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A nutritional consultant is an expert in dietary needs. His or her duties include continuing education regarding new research, client communication, and working with dieticians. In most cases, a nutritional consultant assists in determining each client's nutritional needs and developing a dietary regime that will meet those needs. The work environment for a nutritional consultant might include a health care facility, a senior citizen facility, or a group home. In addition, the consultant may operate a sole proprietor business and work with an individual client base.
Successful consultants know how to find clients. Whether this means sending resumes out to possible employers or maintaining a private client base, he or she must have good communication skills. An ability to showcase nutritional knowledge is a primary task when it comes to seeking and securing clients.
The basic duty of a nutritional consultant is to guide clients in their dietary intake. This involves discovering the client's typical diet, activity levels, and medical history. Clients with diabetes, high blood pressure, or other medical problems need specialized diets, which the consultant helps them design and adhere to. Adjustments are made as weight, age, and medical status change.
A consultant typically meets with the client and takes notes. He or she then reviews the notes and develops a plan for the client to follow. The consultant must also be knowledgeable about various fad diets and their effectiveness. In addition, knowledge of potential harm from fad diets is important to possess and share with the client.
Lifestyle and personality contribute to the client's ability or inability to maintain a nutrition plan. This makes it important for the nutritional consultant to accurately read people. If the plan of action begins to fail, the consultant must be able to figure out why it is hard for the client to follow, and then make adjustments.
Education is another duty of a nutritional consultant. Teaching clients about cooking for diabetes, or reducing high blood pressure through diet, are examples of what he or she may do. Local health facilities offer classes to patients. These classes are often taught by the consultant.
In addition to learning how the human body processes and uses nutrients, the consultant must be able to use that knowledge to develop client plans. How medications and herbs impact the diet is also something the consultant understands. He or she offers guidance to the client regarding what supplements should be included with the daily diet.
The typical work week for nutritional consultants is 40 hours and can include nights and weekends. Some consultants help clients prepare their meals for several days to educate them about portion control. A bachelor's degree in dietetics or nutrition gives the consultant additional training and expertise.