If you are ready to take the next step in your nutrition journey, you’ve come to the right place.
Finding the right nutritionist for you can feel like an overwhelming and daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. By simply following some general guidelines and keeping an eye out for red flags you can match with the best nutritionist to help you meet your health goals. To make things easy for you, we’ve broken down some of the basic do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind during your search.
Whether you are facing a new diagnosis, coping with a chronic condition, or learning how to treat your body the best way possible for your lifestyle and goals, there is a nutritionist out there to match your needs. And we are here to help you find that expert.
The Bottom Line
- What are general guidelines to follow when searching for a nutritionist? – Asking your healthcare providers for referrals, searching through online portals, paying attention to a nutritionist’s credentials, factoring in cost, and looking out for certain red flags can all help streamline this process
- How to choose the right nutritionist for you – Consider the nutritionist’s specialty, find someone who’s working style you mesh with, and request to do a phone call beforehand
- What are the benefits of working with an online nutritionist? – Working virtually with a nutritionist saves you time and money and provides you various options. Some services will also do the heavy lifting of matching you with a nutritionist
- Your Nutrition plan checklist – search for a nutritionist, complete a background check, and find the right fit
What are general guidelines to follow when searching for a nutritionist?
When searching for a nutritionist, specific guidelines you can follow will help streamline the process. Below we’ve included some methods to jump-start your search. Once you have landed a good fit, the process is not over. Make sure you research and ask follow-up questions before committing to any nutritionist or service.
Ask for referrals
One of the easiest ways to jump-start your search for a nutritionist is to ask your current healthcare providers for referrals. Doctors are part of extensive networks that includes nutrition and health experts. Whether you consult your general practitioner or mental health professional, your doctors know more about the current state of your health than anyone else. This knowledge will help them connect you with a nutritionist that suits your needs and goals.
If your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist, there’s a good chance that this individual will not only be highly qualified but may even be covered by your insurance.
Search through online portals
Another way to search for nutritionists in your area is to utilize online nutritionist portals. Individuals can search through Top Nutrition Coaching or The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’s (AND) website for a list of nearby dietitians or nutritionists. These sites will do the heavy lifting and match you with an appropriate nutritionist.
Pay attention to credentials
Always research someone’s educational background and credentials before deciding to work together. From weight loss coaches and influencers to dietitians and nutritions, there are numerous “experts” in the food and health world.
Therefore, knowing what credentials indicate that a professional is truly qualified and worth your time is essential. This is especially important because their credentials can affect what services they can provide or the strategies they can use to help you. For example, you might be hard-pressed to find a regular nutritionist who uses clinical nutrition to help their clients.
A certified nutritionist will typically have either a “CSN” (a certified nutrition specialist) or a “CDN” (certified dietician nutritionist” after their name.
You should also be aware that registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) are registered dietitians, not nutritionists.
Factor in cost
Considering your budget for a nutritionist and the cost is a significant part of the selection process. A nutritionist may be a great fit for you, but this will not be a viable or sustainable option if you can’t afford their services. Ask yourself how much you can afford to pay for a nutritionist every month and how long you plan on seeing a nutritionist. While some visit a nutritionist twice a week, others work with nutritionists for several years to maintain their eating habits.
Watch out for red flags
Several red flags are important to look out for during your nutritionist search. Besides shoddy credentials and a lack of education, you will also want to beware of nutritionists who encourage unhealthy eating or try to sell you personal training programs. Your nutritionists should be using their knowledge of food science to help you eat a well-balanced diet. For instance, a nutritionist should not be encouraging clients to cut out entire food groups, remove carbohydrates from their diet, or abide by fad diets such as juice cleanses.
Ask about customer service
A nutritionist should also be viewed as an educational resource. This health professional is there to guide you on your health journey and answer any questions you may have along the way. That said, a nutritionist’s customer service is an essential factor to consider during your search. If you want to work with someone readily available to you throughout the day or provide one-on-one counseling, inquire about their customer service and turnaround time.
How to choose the right nutritionist for you
There are many top-notch nutritionists available for you to work with. It comes down to finding someone who is a good fit. Here are a few essential factors to consider when choosing the right nutritionist.
