Nutrition counseling is the therapeutic prescription of specific dietary nutrients to improve health. These can be either macronutrients or micronutrients.
Because food is essential to life, therapies involving plants, foods, and nutritional elements naturally seem fundamental to a person’s health and well-being.
Sound nutrition counseling can play a vital role in developing a health plan, but the emphasis needs to be on the word sound. Nutrition is one of the more complicated subjects regular people encounter in their daily lives. We are bombarded with messages, many of them contradictory. We need to use math to evaluate calories and nutrient content. There are dozens of different nutrients and micronutrients we may encounter on our path to good health, and conflicting advice from experts on many of them.
Nutritional counselors are dietary coaches. Sure, you may already know the basics – processed foods that are high in trans fats, sodium, sugar and cholesterol are bad for you! However, do you know about proper portion sizes? Do you know how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need to fuel your particular lifestyle (not just the average that the Food Guide prescribes)? Or do you know what your specific daily caloric intake should be?
A nutritional counselor can help you answer all of the questions surrounding your specific dietary needs. If you have gastrointestinal troubles – such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis or Crohn’s disease – a nutritional counselor can prescribe a supplemental plan and a dietary plan to help you function more comfortably. And if you suffer from indigestion, stress, obesity, insomnia – or any number of health complaints – a nutritionist can analyze your current diet, and help you make the necessary adjustments for healing.
If you visit a nutritional counselor, you will start with a questionnaire. It may ask you questions about everything from your sleeping patterns to your bowel movements. Then you will have a one-on-one analysis of your diet with your counselor. They will likely ask you to write everything down that you eat for a 1 to 2 week period before you begin. By analyzing your current diet, the nutritionist will create a specific meal plan especially for you. For example, if your goal is weight loss, your nutritionist will create specific nutrition guidelines to help you meet that goal – without ignoring your individual tastes or any health concerns you may have. They may also be able to provide further education when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing healthy meals.
In addition to nutritional advice, your counselor may be able to recommend further professionals to help you with your goals – for instance, a personal trainer for exercise or a sports therapist for injuries.
Overall, the goal of the nutritional counselor is to put you on the road to better health and living.
Remember, your healthy diet is the foundation of optimal wellness.