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What’s the Difference Between a Nutritionist, Health Coach, and Registered Dietitian?

Many people don’t know that Registered Dietitian is a protected title, therefore, use it interchangeably with a nutritionist. I have had friends reach out to me and say things such as, “so and so, is a Registered Dietitian now, they finished that 12-week course!”

By the way, no Registered Dietitian has become one without at least a bachelor’s degree and hands-on training!

Distinguishing a nutritionist from a health coach or a Registered Dietitian can become difficult for individuals seeking nutrition services. 

What is a Nutritionist?

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. This title is not a regulated title.

A nutritionist does not need to have any particular schooling, certifications, or license. Anyone who claims any knowledge of nutrition at any level can call themselves a nutritionist. 

Your friend who sells cold-pressed juices could call herself a nutritionist. The teenager who works at the supplement store could call themselves a nutritionist. The graduate student who decided not to pursue an RD-credentials could call themselves a nutritionist.

You can clearly see above, the wide spectrum a nutritionist can fall under. Some individuals may have great knowledge of nutrition while others may have limited understanding.  

Since nutritionists are not required to have a nutrition degree, training, or internships to hold their title, an increasing number of nutritionists do not have related degrees.

What is a Health Coach?

A health coach is what I can best describe as an accountability partner who helps individuals stick to their goals, habits, practices, and behavior. Similar to a nutritionist title, a health coach isn’t a regulated title and can be pretty ambiguous. Some health coaches may hold a certification from ACE Health Coach Certification, Health Coach Institute, or Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Health coaches should not prescribe diets or programs but should play a role in motivating individuals on how to put their goals to practical use.

Health coaches should refer clients to the appropriate professionals when needed. 

What is a Registered Dietitian?

All Registered Dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. A Registered Dietitian is the highest level of nutrition education an individual can obtain.

Of all these titles, Registered Dietitians are the only ones that can possibly be all three.

In outpatient settings, community nutrition, and private practice especially, Registered Dietitians are health coaches. RDs are trained in motivational interviewing which is a key component of the health coach-client relationship. 

In the foodservice and clinical setting, Registered Dietitians must stay abreast of current evidence-based research and industry advancements. Registered Dietitians work in settings where it’s pertinent to provide updated and accurate nutrition information and interventions to clients and patients. 

Many times, you may even see Registered Dietitians use the title Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Both of these titles are protected titles accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). *Some states, (I am looking at you, Texas!!) allow “dietitian” to be interchangeable with nutritionist…this is an uphill battle!

The Academy is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. It’s comprised of students, educators, researchers, retired and international members who help in constructing, advising, advocating, and influencing food networks, nutrition therapy, and food policies.

To become a Registered Dietitian, one must:

  1. Have at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, although many have higher degrees
  2. Complete 1000 hours* of supervised practicum, commonly referred to as a dietetic internship or DI for short- many DIs are unpaid rotations in clinical, community, and foodservice settings *this is a temporary change effective between January 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022; typically 1200 hours are required
  3. Pass the national RD exam which consists of at least 125 questions about the Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems

Beginning in 2024, ALL RDs will be required to have a master’s degree in addition to the three REQUIREMENTS listed above.

In Oklahoma, RDs must be licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Board. 

Nutrition is an important predictor of livelihood, disease risks, and health outcomes, it’s no wonder everyone wants a piece of the pie. It’s important to understand the titles because, in practicing nutrition, credentials matter. Misinformation and disinformation are so harmful to both individual, community, and public health.

Gluten-Free Oat Pasta

Gluten-Free Oat Pasta is everything warm & cozy for the holiday season. Not only is this recipe so simple and versatile, but it’s also so good. With only 3-ingredients, you can turn out a hearty meal in 45 minutes.

This oat pasta is filled with fiber which is optimal for digestion and heart health. If you want to be adventurous, you can even toast up your oats prior to blending them into flour.

This is my new staple oat pasta recipe that will keep me warm & cozy all season long.

Print

Gluten-Free Oat Pasta with Back Roads Granola Just Oats

Course Main Course
Keyword gluten-free, vegetarian

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups oat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  • In a stand mixer, add oat flour, eggs, and oil and mix on low to incorporate all of the ingredients together. Once the dough begins to come together, you may want to finish kneading the dough by hand until you have a smooth dough.
  • If the dough is too crumbly, add some water one tablespoon at a time.
  • Cover the dough in cling wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into four sections.
  • Dust your work surface with oat flour, use a rolling pin to roll out the pasta dough as thin as you can. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into noodles at your desired width.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir gently to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick. Drain the pasta and top with your favorite sauce.

12 Anti-Diet Accounts You Should Be Following​

Anti-diet professionals believe our culture’s deeply held belief that thinness and dieting are not based in health. Here is my round-up of 12 Anti-diet accounts you should follow.

12 Anti-Diet Accounts You Should Be Following

Vaughn Darst, MS RD- Registered Dietitian & Consultant

Vaughn Darst is a Registered Dietitian based in Los Angeles whose Instagram dives into conversations about eating disorders in gender nonconforming communities, as well as advocacy on creating a world in which all bodies are good bodies. His main areas of focus are intuitive eating, Health at Every Size®, and body peace. Vaughn serves primarily queer, transgender and gender diverse clients with disordered eating, fat acceptance, and body image concerns. He also provides professional consulting and training on gender affirmative care within an eating disorder context. 

