What is a Registered Dietitian?

Aug 22, 2019 | Nutrition | 0 comments

A Registered Dietitian has extensive training in the field of nutrition. They’re trained to provide counselling for individuals requiring help surrounding their diet. They can provide specialized support to anyone from an athlete to someone living with diabetes. Highly educated and regulated, these nutrition experts are your best shot at perfecting your diet.


To call yourself a “Dietitian”, there is quite a bit of work involved. For a “Nutritionist”, it’s a little murky. 

Dietitian Nutritionist
  • University Educated
  • You must have 1250+ hours of supervised, hands-on
    nutrition training.
  • To become certified you have to pass a registration exam.
  • The title is legally protected just like a physician or nurse. So, you can’t use it  without proper education and training.
  • In Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec, the title “Nutritionist” is protected. You can only call yourself a Nutritionist if you’re a Registered Dietitian.
  • Everywhere else in Canada, you can call yourself a nutritionist, regardless of your education.

To ensure you are seeing a regulated professional with proper training, look for the professional designation of RD or PDt after their name.


In a nutshell, a dietitian is an expert on diet and nutrition. However, there is more to it. You will find them working in hospitals, clinics, food companies and in private practice. They can provide you with a broad range of nutrition support.

For instance, a few of the areas they can specialize in are:

  • Sports Nutrition

  • Diabetes Education

  • Weight Management

  • Food Allergies

  • Recipe Development

  • Pediatric Nutrition

  • Geriatric Nutrition

Can a Registered Dietitian help me?

“Absolutely!” and here’s just a few ways how:

  • Understanding Nutrition –  It can be challenging to weed out all of the nutrition misinformation on the internet. However, a dietitian can help you navigate this and provide some clarity when it comes to healthy eating. 
  • Weight Control – Any time you are looking to lose or gain weight, it’s important to do it safely. A dietitian can provide a safe, personalized, realistic plan to help you meet your goals.
  • Digestive Issues – These can be challenging to fix on your own. A dietitian can help you fine-tune your diet to improve your digestion.
  • Basics of Healthy Eating – Many of us struggle with knowing how to eat and prepare healthy food. A dietitian can teach you to plan and create healthy meals for you and your family.
  • Eating for Sports – Eating to perform is very different than just healthy eating. The nutrition demands of an athlete are varied and unique to the individual. A dietitian can help you streamline your nutrition for maximal performance. 

Where can I find a Registered Dietitian?

So, you’ve decided that it’s time to see a Registered Dietitian. But where do you go to find one? There are a few places you can visit to find a dietitian in your area. If you are looking nationally, then Dietitians of Canada has a database here:


More locally, for those of you based in Nova Scotia, you can find a dietitian here:


Are Dietitians Covered by Insurance?

Why yes they are! In fact, quite a few health plans cover this service. Check with your health insurance provider to see if you have coverage. Essentially, a dietitian is covered the same way it would be with your massage therapist or physio. Each health plan is different, so be sure to find out. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to do your homework when selecting a dietitian. You want to make sure that you are finding the right fit for you. There are a variety of specializations out there. So, keep that in mind when you are looking for help with something specific, i.e. sports nutrition.


Meet Kate

Kate Parsons is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with a years of experience in weight management, sports nutrition, diabetes management and chronic disease prevention. As a lifelong athlete and lover of food, Kate has a passion for helping people create sustainable changes to build a healthy, active, and enjoyable lifestyle.

Let kate help you with your nutrition

OnSide Performance Centre

114 Chain Lake Dr. Suite 5

Halifax, NS B3S 1B1

[email protected]

902 404 5647