According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, poor nutrition is one of the four main risk factors that leads to the development of preventable chronic diseases in Americans. Some of the medical conditions associated with poor nutrition include heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, cancer, and obesity. It is estimated that more than 19% of young people and 40% of adults in the United States have obesity. A good nutritionist near you can protect your health and help extend your lifespan by providing you with healthy diet and nutrition programs that aid proper growth and development while also reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Before you hire a nutritionist near you, it is necessary to ensure that they are qualified, certified, and experienced. To ensure that you do not hire the wrong professional, you should ask the following questions:
Nutritionists are mandated to obtain a state license or certification to practice in many jurisdictions in the United States. Some of these states include New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Washington State. The requirements for obtaining these licenses or certifications vary by state, but they typically include getting a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition or any related studies from an approved post-secondary education institution. You should contact your state's nutritionist licensing agency to find out whether there are other specific requirements for obtaining a nutritionist license in your locality.
Besides state licensing or certification, nutritionists can also obtain certifications from professional boards like the Commission on Dietetic Registration, Certified Nutritionist Specialists, and Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. Though professional certifications are not mandatory, it is always better to hire a nutritionist that is certified by any of the aforementioned boards. These boards typically provide several specialized certification courses for individuals who wish to gain more knowledge and experience in a particular area of the profession. Some of these certification programs include the Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition Program, the Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition Program, and Certified Ketogenic Nutritionists Specialist Program.
Finally, nutritionists may also be members of professional associations like the American Nutrition Association, National Association for Nutrition Professionals, and American Society For Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. By hiring a nutritionist that belongs to a reputable professional association, you are paying for the services of someone that not only has direct access to the latest information coming out of current and ongoing research in food and nutrition but is also mindful of their professional conduct.
The average estimated cost of hiring a nutritionist is $30 -$100 per hour. Nutritionists typically charge based on their experience, area of specialization, location, and the type of service they are providing. For instance, some nutrition-related issues like protein-energy malnutrition and maternal nutritional anemia may require you to pay for an entire session. In such cases, nutritionists may charge $150 - $300 for an initial appointment and $50 - $150 for follow-up visits. However, these costs may reduce significantly if you have health insurance. If you have health insurance, you may end up paying only 10 - 20% of the total cost of a visit.
Before you hire a nutritionist near you, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you do not exceed your budget for it. These include:
- Research nutritionists rates in your locality: Before hiring the services of a nutritionist, you should always research nutritionists rates near you. This gives you a clue of what to expect from the nutritionist you want to hire.
- Consider group programs: Before you hire a nutritionist, it is important to ask whether they offer group support programs. You can register for group programs as an alternative to one-on-one sessions or as a means to reduce the number of times you have one-on-one sessions. In any of these cases, group programs are significantly less expensive than one-on-one sessions.
- Online support programs: Many nutritionists also offer the option of online classes. These programs allow you to take classes from location, thereby eliminating any travel expenses that you may have to pay to physically see your nutritionist.
- Consider paying for sessions in bulk: Some nutritionists offer discounts if you are paying for four to eight sessions at once. This is less expensive compared to paying for each session separately.
When you hire a nutritionist, there is always a possibility that you are going to spend more than the standard hourly rates you are expected to pay the nutritionist. Some of the additional expenses that you may incur when you hire a nutritionist include:
- Cooking classes: In many cases, nutritionists recommend classes on healthy cooking to their patients, and when you hire one, you may be asked to sign up for one of these cooking lessons. Doing this can cost you anywhere between $10 - $15 for each class.
- Variable expenses: Some nutritionists offer additional services like personalized grocery shopping and pantry stockings for extra fees. In many cases, these services are provided for individuals who are too busy to do their shopping themselves or find it challenging to stick to what the nutritionist recommends. These additional services may cost as low as $10 - $20 or as high as $100 - $150.
While some nutritionists prefer to include these expenses in their total cost, others may require you to pay for them individually. You should always ask the nutritionist you want to hire about their billing structure for these expenses and their standard rates for providing the type of service you need. Always ensure that you reach an agreement on a suitable payment structure for you and the nutritionist.
While most nutritionists attend to clients themselves, some may assign other specialists to counsel you. It is important to find out whether the person assigned to you is qualified and experienced enough to handle your issue in such circumstances. You can ask them to provide proof of certification or licensure and verify the information by calling the professional organization or state agency responsible for issuing the certificate or license. You should also ask about the nutritionist's specialty and the type of nutritional counseling they practice. In addition to this, it is essential to ask if they provide evidence to support their recommendations.
