6 Quick Tips for Nutrition Students
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. - Hippocrates
It can be difficult to figure out how to actually be good at your chosen career while you’re busy following the path to get there and stuffing your brain with charts and tables and useless lectures.
If you’re serious about becoming a nutritionist–and a good one at that–then here are the tips your teachers might not share with you along the path to health through food.
Related: Best States for Nutrition Jobs
Read A Lot of Things
If you’re planning on becoming a nutritionist–whether you’re on the path already or not–the very best thing you can do to help yourself is read a lot. Read more than just the headlines of the major newspapers (although you should be familiar with the public opinion)–read the actual research and reports of different health claims. Those will help you get a first-hand understanding of the science behind these results.
You can’t do much as a nutritionist if you can’t get people to eat well. You might find yourself encouraging everybody to eat beets, bake bread from scratch, and make more food at home, but unless you do these things yourself, you won’t have any understanding of the struggle your clients might be living with.
Spend time in your kitchen understanding how to prepare food for yourself and you’ll have a greater understanding of how food plays a more central role in nutrition.
Visit Food Sources
In the field of nutrition, you will learn a lot about food sources and you’ll find yourself confused by wild vs. farm-raised, free range vs. cage-free, and organic vs. genetically modified.
Take the time to visit farms and fisheries, food engineering labs and manufacturers, butcher shops and chicken coops, and make it a part of your research for papers and other assignments. You will learn a lot more about food sources by seeing what happens behind the scenes than blindly following or supporting labeling systems.
If you’re reading research results instead of the mainstream media’s agenda-driven interpretation of the results, you’ll see the great disparity between research results and what the public sees. Do not blindly accept anything and question everything.
It is your responsibility as a nutritionist to question the mainstream and educate your clients accordingly.
Learn About Culture
Culture plays a HUGE role in nutrition, as many different locations have completely different perceptions of health, food, and body image. Take the time to learn a little bit about the different cultural relationships to food and how food plays a role in different households.
Put Health Over Beauty
This is a hard one, especially for college students. Many of us want to be pretty, skinny, toned, or just have great skin. But these things will generally come naturally if we first correct our health. So don’t worry too much about beauty, but instead focus on your health.
Your behaviors will translate well to your future patients, and you’ll develop a much healthier relationship with food.
Want to share tips for students in your field? Email mark [at] hackcollege.com with your pitch!