Nutrition aides work for dedicated nutritional facilities or hospitals, to assist nutritionists in handling the logistic end of handling patients. They ensure that each assigned patient is receiving the care (from a nutritional point of view) that is prescribed to him or her, and that all the wellbeing and nutritional goals of all patients are reached.
Working as a nutrition aide usually requires a high school diploma or an equivalent, however, some facilities do require a food handler’s certificate. Since nutritional aides work extensively with food, they need to be knowledgeable about ingredients, food preparation methods and times and of course, food safety standards. Since one often has to work in extreme heat (in the kitchen area), they have to be ready to sweat it out, while making sure that they keep personal hygiene a priority. Knowledge of organic products is an absolute must in this profession as nutrition is usually based on using organic ingredients. Also, you will need to understand illnesses and diseases that can be treated through proper nutrition, including chronic diseases and obesity.
Depending on where you work, you may be required to create and maintain a one-on-one with patients, who you will be counseling and overseeing while they partake their meals. Some important duties of a nutrition aide include:
• Determine each patient’s nutritional requirements by first consulting with assigned nutritionist
• Go through patients’ files extensively to determine if they have any food allergies or if any food groups are disallowed
• Look through designed nutrition plans and suggest augmentation or addition to them
• Provide basic health, nutrition and breastfeeding information to patients depending on their specific situations
• Work with kitchen staff to acquire ingredients for food preparation activities and inspect them thoroughly before using them
• Assist kitchen staff in preparing and cooking food items for patients, in accordance to their specific diet plan
• Perform portioning activities to ensure that appropriate portion sizes are provided to patients for all their meals
• Assist patients in understanding what they are eating and how it will help them with their wellbeing, weight loss and disease control goals
• Conduct group or one-on-one sessions with patients to educate them about the importance of healthy eating
• Assist in developing, evaluating and implementing educational materials on nutrition and organic food consumption
• Create and maintain liaison with food suppliers to ensure prompt delivery of food supplies and equipment
• Ascertain that all food intake by patients is properly recorded in their charts and files and that any significant observations are reported promptly