Nutritional coaches may be a more affordable option for those who need nutritional help but don’t require a prescription diet.
Have you ever found yourself staring at a nutrition label wondering what everything means? How about struggling to figure out a way to eat more fruits and vegetables each day? If so, you might benefit from working with a nutrition coach who can offer guidance and support for your health and nutrition goals.
Below, we’ll share everything you need to know about what a nutrition coach does, including some of the benefits of collaborating with a nutrition coach on your health goals.
When you work with a nutrition coach, their primary role is to offer nutrition education, advice, and accountability as you work toward improving your health.
Because most states have strict requirements for nutrition services, there’s a limit on the services that a nutrition coach can offer. For example, a nutrition coach can’t diagnose health conditions, prescribe interventions, or treat medical conditions.
But, a nutrition coach can play a supportive role in someone’s health journey by:
- helping clients identify health and nutrition goals
- sharing strategies clients can follow to meet their goals
- educating clients on health and nutrition concepts
- offering clients support and accountability on their journey
A nutrition coach can also offer general nutrition education and advice to larger populations of people. So, in addition to one-on-one coaching support, you might also find nutrition coaches holding nutrition workshops and classes.
It can feel daunting to embark on a new health journey, but one of the biggest benefits of working with a nutrition coach is having support and accountability.
With the guidance of a nutrition coach, you have someone on your team who can help you discover what your health goals are and offer advice on how to reach them. A good nutrition coach doesn’t just tell you what to do ― they teach you what you need to know so that you can take the steps yourself.
Another possible benefit of choosing a nutrition coach instead of a dietitian is that their services may be cheaper.
Some dietitians charge upward of hundreds of dollars an hour for their services, which aligns with their experience and expertise in the field. But if you don’t have any health conditions that require medical nutrition therapy, a nutrition coach might be a more affordable option.
Even though a nutrition coach can offer nutrition education and advice, they’re not typically able to prescribe meal plans to clients.
With that said, there are a few different ways that nutrition coaches can help with meal planning.
For example, a nutrition coach can teach you about different aspects of meal planning, like food groups, preparation tips, portion sizes, and more. And if you’re looking for recipe ideas that you can incorporate into your weekly meal plans, a nutrition coach can also share those, as well.
Some nutrition coaches even offer classes or one-on-one training for how to meal plan ― including step-by-step instructions on how to build your own weekly meal plans.
If you’re wondering about the differences between a nutrition coach, nutritionist, and dietitian, here’s a quick rundown:
- Nutrition coach: This is someone with general nutrition and health knowledge who supports clients who are looking to make life changes. Since there are no licensing requirements for nutrition coaches, they may or may not have formal nutrition education and training.
- Nutritionist: “Nutritionist” is a term that’s often used to describe a wide range of nutrition professionals with varying levels of nutrition education and training. Regulations for who can call themselves a nutritionist, and what they can do, vary from state to state and country to country.
- Dietitian: A dietitian is someone who has formal nutrition education ― typically a master’s degree or higher ― and has completed an internship and passed a board exam. Dietitians who have completed these requirements may call themselves a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Most state regulations make it illegal for anyone other than RDs/RDNs to provide medical nutrition therapy for health conditions. But, many states allow nutritionists to perform one-on-one nutrition counseling with clients, even if there are some restrictions on their services.
With all the different types of health professionals out there, it can seem a little confusing to figure out who to reach out to for guidance. But if you’re just looking for someone to help guide you toward making better food choices, a nutrition coach may be able to provide the support you need.