21 May 2013 Supermarket Dietitians - Providing Nutrition Information Where It Counts!

Did you know that many supermarket chain stores now offer free individual nutrition consultations, nutrition talks, and even diabetes education with a registered dietitian?

I am delighted to see this change taking place — making nutrition education available and accessible where people buy food is an excellent idea. These services go beyond the standard grocery store tour — they now include individual consultations and group classes.

The grocery store I shop at most frequently is the one closest to me and it is part of the Kroger Company. I am delighted that this supermarket chain is actively promoting both individual consults as well as group talks. And in typical Colorado-style, my local store also offers a “walk & talk” series. Participants walk while learning about nutrition or diabetes and then afterwards, do their shopping before returning home.

The supermarket dietitians that I have spoken to say that they do not promote specific brands or products as part of their educational talks or sessions. They promote what they feel to be nutritious food choices within the context of a balanced healthy meal plan. For instance, they might promote salmon as a great source of protein and omega-3 fats but not a specific brand or salmon product per se.


This is not an exhaustive list of grocery store chains that provide in-person registered dietitian services - it is a brief list based upon an online search I performed at the time of this writing. I couldn't tell if Safeway included in-person RD services or not so I left it off the list — but they do have online information from their RD. Neither MyNetDiary nor I receive any type of compensation from these grocery stores.

Giant Eagle
Hy-Vee(the industry leader with RDs)

What Are Registered Dietitians?

Sometimes people are confused as to what a registered dietitian is and how that is different from being a nutritionist. Although both focus on nutrition, the credentials and educational background might be different. Registered Dietitians (RD or RDN credential) have earned a bachelor's degree or higher (50% have also earned a master's degree), completed over 1000 hours of supervised internship hours (from accredited sites), have passed a national certification exam, and require regular continuing education credits to keep their registration. And the credential is not state-bound.

Nutritionist is a term that varies in meaning by state. If one is a licensed nutritionist, then that professional has met the state's qualifications necessary to obtain the license. You can tell if someone is licensed by the type of credentials they use after their name and those will vary by state. If the person also uses “RD” or “RDN” after their name, then that person is also a registered dietitian in addition to being a licensed nutritionist.

In some states, there is no licensure to give legal meaning to the term “nutritionist.” In those states, you can call yourself a nutritionist regardless of education or training. This is very confusing to people seeking nutrition care since most assume that use of the term implies expertise in nutrition. Before seeking consultation and care from anyone, be sure to ask them what their qualifications are for providing care.

Food Records

Consider bringing a detailed food log to your consult — the supermarket RD can use it to help you make more nutritious choices. For those of you who use MyNetDiary, you can print a detailed food log from the Reports tab in the web program — a week's worth is a useful time period. Or you can simply tap the Report icon at the bottom of the Meals screen in your MyNetDiary app to view a food log for one day.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Meal Planning & Diets/"Plan, Shop, Prep, and Cook"

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