For the Public
RDNs can translate current nutrition science into practical knowledge. Here are 10 reasons to visit a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:
- You have diabetes, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, cancer, or other chronic disorder.
- You are thinking of having or have had weight loss surgery.
- You have digestive issues.
- You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding your baby.
- You are concerned about your young child’s weight or risk of becoming overweight.
- Your teenager has issues with food and is showing signs of an eating disorder.
- You need to lose or gain weight.
- You are caring for an aging parent or concerned about your nutritional needs as you age.
- You want to change your habits, eat smarter and help your family eat healthier.
- You want to improve your performance in sports.
Each RDN has at minimum a four year undergraduate bachelor of science followed by a post undergraduate internship, cooperative program or combined masters degree program including both an intern experience with concentrated nutrition studies. Following training, all dietitians are required to pass a national registration exam from the national Commission on Dietetic Registration. To remain registered, dietitians must complete and report continuing education of no less than 75 hours of CEUs every five years. The requirement of both the base of education combined with continuing education helps keep dietitians up to date on the latest sound science and progressing in their ability to help consumers improve their health.
Don't be fooled by people calling themselves "certified nutritionists," as anyone can make this claim with no training whatsoever. Buyer beware.
In Nebraska, there is an additional level of designation that registered dietitians may hold, called a Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist or LMNT. These dietitians specifically work with people regarding a nutritional approach to their medical issues, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or high cholesterol. These LMNT dietitians are required to complete 30 hours of LMNT designated continuing education about therapeutic nutrition every two years to ensure an up-to-date, sound, research supported approach to their work with you.
What does an LMNT do?
A Medical Nutrition Therapist is trained in and applies the nutrition care process of:
- Assessment of the patient’s nutritional status
- Diagnosis including determining nutrient needs for enteral and parenteral nutrition
- Intervention or treatment
- Monitor and Evaluate the patient’s response to the treatment plan
In Nebraska, use this simple tool to find dietitians practicing in your area. You may also search for dietitians by your specific health issue, as dietitians do specialize in specific fields of practice. Please note: Though we work hard to have members keep this map up to date, we do find occasionally that someone has failed to update their profile.
Medical diagnosis and other factors will impact the answer to this question. We encourage you to contact your insurance carrier in preparation for an appointment with an RD or RD, LMNT. Provider coverage varies greatly and some providers may be in a preferred category, depending on coverage.
Sometimes your RD may be able to guide you to what specific questions you need to ask to increase potential for coverage or they may work with your provider to help.
Even if insurance does not cover your visit with an RD, the cost-benefit to your long-term health may far outway the small out of pocket cost of seeing a dietitian.
First of all, reading glasses if you need them. 🙂 Your visit will be the most beneficial to you if your RD understands the entire picture of your health. Bring medication lists (or bottles) including any non-prescription medications and supplements you use and how often you take them. If you use any types of trackers online, apps or logs, this can be helpful. If you have the chance, keep track of everything you eat and drink and at what times for a few days before the appointment to give them a realistic view of your real world eating style. If you aren’t good at writing items down, even taking pictures of food and drink items with a point of reference (including a flat dollar bill in each picture) helps them have a better concept of portion size.
Our role as dietitians is to meet you where you are and help you fine-tune the little adjustments in what you do to have the biggest impact on your health. Be sure to share with them early in your visit your most favorite and hated foods and any important social events that happen regularly and need to be planned for to help create better long-term success.
We work with people who work late shifts, have unusual eating preferences, very little phases us. We just want to help you improve your health and make plans that will help you both be happy and feel your best while meeting your body’s nutritional needs. You’ll likely be surprised by what a few little adjustments can do to help your health.