Nutritionist is seen as a ray of hope by many people suffering from obesity, lifestyle ailments or even just the desire to look fit and good. In the fast paced lifestyle of today, most of us have demanding careers which engulfs most of our time. This leaves no time for physical activity as well as no time for weighing our food choices. We grab easily available take-aways which leads to stress, weight gain and associated diseases like high cholesterol, diabetes etc. As this happens, more and more people are waking up to the call of a healthy nutrition and diet. Also with our young population desirous of entering the glamorous professions like modeling, film & television, a career in nutrition and diet is seen at an all time high.
Career Scope as a Nutritionist
There are following career options in the field of Nutrition & Diet
- Clinical Nutritionist is the one who works in the medical environment such as hospitals and nursing homes. They coordinate with the medical practitioners to help a patient overcome surgery, disease or any other special health condition by assessing the patient nutrition needs and designing the diet programs. They also ensure proper implementation of the diet plan and monitor changes in the health statistics. For example, in patients suffering from kidney failure or diabetes, the nutritionist along with the doctor provides a customized diet plan based on the patient’s age, physical activity etc. They are also sought by food processing and pharmaceutical companies.
- Community Nutritionist is largely concerned with providing general information and counseling to the families, especially mothers on healthy eating habits and nutrition practices. They are responsible for promoting good health and preventing disease. Many government organizations, international organization and NGOs hire community nutritionists to research, survey and promote health programs.
- Management Nutritionist is hired in multinational companies and residential schools to design and manage their health and wellness programs as well as to do large scale meal planning for their cafeterias. For example Ms. Ishi Khosla, a famous nutritionist was hired by Global Genesis School in Noida to design a healthy food menu for their cafeteria as per the needs of children in growth years.
- Consultant Nutritionist practices as a freelancer and associate with celebrities, gymnasium, spas, sports club or residential schools. For example, Rujuta Diwekar is the famous Mumbai-based nutritionist who has a long list of celebrity clientele of the likes of Kareena Kapoor and Anil Ambani. She is also author of the famous book ‘Don’t lose your mind lose your body.’
ORGANIZATIONS THAT HIRE NUTRIONISTS & DIETITIONS
- Hospitals such as AIIMS, Apollo, Fortis etc.
- Government and related Organizations such as Nutrition Society of India (Hyderabad), Protein Food and Nutrition Development Association of India etc.
- International Organizations such as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Union of Nutritional Sciences, Federation of Asian Nutrition Sciences, WHO etc
- Multinational companies for their own employee’s health and wellness programs such as IBM, DSM, Motorola etc
- Food Processing, Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Companies such as Abott, Novartis, Cadbury, Amul, GSK etc
- Residential Schools such as Global Genesis School (Noida)
- Hotels such as Hyatt, Taj Group, Le Meridian, Vatika Group etc.
- High-end Sports Clubs, fitness centers and spas
SALARY PACKAGES FOR NUTRIONISTS
The salaries vary as per the years of experience, qualification, skills and the organization you are working for. Generally freshers with diploma can start at Rs. 10,000 while those with Master’s degree can start with 15,000 per month. After few years of experience when one gain a strong foothold in the market and credibility with the clientele you can even work as freelance consultant. There are experienced professionals who work as consultant for celebrities, star hotels, specialty hospitals and multinational companies and easily earn Rs. 1-2 Lac per month.
QUALIFICATION AND SKILLS REQUIRED for NUTRIONIST CAREER
Food and nutrition courses:
There are three levels of courses offered in Nutrition and Diet i.e. diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Many universities in India offer these courses.
- Post Graduation courses are like M.Sc in Nutrition etc. This requires a graduation degree in science preferably microbiology, chemistry, biology, hotel management or home science
- Graduation courses like B.Sc in Food Science and Nutrition is a 3-year degree program. The science students with Physics, Chemistry and Biology are eligible for admission.
- Then there are also 1 year diploma courses available for science graduates.
In addition to the education qualification, the person should have good communication and interpersonal skills. It is very important to strike a rapport with the client and build credibility so that they feel free to discuss their lives with you. Along with this person should have a pleasing personality and should be sensitive to the different cultures for example you can’t ask a Jain to start eating non-vegetarian food or a Tamil Brahmin to stop rice. One need to understand the cultural preferences for food and should be capable of designing menus around them.
INSITUTES OFFERING NUTRITION & DIETETICS COURSE
Following institutes are currently offering nutrition and dietetics courses which are well-recognized in the industry:
- National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad – M.Sc in Applied Nutrition and Post Graduate Certificate Course in Nutrition
- Lady Irwin College, Delhi University offers Masters degree in Food & Nutrition and Diploma in Dietetics & Public Health Nutrition
- Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University offers B.Sc. (Hons.) Home Science Food & Nutrition, M.Sc. Food & Nutrition and PG Diploma in Dietetics & Public Health Nutrition
- Gandhigram Rural Institute offers M.Sc Food Science and Nutrition
- SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai offers PhD in Food Science and Nutrition, Masters in Food Science and Nutrition, Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, PG Diploma in Dietetics, PG Diploma in Nutrition, Food Processing and Technology; PG Diploma in Sports Science, Fitness and Nutrition; Certificate courses in Diabetes Care and Nutrition
- Women’s Christian College, Chennai offers B.Sc, M.Sc and M.Phil programs in Food and Nutrition as well as Food Service Management and Dietetics
- Bishop Choolaparambil Memorial College for Women, Kottayam offers B.Sc in Clinical Nutrition, Dietetics and Catering Management
- Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad offers B.Sc in Food Science and Nutrition
- G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Uttarakhand offers M.Sc in Food and Nutrition & PhD in Human Nutrition
- University of Madras offers PG Dip. in dietetics and applied nutrition
- Jadavpur University, Kolkata offers B.Tech./M.Tech. (Food & Biochemical Engineering)