Editor’s Note: In this new series of guest posts, with invited the dietitians from Balanced proPortions to share their expertise.
Most people today have at least heard about dietitians and nutritionists, but many people are unaware of the services they provide and how they can benefit from a consult with a dietitian. There is also a lot of confusion between the roles of nutritionists, naturopaths and dietitians in the community.
In honour of Nutrition Month, I’d like to shed some light on this issue and provide some useful information on how these health ambassadors help educate and guide clients towards healthy lifestyle and dietary habits. Registered dietitians (RD) are health care professionals who are trained to provide advice and counseling about diet, food and nutrition. They must be registered with the dietetic regulatory body in the province in which they practice. The title “dietitian” is protected by law, just like physician and nurse. In most provinces, the title “nutritionist” is not a protected title—that means anyone can use it (1).
Dietitians are experts at tackling nutrition myths and fad diets, separating fact from fiction and distinguishing healthy eating plans from those that provide incomplete nutrition. They also play a major role in other parts of the community such as government, the public school system and food industry. They influence policy development, direct nutrition programs, manage quality food services and conduct nutrition research (1).
Currently, I work as a private practice dietitian with Balanced proPortions, a nutrition counseling and consultant company based out of Halifax. Kelly Whalen, RD, is the owner of this company and her goal was to design a mobile-based private practice for real life. As educators and counselors, we are interested in helping people to achieve their own personal best, whether that best is losing 50 pounds, following a special diet, or running a marathon. We offer consultations, meal plans, interactive workshops, education sessions, and motivational counseling. Our mobile services mean that we meet clients at their workplace or home, and also offer electronic support via email, text or phone. The aim is to “meet you where you are” and focus on what works for the individual client.
Many health-care plans offer coverage for certain services. Check with your insurance provider to see if you can take advantage of dietitian services. In order to ensure that more Canadians with employee health insurance have dietitian coverage, the Consulting Dietitians Network (CDN) has recently launched this infographic.
Credit: Dietitians of Canada
Julia Hudson, BA, BScAHN, RD
Private Practice Dietitian