“Vegetables are a must in your diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie"   Jim Davis

Eating correctly and consuming healthy foods, fruits, and a nutritious meal plan is the major contributor to the general wellness of your body. Most Nigerian are now becoming enlightened about the importance of adopting a healthy meal as it helps the general well-being.

Understanding the effect of poor eating and unbalanced diet among Nigerians is known to be a significant factor that causes poor health conditions. Poor diet is also associated with high risk off illnesses and also death; this is the reason why international organizations have been trying everything in their capacity to help Nigerians live a better life.

This can be achieved through proper eating habits and avoiding unhealthy eating habits. Although there are existing nutritionists in the society, they are few as compared to the number of Nigerian population today: understanding how to become a nutritionist without a degree is imperative for people who would love to help the society attain a better living standard.

The effects of unhealthy eating habits can cause obesity, diabetics, cardiovascular diseases, and many other chronic diseases. Majority of Nigerians know that eating foods that contain high vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts is beneficial and essential to the growth and well-being of their body, but they give excuses of not having time to cook such meals.

In turn, they go to fast food joints and pick up processed food, which is dangerous to their health.

The roles of nutritionists stand out in Nigeria today, as they are the saviour and messenger of good eating habits.

It also shows why it is important to know how to become a nutritionist in Nigeria as this is essential to the society and the general populace. Over the years, there has been an increase in the effect of chronic diseases that are affecting Nigerians, and this has caused an increase in demands for nutritionists in Nigeria. The health sector of Nigeria needs more hands to help sick patients break free from diseases associated with poor feeding, which will help reduce patients in hospitals.

Do you want information on how you can become a qualified nutritionist in Nigeria, continue reading for detailed information?

Understanding the Work of a Nutritionist

fruit salad
Food combination knowledge would help you take a balanced diet always. (Source: unsplash)

Understanding the fundamental roles and duties of a nutritionist is imperative as it is necessary to get an oversight of their required daily tasks. This would then help you prepare for what is required of you as a nutritionist without a degree.  Nutritionists are generally passionate about eating habits and the overall being of individuals through proper feeding and helping them achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Offering health advice is their major duty, and they can be found working in the private sector or the public sector with the major aim of advancing proper health in their clients.

Understanding how to become a registered nutritionist and being able to work in any sector such as the nursing homes, hospitals, schools, universities, and other places is imperative and dependent on the knowledge you have acquired. Below are some duties performed by a nutritionist on a daily basis:

  • Helping to plan healthy meals for cafeteria: cafeterias in schools, university, and other organization needs the help of a nutritionist, to help them plans their daily meals. Introducing new, healthy recipes and working hand in hand with cafeteria staff would help them feed the students, patients, or other categories of people who have access to the cafeteria with proper meals. Nutritionist possesses outstanding skills and qualifications that help them formulate nutritious meals.
  • Walk new diet plans with the patients: obviously, patients who have spent some time on the hospital bed either due to chronic illness or injuries, are advised to see an experienced nutritionist, who offer new meal plans consisting of food items that would boost their overall health and lessen any further health complications.
  • Creating awareness through seminars, campaigns, and workshops: the public sector nutritionist is saddled with the responsibilities of creating awareness among Nigerians by conducting campaigns, outdoor events, rallies, and workshops. This would help them initiate the purpose of healthy living to the community dwellers and also help them teach the importance of healthy eating habits. The introduction of a healthy diet at a younger age helps prevent any form of health challenges in children.

Furthermore, nutritionist and dietitian who are found in the private sector are experienced experts that schedule private consultations with individuals in Nigeria.

Whether you are in need of nutritionist's advice or you are hoping to have a meal formulated for you, there is a seasoned and qualified nutritionist that can help you. You might want to know where to study nutrition so as to help your family eat healthily.

 

Qualifications Required to Obtain a Degree in Nutrition

Fruits
Fruits are the best source of essential vitamins the body needs. (Source: Unsplash)

To become a qualified nutritionist in Nigeria requires a series of steps and an understanding of what the career entails. After you have studied in the university system, there are some important steps you are expected to go through.

To become a recognized registered nutritionist, you are expected to have acquired your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in nutrition courses and join the INSTITUTE FOR DIETETICS. Although there are some other associations like the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, the main requirement still rests on a bachelor's certificate and being able to demonstrate the knowledge you have acquired in school properly.

Here are some post-secondary courses in nutrition and dietetics you can study to become a qualified nutritionist in Nigeria.

  • Public Health Nutrition: as a nutritionist willing to work in the public sector, you are expected to specialize in public health nutrition as you would be working more with communities and groups of people. This course exposes you to how well you can enlighten a large audience on positive eating habits. Several schools in Nigeria, like Afe Babalola University, have nutrition courses tailored to public health.
  • Human Nutrition: this is the overall science of food, food chemistry, food processing, and food engineering. Graduates of these courses are trained on the importance of healthy eating and essential nutrients in the body. The University of Ibadan, Belles University of Technology are among the list of schools offering this course.
  • Nutrition and Exercise: the course is tailored to fit individuals who are hoping to become nutritionists in the sports sector, working with athletes before, during, and after any competition, while they dwell more on the effect of food on the body. Topping the list of schools offering this course includes the University of Nigeria.
  • Nutrition and Food Science: it is perfect for academics who have created interest in researching and investigating the effects of food and its benefits to the body. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology is among the top-ranked school for this course.

