Medical Nutrition Therapy

What to expect from your visit with the MCH dietitian

What is a Registered Dietitian (RD)? 

A Registered Dietitian (RD) is an expert in food and nutrition who applies evidence-based science to design individual nutrition programs. To earn this qualification, individuals must meet the education, practice, and exam requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics and the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

How is a RD different from a Nutritionist? 

The terms “dietitian” and “nutritionist” may appear to be interchangeable, but there are crucial differences between the two. While all registered dietitians (RD) are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are registered dietitians.

To attain the RD credential, an individual must complete a master’s degree in nutrition, gain supervised practice through an accredited internship or program, and pass a national credentialing exam. Only after completing these steps can an individual use the title of RD.

On the other hand, becoming a nutritionist does not have specific requirements in terms of education or supervised practice. Someone with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a basic nutrition certificate program online can call themselves a nutritionist, but without proper credentials, the extent of nutrition care they can provide is limited by law.

What can I expect from meeting with an RD?

The first meeting with an RD may be intimidating, especially if you have struggled with healthy eating. Expect the first appointment to last about 60 minutes and serve as an opportunity for the RD to get to know you better.

Before your appointment with a registered dietitian (RD)your medical records will be reviewed. During the appointment, the RD will ask you questions about your eating habits, sleep quality, stress levels, body weight history, and more. They may also discuss what you hope to achieve by meeting with them. A nutrition-focused physical exam will be conducted to identify any signs of malnutrition, nutrient deficiencies, or nutrient toxicities. The RD will share their findings and impressions with you. You will receive counseling and goal-setting specific to your needs before leaving. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify your treatment plan. Supportive handouts may be given to you to take home.

Meeting with an RD can be beneficial for several reasons, as nutrition can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. Depending on your needs, you may require one or two follow-up visits with your RD, which typically last for 30 minutes or less. These sessions are essential to help you stay on track with your nutrition goals and to address any concerns you may have as you adjust to your new lifestyle.

Download our Food and Activity Journal

Our Nutrition Therapy Team

Dr. Stephanie Gall

Dr. Stephanie Gall

Dr. Stephanie Gall is a nutrition therapist and registered dietitian at MCH. Dr. Gall has taken a long way, from Ohio and Colorado, to get to Vermont, where she has finally found her niche. After a short stint in her first career as an ecologist, she completed a master’s degree and internship in dietetics at Kent State University. Then, she completed her residency focusing on irritable bowel syndrome through Rutgers University. Throughout her career, she has supported numerous clients in every age group, from newborns to the elderly, to achieve their goals.