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13 Not-So-Obvious Questions to Ask Your Nutritionist

8 min read
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Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Table of Contents

There are many questions to ask a nutritionist that you may not have thought of, whether they are about losing weight, food restrictions or allergies, or something else. In this article, we will cover the best nutrition questions to ask!

13 Questions to Ask a Nutritionist During Your Appointment

A registered dietitian, also known as a registered dietitian nutritionist, is a licensed and credentialed nutrition professional with extensive education and training in nutrition and dietetics. [1] 

A registered dietitian in the United States must complete a four-year undergraduate program, at least 1,200 internship practice hours, and sit for an exam to obtain licensure. 

Therefore, you can rest assured that a registered dietitian, or dietitian for short in this article, is the most accurate source of nutrition information, guidance, and treatment. 

Let’s dive into 13 of the most important yet not very obvious questions to ask your dietitian to make the most of your session with them. 

#1 I don’t eat [food or food group]. How can I make sure I get the nutrients from that food in other ways?

You may not eat a particular food or food group due to an allergy or intolerance, cultural or religious reasons, or you simply don’t like it. Regardless of the reasoning, your dietitian can help make sure that you are still getting the nutrients in those foods from other sources instead. 

For example, suppose you don’t eat animal products because you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. In that case, your dietitian will help you find good quality protein, vitamin B12, and iron sources since you are not getting that from meat in your diet. 

#2 Are there certain foods or drinks that might interact with my medications?

It is essential that your dietitian be aware of any medications and/or supplements you are taking. Many medicines can interact with certain foods or drinks in your diet, potentially rendering the medication less effective. 

Foods and beverages that are often the culprits of interactions with medications include grapefruit and grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tea, coffee, and alcohol. 

Your dietitian can help you navigate those restrictions and make suggestions for swaps in your diet to reduce the foods and drinks that might interact with your medications. For instance, if you can’t have grapefruit your dietitian may instead suggest other vitamin C sources such as oranges.

#3 How can I eat healthy if I don’t cook?

You may think you have to cook every day in order to eat healthy or it won’t be possible. While we do recommend cooking more often, it doesn’t necessarily need to be such a massive undertaking. 

Dietitians understand the difficulty of preparing all your meals from scratch, even if you do commit to meal prepping! Therefore, they are a great source of information on how to incorporate ready-made, canned, or frozen foods into your diet, so that you can still consume a healthy and balanced diet. 

#4 I’ve just been diagnosed with [medical condition]. Should I adjust my diet?

When you are first diagnosed with a new medical condition, you may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and even scared, especially when it comes to your diet. 

With your new diagnosis, work with your dietitian to figure out what foods to increase, limit, or avoid in your diet. 

For example, if you have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that a dietician educate you on some nutrition essentials, such as carbohydrate counting and weight management. 

#5 Why do I crave [sugar, salt, coffee, spicy food] so much, and how can I control these cravings?

Do you find yourself constantly craving certain foods, such as sugary treats or salty snacks? Your dietitian can give you recommendations on how to safely and healthily indulge in your cravings rather than completely avoid the food you are craving. 

Often trying to restrict a certain food can lead directly to overeating later, so your dietitian will help you find ways to still incorporate the foods you enjoy in a healthy way. 

#6 Is it okay for me to snack, or should I have only three balanced meals a day?

Since people are commonly reprimanded for snacking, you may wonder if eating snacks in between meals is healthy. In fact, snacks can be very beneficial, especially when they are rich in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats. Moreover, if you don’t snack, you may get so hungry between meals that you are more likely to overeat at the next meal.

It is best to listen to your hunger and fullness cues (this is called mindful eating!) and have a balanced and healthy snack if you are hungry. Your dietitian can help you figure out some healthy snack options and how to fit them into your busy lifestyle.

Various health conditions can also impact the frequency of your meals.

For example, if you have type 2 diabetes or gallbladder sludge, your dietitian might instruct you to eat more often, such as four to six small meals a day. This is because eating frequently can help stabilize the blood sugar levels of someone with diabetes or increase the flow of bile in the case of gallbladder sludge. 

#7 Do you think I should consult with a therapist?

A dietitian is qualified to analyze your symptoms, complaints, and blood test results to determine if there may be a medical condition present that is interfering with your health.

While your dietitian can offer you dietary advice and education, they cannot diagnose medical conditions (including mental health conditions) or manage medications. 

Therefore, you can ask your dietitian if you should consult with another healthcare professional, such as a medical doctor or a mental health therapist.

#8 What can I do to improve symptoms like indigestion, bloating, or gas?

If you are experiencing symptoms such as bloating or flatulence, be sure to bring them up with your dietitian.

While there may be medication or medical causes, there is a chance it is related to your diet. Even symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and diarrhea can have nutritional significance.

#9 What are some easy meals I can make when I’m short on time?

Your dietitian is an expert in nutrition but is also likely very familiar with food preparation and cooking. Ask your dietitian for recommendations for easy meals that you can quickly and conveniently make in a pinch.

#10 What are some healthy snack ideas or items I should keep in my pantry?

Similarly to the above question, your dietitian can suggest healthy snacks based on your diet preferences, lifestyle, and budget. In addition, your dietitian might offer recipes to make ahead of time or simple and affordable products to find at the grocery store.

#11 How do I eat healthy when I’m eating out?

While many believe dietitians are completely against dining out, most registered dietitians understand the appeal of a quick, convenient, and social meal at a restaurant or fast food establishment.

You can ask your dietitian how to find healthy and balanced meals when dining out, such as choosing options with lean protein, vegetables, dietary fiber, and more. 

For fast-food establishments and many restaurant chains, you can look at their food’s nutritional information online. It may even be printed right on the menu in the restaurant! Your dietitian can help you determine what to look for to make healthy choices when dining out.

#12 What is the best way to lose weight in my particular case?

While you can always look online for general advice for weight loss, your dietitian is your personal nutrition expert that can provide individualized guidance to help you lose weight. Your dietitian’s recommendations are created based on your personal medical history, medications, lifestyle, and dietary concerns. 

Try using a weight-loss app to provide additional control over your diet and track the nutrient density of your meals.

#13 How can I best balance my blood sugar?

Your dietitian can give you advice for keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day. For example, they may recommend eating smaller meals or snacks more frequently to give the body constant sugar and energy. Additionally, they may recommend consuming more dietary fiber since fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of the sugars you eat.

Final Words

A registered dietitian nutritionist is a qualified licensed nutrition professional that has completed extensive education and training and passed a licensure exam. They can guide you through healthy eating habits, adjust your diet to your health conditions, explain differences between dietary regimens like low carb vs. keto, or the difference between dash and Mediterranean diet, and help you choose one.

Beyond just helping you lose weight, your dietitian can help you navigate many dietary concerns, such as: 

  • Cooking and dining out
  • Food restrictions, allergies, and interactions
  • Dietary management of health conditions
  • Snack and meal ideas
  • Symptom management
  • And more!

If your dietitian cannot answer a specific question or concern that you have, they will refer you to the appropriate healthcare professional that can. So, just ask!

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Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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