When it comes to seeking nutritional advice, finding an equipped, experienced, and educated professional goes without saying. There is a lot of misinformation about nutrition out there, so consulting with a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RD/RDN) can help clear up misconceptions and make sure you're receiving accurate information that's relevant to you and your lifestyle. A registered dietitian/nutritionist also has years of schooling in the realm of nutrition and health, as well as required field experience. After completing school and internships, aspiring registered dietitians must pass a rigorous exam to receive their license as a dietitian. Nutrition recommendations from a registered dietitian are likely backed by current research and expertise.
What information should you share with a dietitian?
While scheduling an appointment with a registered dietitian is the sure way to leave with expert advice, how you ask your questions, what questions you ask, and what information you share with a dietitian can dictate how effective and impactful your appointment is. In other words, the registered dietitian can’t answer a question you don't ask and they can’t provide advice on information you don't share. Oftentimes, people are inclined to hold back information from their dietitian because of the shame associated with eating and body image struggles. Take it from Western Racquet & Fitness Club's own registered dietitian, Tad Taggart - dietitians are NOT judging you! In fact, they are passionate about helping every client they see achieve their goals and feel happy and healthy in their bodies. The more thorough you are with the information you share and the deeper you go with the questions you ask, the more likely you are to leave your dietitian appointment feeling well-informed and empowered.
Let’s start with what information you should share with the dietitian. Before meeting with the registered dietitian, you’re likely going to need to complete some form of health history questionnaire. If not, you can expect the dietitian to ask you a variety of questions about your health history and habits. Some relevant questions you’ll want to answer in advance or be prepared to answer include:
- Are you currently taking any medications or routinely seeing any healthcare professionals for the management of a condition? (If yes, please list the medication and dose AND/OR list the healthcare professional you are seeing, how often you see them, and what you see them for – having an actual list or record can be extremely helpful)
- Have you ever had any major injuries, illnesses, or hospitalizations? If so, list the incident and the dates (to the best of your ability)
- Do you take any nutritional supplements or vitamins? If so, which ones? (be specific – it also helps to have a list or pictures of these)
- Which over-the-counter medications, if any, do you take regularly?
- How many bowel movements do you have in a day?
- Do you have any food allergies, restrictions, or sensitivities?
- Do you have any family history of disease, ailments, or illness?
- What do you typically eat or drink in a day?
Be sure to answer all questions as thoroughly as possible. Just because you don’t believe a certain fact or detail is relevant to nutrition doesn’t mean it isn’t. Many people are surprised to find that old health conditions or experiences can have nutritional connections or implications.
What questions should you ask a dietitian?
Once you’re prepared to answer the questions above, you can begin to plan what questions to ask your dietitian. What questions you ask can determine how satisfied you’ll be with the outcome of your dietitian session. For example, many people want to ask if certain foods are healthy or not. While these are legitimate questions, you could use up a good portion of their appointment asking about a variety of specific foods. Try to prioritize what is most important to you. Think about what it is that made you want to speak with a dietitian in the first place and build your list of questions from there.
Common questions to ask a dietitian
If you're not sure exactly where to start, take a look at this list of common questions most dietitians hear from clients. This could be a good jumping off point to brainstorming questions relevant to your goals and lifestyle.
- How do I know if a food is healthy for me or not?
- Are there certain foods I should avoid?
- How can I tell if I have a sensitivity or allergy to a particular food?
- What nutritional strategies should I keep in mind for my diagnosed health condition and/or medications I take?
- Are there certain foods I should try to eat more of?
- What do you think about a particular diet or eating style?
- What do you think about supplements?
- Do you think any supplements would be appropriate or beneficial for me to take?
- How do I know if I’m getting enough/too much/not enough carbohydrates, protein, and fats?
- What are some major nutrition myths I should be aware of?
- What are some of the most common nutrition mistakes that people make?
- What would you say my biggest nutritional mistake or area for growth is?
- What resources do you recommend and consider trustworthy for learning more about nutrition?
This is by no means an all-inclusive list. You are encouraged to bring your own burning nutrition questions!
Work with Western's registered dietitian
If you find you have any struggles with eating and/or nutrition, consider scheduling an appointment with Western's registered dietitian, Tad Taggart! Nutrition coaching with Tad is open to the public, not just Western Racquet & Fitness Club members, and can be done in person, by telephone, by video chat, or through our health coaching app. Tad has worked with clients of all different ages, genders, and with different goals - from people struggling with eating disorders, to people looking to lose or gain weight, to people managing chronic illness, to people who want to increase their athletic performance, and more!
Using research-backed coaching and nutrition strategies, Tad aims to help clients elevate both their health and happiness. Receive personalized health and nutrition coaching guided by Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size principles and backed by the latest in nutritional science.