What Does a Nutritionist Do?

It’s common knowledge that making wise food choices improves your overall health. However, making those choices can be challenging.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found that three-fourths of the U.S. population consumes below the recommended intake of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fat— and far exceeds the limits for added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.

While these numbers demonstrate how hard it can be to resist junk food, they are also impacted by people’s culture, age, lifestyle, illness, and activity levels. Not to mention our society’s shifting attitudes about certain nutrients.

So, who should you consult to understand what nutrients you should consume? Who should you work with to unravel confusing and conflicting dietary information? Who can best advise you on what’s healthy for your body and health? A nutritionist!

This article will discuss what nutritionists do to help people lead healthier and happier lives. We’ll also give examples of a nutritionist’s daily tasks and discuss the next steps for becoming a nutritionist yourself.

What is a Nutritionist?

A nutritionist is a broad title for a professional advising clients on nutrition and its effects on them. They help clients alter their diet to promote a healthier lifestyle and eating habits.

Nutritionists teach people new, realistic, and sustainable ways to eat and understand food. They do not recommend crash diets, detoxes, or quick fixes.

What Do Nutritionists Do?

Nutritionists work to understand their clients’ lifestyles and gain insight into clients’ diets, exercise routines, sleeping habits, stress levels, career and life commitments, and physical health.

Nutritionists use a holistic approach, considering additional factors like biochemistry, environment, mental health, and more to support their clients. They will then take all this information and create a personalized nutrition plan to help the client attain optimal health.

Of course, individual nutrition plans vary because the healthiest food choices for a college athlete, an older adult with prediabetes, or someone who wants to feel healthier will be vastly different.

Where Do Nutritionists Work?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts around 5,600 new jobs for nutritionists and dietitians annually between the years 2021 and 2031. With this much growth, combined with flexible online nutrition degree programs now available, the career opportunities for candidates are promising.

There are various job opportunities for nutritionists, from working in private practice to industry, research, publishing, and academia.

Nutritionists may find work in a variety of workplaces, including:

  • Private practices
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Holistic healthcare clinics
  • Sports facilities
  • Nutraceutical companies
  • Corporations
  • Community health organizations/non-profit organizations

What Does a Nutritionist Do Daily?

A nutritionist’s day-to-day work depends on their chosen workplace and specialty. For example, if your role is more administrative, you will be responsible for overseeing the performance of your staff and might not spend much face-to-face time with individual clients.

A nutritionist might also be in charge of designing nutrition education materials or consulting with clients, recommending therapeutic changes in diet, writing reports, or providing clinical support for other healthcare providers.

Broadly speaking, nutritionists complete daily tasks like:

  • Explaining nutrition and how it affects the client.
  • Assessing clients’ health needs and diet.
  • Establishing short-term and long-term health goals.
  • Developing meal plans, considering the costs and clients’ preferences.
  • Evaluating the effects of meal plans and adjusting the plans as needed.
  • Promoting better nutrition by giving talks to groups about diet and nutrition.
  • Staying up to date on the latest nutritional science research.

While the day-to-day duties can vary, rest assured that as a nutritionist, your focus will always be on nutrition and how it impacts health.

How Do You Become a Nutritionist?

Candidates must complete formal education and training to become a nutritionist. Some states require licensure to practice as a nutritionist, though license and degree requirements vary depending on where you live.

The education you need depends on the type of nutrition you want to practice and the regulations in your state. However, to become a certified nutritionist specialist, a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition (Nutrition MS) is required.

Candidates should check their state’s licensing requirements to work as a clinical nutritionist, as many states require some licensing to practice legally. CNS certification is a pathway to licensure in many of these states.

The Nutrition MS program at University of Bridgeport (UB) prepares graduates to educate, assess, and support the well-being of their clients through diet and nutrition in various workplaces and settings. Graduates can integrate their knowledge of biochemistry and physiology with nutritional, evidence-based interventions to help prevent and support their clients’ health challenges. Additionally, this degree program makes graduates eligible to pursue additional credentials like the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) from the American Nutrition Association (ANA).

Furthermore, candidates can complete UB’s program entirely online in as few as 23 months by collaborating and communicating with expert faculty and peers through online discussion boards and collaborative assignments.

Start your journey in this in-demand field and career by applying today. Together, let’s start something great!