Can a Dietitian Give You the Help You Need?
By Kate Gardner
I write a lot about health and wellness. I know the benefits of green tea and chocolate and how much red meat you should eat in a month. I know that olive oil is good for you, and processed foods are not. But even with all this great information, I struggle to put it all together. If, like me, you're not sure how to create a meal plan your family will eat and includes lots of healthy foods, a visit to a dietitian may be the ticket!
What Is a Dietitian?
A registered dietitian is someone who can sit down with you and take a good, hard look at the way you eat. They can review any health concerns you may have and then use their expertise to create an eating plan that will help you address them.
According to NutritionScienceDegree.org, dietitians and nutritionists offer similar services, but dietitians require more education and certification. After getting a four-year degree, dietitians will complete internships to practice what they have learned. Once they pass a national exam, they can call themselves registered dietitians. Many nutritionists have nutrition-based education, but anyone can use the term nutritionist.
How Can a Dietitian Help?
Dietitians are trained to know how food interacts with our health. Many offer medical nutrition therapy (MNT), which targets certain health problems. MNT is highly individualized. Dietitians can work with clients closely to create eating plans that take into account budget as well as health concerns. Using MNT, dietitians can help you manage diabetes, kidney problems, heart health problems, and eating disorders.
How Do You Pay For It?
Adding a registered dietitian into your budget may seem like a big extra expense. If you have to pay out of pocket, a visit with a dietitian may run as high as $100 to $200! However, EatRight.org tells us that many private insurance plans offer coverage for the use of MNT when dealing with some health problems. Medicare Part B also provides coverage for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and kidney problems. Medicaid coverage varies from state to state. If you think a dietitian could help, take a look at your insurance to see what it would cover.
We all know that it's important to eat well, but that doesn't mean we are always good at it. A registered dietitian may be a helpful ally as you navigate a better diet.
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