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What Qualifications are Needed to Become a Nutritionist in the United Kingdom?

By Yann, published on 26/09/2018 We Love Prof > Health and Fitness > Nutrition > How to Become a Qualified Nutritionist in the UK

“In our fast-forward culture, we have lost the art of eating well. Food is often little more than fuel to pour down the hatch while doing other stuff- surfing the Web, driving, walking down the street. Dining al desko is now the norm in many workplaces. All of this speed take a toll. Obesity, eating disorders and poor nutrition are strife.” -Carl Honore

British citizens are eating more processed, fattening and fried foods than ever before. This may be due to the fact that people do not believe they have the time to cook healthy meals. It is much easier to grab a burger and chips from a fast food restaurant drive-thru than go back home and make a balanced meal with all the important food groups represented.

Nevertheless, there comes a point where individuals realize that their diets are affecting their health and things need to be changed. Many do not know where to look for guidance since doctors and websites only provide contradicting information.

Where can you find the best help to improve your health?

Nutritionists offer the best advice and are experts in the field of health. They promote healthy eating and introduce new food items into your diet that contribute to a more nutritious lifestyle. They also have a wide collection of easy recipes to make that are extremely for the health. This is very practical for the majority of people who simply do not know what to cook.

With the right recipes, frozen dinners and processed meals become a thing of the past in your household!

Nonetheless, how does one become a nutritionist?

There are certain stages and qualifications needed to become a practising nutritionist in the United Kingdom. Superprof is here to show aspiring nutritionists what professional qualifications are necessary and instruct individuals seeking nutritionists what to look for.

Understanding What a Nutrition Does

eating the right foods Many nutritionists work in the public sector at schools planning lunches to make sure that pupils are getting the right nutrients. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Before deciding to train for months or years in the field of health to become a registered nutritionist, it would be wise to understand the work of a nutrition. For example, their work is varied and requires expertise in different areas.

There are nutritionists working in the private sector with exclusive clients providing nutrition therapy and there are others working in the public sector in hospitals, schools, factories and nursing homes.

There are various types of nutritionists such as food nutritionists, sports nutritionists and public health nutritionists all working in different professional sectors in the United Kingdom. 

Food nutritionists work in the private sector and are often hired by factories or companies that market and produce food. They analyze the science, ingredients and policies before marketing a new food item. They make sure that the ingredients and preservatives meet government standards and are not dangerous to the health of citizens. Some experienced nutritionists may train ones with less experience at food manufacturing industries, catering companies and supermarket chains.

Public health nutritionists work in the public sector at schools, universities, hospitals and in the government. These nutritionists examine health policies and programmes to make sure that everything is up to standard. Different roles may include working with the cafeteria staff in hospitals and schools to plan meals that are nutritious and beneficial for the health, conducting research and analyzing trends in communities to raise awareness for healthy eating and organizing health campaigns in schools to teach students about right at a young age.

Whatever their job title might be, nutritionists work hard to provide facts and research that will positively benefit the lives of human beings. 

Nutritionists are extremely health-conscious and possess a wide range of skills that help them excel at their jobs. Here are some of the necessary skills a nutritionist needs to have:

  • Incredible communication skills: this is important because nutritionists deal with people all the time. They need to make the client feel heard and respected.
  • Non-judgemental attitude: after hearing the daily diets of some clients you might just want to scream and give up because it is so obvious to you. However, many have been stuck with negative eating habits their whole life and simply do not understand what is involved in eating healthy. Being non-judgemental will help you acquire more clients due to the fact that people will feel comfortable with you. Listen to their concerns and provide help instead of judgement.
  • Organization skills: having a well-organized schedule will help nutritionists juggle all of their clients. No one wants to hire a nutritionist who forgets about customers dietary restrictions while catering a wedding due to lack of organization. Eating dairy can be disastrous for some and create unfavourable memories on their wedding day!
  • Inspiring and motivational: nutritionists who inspire clients and motivate them to adopt a healthy lifestyle are the most successful. Customers who feel that it is possible to meet their dietary goals are more inclined to follow through.

Nutritionists are highly experienced professionals working in the field of health who have a wide range of tasks. They also have a love for people and want to see them meet their dietary goals.

Professional Qualifications Required For Those Working in Nutrition

becoming a professional tutor Qualified nutritionists have received professional training from university or other relevant courses in order to be approved by the AfN. (Source: Visual Hunt)

While there are some nutritionists working without any professional qualifications in the private sector, the majority of employers prefer to hire those who have at least an undergraduate degree (BSc) in Nutritional Science or something similar.

What is a Nutritional Sciences degree?

It is an undergraduate degree that takes 4 years to complete. Students analyze the increasingly important correlation between diet and health. Many who receive a diploma from this university programme later find themselves working in nutrition, public health or food product development.

