Nutrionist for the in-shape but disorganized?
October 5, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

How does an average Joe go about hiring a nutritionist/dietitian? (And can he even afford one?)

Here’s my deal: I’m not looking to lose weight. I actually consider myself pretty fit. I’m 6’3”, about 175, and I hit the YMCA for weights and cardio four times each week.

But my eating habits have gotten chaotic and random. For the last year, I would say, it's been catch as catch can. I’m simply not organized or motivated enough to come up with a weekly meal plan or to invest the time to actually do the grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping. Loathe it. And I don’t find much joy in cooking, either. I’m just not really a food person, and nutrition takes a pretty low priority in my life. To me, it is one gigantic, never-ending chore.

As you can imagine, this leads to all kinds of problems. I have no groceries, and so I spend a ton of money eating out. I sleep too late to prepare breakfast, so I’ll go coffee-powered and without food until 1 in the afternoon. I'm a potato-chip fiend. My energy levels are constantly out-of-wack. I work out hard enough to keep from gaining weight. But I imagine I would see a lot more benefit from my exercise if my diet were more healthful and regular.

Then, there’s the bigger health issue: I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorders. Normally, I would take some sort of freaky SSRI to deal. But I know enough from reading up on the topic that diet has a powerful effect on mood, and I would much prefer a more natural treatment of good food and exercise for my anxiety.

So here’s what I’m looking for: a simple, one- or two-week meal plan. Some no-brainer road map that I can follow for grocery shopping and daily cooking. I envision it as being akin to asking a trainer for a workout routine. Or asking a financial planner to help me make a budget. I simply want someone to tell me what to eat. And if it can improve my mood, then all the better.

I figure this would take only a one-time consultation—which probably wouldn’t even need to happen in person.

Has anyone out there done this? Will a nutritionist consent to just a one-off service like this? Will I be able to afford it? Is there any chance my health insurance would pay for this?

I live in Minneapolis, MN, if anyone has specific recommendations. Thanks!
posted by sureshot to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if you have Hy-Vee grocery stores near you (they are more Southern MN/Iowa, I think) but they are big into the nutrition thing and offer one-time consultations for a pretty reasonable fee. Try looking around at other area grocery stores for consultations, or asking for recommendations at a natural foods store or co-op (I'm sure they have hippie and non-hippie recommendations to suit everyone).
posted by sararah at 1:11 PM on October 5, 2011

Also there is a difference between Registered Dieticians and nutritionists, with RD's typically having more schooling and required licensing.
posted by sararah at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2011

Not near your but our local hospitals have registered dieticians who will see anyone for a not crazy amount. We've worked with one addressing my son's Celiac disease and her suggestions were helpful and to the point. Cost for an hour's appointment was less than $100 and more than $50 - I can't remember the exact amount. I'd suggest asking your regular doctor for a referral and I do think one-off appointments are very common.
posted by leslies at 1:22 PM on October 5, 2011

There is a food doctor on staff at the local Gelson's near me. Think high-end Whole Foods store.

But I find that my own research and self-education motivates me more than an "expert opinion."

One really good source I've learned a lot from recently is --and I recommend the video too.
posted by markhu at 2:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes! There is definitely a chance your insurance will pay for it. On my previous insurance, I was able to see a great nutritionist for a copay of $20 -- the same visit would have cost a few hundred out of pocket. My current insurance covers no such thing, so YMM will obviously V, but I'd very much look into it -- seeing a nutritionist was really, really helpful for me.
posted by threeants at 8:43 PM on October 5, 2011

Re: the anxiety stuff, polyunsaturated fat balance is a huge part of this. That is, cut out vegetable/seed oils and increase intake of fish (or get fish oil supplements if you dislike fish). L-Theanine is helpful for some. Other helpful changes include increasing animal fat intake, eating products from pastured rather than CAFO animals, and reducing grain consumption. Feel free to PM me; nutrition has been something of an obsession of mine for the last year or so.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 9:24 PM on October 5, 2011

IANA Dietician, but my mother is. She makes meal plans for her clients, usually because they have particular intolerances or diseases that require very specific intakes of food. These meal plans take quite a while to create, since every element has to be balanced out and matched with a meal, and people don't like to eat the same thing every day, and so on.

For you - well, it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you should be eating already. You don't have any major health complaints. You know what you should be doing, you're just not doing it. Honestly, I don't think you need a personalised meal plan. I think if you wrote out a meal plan yourself, with things you like to eat and you know are reasonably healthy, you'd be more likely to stick to it than if you went to a dietician and he/she directed you to eat, say, grilled chicken breast with a beetroot salad and GOSH DARN IT, you hate beetroot!

Otherwise, head to a newsagency and grab pretty much any health/lifestyle magazine. Even Cleo and Cosmopolitan (the Australian versions - I'm guessing the US is similar) usually have a one-week meal plan in the health section. I'm guessing something like Men's Health would have something you could use, and adapt to your tastes without paying to see a dietician.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 1:33 AM on October 6, 2011

« Older How to ensure I'm able to migrate from Gmail for...   |   Alright Dudley, make mine like yours. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.