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Where Can You Work as a Nutritionist in the UK?

By Yann, published on 27/09/2018 Blog > Health and Fitness > Nutrition > What Jobs are Available for Nutritionists in the Public and Private Sector?

“Just imagine how much easier our lives would be if we were born with a ‘user guide or owner’s manual’ which could tell us what to eat and how to live healthy.” -Erika M. Szabo

While human beings are not provided with an instruction manual on the day of their birth, there are qualified professionals that can give us correct advice to enjoy happier lives. If you have emotional problems and unresolved issues there are therapists available. If you need an exercise routine planned there are personal trainers at your disposal and if you need help to adopt a healthier lifestyle there are experienced nutritionists here to save the day!

Nutritionists are experts in the field of health and provide helpful answers to all of their client’s questions. Many citizens in the United Kingdom hire professional nutritionists or dietitians to provide them with useful health tips, beneficial recipes and diet plans with the purpose of adopting a healthier lifestyle.

While many nutritionists can be found working without a university degree, the grand majority of employers prefer to hire nutritionists that have taken relevant nutrition education courses approved by the Association for Nutrition (AfN).

Nutritionists perform a wide variety of tasks working in the private or public sector. Professional duties and salaries differ based on previous experience, former education and job title.

Becoming a nutritionist is a rewarding career and is especially suited for those who have a passion for eating well, a love for others and the ability to inspire and motivate people. 

If being a nutritionist has always interested you and are curious in knowing where you might work, Superprof is here to explain where qualified nutritionists may find work in the public and private sector and what job tasks are to be expected.

Nutritionists Working in the Public Sector

eating the best food Nutritionists working in the public sector often plan meals in school or hospital cafeterias to make sure that all are eating healthy. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Nutritionists who work in the public sector have a wide variety of tasks. They may find themselves working in hospitals, schools, universities, nursing homes, the government and fitness centres.

Those working in the public sector have usually undergone different professional training courses or have obtained a degree in Nutritional Sciences (BSc) from one of the UK’s accredited universities. The most important thing is to have studied a course that is approved by the prestigious Association for Nutrition (AfN). Check out their website to see what degree-level courses are accepted and accredited.

Some of the course accredited on their website include animal nutrition, global/international nutrition, human nutrition, nutrition and exercise, nutrition and food science, public health nutrition and sports nutrition just to name a few.

After being registered by the UK Voluntary Register for Nutritionists (UKVRN) and adhering to the AfN standards of ethics, conduct and performance, you have different job responsibilities depending on the area of work you may do.

Here are some of the potential workplaces and the different responsibilities to expect while working in the public sector:

  • In hospitals: provide specific advice on healthy eating to various demographics such as new mothers who are breastfeeding, infants who suffer from health problems and the elderly. A nutritionist working in a hospital in the field of clinical nutrition works alongside a dietitian and provides the client with new food items to implement in their diet to have a better health. They may warn against too much sugar and salt and help clients who have specific diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  • In schools: nutritionists enter school cafeterias and analyze the lunch menus served to children. They work with the cafeteria staff introducing new recipes that are healthy and easy to make. Nutritionists working in schools may also deliver presentations in classrooms encouraging young students to make healthy choices.
  • In universities: offering helpful ideas in the university’s cafeteria may be one of the many tasks. However, many nutritionists working in university might find themselves conducting food research, dietary surveys and clinical trials. A Professor teaching nutritional sciences is often a registered dietitian or nutritionist and publishes research papers, writes reports and delivers seminars highlighting the benefits of transmitting a healthy diet to future clients.
  • In the government: nutritionists may be hired by local, departmental or federal governments to conduct health statistics, attend conferences learning about how to teach community members about wellness and healthy eating and create educational food-based initiatives to encourage lifestyle changes in government-funded workplaces and schools. Those working in the federal government are usually highly experienced and get paid more. They work in the Department of Health and Public Health England alongside government officials advocating food policies, conducting research and creating campaigns that will raise awareness and benefit the health of citizens.

There are many jobs available to nutritionists working in the public sector. Although health specialists who work in the private sector earn more money, those working in the public collectively change the lives of many citizens.

Healthy eating, food and nutrition have become a nationwide phenomenon due to the hardworking endeavours of nutritionists working in the public sector. Knowing that you made a lasting impression or difference in a group of people’s lives is worth all the effort!

Nutritionists Working in the Private Sector

those who are doing good for others Nutritionists working for NGOs (non-government organizations) have the privilege of instructing poor communities about the benefits of healthy eating that can potentially save their lives. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Nutritionists working in the private sector are suggested to have the same approved certification by the AfN and qualifications as those working in the public sector. However, jobs are very different. Jobs for nutritionists working in the private sector strictly depend on personal interests. If you have always prefered to work for a privately-owned company or have your own health and wellness practice, the private sector is for you.

Since many clients prefer to pay a little bit more of their own money than wait a few weeks to see a nutritionist at a clinic or hospital, the private sector is booming. 

