Best Questions to Ask a Nutritionist

dietician
A nutritionist helps you choose foods that are good for you. (Image: utah778/iStock/Getty Images)

A nutritionist is a professional who offers advice and information about eating a healthy diet. However, a nutritionist is not the same as a registered dietitian, or RD. An RD has a degree and has studied nutrition, passed the licensing requirements and has completed many supervised hours before working alone. When choosing a nutritionist, it is important to find someone you feel comfortable working with. Asking several questions can help you choose one who is compatible with your needs.

What Are Your Credentials?

Of utmost importance when seeking nutrition advice is making sure a potential nutritionist is qualified to give you expert information. According to the American Dietetic Association, anyone can call himself a nutritionist, but that doesn't mean his recommendations are good. When meeting with a nutritionist for the first time, ask where he studied and where he obtained his license. You may also want to talk with him about success stories from other clients. If he cannot provide adequate assurance that he is capable of giving you sound advice, look for someone else.

What Is A Healthy Weight For Me?

Your goal weight will not be the same as other clients, and your nutritionist will work with you to determine what a healthy number is for you. A healthy weight is usually a range that correlates with your height. In addition, you should ask her how quickly you should lose weight, because losing too much at one time could result in health problems. A healthy goal is between one and two pounds per week, and a nutritionist who suggests losing more through extreme measures is likely to be giving you unhealthy information.

What Should I Eat?

A good nutritionist will recommend eating foods from all the food groups unless you have a health condition that prohibits eating certain foods. He will give you meal plans and recipes and may even accompany you on grocery shopping trips to offer tips about the foods you typically choose. At the same time, ask your nutritionist what percentage of your calories should come from fat, carbohydrates and protein. This will help you put together meals and snacks that are conducive to a healthy diet. You may want to ask about serving sizes so that you are able to keep calorie intake moderate.

What If I Have a Health Condition?

Certain health conditions require special diet guidelines, so be sure to ask your nutritionist what they are for your specific concerns. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, a nutritionist will advise you on calorie intake increases that are needed for both. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol conditions will each require certain dietary restrictions, which a certified nutritionist is qualified to help you with. Food allergies or intolerances are other conditions you should ask your nutritionist about so you can create a healthy meal plan that doesn't pose a risk of a reaction to trigger foods.

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