It’s March and this is the time to celebrate National Nutrition Month®. I love this year’s theme, “Eat Right Bite By Bite,” because it aligns with my philosophy that every little bit (or bite!) of nutrition is a step in the right direction. I also appreciate this month because we Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDNs) have our very own day (Wednesday, March 11). This day is when we celebrate all RDNs and our contributions to public health. In this article, instead of providing specific nutrition advice, I want to let you know ways that an RDN can partner with you to develop a safe and realistic eating plan that you can stick with for the long haul.

Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. But it doesn't have to be. To guide and motivate you, an RDN uses creative and out-of-the-box strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, and mindful eating. Small goals/changes can have a cumulative healthful effect, and proper nutrition doesn't have to be overwhelming.

Did you know that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but only an RD or RDN has completed multiple layers of education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics? You can find a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Tucson area at https://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.

Nine Reasons to Consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. You are healthy, but you want to ward off age-related disease. Inflammation is the chief cause of most age-related diseases, and an RDN has the tools and resources to prescribe an eating plan appropriate for your stage of life.
  2. You Want Practical Lifestyle Advice. When you see an RDN, the last thing you'll get is one-size-fits-all diet advice. After learning about your health history, favorite foods, eating, and exercise habits, RDN will help you set goals and prioritize. Follow-up visits will focus on maintenance and monitoring your progress. Need help sorting through the facts and fiction of nutrition headlines? Learn how to read labels at the supermarket, discover how healthy cooking can be inexpensive, learn how to dine out without ruining your eating plan.
  3. You have prediabetes and want to stave off diabetes. An RDN can change your life by teaching you skills that will help empower you to eat better and move more, thus reducing your risk of developing diabetes.
  4. You Want Help Managing Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, or Other Chronic Diseases. A registered dietitian nutritionist can work with you to create an eating plan that has the nutrients needed to manage your condition.
  5. You Have Digestive Problems. If you are unsure what you can eat because of celiac disease, food allergies, lactose intolerance, or another condition, an RDN can teach you strategies about identifying foods to avoid and help you find substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty.
  6. You Need to Lose Weight. Fad diets may sound like the quick ticket to weight loss, but they rarely work for very long. An RDN can suggest design a personalized weight loss plan, including diet changes and physical activity — while still eating all your favorite foods.
  7. You're Growing Older. An RDN can help with food or drug interactions, proper hydration, special diets for hypertension, and changing taste buds as you age.
  8. You Want to Improve Your Performance in Sports. An RDN can help you set goals to achieve results — whether you're running a marathon, skiing, or jogging with your dog.
  9. You Realize the Need to Eat Healthier Foods, But You Do Not Cook. A registered dietitian nutritionist can teach you how to plan and prepare meals in a simple, healthful, and convenient way.