There are a variety of different jobs offered to nutritionists working in the private sector. Here are some of the most common areas of work for privately working nutritionists:

  • Private practice or consulting: those working in the private sector specialize in and help clients through weight loss programmes, meal plans, sports nutrition and nutrition therapy. There are many nutritionists working privately in all major UK cities. Prices are steep with some consultations costing up to £150 an hour but the results are worth it because the diet plans are tailor-made to fit your needs. The London Clinic of Nutrition comes highly recommended offering a free 15-minute consultation and helping clients with autoimmune diseases, thyroid issues and gut complaints.
  • In fitness centres: nutritionists working in this area meet with new clients who have certain weight loss or muscle gain goals and need a corresponding diet plan to make sure they achieve their objectives. They also might conduct research sessions to offer clients the most updated nutritional advice. In this sector, nutritionists are responsible for posting healthy recipes and dietary tips on the fitness centre’s Facebook page or Instagram page. If the gym sends out a newsletter to interested customers, dietitians or nutritionists might include some advice and words of encouragement.
  • In the food industry: local and large manufacturers and retailers marketing food need the expertise of nutritionists to look at the science, ingredients, policies and regulations in food consumption before releasing a new product on the market. Nutritionists are hired privately in this sector to ensure that the ingredients are not perilous to consumers. Major supermarket or pharmacy chains, large catering companies and food industries producing anything from baby food to vitamin supplements all hire nutritionists to guarantee quality control, conduct research and promote healthier options. Major companies such as Gerber, Unilever and Pepsico hire nutritionists.
  • International aid: non-government organizations (NGO’s) often hire nutritionists to develop healthy eating projects for children and adults in poverty-stricken countries. In this area, nutritionists are not paid as much but they have the opportunity to raise health awareness, develop wellness campaigns and make a lasting impression on the lives of individuals in the developing world. The workshops conducting in poor communities to promote a healthier lifestyle may be the most enriching experience a nutritionist will ever have.

It does not matter if nutritionists are working in the public or private domain, they need to possess great communication skills, have the ability to inspire and motivate and be extremely organized individuals. If they have these capabilities clients will be drawn to them and encouraged to make changes in their lives.

Helpful Tips from Experienced Nutritionists

eating the right stuff Replacing salt with flavourful spices cuts down on sodium and make food even tastier than before! (Source: Visual Hunt)

For electrical advice, you call an electrician. If you have plumbing issues you can a professional plumber. If you need legal advice you seek the help of a lawyer and if you need tips and helpful advice about adopting a healthy lifestyle you hire a nutritionist.

During consultation sessions with professional nutritionists, you receive invaluable tips and pieces of advice that follow you throughout the years. Without these useful tips, many are lost and do not where to start. Nevertheless, the best nutritionists are qualified and happy to share their nutrition suggestions and healthy diets with you.

Here are some of the best tips from the most experience nutritionists:

  • Boost flavour to cut sodium and calories: adding herbs and sodium-free spices create the illusion that you’re about to indulge in something rich and full of flavour. Oregano, basil, chilli powder, paprika and turmeric are all very healthy spices and herbs that can jazz up any plate of food. They are also highly recommended to replace salt because those who consume more of these flavour boosters cut down their sodium consumption by more than 1000mg a day!
  • Hydrate in the morning: water at any time of the day is so important for your overall health. However, it is suggested to wake up and immediately drink 12 to 16 ounces of water. Doing this has multiple health benefits such as increasing energy, boosting organ efficiency, flushing out waste, preventing constipation and takes up a little extra space in your stomach to avoid overeating in the morning. The first couple of times you may feel like you’re going to gag but this passes with time when your body gets used to it. It is such an easy thing to do that starts your day off right.
  • Take your time while eating: we are all so busy and we often gulp food down quickly to have time to do other important activities but little do we know that this is affecting our health. Those who eat too fast and do not chew properly suffer from gas, bloating and indigestion. Slowly chewing gives your body the nutrients it needs and helps you avoid any unpleasant symptoms of eating too fast. Mealtime should be a pleasant time with healthy foods.
  • Veggies should occupy half your plate: since our youth, we have been encouraged to eat our fruits and vegetables and that counsel still applies. Nutritionists suggest filling half our plate with vegetables that are high in fibre and nutrients. By doing this we focus on the more important food items and consume fewer calories. Potatoes, white rice and pasta should never be the primary focus of our meal.
  • Eat snacks that are full of protein and fibre: instead of making hourly trips to the vending machine buying cookies and crisps bring your own snacks from home. Suggested snacks are nuts (almonds, walnuts, unsalted peanuts and cashews) fruits (apples, oranges or bananas), vegetables (carrots, celery, radishes and cucumbers) and some form of protein such as hummus or a lean piece of beef jerky. Doing this will cut down on your sugar intake and will make your stomach feel more full which means consuming fewer calories.

Nutritionists are extremely important individuals in today’s society. They reduce the risk of diseases such as obesity, cancer and diabetes by providing advice that contributes to overall health and wellness. British citizens should take advantage of dietitians and nutritionists working in the public or the private sector in order experience their best health yet!

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