If you suffer from food allergies or food intolerances, then you probably know to avoid the foods that cause a reaction in your body. But some foods are so prevalent that they can seem nearly impossible to avoid. Making it worse, many people who face dietary restrictions end up eating a very unhealthy diet.
For example, people who are new to a vegetarian or vegan diet often rely on carbs or processed foods to feel satisfied. In the long run, eating these foods can lead to weight gain and health issues. For other people, facing a set of dietary restrictions can lead to food boredom. By consulting a registered dietitian, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of living with food allergies or intolerances and sensitivities.
A registered dietitian has fulfilled a series of professional requirements including a bachelor’s degree in a related field, state certification, and other requirements, such as going through continuing education programs to maintain current standing. Often, registered dietitians are able to pinpoint food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergens for people who may not know why they are feeling unwell after meals. In addition, the dietitian can create meal plans for a range of dietary restrictions that might otherwise cause a nutritional deficiency, which can lead to other health issues.
If you suspect that you or your child has a food allergy or intolerance but can’t seem to pinpoint the source, registered dietitians may help. They can design elimination diets that help narrow down the source of the problem. In other cases, they can create various meal plans and eating guidelines that fit a gluten-free lifestyle without eliminating the nutrients that are found in wheat and grains.
While registered dietitians can’t perform blood tests or write prescriptions, they are often an integral part of your healthcare team as you find out which foods may be causing issues for you or your child. Working with a registered dietitian may be recommended by your doctor or other health expert. Your pediatrician can likely help you to find one who specializes in pediatric dietary needs.
Depending on your health insurance and other factors, a visit to a registered dietitian may be covered by your healthcare plan. Some hospitals and clinics may offer select consultations with one. In other cases, you may have to pay for a registered dietitian out of pocket, which can be in the ballpark of $50 to $100 per hour.
Your initial consultation will likely include answering questions about your health history. The registered dietitian then analyzes the information and makes recommendations. Sometimes only one or two appointments are needed to set patients on the right track while other cases may require several appointments to pinpoint the source of any dietary distress.