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What to Look for in a Holistic Nutritionist: 5 Key Qualities To Consider

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Deciding to get healthy can be one of the most important steps you take in your life, and it will look different for everyone. For some, getting healthy might mean learning to manage stress, lowering risk factors for heart disease, or losing weight. In addition, many different kinds of health professionals can help their clients reach their health goals. For example, a dietitian may help their clients by observing and diagnosing symptoms, while a health coach might share tips and tricks on getting more movement in on an average day.

A holistic nutritionist helps clients reach their health goals by taking a whole-body approach. Holistic nutritionists work with their clients toward better health by focusing on how nutrition impacts the whole body. Read more about holistic nutritionists to see whether you'd benefit from working with one.

At a Glance

  • What is a holistic nutritionist? A holistic nutritionist focuses on the whole body's physical and mental health. 
  • How does a holistic nutritionist work with you? A holistic nutritionist might teach stress relief practices, mindful eating and exercise, and how to prepare foods that bring you joy. 
  • When should I see a holistic nutritionist? You are ready to work with a holistic nutritionist when you want to get lasting results in your wellness journey by learning more about how nutrition impacts the whole body. 

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How A Holistic Nutritionist Works With You

Holistic nutritionists help clients maintain a healthy lifestyle by teaching them how nutrition impacts the body. Yes, holistic nutritionists will guide their clients on eating healthily, but they go beyond that. This type of nutrition professional will discuss with each client how certain foods impact the body's overall wellness.

Holistic nutritionists also place a more significant emphasis on natural remedies through a holistic approach to help clients reach their optimal health. For example, holistic nutritional experts may encourage clients to keep a daily journal to practice mindfulness, focus on foods they enjoy, or practice focused breathing to improve their overall well-being.

Top 5 Qualities To Look For In A Holistic Nutritionist Or Dietitian

When you decide to work with a holistic nutrition expert, you want to know that you're working with a professional who can help you reach your goals with lasting results. Therefore, you should look for these essential qualities in an expert holistic nutritionist or dietitian to help you reach your health goals.

1. Well-educated

You must find holistic nutrition professionals with an educational background, like a bachelor’s degree. You want to work with a professional with a solid nutritional knowledge foundation to help you reach and maintain your goals. Robust experience in food comes from a college degree, work hours in a holistic nutrition environment, and perhaps additional degrees or certifications related to holistic nutrition.

Holistic nutritionists need a strong nutrition background to understand how holistic nutrition can best help their clients' specific health needs. A strong foundation allows dietitians and nutritionists to build upon their knowledge and assist individual clients in reaching their optimal health with holistic healthy meals and healthy habits. In addition, many of our nutritionists bring years of professional experience to help each client achieve and maintain their health and nutrition goals.

2. Good customer service skills

The best nutritionists and dietitians will have good customer service skills. Holistic nutrition professionals work with customers daily and should have customer service skills to make their clients feel valued, respected, and heard. Therefore, when looking for a dietitian or nutritionist, you should find someone who listens to you and treats you respectfully.

While holistic nutrition professionals are nutrition experts, they should still listen to your concerns and adapt their health coaching practices based on your health history and preferences. Working with a nutritionist will take work and dedication on your part, but your nutritionist needs to work alongside you with respect and care to help you reach your goals.

3. They accept feedback

The holistic nutrition professional should be open to any feedback you have to share about their nutritional advice. If you've given a particular food or wellness practice a try, but it just isn't working, you should feel comfortable sharing that information with your nutritionist. The point of a wellness program focused on holistic principles is to serve you in the best way possible. 

As important as physical health is, a holistic wellness program should also help your mental and emotional health. If your nutritionist is not open to feedback, that could cause unnecessary stress.

4. They want to see you succeed

Holistic nutrition professionals should want to see you reach your goals and maintain your goals. If this is the case for your nutritionist or dietitian, they will support you in any way they can to see you reach your goals in the best way for your body. You should be able to reach out to your nutritionist or dietitian whenever you need support. Those moments could make the difference between reaching your goals or starting over at square one. 

