Nutrition Month 2023: Unlock the Potential of Food

Each year during the month of March, Registered Dietitians and other professionals celebrate Nutrition Month to help provide Canadians with informed nutrition information. This year’s theme is Unlock the Potential of Food, and today we are happy to share more about the role of a dietitian in hospitals and the community.

Role of a Registered Dietitian

Registered Dietitians are regulated health professionals who use their expertise in food and nutrition to give personalized advice to improve health and enhance lives. Dietitians use evidenced-based practice to help people understand the connection between food and health and translate it into practical guidance that can be used to make nutritious food choices.

Public Health vs Paid Dietitian Services

Dietitians work in a variety of settings. Clinical dietitians work closely with a team of health care professionals including doctors, nurses, speech pathologists, pharmacists and more. Dietitian services in clinical public health settings, both inpatient and outpatient, are covered by provincial health insurance, however you may require a referral from a medical practitioner.  Dietitians who work in private practice are not usually covered by provincial health insurance, however many employee benefit plans do cover dietitian services.

What to Expect When Seeing a Dietitian

Each person will have a different reason for speaking to a dietitian. The first step is usually a questionnaire, which helps your Registered Dietitian gain insight into your diet and lifestyle to conduct a nutrition assessment. A Registered Dietitian may ask you questions about:

  • Your current diet, and the types of foods you and/or your family enjoy eating
  • How often, how much, and where you eat
  • Your culture and food traditions
  • Your food skills (ie. food preparation, cooking and storage)
  • Your food budget
  • Your general health/medical history
  • Your age, height, and weight (and weight history)
  • Any challenges you face buying, preparing, eating foods
  • Any concerns you have about your eating habits or nutrition status

Dietitians will use the information collected from the nutrition assessment to provide personalized nutrition and health care goals that are right for you, while taking personal needs and challenges, financial concerns, cultural considerations and more into account.