A nutritionist is typically required to have at least a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition, dietetics, or any related field and also complete an approved internship program that involves several hundred hours of supervised training. In addition to this, nutritionists may voluntarily enroll in several certification programs such as Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition Program, Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition Program, and Certified Ketogenic Nutritionists Specialist Program. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that over 74,200 dieticians and nutritionists are in the country.
Before you hire a nutritionist near you, make sure they can provide a list of verifiable references. You should contact these references to verify whether the nutritionist is qualified and experienced. You should also ask whether they were satisfied with the services that the nutritionist provided. Be wary of nutritionists that fail to provide a means you can use to verify their claims as these individuals are more likely to exaggerate their experience and qualification.
One of the common ways to reduce your chances of hiring the wrong nutritionist is by asking for referrals. Note that while it is good to get referrals from family and friends, it is also necessary that you still ask these referred nutritionists to provide a list of verifiable references. You can also avoid hiring the wrong nutritionist by looking up independent reviews on nutritionists on third-party review sites like Better Business Bureau and Yelp. These sites allow members of the public to post unbiased reviews on nutritionists that they have hired and worked with in the past. Going through these reviews helps you identify nutritionists that have maintained a high level of professionalism in doing their job.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A nutritionist typically provides guidance on food choices and healthy eating. Nutritionists discuss how the food you eat impacts your general health and why you should consume more of a particular nutrient than others. A nutritionist also creates a meal plan based on your current nutritional needs to help you live a healthy life.
Seeing a nutritionist comes with several health benefits, and they include:
- Disease management
- Weight management
- Food allergy prevention
- Healthy lifestyle
- Food allergy prevention
Both dieticians and nutritionists can develop diet and nutrition programs to meet their client's objectives and personal needs. However, while dieticians are certified to treat clinical conditions, nutritionists are not always certified. Also, a dietician can only obtain a bachelor's degree in nutrition from a university approved by the Accredited Council of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In contrast, a nutritionist may receive the same degree in any university in the United States. Finally, a dietician can work with individual clients and other stakeholders in society such as doctors, researchers, educators, and policymakers. At the same time, a nutritionist attends to individual needs alone.
A nutritionist typically answers questions that concern what you should eat, when you should eat, and how you should eat. Listed below are some important questions to ask your nutritionists:
- What should I look out for on the nutrition facts labels of products I purchase?: You should always ask your nutritionist the basic nutritional facts to look out for before you purchase packaged foods or beverages. Ask for recommendations on the proper serving size, amount of calories, daily diet values, sodium, and ingredients you can consume.
- What can I consume after an intense workout?: You should ask your nutritionist to clarify what you can take after you finish a workout session. Many nutritionists recommend that you eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein to aid the restoration of muscle energy and muscle repair, respectively. In addition to this, many nutritionists recommend that you eat a snack 20 - 30 minutes after an exercise and a balanced meal two to three hours later.
- How can I stick to my meal plan, especially while attending a social event?: You should ask your nutritionist to provide you with valuable tips that will help you stick to your meal plan. Many nutritionists might come up with a method for selecting healthy food and cocktails from a menu. Others might even specify the number of calories you can take and foods or snacks to avoid during social events.
Both dieticians and nutritionists can help you through weight management programs. However, dieticians are also certified to treat clinical conditions while most nutritionists are not. Therefore, if you have other underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems, or if you are breastfeeding, then it is better to see a dietician instead of a nutritionist.
When you want to see a nutritionist, you may be required to answer questions that concern your medical and family history. You may also need to provide your reasons for visiting the nutritionist and your feeding pattern. You should always have a clear idea about the aforementioned topics so that you can provide your nutritionist with the right information and your meeting can be productive.
Yes, many nutritionists can help you develop a meal plan with the proper nutrients needed to manage your condition. In addition to this, most nutritionists provide the knowledge and motivation required to help you stick with the meal plan.
You should talk to a nutritionist if you are experiencing any of the following:
- An allergy or intolerance after consuming a particular food
- Irregular bowel movement
- You are gaining more weight at a short interval
- Sudden increase or decrease in appetite
In addition to the aforementioned situations, you can also see a nutritionist if you are trying to get pregnant, improve your performance in sport, or reduce weight. Finally, you may also need to consult a nutritionist if you have been scheduled for gastric bypass surgery.