Your nutritionist will help you succeed and reach optimal health by working alongside you and supporting you in a way that helps your entire body.

5. Someone who gets along with you

Lastly, the best way to reach your goals is to work with someone who gets along with you. There are many well-trained, respectful, and kind nutritionists, but maybe you don't mesh well. That may happen, and that is okay. However, a service focused on your success will allow you to switch nutritionists until you find someone you enjoy working with and who gets along with you. You will be more likely to succeed when you can work with a nutrition expert with whom you are comfortable speaking and sharing your goals and hurdles.

Other Holistic Professionals Who Can Help Meet Your Nutrition Goals

There are several types of health professionals focused on holistic practices who can help you meet your nutrition goals.

Wellness influencer 

A wellness influencer is one type who makes a living sharing health advice, meal plans, and advice to live a holistic lifestyle. While wellness influencers may or may not have a bachelor's degree or educational background in nutrition, they share tips with their social media followers regarding mental, physical, and emotional health.

Due to the nature of social media, some wellness influencers without solid backgrounds may share tips and wellness advice that aren’t based on research for views and likes. If you choose to follow a wellness influencer, finding one with professional experience as a nutritionist or dietitian is best. That way you can trust the information they’re sharing.

Personal trainer

Many personal trainers understand the best nutrition to fuel the body, especially since their job is to help their clients reach their fitness goals. In addition, most personal trainers have a lot of knowledge on the best way for their clients to incorporate movement into their lives. This could also help their clients reach their nutrition goals when personal trainers teach their clients about the best way to fuel their bodies. 

You may not get an in-depth understanding of nutrition from a personal trainer, but they can likely help shape your ideas about holistic nutrition.

Life coach

A life coach may also have some sound advice to help you reach your health goals by teaching you more about self-care, improving energy levels, and reducing stress. They may not have a strong background in nutritional education, but they can help you build practices that can help you focus on the essential things in life, like finding the best nutrition to fuel your body. A life coach may know which foods support a healthy state of mental being, and that's something they can share with you to improve your overall wellness.

Watch Out For These Red Flags When Considering Holistic Coaches, Dietitians, And Nutritionists

Promises a quick fix

A holistic nutrition professional should not promise a quick fix. A quick fix usually means that whatever progress you've achieved won't last. Developing healthy habits will take time, and you will need time to adjust to the changes you make in your life to reach your goals. Holistic nutritionists will be there to support their clients develop better habits instead of simply promising a quick fix and leaving their clients without support or lasting nutritional knowledge.

A certified nutrition professional will use nutrition coaching to teach you more about lifestyle changes to reduce stress, improve energy levels, and incorporate a healthy diet into your life. 

Has a one size fits all approach

Stay away from any nutritional professional who shares a one size fits all approach with you instead of a specific, individualized plan to help you reach and maintain your goals. When done right, nutrition professionals use their holistic health education to create a plan tailored to each client to give clients exactly what they need to see results. Some dietitians and health coaches may cut corners and use the same plan for each client, but these plans won't work for everyone. A certified holistic nutritionist has the knowledge and the drive to help their clients reach their individual goals.

Promotes a product they're selling

Some health and wellness professionals may only guarantee results if you use a specific product they're promoting and selling. There are no magic pills, drinks, or solutions that can guarantee success for everyone, so it's best to be cautious of anyone who ties success to only their product. 

A true holistic nutritionist will focus on nutritional insights to help you reach your goals and improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. When you choose to focus on holistic nutrition, approach health, instead of a product, as a way to improve the overall state of your life.

Offers a time-sensitive deal on a program or product

Similarly, if you come across a holistic nutritionist, coach, or dietitian who says you only have limited time to sign up for their product or service, they likely aren't the best choice for you. A holistic nutrition professional does not need to hurry anyone into purchasing or product or using a service because instead, they offer quality advice and knowledge.

Holistic nutrition focuses on the ways that a person can improve their own health by focusing on overall health and wellness. Holistic nutrition professionals won't pressure you into signing up for their program or buying their product. Instead, they'll let their client feedback speak for itself. 

