What to expect when meeting with a Registered Dietitian

This is a question I get a lot when talking with individuals in the public. Many people don’t know what is involved in meeting with a Registered Dietitian…or worse, they think dietitians will just tell them what to eat and not eat. While some dietitians may do that, the good ones don’t. Here I outline what to expect when meeting with a dietitian for the first time. If you haven’t found a dietitian that can help you, check out how to find a dietitian.

What to expect when meeting with a dietitian

Before the session

Before the first visit, you will likely have forms to complete. Please take your time completing these as they often include background information like other medical diagnoses, medications, family history, mental health, oral health and gut health questions just to name a few. If the forms seem overwhelming, complete them in sections or do one and take a break before coming back to the next.

It’s also important to know how the session will be conducted. Is it virtual? Do you have the needed tech for the session? Is it in person? Do you have directions and parking information?

During the session

During the session, the dietitian may review any labs you have shared, medications and how they may interact with foods you eat, activity, and food log. Together you will likely set a goal or check back on a goal set previously. Dietitians like to have goals that are based on behaviors.

After the session

After the session, you may schedule a follow-up session. Dietitians typically like to work with individuals for more than one session. We know that change takes time and dietitians are here to support you. 

What about an intro call?

Some dietitians, including myself, offer an introductory call. This call can be named all kinds of different things but is a call to see if you are a good fit with the provider. We have all worked with individuals that aren’t a good fit and as dietitians, we don’t want that for you. We want you to get the most out of your sessions and feel empowered.

A note about insurance

Not all dietitians accept insurance. This is for many reasons. Dietitians apply to work with each insurance company separately and some states are not accepting new insurance applications. 

If you have diabetes or CKD, you may have a cap on how many hours of dietitian services your insurance covers. A referral from your doctor may be needed to have the visit covered by insurance. When in doubt, call your insurance company and ask. If services are not covered, you may be able to ask for a Superbill to submit to your insurance as an out of network claim.

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