by Stefanie Grzancic RDN, CDN

March is National Nutrition Month, an annual awareness program created by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage healthy living through proper nutrition. This month we also celebrate Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) for their dedication to helping others live healthier lifestyles.

Each day we are bombarded with nutrition information on social media, magazines and TV about the “right” way to eat.  Fad diets come and go, leaving us confused, deprived and discouraged. Eating right doesn’t have to be challenging and shouldn’t leave you feeling hangry (angry out of hunger)! Whether your goals are to lose or gain weight, lower your cholesterol, improve energy or athletic performance, an RDN can help you.

Why choose an RDN? Known as nutrition experts, RDNs complete intense, post baccalaureate training in an accredited dietetics education program and sit for a challenging registration exam.  Most RDNs receive their master’s degrees and have certifications in specialized fields such as gerontology, pediatrics, oncology, renal and sports nutrition. Unfortunately, anyone can call him or herself a nutritionist.  It’s important to choose an RDN when looking for nutritional guidance because they will provide expert advice that is tailored to your individual needs.

Why Visit an RDN?

  • You want to eat better. Eating healthy can be confusing with the endless amounts of information thrown at us every day. An RDN can help you separate the wheat from the chaff — and pick the foods that are right for you.
  • You have abnormal lab values. If you received abnormal lab results, whether it’s high cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, etc., a dietitian can advise you on the foods to add and those to reduce in your diet in order to improve your results.
  • You are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Pre-natal, post-natal and nutrition during pregnancy and while breastfeeding are all important for you and your baby’s health. Meeting with a dietitian can be helpful in increasing your chances of becoming pregnant and making sure you’re getting the important nutrients you and your baby need.
  • You want to improve athletic performance. Nutrition and athletic performance go hand in hand.  When, what and how much an athlete eats results in better performance and recovery.  Meeting with a dietitian can have you running longer, hitting harder, swimming better and jumping higher.
  • You want to gain or lose weight. A dietitian can teach you to balance your meals to meet your desired weight. Gaining and losing weight are not easy; It’s not about eliminating or adding any foods, but about making sure you choose the right ones.
  • You have food allergy or sensitivity. Food allergies and sensitivities are common these days. Meeting with an RDN can help find the source of your discomfort. They’ll work around the allergy or sensitivity by creating a meal plan that’s right for you; all while decreasing side effects and improving your health.
  • You have gastrointestinal discomfort. GI discomfort has you down? Call an RDN. Whether it’s GERD, gastritis, constipation, etc., a dietitian can help decrease symptoms by choosing the right foods for you.

Most dietitians are in this field because we have a passion for food, healthy living and working with people. Most importantly, RDNs want to help you achieve your long-term health goals! Happy National Nutrition Month!

Stefanie Grzancic RDN, CDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

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