What Can I Do With My Nutrition Qualification?

Eating is a part of everyday life and something that we all feel we can manage on our own. Yet, resisting the temptation to indulge in takeaways or fatty foods is harder than you think when you are surrounded by countless advertisements promoting easy accessibility to said foods. Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, etc.—you no longer have to visit most restaurants to get the foods you want. Instead, you can have a McDonald’s delivered straight to your door.

And as you can imagine, this practice can prove quite dangerous to some, as there is truly nothing stopping you from ordering out on a daily basis.

Now, you could argue that willpower alone is enough to ignore these temptations. In turn, you could point out how, from a young age, we are all taught the importance of balancing our diets and eating everything in moderation. But knowing is not the same as doing, and when you factor in the daily stresses of our jobs and lives, then keeping to this ruling is not as clear-cut as you may like.

So what can you do? How can you ensure that you stay on track?

The first step is to educate yourself…

Sure, we are all familiar with the concept of eating in moderation, but what are the exact quantities you are okay to have? In turn, how can you determine which foods are the best source of vitamins and proteins without having to spend years assessing every label you pick up?

Online nutrition courses—Healthy Eating and Nutrition, Nutrition and Health Award, Diet and Nutrition, Diet, Nutrition, and Exercise—can provide you with the knowledge and intel you need to successfully navigate these waters and truly understand the impact foods can have on your body when you don’t treat them with respect.

From learning about the science of food and the role carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, and fibres play within our bodies to understanding food labels and how to read them, this information can broaden your awareness and make it easier for you to make wiser food choices without eliminating the fun of eating.

In many ways, these courses can help to open your eyes and ensure you eat better.

In doing so, you will find it easier to lose any unwanted weight and keep your body fit, strong, and healthy.

What else can you do with online nutrition courses?

Now, you could easily do an online nutrition course and simply use the information to help yourself and your family. However, you could also use this knowledge to establish an inspiring and rewarding career, helping others stay healthy.

Take the following career paths you could pursue with a nutrition qualification in your arsenal:

Dietician/Nutritionist

With obesity on the rise among adults and children, more and more people are turning to dieticians and nutritionists for help.

Within this role, you would first assess their daily intake, dietary choices, health issues, and exercise levels, and then use this information to create tailored meal plans that could help them get back on track and lose weight. You would also use your knowledge to help educate and expand their awareness on the subject so that, long-term, they will eat right and stay healthy.

Nutritionists don’t just help people lose weight. They also assist those with diabetes, heart conditions, and food intolerances (gluten, dairy, etc.), by first helping them to understand food and its impact on their health conditions before showing them what they can and can’t eat.

This can be an incredibly diverse role, with you working with people of all ages and situations. You can also specialise in specific areas and work solely with those suffering from food intolerances or with certain age groups.

Gym instructor/Personal trainer

Many gym instructors don’t just teach people how to use their equipment correctly. Many also possess qualifications in nutrition so that they can help them match their diet to their exercise regime. For instance, someone wanting to build muscle and mass will require a very different diet than someone wishing to shed unwanted belly fat or build up their endurance.

Possessing nutritional knowledge will make them better instructors, as they’ll know which foods will help their clients achieve better and more noticeable results.

Physiotherapist

You might be thinking: ‘how can a physiotherapist who specialises in the treatment of injuries benefit from a nutrition qualification?’ But here is the thing: the foods we eat affect our bodies, including our ability to heal and recover. This means physiotherapists need a thorough understanding of food, diets, and nutrition in order to give their clients a better chance at recovering.

This is particularly true of those who work with athletes, as professional ones will want to get back to training as soon as possible. This is where knowledge of proteins, zinc, fatty omega-3 acids, etc. will come in handy, as you can shorten their recovery time.

Animal nutritionists

People are not the only ones to suffer from health issues from eating the wrong foods; our pets can too! In fact, there is a growing obesity pandemic among pets due to owners not understanding portion control and which foods are bad for them. Animal nutritionists can help pet owners manage portion sizes, timings, and their nutritional choices, which is particularly useful if the animal is dealing with diabetes, heart conditions, or other dietary problems.