The Manchester Metropolitan University offers a sandwich route which allows students to spend the third year of studies on job placement. Students of nutritional sciences can find themselves working at different companies such as Kellogs & Unilever, Pepsico, Bakkavor and Tate & Lyle.

An undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences is not the only accreditation or degree accepted by future employers. The most important thing is to undertake courses that are certified by the prestigious and reputable Association for Nutrition (AfN). The Association for Nutrition holds the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) and is the only register of qualified nutritionists recognized by Public Health England and NHS Careers.

Their standards were developed with support from the Department of Health and Public Health England. Therefore, nutritionists who have studied nutrition courses approved by the AfN are of the highest standard and are more esteemed by employers and clients. Check out the AfN website to see their accredited courses and read interesting articles.

Companies hiring often advertise for nutritionists who have been registered with the UKVRN. 

If you do not possess a degree or certified course that is accepted by the AfN there is another option to receive the qualifications of a registered nutritionist. Those who have been working in the field of nutrition for the past seven years and can demonstrate significant professional experience will be approved by the AfN.

Experience is sometimes the best qualification because throughout your years of hands-on work you learnt the basics and developed the skills that some graduates with a BSc in Nutritional Science do not yet possess.

It is also important to note that acquiring qualifications to achieve a nutrition degree starts in secondary school. Many nutrition courses require two or three A-Level subjects such as biology or chemistry along with 5 GCSEs that need to include maths, English language and science. 

After receiving all the needed qualifications in nutrition education and being approved to work as a registered nutrition, it would be very wise to get insured. For example, a nutritionist plans diets that help star athletes improve performance, however, if you make a mistake and create a diet that causes health complications to the athlete you may be sued for malpractice.

Therefore, before starting to offer health tips and plan diets get general liability or malpractice insurance to protect yourself against potential risks.

Being well qualified and possessing a degree in nutrition will make clients and employers appreciate you even more. Take the time to correctly study nutrition in order to be of greater help to customers who are struggling with health problems.

Helpful Tips From the Best Nutritionists

having enough water Drinking enough water will benefit your health in many different ways. (Source: Visual Hunt)

One of the primary reasons people suffer from a poor diet is due to the fact that they don’t have time to cook the right things and are unsure about what healthy foods need to be implemented in their daily meals.

Without helpful tips, nutritious recipes and diet plans from health professionals many people stick to their old ways and buy too many processed meats, refined carbs and obscene amounts of sugar. 

The best nutritionists are concerned about the health of citizens and work hard to raise awareness in order to help individuals adopt a healthy lifestyle. Nutritionists show concerned men and women that cooking healthful recipes can be easy and doesn’t occupy too much time. Here are some of the most useful tips from qualified nutritionists to ensure a healthier life:

  • Eat enough healthy proteins: there is nothing wrong with eating chicken, beef and pork occasionally. Nevertheless, there are healthier proteins that can be implemented into your diet to make you feel more full and get the nutrients you need. Beans, chickpeas, eggs, tofu, salmon and other kinds of seafood are all extremely beneficial proteins that should be eaten during all three meals of the day.
  • Drink more water: human beings do not drink enough water. Men should have a recommended daily intake of 125 ounces per day (about 16 cups) and women should consume 90 ounces (approximately 11 cups) per day. There are so many health benefits of drinking water, for example, it flushes out toxins, improves your complexion, maintains a healthy digestive system which means less constipation, prevents headaches and improves your heart health.
  • Eat a better breakfast: many nutritionists create healthy breakfast plans for clients because there are too many who skip breakfast entirely or eat their recommended daily intake of sugar with just one bran muffin and a sugary coffee drink. Breakfast starts your day off well and is the most important meal of the day. Choosing healthy options such as boiled eggs, fresh fruit, greek yoghurt and whole grain bread can completely change your mood and make you feel completely satisfied.
  • Be mindful and balanced: listening to your body is extremely important. Eat until you are satisfied not completely full. Plan your meals and stick to that plan. Ask yourself why you are eating: Am I hungry? Stressed? Bored? Instead of eating foods that have “fake” calories such as carbs, try eating nutritious food items that will leave you feeling satisfied and content.
  • Eat your fruits and vegetables: this has been a helpful tip since the beginning of time. Mothers have always fought with their children to eat more vegetables but they were right! Nutritionists highly recommend a daily intake of well-chosen fruits and vegetables because they are filled with prebiotic fibre, vitamins, minerals and plenty of antioxidants. Studies have shown that those who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer and reduce the risks of heart disease and obesity.

Nutritionists are a gold mine for helpful dietary tips that contribute to a better lifestyle and overall wellness. The aforementioned suggestions are just a few that can help individuals become more healthy.

When looking for a nutritionist or dietitian it is best to find a qualified one that has undergone a course accepted by the AfN. The advice from qualified nutritionists is extremely valuable and can save you from many diseases and illnesses. Find a nutritionist as soon as possible in order to achieve your health goals today!

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