Becoming a qualified and certified nutritionist in Nigeria, however, is based on your degree certificate and joining the relevant association that regulates the practices of Nutritionists in Nigeria. The period of obtaining your degree depends on the school you have attended; however, you are expected to spend either eight semesters (4 years ) in school or 10 Semester (5 years) before becoming a graduate.

Courses Offered To Become a Nutritionist Without a University Degree

Pineapple and water melon fruit
Combining varieties of fruits to make fruits salad, is an easy way to consume all nutrients, vitamins, and minerals fruits contain at a goal. (Source: Unsplash)

To start with, it is imperatively necessary to study at least a BSc in Nutrition from the four walls of a higher institution before you can begin to advising clients on nutrition cases. Additionally, a lot of people feel convenient to seek advice, a suggestion from a nutritionist who is qualified and capable of delivering the right service. More so, a health issue is a sensitive topic that cannot be attended to by a novice or unqualified individual.

However, it is quite possible to practice as a nutritionist in the private sector without having a university degree in nutrition. After some years of hands-on experience through practicing in the private sector, you might be accredited by the IDN.

It is believed that seven years of relevant and continuous experience in administering nutrition services can be equivalent to the 3 to 4 years of training being acquired through a degree program.

There are a lot of reasons, which could make some aspiring nutritionist opt-out of the degree program from a university. One of the significant reasons is insufficient money to further their education. As the economy of the country is not stable,  universities increasing their tuition fees almost by 100% every time affects students willing to study. For instance, almost all the approved nutritionist courses mentioned above cost noting less than ₦130,000 per year aside from other departmental and association fees in some institutions.

Furthermore, other reasons, while some people do not obtain a nutritionist degree from a higher institution is due to a change in career. Take, for example; an individual might decide to become a nutritionist when he/she is mid-40's. It would then be not very easy to go and sit with some less than 20-year olds in the university.

However, there is no cause to panic as there are several nutrition courses you can offer, and they can be completed in cheaply and within the shortest possible time.

Several online training courses are designed to equip and develop nutritionist with the relevant education to assist clients. Some of the online courses are listed below:

  • Introduction to healthy eating and nutrition: this is a preliminary/introductory course, and it can be taken within 5-7 hours while this is dependent on the availability of the student. The cost of the course is around ₦26,000 while the course covers what we eat and how it affects our general health.
  • Exploring Nutrition and Health: the course is structured and designed for students who have acquired knowledge of essential nutrition while they want to continue to learn. The duration of the course is about 10 to 12 hours while it cost about ₦50,250 The content of the course centers on how lifestyle affects the risk of diseases and other things.
  • Catering for health: wishing to offer healthier food to your clients? This informative and encompassing course lasts for 5 to 7 hours, and it cost about ₦26,130 as it showcases food planning, recipe modification, and new combinations.
  • Food labeling and health claims: This course is designed to last for 2 hours as it enlightens consumers on how to understand the essential labeling of food and nutritional facts.

The jobs in the public sectors are handled by the nutritionist who previously acquired a degree from accredited institutions. This does not mean that nutritionist that does not possess a degree cannot perform in the private sector by offering dietary advice. As time goes on and more experience is acquired, some private nutritionist without a university degree even open their private practice.

Helpful Tips From Qualified Nutritionists

Either you are aware or not, nutritionists who have been able to undergo university education in nutrition courses, are able to dish out tips on how you can live better through your eating habits.

Nutrition information found on random websites online is often not valid as they are un-researched and unproven to be beneficial to human health. It is imperative you seek advice from resources that are certified true on expert Blogs like Superprof. Below are some valuable suggestions to help you live better:

  • Never Skip Breakfast: you should be familiar with the saying that breakfast is the king's meal. To be able to live healthily, you would need to eat a balanced diet as breakfast and consume the right nutrients essential for your body. Eat food such as eggs, whole grains, fruits, and yogurts.
  • Drink water as much as possible: this is an important point that cannot be overemphasized; this is due to the fact that 80 to 90 percent of Nigerians don’t drink enough water. Water helps digestion and also helps flush out any toxic waste in the body.
  • Adopt a healthy diet: it would be beneficial for you to avoid processed meals and fast food joints. Therefore changing your poor diet requires time and constantly cooking a healthy meal for yourself and family members.

Although it is essential to attend a university and get a degree in a nutrition course, however, you can become a qualified nutritionist in Nigeria,  by understanding the trend of poor eating habits and what is required to change this, there are some nutritionists who have not obtained a degree from the university, and they have acquired relevant experience in health knowledge, and they inspire more clients.

It is very important that you relate your health challenges to a nutritionist when consulting one, to get the proper and suitable help needed.

 

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