Consider a nutritionist’s specialty
Most nutritionists have a specific area of expertise. From pediatric nutritionists and post-natal nutritionists to those specializing in gut health or eating disorders, there is a bevy of nutritionists available for you to choose between. Finding a nutritionist who specializes in your health needs or goals is the best way for you to get the most out of each session.
Pay attention to their working style
Like personal trainers or therapists, a nutritionist has a particular working style and methodology. While some nutritionists will be more relaxed about labeling unhealthy foods, others will be more strict with you. Ask yourself whether or not you are someone who wants to be gently coaxed or if you are looking for someone who is going to push you.
Request a phone call
Doing a short phone call with a nutritionist before signing up for their services is never a bad idea. A nutritionist is there to guide you, but they are also someone you will be collaborating with. Talking to them on the phone will give you a good idea of whether or not this is someone you want to work with, either short-term or long-term.
Am I A Good Candidate To Work with a Nutritionist
While anyone can benefit from working with a nutritionist, some individuals may benefit more than others. Here are a few examples of individuals who should consider working with a nutritionist.
Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Eating healthy by designing your own meal plan can be stressful and overwhelming if you have celiac disease, high-risk food allergies, lactose intolerance, or other food sensitivities. Many individuals with food allergies tend to cut more out of their diet than they need to, leading to boring and repetitive meals weekly. A nutritionist can teach you more about your specific food allergy and help you identify the foods you should avoid. A nutritionist can also help you find substitutions for certain foods to keep your diet balanced, diverse, and delicious.
Following general diets or trendy fads can be dangerous, unhealthy, and often don’t include truly healthy eating. If you have been dieting for years and have never seen results, or you tend to gain the weight back shortly after losing it, then seeing a nutritionist is the best path forward. While most diet books and trends offer a quick fix, a nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that fits your lifestyle, unique needs, schedule, and goals.
Whether you are experiencing nausea or trying to avoid gaining weight, many expecting women are not consuming the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy. A nutritionist can help guide you through your pregnancy and assist you after giving birth.
After your little one is born, it is just as essential to continue the mindful eating habits you have established to ensure you are both getting the nutrients you need.
What are the Benefits of Working With An Online Nutritionist in New York City?
There are many benefits to working with an online nutritionist. Here are just a few upsides of opting for a virtual experience.
One of the biggest benefits of working with an online nutritionist is many of these services will do the heavy lifting of matching you with a nutritionist. Finding a nutritionist who is a good fit can be time-consuming and stressful, especially when you are factoring in specialty, budget, working style, and more. Opting for an online service will allow you to skip this headache.
During your initial consultation with an online service, you will have the opportunity to express your biggest nutrition goals and priorities. If you don’t mesh well with the nutritionist you are matched with, you can always go back to the drawing board. Simply explain why the fit wasn’t right, and they will match you with someone more appropriate.
Cost and Efficiency
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly common to opt for virtual nutritionists over in-person nutritionists. While an initial consultation with a nutritionist will typically last one hour, follow-up sessions will generally be no longer than 30 minutes. Rather than commute to a short appointment, it is much easier to squeeze in a half-hour session online.
Working with an online service is often more affordable than paying for a nutritionist with a private practice. Virtual sessions will allow you to save big on fees and on costs spent commuting to and from your appointments.
A Wide Variety of Options
One of the perks of working with a virtual nutritionist is having access to experts from all over the world. Depending on where you live, the options to work with a nutritionist in a certain specialty may be few and far between. Working with a virtual service or nutritionist means that your location will never limit you. Rather than opt for a nutritionist simply because they live in your local town or neighborhood, you can raise your expectations and work with someone who is truly a great fit.
Your Nutrition Plan Checklist
In sum, searching for a New York City nutrition specialist should not be stressful or overwhelming. Here is a short checklist that you can refer to throughout your search.
Searching for a Nutritionist
- Ask your current healthcare providers for referrals
- Use online nutritionist portals
- Consult local hospitals and public health departments
- Check-in with nutritionist departments at local colleges
Complete A Background Check
- Pay attention to education and credentials
- See if they mention the services they provide (i.e. nutrition counseling or v medical nutrition therapy)
- Be on the lookout for red flags
- Factor cost into your decision
- Ask about customer service
Find the Right Fit
- Find someone within your specialty
- Make sure your work styles mesh
- Do a quick phone call beforehand