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Set Smart Lifestyle Goals with the Help of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Contributors: Holly Larson, MS, RD

Reviewers: Academy Nutrition Information Services Team

Published: October 03, 2022

Reviewed: November 28, 2023

Set Smart Lifestyle Goals with the Help of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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Are you ready for a healthier lifestyle but not sure where to start? Registered dietitian nutritionists (RD or RDN) are committed to helping people enjoy healthy lives through food and nutrition.
An RDN can help you create measurable, action-oriented and timely goals. Here are some examples of smart goals an RDN can help you with.

Get to Know Food Labels

Ever wonder what the numbers in the Nutrition Facts Panel really mean? Or the difference between "reduced fat" and "low fat"? The Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines on how food label terms can be used, and RDNs are all well-versed in navigating these terms. Learn more about food labels and how they relate to your individual needs.

Be Active

Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress. Start by doing an activity you can sustain for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don't have to hit the gym — take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball. An RDN can help you balance your meals and snacks with physical activity to help manage weight, blood sugar and performance. Some dietitians also specialize in sports nutrition.

Eat Enough Fiber

Naturally occurring dietary fiber is a great indicator of the overall quality of your eating patterns. Men need up to 34 grams per day and women need up to 28 grams per day. Not only do fiber-filled foods keep you feeling full, but also fiber helps to moderate cholesterol and promotes a healthy weight. Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you learn to estimate your daily fiber intake from healthful sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Pump Up the Flavor

If your first meal on your wellness mission is plain steamed veggies, brown rice and bland baked chicken, there is little enjoyment to help you stick to the new meal plan. While most Americans could benefit from less sodium, we don't need to ride the boring bandwagon. With varied experience helping people explore ways to boost the flavor of foods, RDNs often suggest using herbs, spices, citrus juice and zest, garlic, seasoning blends and hot sauce to amplify taste. Herbs and spices also may offer additional phytochemicals.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day keeps us energized and helps us to not confuse thirst for hunger. Our fluid needs vary day to day, and drinking enough to keep your urine pale is the best way to know you are adequately hydrated. Keep things interesting by using frozen fruit as ice cubes or adding fresh herbs, cinnamon sticks or citrus.

Don't Be Afraid to Enjoy Food

Health and wellness is a journey. It is what you do most of the time that impacts your long-term health. It is not an all-or-nothing or one-size-fits-all approach.

Whether you want to lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, consult the experts — registered dietitian nutritionists — who can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow, personalized nutrition advice and put you on the path to eating well and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

Find a Nutrition Expert

Looking for credible nutrition information and recommendations? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' network of credentialed food and nutrition practitioners are ready to help!