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Registered Dietitian Business Idea

The decision to learn how to become a registered dietitian can lead to a fulfilling career and healthy small business opportunity. A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who is highly trained and has met both federal and state requirements. Registered dietitians help people live healthier lives by educating them on the importance and impact that diet has on overall health and well-being.

Eating healthy is confusing and difficult for most people. Those with chronic health issues, such as diabetes, require specialized diets to help manage their condition. Registered dietitians are trained to develop proper meal plans for both individual clients as well as groups. Dietitians also educate their clients on overall healthy eating habits.

Getting Started as a Registered Dietitian

Learning how to become a registered dietitian requires that you decide the career avenue you’d like to pursue. Registered dietitians have a wide range of options from which to choose, including:

  • Implement medical nutritional therapy as part of a team of medical professionals. Registered dietitians are nearly always on staff or hired as consultants at hospitals, HMO’s, medical clinics, and in private practices.
  • Promote nutritional well-being through local health agencies. Local and state health departments often hire registered dietitian consultants to develop healthy eating initiatives.
  • Work as a nutrition and health researcher or instructor in an academic setting.
  • Colleges, universities, and public schools generally provide student meals. Registered dietitians are frequently hired as consultants to develop healthy menus and oversee food preparation.
  • Open a restaurant or catering business that serves healthy, nutritional meals.
  • Private corporations and local sports teams often consult with dietitians to educate, plan, and promote wellness and healthy eating programs.

Your chosen business focus will most likely be based on your area of expertise and personal preferences. Whichever path you choose, your primary responsibilities will be:

  • Planning nutritious, healthy meals for clients
  • Overseeing food preparation
  • Educating clients about food and their health
  • Adapting and devising menus for treating illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions, and weight issues
  • Ensuring that food is prepared in a safe environment
  • Taking part in ongoing education to keep up with the latest nutritional and diet research

Additionally, if you’re running your own dietitian business you’ll also need to spend time on the following activities (just to name a few):

  • Promoting your registered dietitian consulting service
  • Invoicing clients and collecting payments
  • Staying in touch with current and past clients
  • Becoming active in business and trade associations

How To Become a Registered Dietitian

The minimum requirements for registered dietitians are:

In addition to the initial requirements, ongoing education programs are necessary to sustain registration. Approximately 50% of all registered dietitians hold advanced degrees.

As you learn more about how to become a registered dietitian, be aware that knowledge is your greatest asset. Finding the most effective ways to share your knowledge with clients is critical.

The following tools will be necessary:

  • Create printed menus and nutrition recommendations for use as client handouts
  • If you work directly with clients, develop detailed lifestyle questionnaires to assist you in making accurate personal assessments and effective diet recommendations
  • Invest in computer software to track menus, recipes, and your clients

Looking beyond learning how to become a registered dietitian, your next challenge is finding clients. Direct contact by cold calling or personal interviews with medical facility directors, school administrators, public health officials, and corporate executives is a great way to introduce yourself and your services. Even better is to actively network and become involved in community health initiatives and activities. Consider offering free health and nutrition classes within your community to get your name out there. Promote yourself by highlighting your qualifications and skills.

Succeeding as a Registered Dietitian

Healthy eating has never been more important. Many are confused by the quantity and often contradictory information about food and nutrition. There is a real need for expert advice. Whether you work directly with clients or as part of a team, the following keys are essential to your success:

  • Keep up with the latest health news and research. Your greatest asset is your knowledge. Clients depend on you to cut through the flood of information and assist them in their dietary goals.
  • Compassionate care is essential. It’s likely that some of your clients will struggle as they attempt to follow your guidelines. They may be dealing with other issues that make sticking to a healthy diet difficult. A sincere and caring attitude promotes client confidence and helps build rapport.

Eating healthy is difficult for most people – especially for the long-term. While finding clients is critical in order to get your business off the ground, keeping satisfied clients will be even more important. Long-term client relationships directly impact your bottom line. Happy clients will also likely refer you to their friends and colleagues.

Every client is a little different so your job will be to find the best way to motivate them and reduce the discomfort and frustration often associated with new diets. Your success is entirely dependent on your clients’ success.

Expanding Your Registered Dietitian Business

Learning how to become a registered dietitian is only the first stage of your business. After you’ve built up a solid client list, expanding your service portfolio is a logical option. Consider these expansion ideas:

  • Conduct nutrition classes for consumers and businesses
  • Write and sell informational nutrition booklets and guides
  • Sell health and diet related products, such as books or supplements
  • Create an online tool that helps people plan their weekly menus

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