If you turn the pages of history, you will find that the Indian culture is such that the daily dosage of all the important nutrients makes its way to our meals. However, with the changing times (and our attraction to all things Western) most of us have given up on the conventional meal system. These days even the food that we have at home has a major foreign influence. Other than that, junk food is all the way more popular these days. The combined effect of all of this is the fact that it has taken a toll on our health and well-being.
As a result, a number of chronic and other diseases are on the rise. Things like thyroid-related illness and diabetes are all the way more popular. Now doctors have confirmed that at the heart of diseases like this, lie bad dietary habits. In fact, the occurrence of a number of diseases can be curtailed if appropriate dietary habits are incorporated.
Now there is no generic definition of a healthy diet. This is something that depends on a number of factors like the age, height, weight of an individual, their medical history and a lot of other factors. Based on these parameters, individualised diets are chalked out by dieticians and nutritionists.
Thus, it will be fair to say that a nutritionist has a major role to play in the overall well-being of an individual and at keeping the need for a doctor at bay. Read on to know about how you can become a dietician yourself.
• Educational Background
In order to pursue a course as a dietician or nutritionist, you need to have a science background in your 10+2. Following that you can opt for a BSc in home science. There are a number of prestigious universities across the country that offer this course. In fact, in order to be a dietician, you can choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in food technology or nutrition.
If you are someone who wants to go for a post-graduation in this field, you can choose to do an MSc in food and nutrition, food sciences and nutrition and food service management. In case you want to pursue a diploma, you may go for a one-year postgraduate diploma in dietetics and public health nutrition.
• Skills Required
The world of dietetics is a dynamic one and in order to thrive here one needs to keep themselves up to date with the latest happenings in this field. Thus, good analytical skills are an absolute must for anyone who wants to pursue a career here. Other than that, since it involves talking to clients and coming up with customised plans, having compassion and good listening skills are equally important.
Only when you listen to what your client has to say will you be able to put your problem-solving skills to use and come up with viable solutions to all their nutritional woes. Once that is done you are responsible for implementing the same. Thus, it is fair to say that in order to succeed in this field you need to have good organisational skills.
• Clinical Nutritionist
These are the type of nutritionists most of us are familiar with. Here you have to provide nutritional advice to patients keeping in mind their clinical state in mind. These types of professionals usually work in medical settings like hospitals and in doctor's offices and clinics. The starting salary here is somewhere close to Rs 20,000 per month and with experience the values can well go up to Rs 1,00,000 per year.
• Sports Nutritionist
Any sports team requires the assistance of sports nutritionist to chalk out the diet for its sportspersons in order to ensure their best performance in the field. These nutritionists work personally with the athletes and their coaches. Needless to say, this is one of the highest paying career options for a nutritionist.
Since the performance of an athlete or sportsperson is greatly affected by their diet, these professionals play a pivotal role in getting medals for the state or country. Hence, they are handsomely rewarded in monetary terms. The starting salary here is close to Rs 50,000 per month and with the passing years, the value only increases. Usually, nutritionists with a postgraduate degree are preferred for this type of job.
• Food Service Dietician
Although lesser paid than other career options in this profession, this is the field where the job opportunities are available in abundance. These people work in schools, restaurants and cafeterias. Most large-scale food establishments hire such professionals in order to ensure quality assurance.
These people are responsible for ensuring that everything that goes on in the kitchen is in compliance with regulatory standards laid down by the organisation or firm. Thus, their contribution to the organisation's success cannot be undermined. The starting salary in this field is close to Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per month and may vary from organisation to organisation. Usually, it is observed that graduate nutritionists take up this type of job.
• Working Condition And Working Hours
The work environment of most dieticians and nutritionists is pretty much sane and up to the mark. Most of them work during regular working hours - from 9 to 5. Once in a while they may have to work in evening shifts or during the weekends, but situations like that are pretty rare.
In the case of sports nutritionists, the job involves a lot of travelling as such people often have to move around with the team that they are working with. Other than this particular field, usually nutritionists have a desk job with minimal or no travelling involved.
You may also choose to work part-time and there are a number of organisations that hire part-time nutritionists.