It's rare that a lesser-known holiday actually means much — unless it's National Pizza Day, of course! But let's look at one of the most underappreciated dates some of us were talking about this week: National Nutritionist and Dietitian Day! Before you get caught up in the angst of eating right, relax! National nutritionist and dietitian day should be about empowering you with knowledge and support. That's why we consulted with culinary nutritionist Keisha Luke and asked her for all the pointers you need on how to pick the right nutritionist or dietitian for your needs! Ready to start your healthiest, tastiest journey ever?
Communication Is Key
If you're looking for guidance for smarter decisions in the grocery store, hiring a nutritionist or dietitian is the next logical step. According to Luke, communication is the cornerstone of a good relationship with any nutritionist: "For best results, you need to look for someone who listens with no judgments but who also provides solutions and someone who is passionate about what they do but who sees your vision, health, and wellness goals while holding you accountable."
Hands-On Is Better
If you're serious about your health and diet, the last thing you need is a nutritionist that isn't hands-on with your plan. According to Luke, you should look for someone who can offer a variety of options but can also "incorporate their training with their own life experiences to understand your needs." The key is to find a partner in your journey who will be just as invested in your success every step of the way, and not just concerned with calorie counts and projections. You'd also be better served by working with "someone who cooks their own foods for clients and who creates custom meal plans," said Luke. There is no one-size-fits-all meal plan, she said.
Focus on Health, Not Diet
You may be looking to lose weight. We get that. A lot of people who reach out to a nutritionist or dietitian are seeking diet advice to hit a weight goal. But working with a nutritionist and eating better is way more than just dieting! According to Luke, you should be looking for "a nutritionist who can take an individualistic approach to your health, and [helps to] heal your body with food." She went on to say that anyone giving you nutritional advice should "understand how whole food nutrition can help to heal, as well as the importance of the detoxification process in relation to our organs, with a focus on the mind, body, and soul."
While it's easy to assume that a decorated nutritionist with more letters after their name might be the best bet, Luke cautions against being stuck on credentials alone. "Many people with great credentials can still lack understanding," said Luke. "[They] can be too textbook in their approach." Your best bet is to ask about credentials and education but to also ask about clients and references — never be afraid to ask to talk to a current or former client and find out for yourself how they actually work!