Day in the life of
Nutritionist – Christine VanDoren, RD, CPT
As a nutritionist, I am responsible for giving clients macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) guidelines. With clients that are wanting more help, I provide them with a detailed meal plan. It is very dependent on the person whether they want to eat the same meals every day and keep it simple or if they want to switch it up often. For the more independent clients, I provide solo meal ideas with the macros and calories so they can use the resource whenever they are needing to fill a gap.
During a typical day, I will be creating meal plans for new clients, updating the plans for older clients, and answering general nutrition questions. The most common questions I am asked are about adjusting calories, protein source ideas, and cheat meals.
Being a nutritionist is very rewarding, as I am able to help educate people on what nutrients their body needs in order for them to achieve peak shape. When someone is wanting to lose weight or build muscle, it can be overwhelming and confusing and many online sources are contradicting. I am able to be there for them and help them filter out the noise of what is inaccurate. Many clients learn so much from working with nutritionists that, after a few months, they are able to be on their own and make the right eating choices.
While there are many upsides to being a nutritionist, it can be frustrating at times. There are clients that come to me needing help with their health journey. They are asking me for guidance yet when I provide them with instructions, they sometimes question me and try to inform me instead. This can be a hard conversation to navigate because being the expert while being understanding of where they are coming from can be tricky. Some clients will end up listening to me after I explain the science behind certain decisions, while others will just ignore me and keep doing what they think is right.
Advice to aspiring Nutritionists
The main piece of advice I would give students is to make sure that they practice what they preach. In addition to going to school for it, it is essential to learn by practicing on yourself. Try focusing on getting different nutrients in your body, try different diets such as anti-inflammatory and vegan, and experiment with different macronutrient percentages. By studying and understanding how your own body reacts to eating in various ways, it is much easier to anticipate how a client’s body will react.
Christine VanDoren, RD, CPT
plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.