Throughout my so far, short career I have encountered a lot of people who had very puzzled looks on their face when I told them I was a dietitian. This usually followed with “so, you give people meal plans, right?” Or “Oh! You must work in the hospital”, followed by a story about how when their relative was in the hospital they met with a dietitian. I can’t really blame anyone for not really knowing what I do, as I didn’t know what exactly I was going to do until grade 12 when I followed around the lovely dietitians of Miramichi myself.

The truth is, dietitians are everywhere! There are some who work in hospitals in the clinical acute care setting, others who work in an outpatient setting and some you probably never see at the hospital managing food service. We have dietitians who are now working in our grocery stores, others who work for the health authority in a community and public health program and many who work for the government in program planning and policy development. A growing sector of dietetics is what I do, private practice! These dietitians work for themselves, they own their company and they hustle, to do exactly what they want to do without boundaries.

There are many different types of private practice dietitians. Some are considered Media Dietitians who you will see on shows like Marilyn Denise, The Social and various other lifestyle talk shows. Others own online companies where they sell products like books, courses, mini classes and webinars, and some like me who want to see clients face to face but also provide some consulting work with various companies and organizations.

So, we’re everywhere… but what do we do? Well, we’re health care professionals who are trained to provide advice and counselling about diet, food, and nutrition. We use the best available evidence and pair it with sound clinical judgment about you, the client or the community and take into consideration your unique values and circumstances. We then are able to determine guidance and specific recommendations to point you in the right direction, tailored to you with your health goals in mind.

In a nutshell, we help people make healthy choices, we separate fact from fiction and distinguish healthy eating plans from those that don’t provide optimal nourishment. We can make meal plans, but that’s not all we do or want to do! We are going to help educate and coach you on how to eat well for your needs, so someday you won’t need to follow a meal plan! Ideally, no one needs a “meal plan” per se, but the knowledge and guidance on how to make their own personal, daily meal plan and that’s what I’m here for!

What have your experiences been with a dietitian? Leave a comment below and tell me where else you think we might be hiding!