Sep 18, 2023 • 11 min read

How Much Do Nutritionists & Dietitians Cost? (Average Cost With Insurance & Out-of-Pocket)

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Nutritionists and dietitians specialize in diet and nutrition to help people adopt healthier habits around food. They often specialize in a specific area such as weight management, pregnancy, sports nutrition, and more. 

Nutritionists and dietitians play a key role in helping people achieve their health and wellness goals. Many people seek guidance from these experts to maintain a healthy body weight or for other health-related reasons.

But how much do nutritionist and dietitian visits cost?

If you have health insurance, you may pay as little as $0 for visits with a registered dietitian. If you don’t have insurance or have to pay out-of-pocket for another reason, they typically cost around $100 to $200 per visit. 

For example, 90% of patients who book a dietitian visit through us here at Zaya Care pay $0 for appointments since our providers accept over 100 insurance plans such as Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Centivo, Cigna, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Oxford Freedom, United Healthcare, and many more. When you request an appointment, we’ll check your insurance so you know how much you’ll have to pay, if anything at all.

This guide goes over everything you need to know about the cost of visits with nutritionists and dietitians, including costs with and without insurance, average costs by state, and more.

How much do registered dietitian and nutritionist visits cost?

How much your visit will cost depends on whether you have health insurance or not and what coverage you have. Several factors affect the cost of your visit including credentials and/or certifications held by the expert, experience level, the location of the dietitian, and your insurance provider. 

How much do registered dietitian and nutritionist visits cost with insurance?

Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are typically covered by insurance. However, a nutritionist without these specific credentials is likely not covered. If your insurance covers nutrition counseling, you could pay as little as $0 depending on your plan. 

If your plan doesn’t completely cover your visit, you can expect to pay less than the full price of what the RD/RDN charges for a full hour. In this case, you may pay anywhere from $10 to $40 out-of-pocket.

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How much do registered dietitian and nutritionist visits cost without insurance (out-of-pocket)?

If you do not have insurance or if your insurance company does not cover nutrition counseling, you can expect to pay around $100 to $200 per visit. Typically, the initial visit costs more than the follow-up visits because it takes more time. We will go over average costs by state in the next section. 

Average registered dietitian & registered dietitian nutritionist visits cost by state

Sidecar Health, a health insurance company, provides data on the average cost of nutritionist visits by state based on claims they’ve received. Note that the costs below don’t include anesthesia, imaging, and other doctor visit fees.

State Average Cost
Alabama $73 to $108
Alaska $99 to $147
Arizona $82 to $123
Arkansas $72 to $107
California $90 to $135
Colorado $80 to $118
Connecticut $87 to $130
Delaware $85 to $126
District of Columbia $84 to $125
Florida $80 to $119
Georgia $75 to $112
Hawaii $76 to $113
Idaho $74 to $110
Illinois $84 to $124
Indiana $76 to $113
Iowa $69 to $103
Kansas $72 to $107
Kentucky $73 to $109
Louisiana $82 to $121
Maine $74 to $110
Maryland $87 to $129
Massachusetts $89 to $133
Michigan $82 to $122
Minnesota $93 to $138
Mississippi $74 to $110
Missouri $73 to $109
Montana $76 to $113
Nebraska $74 to $111
Nevada $79 to $117
New Hampshire $79 to $117
New Jersey $96 to $142
New Mexico $73 to $108
New York $90 to $134
North Carolina $72 to $107
North Dakota $80 to $119
Ohio $75 to $112
Oklahoma $80 to $119
Oregon $82 to $122
Pennsylvania $85 to $126
Rhode Island $90 to $134
South Carolina $77 to $114
South Dakota $72 to $107
Tennessee $72 to $108
Texas $78 to $116
Utah $81 to $121
Vermont $80 to $119
Virginia $78 to $116
Washington $87 to $129
West Virginia $78 to $116
Wisconsin $82 to $122
Wyoming $80 to $119

How much does a meal plan from a dietitian or nutritionist cost?

If your dietitian or nutritionist is developing a custom meal plan for you, the cost can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. Your health condition, your specific nutrition needs, the experience of the nutritionist, and the length of the meal plan all affect how much you may pay for it. 

A custom meal plan from a dietitian is typically an additional out-of-pocket expense. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $250 for a one-week meal plan on top of your appointment. Talk with your dietitian about what they offer as far as custom meal plans. 

How to choose the right dietitian for you

If you are seeking expert guidance from a dietitian, it is important to find someone who will be able to address your specific needs. There are many great dietitians out there, but not all of them may be a good fit, primarily if they do not specialize in your specific condition. Below are a few things to consider when choosing a dietitian. 

