How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist
Holistic Nutritionist Certifications
Are you someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen? Do you explore how to eat better and still create dishes that taste delicious? Do you stay current on the latest nutritional information and have the desire to share that same information with others? Do you often see connections between an individual’s health and their lifestyle decisions? If you answered “yes” to these questions, a career as a holistic nutritionist may be for you!
What is a Holistic Nutritionist?
Both traditional nutritionists and holistic nutritionists are trained professionals who help clients create healthier lifestyles for themselves. However, there are key differences between the two professions. The greatest distinguishing factor is the word “holistic” as it is found in the holistic nutritionist’s title. Holistic literally means “the sum of its parts” and directly contributes to helping us understand the important difference between a nutritionist and a holistic nutritionist.
Nutritionists seek to specifically aid in the understanding of and changes in food behavior for clients in order for them to see improvements in their health and daily function. Holistic nutritionists also provide nutritional information to their clients, and help them to make wiser decisions as it relates to the food they consume. However, they also help the client make lasting lifestyle changes in order to reinforce the nutritional adjustments the client is navigating. Such lifestyle changes may include education in meal planning, mindful eating, slowing down to enjoy their food, etc. These and other adjustments holistic nutritionists take into consideration are what set apart their occupation from a regular nutritionist.
Holistic nutritionists see the client as a whole person with various areas of their lives playing a role in their overall health. For example, a holistic nutritionist understands that schedules, stress at work, time commitments, meal prepping, family obligations, exercise, and other aspects of a person’s life may directly contribute to his or her ability to make healthy choices. By keeping the whole person in mind, and looking at the different parts of the client’s life, a holistic nutritionist is able to create a plan tailored to the specific individual in front of them.
How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist
If treating the whole individual using a holistic perspective is appealing to you, you may consider a career as a holistic nutritionist. If so, here are a few tips to pursuing your education in order to set yourself up for success in this specialized field.
The first step required to become a holistic nutritionist is to gain a degree in holistic nutrition from an accredited college. It is important to understand the chemistry of food and how it interacts with the body. After completing your bachelor’s degree, you will then need to successfully obtain a master’s or doctoral education in holistic nutrition. This will equip you with the knowledge necessary to make wise recommendations to your clients when they experience health related diseases that can be improved by adjusting their relationship with food.
Throughout this educational process, as well as upon completion of your degrees, you should look for opportunities to further your education and experience. Most often, it is strongly encouraged and required that you seek out internships most closely relating to the fieldwork you wish to complete as a holistic nutritionist. You can truly never have enough experience when it comes to connecting with clients and discovering what the needs are within the community on a person-to-person basis. Internships provide the perfect environment for you to gain such knowledge.
After you have obtained your post-secondary education, the educational path you choose will vary depending on the outcome you wish to achieve as a result. All options will require you pass a credentialing exam. In addition to this exam, other specific exams, certifications, and licensure may be required depending on the position you desire as a holistic nutritionist, as well as the state you choose to reside in.
One of the most common directions holistic nutritionists seek is becoming a board certified holistic nutritionist. In order to become a board certified holistic nutritionist, you will need to make sure your education meets the approval of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), as well as, become a professional member of the NANP organization. You will also need to obtain the proper certifications and licensure required by the NANP and your state.
Your Next Step
Regardless of what point you are currently at in your educational journey, if a career as a holistic nutritionist speaks to you, begin to dive into what your next step is in pursuing your dream. Talk to others who are currently working with the individuals you wish to see on a daily basis. Begin to broaden your understanding of living holistically, and seek out others who inspire you to live a healthier, more meaningful life. Then, embrace the education you choose knowing you are about to change people’s lives for the better!