Beyond Food: What a Dietitian Can Do For You



Today is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day- a day to celebrate the dedication of dietitians as advocates for advancing the nutritional health of people around the world.

I personally chose to become a Dietitian so that I could empower people by giving them knowledge and tools to optimize their total health and well-being.  As La Rochefoucauld stated, “to eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Practicing the art of intelligent eating is fascinating and constantly evolving and is part of what drew me to this profession and keeps me passionate about what I do.  

So, what exactly does a dietitian do anyways?  

Does the thought of seeing a dietitian have you feeling nervous? Are they going to take away everything I love and crave? Lecture me about eating more vegetables? Shame me for my poor eating habits?

This could not be further from the truth.

We, your SAS HCC Nutritionists/Dietitians, are here to tell you that we are not the “food police!”  Our focus and passion are to make food and nutrition enjoyable. We will partner with you to develop a realistic and sustainable plan that works for you! Hopefully, I’ve started to ease some of your concerns.

Registered Dietitians are NOT the food police! Learn what we really do and how we can help you! #rdnday #saslife Click To Tweet

Nutritionist vs. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

All registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. While anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have:

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics, public health or a related field from an accredited college or university;
  • Completed an extensive 1200 hour supervised accredited internship;
  • Passed a rigorous national registration examination;
  • Obtained 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years.

When choosing a nutrition professional, look for someone who holds a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential- the two credentials have identical meanings.


Integrative and Functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionists: Incorporating a root cause approach to healing using food as medicine

At the Health Care Center at SAS Headquarters in Cary, NC, I am one of three Master’s Level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists on staff who has received additional advanced clinical training in Integrative and Functional Nutrition which allows us to see patients through a different lens. We combine holistic whole food therapies, targeted supplementation and mind-body modalities to heal underlying issues, instead of just treating the symptoms.

Not in Cary, NC? No worries. Find an Integrative and Functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in your area.


Beyond Food

Like I mentioned earlier, dietitians aren’t simply the food police.  Using an Integrative and Functional Nutrition approach allows us to examine your whole being, not just the food you put in your mouth.  In addition to formulating the right eating plan for you, we also delve into:

  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition-Related Labs
  • Hormone Levels
  • Medication Interactions
  • Nutrient Depletions
  • and much more!

There is SO much to take into consideration to truly optimize health and well-being.  And that’s what a highly trained dietitian can offer you!

Still not convinced? Take a look at the scenarios below and see what you think. We bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll walk away with after a visit with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!

*Please note that these are examples and are not meant to be used as medical advice.  Please contact a RDN/RD for personalized nutrition information and guidance.


I find being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to be a very rewarding profession.  Every patient and every day are unique and different, which keeps things interesting and engaging.

So throw out any preconceived notions you have of dietitians and schedule a nutrition appointment.  Nutrition (like life) is a journey, not a destination. Wherever you are on your path, we’ll meet you there and will do our absolute best to help you become your best, most vibrant self.


Instant Pot Chicken Quinoa Taco Bowl

Recipe Adapted from: A Spoon Full of Love
Makes 4 Servings




1-1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
2½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup salsa
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1½ cups water and/or chicken broth

Optional Toppings: salsa, sliced avocado, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, jalapeno, etc.



  1. Place chicken in Instant Pot insert.
  2. Mix together chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano.
  3. Sprinkle over chicken.
  4. Pour salsa over seasoned chicken.
  5. Add quinoa.
  6. Cover with water and/or broth.
  7. Secure the lid and set to cook on Manual High Pressure for 12 minutes, then Quick Release Pressure when done.
  8. Check to ensure chicken is done (at least 165ºF with a meat thermometer).  If it isn’t, reseal lid and pressure cook for 2-3 more minutes and check again.
  9. Remove chicken, shred and return to pot.  It may look a little soupy, but the extra liquid will quickly absorb as it sits for a few minutes.
  10. Serve over a bed of mixed greens and with your favorite taco toppings.


About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner, Certified Biofeedback Instructor and also has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys crafting, cooking, walking and spending as much time as possible at the beach. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.

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