Their claims are too good to be true

When you see health claims that seem too good to be true, they likely are too good to be true. Using a holistic approach to achieving optimal wellness is simple. While holistic wellness makes all the difference in your whole life, holistic professionals should not guarantee eternal youth or any other crazy promises. Instead, a holistic professional will focus on the simple ways that you can incorporate nutrition into your life to improve the state of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Holistic professionals will use their expertise and education to determine the root cause of any issues standing in the way of your goals. Holistic nutrition professionals will analyze health issues, environmental aspects, autoimmune disorders, medical conditions, and more to determine the best path to help you reach your goals.

What Is The Cost Breakdown Of Working With A Holistic Nutritionist Or Dietitian?

A holistic nutritional professional uses an all-encompassing approach and a whole-person perspective to help you reach and maintain your goals. There are several ways that holistic nutritionists work to help you save money in the long run.

Prevent the development of chronic conditions

When you work with a holistic nutritionist or dietitian, you're investing in your health in a way that can save you money for years to come. Holistic nutritionists help you understand how nutrition impacts your body and what foods can contribute to the development of conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

These conditions can be costly and detrimental to your overall wellness. When you choose to work with holistic nutrition professionals, they can help you achieve healthy eating and a good sense of mental wellness with a natural approach. This approach will save you money by helping you avoid expensive treatment costs or medication costs that come with certain conditions.

Reduce the risks of cognitive decline

Holistic nutritionists can also help you reduce your risks of developing cognitive decline by teaching you more about the best foods for your brain. Healthy eating and certain foods can promote cognitive function, especially foods rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Anyone suffering from cognitive decline may show certain signs, but doctors will likely still perform expensive tests to determine a specific cause. These test costs can add up and create a lot of stress for families. Holistic nutritionists know which foods support brain function. Holistic nutritionists can help people improve their cognitive and overall health to avoid expensive cognitive tests.

They'll help you stay active

Because holistic nutritionists and dietitians focus on the wellness of the whole person, they can also help you stay active. Holistic nutritionists may make recommendations to reduce stress in your life that could involve certain types of movement, stretches, or specific food groups. They may also recommend breathing exercises to help keep you focused and centered on your body and goals.

These nutrition professionals can also share the best foods to help improve the health of your joints and how well your organs function. Because they have to go through extensive training to become a holistic nutritionist, holistic nutritionists understand the best foods for the body, the function of these foods in the body, and the best foods for each client.

Help you regulate blood sugar

If you have a chronic condition already, like diabetes, a holistic professional can help you learn more about the best ways to regulate your blood sugar. Holistic nutritionists will take any chronic conditions you have into consideration as they create a custom-made plan to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.

These nutrition professionals will make recommendations on the best foods for you to avoid in your daily life and the best foods to incorporate to help regulate your blood sugar. There may be certain spices or teas that they can recommend to take the place of foods with hidden sugar in them that you may be unaware of.

They can help improve heart function

These nutrition professionals can also use their knowledge to give you a better understanding of the foods that are best for your heart. If you have concerns related to the heart, like high blood pressure or signs that could indicate heart disease, nutrition can be beneficial in improving your overall wellness.

Nutritionists and dietitians know the best foods for heart health and can take your specific condition into consideration as they create a custom lifestyle plan just for you. The benefits of improved heart function can also help improve other areas of your life, including a reduction in stress and anxiety about your overall wellness.

Avoid foods that are bad for your body

Holistic nutritionists can also help you avoid foods that are bad for your body, especially if you have food allergies or intolerances. Living with food allergies or intolerances can have a huge negative impact on a person's life. These conditions cause unnecessary stress in a person's life. 

Sometimes, food allergies or intolerances lead to painful bloating or uncomfortable acid reflux. These conditions don't need to be a part of your life. Nutritionists can help you find foods or use nutrition in a way that reduces the negative impacts of food allergies or intolerances in your life.

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About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

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