A nutritionist is a person who studies and provides recommendations about diets for individuals and institutions. Schools, hospitals, and clinics may have nutritionists who ensure that meal offerings meet general health needs. Nutritionists can also work one-on-one with individuals. They can provide dietary plans for persons wanting to lose weight, specific training suggestions for athletes, and guidance to patients who may require nutritional help because of chronic diseases or treatments.
In a one-on-one setting, a nutritionist works as something of a food counselor for individuals who need help with planning their own diets and meals. In these cases, the person and the nutritionist will identify the goals that the diet is meant to achieve. These can be as simple as losing weight, or they can involve assisting patients to get proper nutrients during treatments like chemotherapy. The nutritionist will work to help plan meals and provide education and knowledge to help the person meet their individual goals.
To work as a nutritionist, a person typically must have a bachelor's degree in nutrition or a related food science. Many institutions, especially hospitals, are likely to require postgraduate degrees as well. Nutritionists typically work in an office environment, but they may also spend time in industrial kitchens, as well as working with clients in their own homes or in clinical office settings.
Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits and nutrition monitoring.
Screen, assess and evaluate nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
May monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, diet modifications, food selection and preparation.
Consult with physicians and health care staff to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient.