist for reactionary reasons – after a diagnosis, when hormones change, or when they’re not well – integrating the help of a nutritionist early on as a preventative measure can help change the trajectory of illness.
What is the Difference Between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
Anyone can be called a nutritionist, but a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) has gone through rigorous training to become the premier nutrition expert. The process starts with an undergraduate degree in nutrition, followed by a 6 to 12 month internship, and then the passing of a national exam.1 Dietitians must then keep in good standing by completing continuing education every year.
Most states have specific laws for dietitian nutritionists to abide by, and many require practicing dietitians to be licensed.
All dietitians are also considered nutritionists, and since this term is more understandable to the general public, many dietitians may simply call themselves nutritionists. But a nutritionist cannot call themselves a dietitian.
It’s important to note that while some non-dietitian nutritionists are certainly able to help people make healthy changes to their lifestyle, they may not have the same level of education to help keep their clients safe. In fact, it can be as easy as taking one short course in nutrition to call yourself a nutritionist.
Looking to figure out if a nutritionist can help you reach your goals? Learn more at TopNutritionCoaching.com
Is a Nutritionist a Doctor?
Nope, a dietitian nutritionist is not a doctor. While an RDN can help you reach your best health-and-wellness self and help manage chronic diseases through nutrition, it’s important to always speak with your doctor about your health and the challenges you face. A dietitian nutritionist cannot prescribe medication nor give you medical advice. Chat with your health care provider about any changes you’ll be making both in terms of supplements and diet to make sure you are both on the same page.
Sometimes dietitians will reach out to your doctor, with your permission, so that they are working together toward your best health interests.