Eating is a challenge for some of us. It can be difficult figuring out what to eat and how much to eat.
If you’re finding this to be the case in your journey to a healthier lifestyle, working with a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) could help you find ways to achieve the progress you are looking for.
Here are four ways an RD or RDN can help:
- Providing you with the highest level of nutrition counseling through personally tailored advice. Your initial visit will involve your RD or RDN mostly listening to you, gathering information on your favorite foods, exercise and eating habits, health history, and other facts he or she can use to develop goals. Your progress will be monitored and maintained through follow-up visits.
- Helping you to manage chronic diseases. If you have a chronic illness or disease such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or cancer, it can be hard to know what to eat. An RD or RDN will review your lab results with you so you can understand your condition and get information about nutrients that affect it. Then, an eating plan that includes all the important nutrients will be created so you can better manage your condition.
- Guiding you through food allergies and more. People with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or another food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance can be helped by an RD or RDN. He or she can teach you to read food labels so you know which ingredients to avoid and advise you on substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty.
- Providing you with a weight-loss program. An RD or RDN can provide you with a safe, effective weight-loss plan that you can stick with. He or she will give you strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, mindful eating, and more.
What exactly is an RD or RDN? What do these credentials mean?
RDs and RDNs are food and nutrition experts who use their knowledge to help people make unique, positive lifestyle changes to improve their health, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commission on Dietetic Registration.
To become an RD or RDN, the academy says you must:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree with coursework accredited through the academy’s Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Complete an internship—called an accredited, supervised practice program—at a health care facility, community agency, or food-service corporation
- Pass a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
- Continue education in the field by completing professional educational requirements on an ongoing basis to maintain registration
If you’re looking for an RD or RDN, you can find one through the academy’s online referral service.