General Nutrition

What questions should I ask a nutritionist?

November 13, 2023

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Medically reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

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General NutritionGeneral Nutrition

Key Points

  • You should be prepared to share your goals and health history when first meeting with a dietitian.
  • A good RD will make your feel supported and answer all your questions as you work together. 
  • There are plenty of questions you can ask to ensure an RD is the right fit and that you’re getting the best care when you work together.

What do I need to know before meeting a nutritionist?

Depending on the provider, your first meeting with a dietitian might be a consultation or a formal intake. Either way, you should be prepared to discuss your current eating habits, lifestyle, and relevant concerns in the conversation. Share whatever symptoms you have, your supplement routine if you have one, relevant medical history, current health conditions, and your level of physical activity. This conversation will serve as a starting point for your work together, so it’s best to be prepared and be honest in order for your dietitian to be as helpful as possible.

What are the basic nutrition questions for your first meeting with a dietitian?

When you first meet with a registered dietitian, it’s not just about them getting to know you and your nutritional concerns – it’s also about you seeing if it’s a good fit. Working with an RD can be intimate as you share your struggles and fears, so it’s important to have a good match. Here are some questions you can ask a dietitian in your first meeting:

  • What kind of people do you work with?
  • Do you have experience with XYZ? (You can ask about specific concerns, like eating disorders, high cholesterol, food intolerances, certain diagnoses or medical conditions, and more)
  • What changes should I expect to make as we work together?
  • What if I mess up?
  • What tips do you have for meeting my goal?
  • How do I balance eating out and achieving my goals?
  • I don’t eat these types of foods, is that ok?
  • Are there any foods that might interact with my medication?
  • I can’t cook, how can I be healthy?
  • Do I need to go on a diet? (Keto, paleo, FODMAP, etc)

It’s important to remember that this meeting is for you just as much as it is for the RDN. You should leave feeling like all your questions have been answered and that the provider is a good fit for your needs. A good dietitian will make you feel supported and empowered to take control of your health and wellness. You should never feel a sense of judgment or a lack of support from a dietitian.

What questions should you ask a nutritionist?

As you begin working with your RD or RDN, you’ll have plenty of questions along the way as you navigate healthy eating. Here is a list of questions you can ask.

What is the best way to keep track of what I'm eating?

If you’ve never tracked your food before and now need to, perhaps by keeping tabs on the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating or ensuring you’re getting the right level of nutrients in daily, your dietitian can help you find a system that will work for you. That said, tracking is not required, and if it doesn’t work for you, your RD will find another solution.

What are good and bad foods?

Most dietitians hesitate to call any food “good” or “bad” because restriction is usually more harmful than helpful. Some foods are more nutritious than others, and moderation is always going to be the best approach. Your dietitian will focus on the best foods for you and your health goals. An individualized method always makes for the most optimal outcomes.

How can I drink more water?

There’s been a huge push on hydration in recent years, and it’s true that it’s critical for overall health and wellbeing. That said, proper hydration is different for everyone. Your dietitian will recommend a personalized daily water goal based on your health status, activity levels, and more.

How do I pick the right foods at the grocery store?

Does grocery shopping leave you feeling lost and frustrated? Do you feel like you space out while shopping and get home and have no idea what to do with the food you bought? Your RD can help you create a realistic shopping list so that you feel empowered to make good choices when the time comes to go grocery shopping.

How much protein should I be eating?

Protein seems to be a primary focus of nutrition these days – but how do you know how much you need? Everyone’s protein needs vary based on body type, activity levels, and other personal factors. Your dietitian will look at your current eating patterns and help you figure out how much protein you should be eating.

What should my macros be?

Whether you want to lose or gain weight, or if you want to improve your athletic performance, you might be concerned about your macronutrient breakdown. Your provider can help determine the right amount of healthy fats, carbs, and protein for your lifestyle and goals.

How can I eat more veggies?

Do you struggle with certain food groups? Many people know they should eat more vegetables but aren’t sure how to incorporate them. As you work with an RD, they can help you figure out what veggies you most enjoy and how to realistically incorporate them into your diet.

Do I need to eat breakfast?

Everyone has their own eating habits and preferences. There is not one singular right way to eat. Your provider can help you find the right eating schedule for your lifestyle that supports consistent energy and satiety.

How can you help me recover from an eating disorder?

ED recovery is a complicated topic, and it’s one that RDs are well-equipped to tackle. They are trained to support recovery through proven methods. Not only will a dietitian give you tools for recovery, but they will also give you the support that everyone needs as they take on this difficult but important journey.

Do I need to cut out any foods?

You might have a new diagnosis and you’re not sure if or how you need to adjust your diet. Nutrition counseling with a dietitian is the perfect way to know if your diagnosis means you have to cut out certain foods or check on certain nutrient levels. Your provider will be well-educated on the best foods for particular health conditions and will provide the nutrition tips you need to be well and improve symptoms.

How can I control my cravings?

Do you struggle with cravings? Maybe you suffer from binge eating disorder. Your RD will help you understand your hunger and fullness cues so that you can develop more sustainable eating patterns.

What are some meal ideas for breakfast / a quick meal / a snack?

Knowing what to make for a meal when you’re short on time can make or break a healthy lifestyle. It’s all too convenient to grab something less nutritious simply because it’s easier. An RD can give you a list of recipes for all meals and snacks so that you’re always prepared when it’s mealtime.

Should I try XYZ diet?

There are so many fad diets out there now: keto, paleo, Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting, and more. If you’re considering one of them, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional like a dietitian to see if it’s a good fit for your goals and lifestyle.

What do you talk to a nutritionist about?

When you work with an RD or RDN, you can expect to meet with them weekly to discuss your progress. In these meetings, you’ll go over the past week: what you are, what went well, what was challenging, and what questions you might have about your plan. Working with a dietitian is much more than a meal plan. They’ll want to know about your current sleep, stress levels, physical activity, and anything else that is relevant to your health goals. If you’ve met with another provider, you may have updates to share. If you found yourself in a difficult situation, you might ask for advice, like how to order at a restaurant, read a food label, or deal with difficult thoughts when recovering from an eating disorder.

Dietitians aren’t just nutrition experts; they’re trained to give you all the support you need as you work towards your goals. Whatever wins or concerns you have, they want to hear it all! The more honest and direct you are with your provider, the more they can give you the exact support and information you need to be your healthiest self.

How to find a trusted dietitian

Fay Nutrition has a network of highly qualified and vetted registered dietitians where you can be matched with a provider who specializes in your area of concern and is covered by your insurance. Fay bills your insurance after your session so you don’t have to worry. It’s an easy, trusted way to get nutrition counseling. Click here to get started.

The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.


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Maeve Ginsberg

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Maeve Ginsberg is a health and wellness writer with a personal passion for fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and former powerlifter, she loves combining her interests in health with her writing. Maeve has a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. 

Rita Faycurry, RD

Medically Reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

Rita Faycurry, RD is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in clinical nutrition for chronic conditions. Her approach to health is centered around the idea that the mind and body are intimately connected, and that true healing requires an evidence-based and integrative approach that addresses the root cause of disease. In her books and articles, Rita offers practical tips and insights on how to care for your body, mind, and spirit to achieve optimal health and wellness.