  • Experience. Every dietitian has different experiences working in different work settings with different populations. If you have serious health concerns that require specific nutrition needs, look for someone who has several years of experience working with your health-related condition. If you are simply looking for general nutrition advice, seeking help from a less-experienced dietitian is perfectly fine. 
  • Reviews. You can learn a lot about the reputation of a dietitian by reading reviews. Consider what other people have said about their experiences with the services they were provided when searching for someone to work with. 
  • Specialties. Most dietitians have specialties that they focus on in their practice. If you have a certain health condition or a specific nutrition-related need, try to find a dietitian who specializes in that area. We will go over specialties more in detail in the next section.  
  • Cost. On average, a one-hour consultation with a dietitian may cost anywhere from $100-$200 if they do not accept insurance. Consider what is reasonable for you financially when deciding. Typically, the more experience, training, and certifications a dietitian has, the more expensive their services are. 
  • Credentials. If you have a health condition and need medical nutrition therapy, make sure you seek a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Nutritionists or nutrition coaches without these credentials are not legally able to provide certain services that dietitians are, and they are not usually covered by insurance.
  • In-person vs. virtual. Nowadays, many dietitians practice in a virtual setting. If you prefer to speak with a dietitian in person, make sure you check if your dietitian offers in-person sessions. On the other hand, you may be considering a dietitian who is not near you. In this case, it is important to ask about virtual sessions. 
  • Coaching style. Coaching styles and nutrition philosophies may vary among dietitians. Some dietitians prefer to write out specific meal plans and focus on calorie counting while others coach you through making habit changes. Consider what you think would work best for you and ask your dietitian what their approach to nutrition counseling is. 

>> Read more: Benefits of working with a nutritionist or dietitian

Nutritionist & dietitian specialties

The nutrition needs of people vary greatly based on their stage of life, health conditions, and personal goals. Dietitians and nutritionists often have a niche that they are most passionate and knowledgeable about. Below are common specialties that nutritionists and dietitians will focus on. 

  • Pediatric. Pediatric dietitians specialize in nutrition for growing infants and children. These dietitians will often get their CSP certification, which is a Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition. Pediatric dietitians are great for picky eaters, kids with food allergies, and those who have failure to thrive. 
  • Renal. Renal dietitians work with patients with kidney disease. They often work in a dialysis center. These dietitians typically have their CSR, which is a Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition. A renal dietitian will help you choose the right foods and portions to manage your kidney disease. 
  • Oncology. Oncology dietitians work with cancer patients to help meet their nutrition needs during treatment. They help patients avoid malnutrition and maintain a healthy body weight. Registered Dietitians who also have their CSO certification are Board-Certified Specialists in Oncology Nutrition. 
  • PCOS. Some dietitians and nutritionists specialize in women’s health and focus on specific conditions, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. A PCOS dietitian will work with women to reduce symptoms, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, and improve fertility. 
  • Gut health (IBD, IBS). Gut health is a popular trend in the health and wellness industry. More and more dietitians and nutritionists are specializing in gut health because of the impact it has shown to have on overall health. Gut health dietitians also help individuals with inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome improve their symptoms. 
  • Allergies. Many people with food allergies and intolerances seek expert guidance to help them navigate food choices. Dietitians who specialize in allergies can help people meet their nutrition needs while avoiding certain foods that will cause an allergic reaction. 
  • Diabetes. Diabetes dietitians help diabetic patients get their blood sugar under control, maintain a healthy body weight, and achieve good overall nutrition. Dietitians who specialize in diabetes will also receive their Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credentials.
  • Disordered eating. Disordered eating dietitians have extra training in this unique area of nutrition. A Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) guides patients to meet their nutritional needs while recovering from eating disorders or disordered eating. 
  • GERD (acid reflux & heartburn). GERD and acid reflux dietitians specialize in gastroesophageal reflux disease. They help people manage their symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn through proper diet. 
  • Geriatric. Geriatric dietitians focus on nutrition for the older population. They typically work in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. A dietitian with a CSG credential is a Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition. 
  • Plant-based (vegan & vegetarian). Many people choose to follow plant-based diets for a variety of reasons. Dietitians who specialize in plant-based nutrition are typically vegans or vegetarians themselves. They help those who prefer a plant-based diet meet their nutrition needs with the food restrictions they have. 
  • Prenatal. If you want to achieve a healthy pregnancy, a dietitian who specializes in prenatal care can help you modify your diet to ensure you are getting all the necessary nutrients. 
  • Postpartum. After birth, a postpartum dietitian can help moms in several ways like helping you eat correctly for breastfeeding, replenishing nutrients lost during pregnancy or childbirth, and improving your energy. 
  • Thyroid. Thyroid dietitians specialize in conditions of the thyroid, such as Hashimoto’s Disease. Using proper nutrition for thyroid health, dietitians can help people manage their symptoms, regain their energy, and even lose weight. 
  • Weight loss. Many dietitians focus their expertise on weight management. Weight loss dietitians will use different nutrition strategies to help you reach your weight goals, such as following a set meal plan, tracking calories, or developing healthy nutrition habits. You can learn more about how dietitians can help you lose weight here.
  • Certified intuitive eating counselors. Intuitive eating is about following your body’s natural ability to tell you if you are hungry or satisfied. Those who have a history of following diets or with disordered eating may seek help from an intuitive eating dietitian to gain a positive relationship with food. 
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What to expect in your dietitian appointment

Meeting with a dietitian for the first time may be intimidating if you do not know what to expect. Some people expect to be judged by what they eat and to be given a rigid plan. However, in most cases, this is simply not the case. 

