Dietitian (Outpatient)

Partner with a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health to create a nutrition plan that helps you meet your health goals. Count on your dietitian to provide education, advice, tips, and motivational tools to help you eat and live well.

Outpatient dietitians offer nutrition counseling and therapy in office or clinic settings. You may see a dietitian in person or via a TeleVideo Exam. More Information

When to See a Dietitian

You may benefit from working with a dietitian if you:

  • Want to make healthier food choices
  • Experience digestive issues, food allergies, or food intolerances
  • Want to gain or lose weight
  • Are considering or already had weight-loss surgery
  • Have a heart and vascular condition, such as heart failure
  • Need help managing a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Want to enhance your athletic performance through good nutrition
  • Are Undergoing cancer treatment

Medical Insight: Can You Outrun a Bad Diet? Video Transcript


The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Medical Insight. A patient is shown running on a treadmill and lifting hand weights.

TRACY BRIGGS: Every day, many Americans log miles on treadmills. Some are training for a race, while others hope to improve their health. But some are trying to outrun a bad diet. These people want to eat whatever they want, telling themselves they'll burn it off later with exercise. Not the case, says Essentia Health registered dietician, Jenny Bednar.

Jenny Bednar, registered dietician, speaks to the camera from her office.

JENNY BEDNAR: Well, I think we have to think of our bodies like a car. If you put in fuel that isn't good for that car, it's not going to run as efficiently. So same thing with our bodies. If we put in nutrition that isn't good, we're not going to be able to exercise as efficiently.

A variety of dishes are displayed on a table, including, meat, eggs, seeds, pasta, and nuts.

TRACY BRIGGS: Bednar says it comes down to the macronutrients in food. The protein, fat, and carbohydrates alter how your body burns calories and what is left to nourish you.

Medical Insight host, Tracy Briggs, holds a salad to the camera.

For example, this Greek salad with chicken has about 500 calories. So does this king size candy bar. But you're better off eating the salad because the protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in the salad fuel your body more efficiently and effectively than the sugary candy bar would. For those exercising who eat poorly, Bednar has this advice. JENNY BEDNAR: Well, I would tell him to experiment with it. Maybe eat the way they are and then exercise, and then maybe the next day eat a little bit better and exercise and then see how different they feel. Maybe they're able to run that extra a couple of minutes or do those extra reps at the gym. TRACY BRIGGS: Bednar says the scale doesn't tell the whole weight loss story. Look at how your clothes feel and the amount of body fat lost. To achieve the best results, diet and exercise need to work in tandem. JENNY BEDNAR: Well, I don't-- know you can't have one without the other. You can't diet without the exercise and hope to lose weight, but also vise versa. You can't exercise and have a poor diet and expect to lose a good amount of weight, either. TRACY BRIGGS: Not the news exercising junk food lovers want to hear. But Bednar says moderation is key, so an occasional treat can fit into a healthy lifestyle. With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Medical Insight.

Your First Appointment

During your first appointment, you and your dietitian may discuss:

  • Your medical history and nutrition needs
  • Your health and nutrition goals
  • Your current diet, eating habits, and food preferences
  • How you cook and shop for food
  • Your activity level
  • Dietary recommendations for your situation
  • Ways you can modify your diet to meet your goals

Your dietitian will work with you to create a food plan that considers your medical condition, grocery budget, personal tastes and preferences. You may be asked to keep a food diary—a record of what you eat and drink each day—and bring it to your follow-up appointments.

Certified Diabetes Educators

Many Essentia dietitians are also Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs). If you have diabetes or your doctor has said you are at risk of developing diabetes, our CDEs will help you learn more about your condition and how to control your blood sugar and weight. Rely on us for help developing a food plan that lets you manage diabetes well for the long-term.

Will Insurance Cover Dietitian Services?

Some insurance plans pay for dietitian services with a doctor’s referral. To learn what’s covered under your plan, contact your insurance provider.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a referral from your primary care provider or a specialist for this service.

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