But not everyone can afford to shell out the cash for sessions, which can cost up to $100 per hour, according to Jessica Kiel, President-elect of the Maryland Dietetic Association.
For your money, you’re getting one-on-one attention, a tailor-made meal plan, and a constant source of support and lifestyle information. And, if you’ve done your homework, your dietitian will have undergone rigorous training and schooling to earn their certification.
“We are the nutrition experts,” Kiel says. “We can offer not just meal planning advice but we can really educate consumers fully in terms of how diet can impact their life, both positively and negatively.”
Although it’s difficult to reproduce the services dietitians can render, they’re certainly not the only avenue to creating a healthier lifestyle.
Some health experts have used the Web to target budget-conscious consumers who are looking for quality services without having to pay through the roof.
A California-based Pilate’s instructor, Robin Long, launched a 6-week program that includes a weekly workout video, a meal plan and 24-7 access to Long herself. At $197, it’s definitely a low-cost alternative to blowing 100 bucks on a monthly gym membership, and she offers a money-back guarantee within seven days.
“The entire six-week program costs approximately what one week of in-person coaching would cost,” Long says. “It’s aimed at making the value of a nutritionist and personal coaching an affordable option.”
And, of course, there are some pretty impressive apps that not only track your activity (like iMapMyRun) but also allow your family and friends to comment on your progress and cheer you on, like Endomondo Sports Tracker.
The creators of Eat this, Not That! also have an app that let’s you compare what you’re craving to what you should be eating instead. Give Fooducate a spin if you’re stumped at the store trying to decide whether that protein bar is worth the calories.
Any effort toward building a healthier lifestyle is a solid investment, whether you’re visiting a dietitian or streaming free workout videos from YouTube (Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it).
To vet your dietitian before committing, be sure to visit the American Dietetic Association’s site at EatRight.org or The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Most states have individual dietetic associations as well, Kiel says.
Some health care providers may cover the cost of your visits, so check beforehand.