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Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle!

posted Mar 2, 2015, 7:13 AM by   [ updated Mar 2, 2015, 10:29 AM ]
March is National Nutrition Month!  All year long, our dietitians strive to help you Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle, however, this month is our chance to shine.  Dietitians are asked numerous questions each day in both their professional and personal lives and one of the most frequently asked is "what's the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?".  What better time to clear this up than during National Nutrition Month?  

What is a Registered Dietitian?
A dietitian is an individual who has completed a didactic program in dietetics (normally a Bachelor's degree, but sometimes earned through a Master's program) and then a Dietetic Internship. Once the degree and the internship are completed, the individual can sit for the national board exam and, upon passage, becomes a Registered Dietitian.  In the past few years, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announced that the Registered Dietitian credential may include the word Nutritionist.  So, a dietitian can be titled "Registered Dietitian (RD)" or "Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)".  Many states also license nutrition professionals, allowing those who have not completed the full requirements to become a Registered Dietitian (but have some formal nutrition education) to still be able to be employed in varying nutrition-related professional roles. The licensing requirements of a "nutritionist" vary on a state-by-state basis.  No matter which type of nutrition professional will best meet your needs, be sure to work with someone who has at least obtained a state license.  Some states (including Virginia) do not require licensing to use the term "nutritionist", so in these cases an education and credential check prior to beginning a relationship with a nutrition professional who is not a Registered Dietitian is key. 

What can a Registered Dietitian do for you?
A Registered Dietitian can change your life! Registered Dietitians are nutrition experts, who have traditionally have worked in three areas: 1. clinical nutrition, 2. community nutrition, and 3. food service management.  So if you or a member of your family have been in the hospital, your child in public schools, or if you have visited your ILC cafe, you have been the recipient of the care of a dietitian!  The general public has become more interested in nutrition, so the demand for dietitians in non-traditional roles has exploded with numerous dietitians now working outside of clinical, community and food service roles.  Some RDs are self-employed, providing the much-needed service of one-on-one counseling, grocery store tours and nutrition communications (including some awesome nutrition bloggers!).  Other dietitians are employed by food and wellness related businesses, such as grocery retailers and fitness centers.  Still others are working in politics to change our nation's food system! 

No matter what job an RD may do, you can feel confident that RDs will only provide scientific, evidence-based nutrition information.  Want more individual attention than that from a blog or a magazine?  Try visiting an RD for a one-on-one consultation.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield's Federal Employee Program has a benefit that covers visits with a Registered Dietitian. Whether you're interested in losing or gaining weight, have a food allergy or intolerance, or just want to learn how you can eat a more nutritious  and balanced diet, a one-on-one appointment with a RD can benefit you...and may possibly be covered by your insurance! To find an RD in your area, head over to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic's website.

What do Registered Dietitians do at I.L. Creations?
RDs at I.L. Creations wear many hats.  You probably have seen us in your cafes with nutritious samples and wellness education materials.  While this is the most fun part of the job, it is hardly all that our RDs do!   Behind the scenes, they  are working with chefs, managers, and cafeteria staff to provide you with the most accurate nutrition and allergen information at point of choice.  They also are involved in menu and recipe development to keep balance and variety throughout the cafes.  They also have their hands in marketing and communications, writing monthly wellness and marketing newsletters, and blog posts just like this one!  I.L. Creations even has a dietitian devoted to safety and sanitation! The next time you see one of our RDs in your cafe, don't hesitate to come and say hi and ask your toughest nutrition questions. 

What to expect from us this month
In addition to our regular wellness visits, in select cafes, you will find a special sandwich at the grill, Grilled Chicken Pesto.  In others, our dietitians will be setting up build-your-own yogurt parfait bars and discussing the importance of eating breakfast. To see our full list of nutrition events, please see the nutrition events calendar