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Is A Nutrition Specialist Worth The Cost? How To Find the Right One

April 20th, 2022 | 4 min. read

Is A Nutrition Specialist Worth The Cost? How To Find the Right One
Brad Atkinson

Brad Atkinson

Motion Specialist // Certified Personal Trainer // SFGII // SFL //Nutrition Coach // TPI // EW Motion Therapy Homewood

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When you want to begin a new program, you always have to think about the cost. You have to consider how much you are willing to pay and whether your estimate aligns with the service you expect. This is especially true if you are seeking further advice for your nutrition. If you have tried a free program or diet and failed, it could be worth it for you to pay for an expert’s advice. But what is a reasonable cost? And how do you know you will get a good product for your money? 


Good nutrition is vital to your health, and it is always a good idea to get professional help if you feel that you need it. Our nutrition coaches at EW Motion Therapy offer personalized advice and a sustainable habit-building program so our clients can take control of their health and build lifelong habits. Even if you choose not to use our nutrition services, we still want to advise on how much you should look to pay for a professional. 


This article discusses national average costs for nutrition professionals, factors that affect price, and some tips to save money. With this information, you can hire the proper nutrition professional and pay only as much as you can afford.


How much should I pay? 

It can be difficult to discern an average cost for nutrition specialists due to many factors we’ll discuss in a bit. Generally, in the Southeast area, nutrition specialists can charge anywhere between $75 and $125 per hour for their services. Again, this is a rough estimate for our region - in large cities like Los Angeles, you can expect upwards of $500 per hour for personalized nutrition advice. 


Many nutrition specialists also offer packages, where you can pay a set price up front for a certain number of sessions, or weeks in their program. Package prices can also vary, so let’s discuss a few of the things that can affect your out-of-pocket cost. 


What factors affect cost? 

When seeking a nutrition specialist, there are four primary factors that may influence the cost of their services. We’ve already discussed your region as an influencing factor, so let’s go over the other three. 


Quality of service 

If you decide to splurge on a $100 pair of shoes, you expect them to be of higher quality than a pair that costs $5. The same concept applies to nutrition services - for the most part, you get what you pay for. You can pay a small membership fee to download an app, or you can hire a personal nutritionist or dietitian who can create a custom meal plan that takes all your needs into account. In some cases, especially if you have tried doing an app or other plan yourself and failed, it is probably worth it to pay a little more. 



You could pay more for a certain nutrition specialist in your area if they have advanced certifications or titles. There are many titles among nutrition specialists that can be used interchangeably, but a registered dietitian (RD) must obtain college degrees and certifications to use that title. Similarly, nutritionists must have a college degree in nutrition to use that title - if someone has a certification in nutrition but not a degree, they can call themselves a nutrition coach. If you decide that you would like to see a registered dietitian as opposed to a nutrition coach, you can expect to pay more for the dietitian’s clinical knowledge and expertise.


Insurance coverage 

Most insurance plans do not cover nutrition services, the exception being registered dietitians. Because they are clinical professionals that treat clients with various diseases and health conditions, a doctor can prescribe sessions with a dietitian, which may be covered by some insurance plans. For example, if you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor can prescribe sessions with a dietitian to develop a food plan that regulates your blood sugar. If your doctor prescribes these sessions but your insurance does not cover it, some patients pay from their health savings account (HSA) if they have one. You can always discuss payment options with your doctor so you do not go over your personal budget. 


How can I save money? 

If you are just starting out on your journey to improved nutrition, you may not need to seek expert advice right away. Rather, the internet is a treasure trove of information, as long as you find accredited and referenced sources. There is a big difference between following a crash diet and really doing your research to educate yourself on proper nutrition - most nutrition specialists will condense online sources so you do not have to do the research on your own.


The basic tenets of good nutrition are fairly simple: take in less calories than what you burn, and eat a balanced diet of good quality food. If you can find some internet sources that follow those foundational principles, you can create a personalized plan on your own, for free. But, if you have tried this and feel that you cannot do it on your own, there are many professionals out there who can give you more guidance.


Which specialist is right for me?

Now you know more about the costs associated with nutrition specialists and how you can save money in the long run. It is important to realize that you could spend the money now to receive personalized recommendations, or you may have to spend even more on health issues that arise down the road. Titles of professionals can be confusing, but this article breaks it down a little more so you can know exactly which specialist is right for your needs. 


Our nutrition coaches at EW Motion Therapy promote sustainable healthy habits for a lifetime of good eating and improved health. We offer multiple packages that include in-person sessions, virtual sessions, and a 24-hr chat feature, so our clients can have the flexibility they deserve. If you are interested in nutrition services with us, fill out the Request an Appointment form on our website, and someone from our staff will contact you within 48 hours with your next steps.