Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

How to find a good dietitian



Photo by Orla MacEachern. Location: Local Source Market.

Last week after I wrote about the issue of dietitians sniping at each other I had a reader ask me how to find a “good” dietitian. That’s a bit of a tricky one but I’ll try my best to address it as it seems very fitting for Nutrition Month. If any of my fellow RDs (or anyone who’s seen a dietitian) have any other tips or suggestions please feel free to chime in, in the comments.

The process will vary from country to country but in Canada, every dietitian must be registered with the provincial regulatory body for the province in which they work. Here they are by province:

Newfoundland – Newfoundland and Labrador College of Dietitians

Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Dietetic Association (NSDA)

New Brunswick – The New Brunswick Association of Dietitians (NBAD)

Prince Edward Island – PEI Dietitians Registration Board

Quebec – Order Professionnel des Diététistes du Québec

Ontario – College of Dietitians of Ontario

Manitoba – College of Dietitians of Manitoba

Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon – Insofar as I can tell, because there are so few dietitians in the Territories, there are no regulatory bodies. Presumably, RDs working in these areas would maintain registration with the Provincial body where they completed their examination.

Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Dietitians Association

Alberta – College of Dietitians of Alberta

British Columbia – The College of Dietitians of British Columbia

Some provinces (Ontario, Manitoba, and BC) have free provincial programs that the public can use to contact a dietitian via email or phone. This is a great option if you have a common nutrition concern or question.

Dietitians of Canada also maintains a list of private practice dietitians but it’s not a complete list as you must be a member of DC to be included. Some provinces also have organizations formed and run by dietitians such as the Dietitians Network Nova Scotia. Again, this is not a comprehensive list of all dietitians in NS as membership is voluntary. The nice thing about their list though, is it provides some detail regarding the area each RD works in and their specializations.

You may also wish to contact your local public health unit as they will be able to tell you about dietitian services offered in your area. Many grocery stores also employ dietitians who offer one-on-one nutrition counselling for a reasonable fee.

Once you’ve found all of the private practice dietitians in your area now it’s time for the tricky part. I suggest looking to see if they have a website, exploring the website to get a feel for whether or not they’ll be a good fit for you. As with any counsellor or heath care professional, not all personalities are going to be well-suited. Look to see if they have links to social media accounts and see if you can get an idea of their personality and nutrition philosophy from tweets and facebook posts.

You should be able to narrow-down your search to a few dietitians based on location and your assessment of their online presence. At that point, you may want to pick one and make an appointment for an initial assessment. If that goes well, excellent, you’ve found your RD. If not, there’s no harm in shopping around. The good thing is, we don’t often work in the same location (like hair stylists) so if you don’t like the fit with the first one you see, you can easily try another without fear of encountering the first at your appointment. Find someone who will help you determine your goals, barriers, and provide you with support to overcome those barriers to reach your nutrition goals. However, don’t expect your dietitian to do the work for you. We’ll be your biggest cheerleader and we’ll give you all the tools you need to get you eating your best but you still have to do the actual work and make the lifestyle changes.


Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

3 thoughts on “How to find a good dietitian

  1. Thanks for putting together this post. I kind of wish the process is easier – like if the college of dieticians included links to websites. I found just googling gave me links to local dietitians that was a bit easier to use.

    The dietician whom my doctor works with has no charge, but she is also anti-carb. My dad has been seeing her and has had some success reaching his goals by mainly not eating any high carb foods (grains, starchy veg, squashes, etc) – but then he binges on bread and pasta and is back to square one. I’m sure I’d be similar to him since I too like bread and pasta and would find it very hard to give up entirely. So I’m hunting for someone who is willing to work with all the food groups and guide me to better manage my weight.

    I found a few dieticians where I live and their initial assessments range from $80 to $120 for 90 minutes. Which is expensive if I don’t click with them or find out they are anti-carb and won’t work with my need to include carbs in my diet.

    Would it be unreasonable to contact them and ask for an interview to determine how they approach diets for weight management before doing an initial session?


    • I don’t think that’s unreasonable Karen. Also, if you have a health plan, some of them will cover dietitian services. If not, you can suggest to HR that they start covering them.

      I have to admit, I’m a little surprised to hear that she’s anti-carb. You should find that most dietitians have the philosophy that all foods fit. Rather than impose restrictions on clients, most RDs will work with the client’s likes and dislikes and eating philosophy to figure out what will work best for them.

      Good luck with your search!


  2. Pingback: Why science is failing |

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