Tash Ngindi, Non-Diet Nutritionist and Certified Zumba Instructor

Natasha “Tash” Ngindi is a Canadian anti-diet nutritionist, entrepreneur, and certified Zumba instructor who promotes enjoyable movement for all bodies. Tash shares her messages on anti-diet, body acceptance, Health at Every Size®, and intuitive eating on her Instagram. She has been interviewed by many podcast, including Let Us Eat Cake podcast. She also creates one-of-a-kind anti-diet merch.

Christyna Johnson, MS, RDN, LD- Anti-Diet & Weight Inclusive Dietitian

Christyna Johnson is a Registered Dietitian from St. Louis, MO and currently resides in Dallas, TX. Her nutrition philosophy is rooted in the social justice framework of Health at Every Size®. She is the host of “Intuitive Eating for the Culture” podcast where she discusses adapting intuitive eating for different cultures and situations.

Zariel Grullón, RD- Food Freedom Dietitian

Zariel Grullón is a Registered Dietitian based in Bronx, NY. She and her sister, Jenies, are the voices behind ¡Love Your Chichos! Zariel makes nutrition information fun and relatable to motivate individuals to be their most authentic selves. She is most known for cultivating food freedom with her community of comadres on Instagram and TikTok.

Gregory Brent Dodell, MD, FACE- Endocrinologist & Non-Diet Practitioner

Dr. Dodell is an endocrinologist based in New York City. His practice primarily focuses on diabetes, thyroid disorders, pituitary disorders, osteoporosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypogonadism. He commonly addresses the need to improve healthcare by educating medical professionals on the harm of weight stigma. Central Park Endocrinology focuses on all pillars of health from stress to sleep management without solely focusing on weight.

Leslie Schilling RDN CEDS-S- Anti-Diet Dietitian & Nutrition Therapist Supervisor

Leslie Schilling is a dietitian and nutrition therapist based out of La Vegas, NV. She owns Schilling Nutrition, LLC. She works to empower individuals and families using intuitive eating and Health at Every Size® approaches. She is the co-author of Born to Eat and commonly points out the insidiousness of diet culture in Christianity on her Instagram.

Paige Wollenzien MS, RD, LD – Intuitive Eating & Weight-Inclusive Dietitian

Paige Wollenzien is a Registered Dietitian based in Portland, Oregon who believes everyone deserves to love food. Paige believes building a positive relationship with food and our bodies is key for health and happiness and shares recipes on her website, The Kitchen Dietitian.

Tierra Carter RD/LDN- Non-Diet Dietitian

Tierra Carter is an anti-diet dietitian based out of Florida. Her posts detail how to quit dieting by making peace with food and your body. One mission of her practice, NutriRev, is to help individuals heal their relationship with food and their body while nourishing with gentle nutrition.

Whitney Trotter MS, RDN/LDN, RN, RYT- Trauma-Informed Dietitian & Human Trafficking Activist

Whitney Trotter’s private practice focuses on eating disorders and human trafficking. She started Bluff City Health to be a resource for survivors of complex trauma, the eating disorder community, and communities of color. Whitney is also a Registered Nurse and her clinical knowledge helps her to better serve clients who are searching for nutritional management for chronic disease.

Aisha Nash- Anti-Diet Yoga Instructor

Aisha Nash is an award-winning pastry chef who left behind a career at a Michelin-starred restaurants to become a yoga teacher. Based in London, Anti-Diet Yoga specializes in trauma-informed, body neutral and embodied yoga.

Bryanna Peace MS, RD, CLEC- Anti-Diet & Fitness Dietitian

Bryanna Peace is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Educator who currently resides in California. She owns Golden Guts Nutrition which focuses on “staying golden” by ditching diet rules so individuals can stay strong in their body & mind. Her Instagram commonly tackles common nutrition and food myths and fads.

Clara Nosek, MS, RDN- Weight-Inclusive Dietitian BFF

Clara Nosek is an unapologetic, anti-diet, weight-inclusive Registered Dietitian based in California. She commonly uses satirical memes to address why we need to decolonize health, wellness, and dietetics in order to make health accessible for all. She shares helpful resource for activism in dietetics. Her private practice focuses on creating a more culturally humble and inclusive environment for her clients.

Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Wrap


Print

Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Wrap

Course Snack
Keyword kale, vegetarian, wrap
Prep Time 25 minutes
Servings 1 serving

Equipment

  • air fryer

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sweet potato, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons smoked paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted pepitas
  • 10" inch spinach wrap

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Peel and cube the sweet potatoes into ½ inch pieces.
  • Transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl. Add the olive oil and smoked paprika. Toss well.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Add sweet potatoes to the air fryer and spread them in a single layer.
  • Air fry for 10-12 minutes. Shake the basket at about halfway through cooking minutes.
  • While sweet potatoes are cooking, whisk tahini, lemon juice and garlic in medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add kale to dressing and mix until bright green and shiny and the volume is reduced by about half. Add beans, quinoa, feta, and pepitas until evenly combined.
  • Serve in spinach wrap.

Sweet and Savory Baked Oats with Back Roads Granola

Paid Promotion by Back Roads Granola

Gone are the days of boring, bland, oats the world once knew. Baked oats are really where it’s at! If you’re on the fence about trying savory oats, I can tell you now, this savory baked oats inspired by The Korean Vegan juk oats will CHANGE YOUR MIND. You’ll wonder why it took you so long to convert.

For these recipes, you will need to blend your Back Road Granola Just Oats into an oat flour. I used my high-power blender and pulsed for about 30 seconds.

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