Achieving your best health is based on personalized education and continuous support. Working with a registered dietitian expands your knowledge of nutrition for prevention and can help improve your current state of health. You can choose to see a dietitian to help manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, or for guidance on digestive health, managing weight, and healthy lifestyle education for you and your family.
What is a registered dietitian?
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, RD or RDN, credentials indicate that a clinician has the highest level of training to become an expert in the field of nutrition. Once they have earned the RDN, they can pursue speciality education in various areas. Sports nutrition, diabetes, weight management, oncology, and pediatric nutrition, to name a few.
Dietitians have a range of skills and interests that place them in various fields such as, public health, culinary, research, or intensive care units.
How can a registered dietitian help?
Dietitians provide nutrition education for a variety of conditions with a focus on preventive health and/or improvement of chronic conditions. When referred to a registered dietitian by your primary care doctor, here is what you can expect:
- Personal Approach. Nutrition is never just about food, but how we feel and think about eating. Health goals and medical concerns can be discussed in partnership with life’s challenges that affect your wellbeing. Together, you’ll have the opportunity to call out barriers and devise an achievable plan for making progress.
- Education & Skill Building. Disease risk is determined by how well we care for our bodies and the way we use and expend energy. You’ll take a deep dive into the topics that concern you most; nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep. And how they interact with your immune system, metabolism, and mental health. The connection between medical concerns and personal experience come together when we understand how they affect each other and what we can do to help ourselves.
- Customization & Support. You’ll work closely with the care team to create a specific action plan with resources that suit you best. Your dietitian can source products to add to your grocery list, review food records, and make strategic adjustments to continue moving in a positive direction. If something changes, you’ll work together to keep goals flowing forward.
- Discussion & QA. A Registered Dietitian has a responsibility to deliver evidence-based nutrition education with a priority to keep you safe. This is the best person to speak to about diet trends, supplements, healthy aging, and general nutrition concerns, and how they may affect your long-term health.
- Creativity & Expression. Food is supposed to be fun! Diet restrictions can be such a drag, but even if it’s necessary to limit certain foods, it doesn’t have to take the enjoyment away. Dietitian’s are full of ideas for expanding food choices, flavoring, and cooking methods. This is an opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas, and truly know your care team. The key to being healthy long-term is making it your own, having support, and a partner to trade ideas with.
About the author
Lauren Plunkett is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, fitness instructor, public speaker, author of the award-winning book: Type One Determination, and a fierce patient advocate. As a person living with type 1 diabetes for over two decades, she provides knowledge from the perspective of the patient experience and health care professional. Known for her dynamic presentations, she can be seen on a national stage in 2022 with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, and the Association of Diabetes Professionals Annual Conference.