** NOTE: if this career path interests you, you will need to do a specialist course in animal nutrition as their physiology is very different from ours.**

Community Education Officer

Alongside teaching children about puberty and bodily changes/urges, community education officers also visit schools with the aim of educating children about making healthy and sensible food choices so they don’t fall into bad eating habits from a young age. In turn, they will assist children with dietary issues, i.e., bulimia, anorexia, food intolerances, food allergies, or those wanting to become vegan or vegetarian.

Nutritional therapist

Nutritional therapists assist those who struggle with food and may have developed an unhealthy association with it (leading to rapid weight loss or weight gain). Their job is to help you overcome these associations and view food as a friend and ally.

Catering manager

Whether you work in a school or cater for larger events, it is important as a catering manager that you understand the needs of your clients and ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Likewise, you need to make sure that there is a healthy balance between foods that are healthy and those that are appealing.

For instance, in a bid to divert the attention of children away from fatty foods, catering managers have to think of new and inventive ways to make healthy food look more inviting, appealing, and tasty. This is where detailed knowledge on nutrition is essential, as children are at an important stage of development where their eating habits will now inform their decisions as adults. In turn, they need to be conscious of portion control and nutritional requirements so that children are getting a balanced diet.

Chef

Making food taste and look appealing is one thing; however, as a chef, it is pivotal that you keep your foods within the realm of being healthy so you don’t earn a reputation for producing unhealthy or fatty foods. Because of this, chefs need to possess thorough knowledge of food and its nutritional value, so the dishes they create are both nutritious and good for you.

Product developer

Anyone who has the job of creating pre-made meals or jars of sauce needs to be aware of the nutritional value of the foods they are making. This is particularly true if their meals or jars are dedicated to helping customers count calories and manage their diets (without making meals from scratch themselves). For instance, if they are advertising a dish that is low in fat and salt and has a specific number of calories, then it is essential that what they claim is true; otherwise, their reputation would be tarnished. A qualification in nutrition can help them navigate these waters and create tasty sauces and meals that can credibly help their customers.

How can you get into these nutrition careers?

As you can see, having a degree or online qualification in nutrition can open many doors and career opportunities for you. However, the qualification alone is not enough to get you through the door. For many of these jobs, they also want a level of work experience to prove that you can put this knowledge into practise.

So what can you do? Where are the best places to get work experience in nutrition?

  • Healthcare: hospitals, care homes, and hospices are all great places to begin building up your experience, as you’ll get to work and aid a variety of different people with different needs. From basic dietary support to restructuring their diet following surgery or a diagnosis, you can put your training to good use.
  • Sport centres and teams: shadowing or volunteering in a sports centre can prove incredibly useful if you want to work as a dietician or with athletes, as the dietary plans you’ll recommend will be focused on helping customers build muscle mass, lose weight, or hasten recovery from an injury.
  • Research bodies: if you’re more interested in the science behind food and its impact on the body, then gaining work experience with a research body could prove useful.

Other places to consider: NHS Trusts, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, sports companies, schools and community education providers, and caterers.

TIP: If possible, try to get work experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, as you may find yourself working across all three.

TIP TWO: Consider getting a student membership with The Nutrition Society, as they will keep you up-to-date with everything happening in the sector.

Who typically employs nutrition students?

If you’re not sure about what you want to do with your nutrition qualification yet, then understanding who you could end up working for could help. Typical employers of students with nutrition qualifications are:

  • Government or non-government aid agencies
  • International charities
  • Local authorities/councils
  • The NHS
  • Government departments e.g. the Department for Health
  • Multinational food manufacturers/retailers
  • Sports and leisure companies
  • Sports clubs, including sports professional associations
  • Universities
  • Research bodies
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Schools

You can even choose to go self-employed and work for yourself as a nutritionist, personal trainer or a dietician.

Next Steps…

From helping clients to train or adjust their diets following a diagnosis… there is much you can do with a nutrition qualification under your belt. So if you’re fascinated about the science of food and its impact on the body, then why not consider adding a nutrition qualification to your CV? Whether you choose to study online with a distance learning course or decide to go to university; this qualification can open many new and exciting doors

For more information on online nutrition courses, visit our website.

 

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