Dietitians help educate and provide expert guidance in achieving your health and wellness goals through proper nutrition. They aim to be a positive support system and to provide accountability so you can be successful in adopting new nutrition habits and reaching your goals. 

Initial appointment

Most dietitians will focus on getting to know all about you, your current habits, and your goals during your initial appointment. Your dietitian will gather as much information as possible to make sure they know everything they need to in order to provide the best suggestions around your diet. You can also ask any questions you have for your dietitian that may help them tailor your care and make sure your concerns are addressed.

Your dietitian may also discuss what you can expect from working with them and following the plan they set in place for you. Along with your long-term goals, you will likely be left with a few simple short-term goals that will get you started in the right direction. 

Follow-up appointment 

During your first follow-up appointment, your dietitian will assess your current goals and how well you were able to stick to them. If you were given a meal plan to follow, you may discuss with your dietitian any areas that you liked or that were challenging for you. 

If you are unable to achieve your goals, your dietitian will discuss what barriers there are for you to achieve your nutrition goals and a plan to overcome those barriers. If you were successful with your initial goals, your dietitian will likely help you set new goals to keep you moving forward toward your long-term goal. 

>> Read more: What to expect in your appointment with a dietitian

How Zaya Care helps you book registered dietitians covered by your insurance

Looking for a dietitian who can help with something specific? Check out our guides that can help you find your match:

Dietitian & nutritionist cost FAQs

What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
The main difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is the amount of education and training received. Dietitians receive more education and training compared to nutritionists. Unlike nutritionists, dietitians are also legally able to practice medical nutrition therapy.

Does insurance cover visits with a dietitian?
Most major insurance companies cover dietitian visits. However, coverage depends on your provider, the state you live in, and your policy. Check with your insurance provider about details of your coverage and make sure to schedule with a dietitian who is in-network with your provider. You may also need a doctor referral to see a dietitian depending on your coverage.

Does insurance cover visits with a nutritionist?
Because nutritionists do not have the credentials required by insurance carriers, insurance typically does not cover visits with a nutritionist.

How much do dietitian visits typically cost with insurance?
Sometimes, a dietitian visit can cost you as little as $0 depending on your insurance policy. 

How much do dietitian visits typically cost without insurance (out-of-pocket)?
The cost of a dietitian visit can be anywhere from $100 to $200 out-of-pocket. This often varies from one dietitian to the other depending on their specialty, experience, and where they are located. 

Is seeing a nutritionist or dietitian worth it?
Because nutrition has a big impact on health, working with a nutritionist or a dietitian is worth it for the results you can achieve. It may be challenging to make changes at first, but most would agree that those challenges are worth the improvements in your energy, body weight, health, and quality of life.

How can a nutritionist or dietitian help me?
A nutritionist or dietitian can help you understand your individual nutrition needs. They can also help you achieve your individual health goals, like a healthy body weight, or help you prevent and manage certain diseases. Make sure you work with a dietitian who specializes in your needs to get the most out of your experience. 

When should I see a dietitian or nutritionist?
When you should see a dietitian depends on your individual health goals and medical needs. If your doctor refers you to see a dietitian, you should schedule an appointment as soon as you are able. 

How many times should I expect to see my dietitian/nutritionist?
The number of times you see your dietitian depends on your situation. Some people may need to follow up with their dietitian only once or twice for them to make the changes they need. Others will need ongoing support and follow-up with their dietitian on a weekly or monthly basis. Your dietitian will help you determine how often is appropriate for you. 

Will my dietitian give me a meal plan?
In some cases, your dietitian may give you a specific meal plan to follow. Your dietitian will often work with you and your preferences to make sure the meal plan is realistic for you to follow while also meeting all your nutrition needs. 

Can a dietitian help with weight loss?
A dietitian, especially one who specializes in weight management, can certainly help you lose weight. Your registered dietitian will also work with you to develop healthy habits to lose weight at a healthy pace and to keep the weight off.

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Kamryn is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in performance nutrition and weight management. She has experience in a variety of settings as a dietitian, including sports, clinical, and private practice. She currently provides individualized nutrition and fitness coaching to adult men and women. Kamryn is passionate about using evidence-based nutrition strategies to help people achieve long-term success with their fitness goals and to maintain a healthier lifestyle.