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Diet manager

education Updated: Mar 26, 2013 17:49 IST

The lowdown

A nutritionist studies food from the time of harvest till it is consumed. Nutritionists carry out qualitative analysis of the food being consumed. They are experts in clinical and nutritional matters, and asses the dietary needs of clients. With changing lifestyles and food habits the importance of nutritionists has increased manifold. They have to take inputs from patients and check their medical records and genetic patterns and then suggest modifications in diets if required. They check whether the modifications made by them are within the biochemical parameters or not. A nutritionist is either attached to a hospital or with a leading doctor. Some are even getting jobs with gyms and health care centres. One could also work in a nutraceutical company and prepare specific nutrition formulations. Corporate nutritionists cater to the IT firms and plan the cafeteria menus, supervise the hygiene and reduce food wastage. School health nutritionist is another upcoming career

8am: Wake up
9am: Leave for office
10am: Meet patients. Check records and make modifications in patients’ diet charts
12pm: Check medical reports. Make next day’s diet plans. Compile reports and give it to the supervisor to add inputs
4pm: Call it a day. Give advice to patients after working hours

The payoff
A fresher with a diploma can get anywhere around Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month. Those with a master’s degree can expect a higher package ranging between Rs. 2.5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh per annum. The salaries get higher with experience

* Should be able to handle and communicate with people
* Understanding of human physiology and food habits
* Good knowledge of food, diet requirements and cooking
* Must have good writing skills for producing reports, leaflets, presentations etc

Getting there
The first step is to take up a home science course after Class 10. After completing Class 12, one can get a bachelor’s degree in home science. This course is offered as BSc (home science) or BA (home science). Then, do a master’s in home science with specialisation in food science and nutrition. Preference is given to candidates with science background in Class 12. The other way is to take up a full-time catering diploma and then do a specialisation in nutrition as a part of further education

Institutes and URLs
* Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi
* University of Mumbai
* Mount Carmel College, Bangalore

Pros and cons
* You help people lead a healthy life
* Decent working hours
* If you are attached to a hospital you have to work in shifts and sometimes night shifts

Nutrition is one of the niche areas of specialisation. With an adequate qualification, one can change lifestyles --- Priyanka Rohatgi (Rastogi), chief clinical nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore