What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian (RD)  is a credentialed professional. One must complete a Bachelor’s degree through a program accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Once the required courses are completed, the next step is a Dietetic Internship (DI). Typically, an internship is anywhere from 9 months – 2 years (depending on whether the curriculum includes a Master’s Degree).

The internship is designed to provide additional courses/coursework and work experience in the various areas of Dietetics (Food Service, Management, Community Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition). Internship programs are located across the country; they are generally done through Colleges or Hospitals, but some are also done through Government-related Organizations (i.e. WIC, Veterans’ Association, etc). Here are a list of all the current CADE-accredited DIs in the United States. The design of each internship will vary; if you’re looking into applying for a DI, make sure you spend time researching your options and what’s available!

After finishing the internship, an RD must pass the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) exam to become certified as a Dietitian. From here, it is up to the professional to maintain his/her certification through acquiring Continuing Education (CE) credits. The world of Nutrition is always changing, and you can be sure that RD’s are staying on top of the research, food, and information out there!

I have a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State University. I went on to complete my DI through the University of Maryland, with a focus on Information Technology. I passed the CDR exam, and have been a certified RD since November 2009.

Is there a difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

YES! As mentioned above, a Dietitian has additional schooling and must pass the CDR exam to be certified.

Nutritionists typically have a degree (BS) in Nutrition/Food Science also. This may be an accredited course program (through ADA), or similar studies that will involve math, science, food service, psychology/sociology and/or statistics. However, certification for Nutritionists varies state by state (some do require Licensure and/or an exam), and they are not qualified in the same way as Dietitians.

What sort of job(s) would an RD be suited for?

Depending mostly on where you live, there are a wide variety of career opportunities for Dietitians! Traditionally, RDs have worked in Hospitals, Food Service  (hospitals, schools, restaurants, etc), Community Nutrition/Public Health (for programs like WIC, or non-profit organizations – ex. Food and Friends), and/or in Private Practice.

However, RDs have certainly started to break the mold over the last two decades. New opportunities have opened up in Corporate Wellness, Consulting, Writing, Education, Sports Nutrition, Social Media, Information Technology (bringing Nutrition to the web!), etc.

You can always browse through Nutritionjobs.com or ADA‘s Career Link to find out more.

Where can I find a Dietitian close to me?

The ADA website provides a list of RDs based on information you provide (i.e. zip code, city, state, etc).


Fueling for a race…

As a Dietitian, I strongly believe in the power of fueling up pre and post-workout. When I started running longer distances, I truly realized the importance of what I ate and how I treated my body with nutrients and hydration around my runs.

I don’t believe there is any one “magic” food that will build your muscles, erase fatigue, or get you through every run. It’s a combination of nutrients that help the muscles and tissues recover after exercise. Each runner/exerciser is different with their own taste preferences, digestive tolerances, special diets, etc!

With that being said, you can search more about Sports Nutrition via Runner’s World and their well-known Dietitian, Lesli Boncci. There are also some helpful tips on getting enough protein through a Vegetarian Diet for athletes here.

Just for an example, here are a few things I eat before/after LONG runs or races in the morning (>10 miles)…


  • Two whole-wheat waffles + 1 tbsp Peanut butter and drizzle of honey or agave
  • Whole wheat toast + 1 tbsp Peanut butter or Jam of some sort (whatever is on hand)
  • 1/2 c Oatmeal + 1 tbsp peanut butter and honey or agave
  • Banana

Always with a small cup of coffee and a lot of water.


This tends to be much more dependent on the day; if it’s  race, we usually find somewhere for BRUNCH. If it’s later in the afternoon, I’ll fuel up with a lunch. BUT, if it’s an in between, you’ll find me reaching for at least one of these things…

  • banana + 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Fruit smoothie! ( 1 6 oz plain greek yogurt, Soy milk, fruit, ice)
    + a serving of granola, if I have some Love Grown Foods on hand!
  • 1/2 c Oatmeal + banana + pb or honey and cinnamon (if I didn’t eat this pre-run)
  • Larabar or Trail mix
  • Orange + 1/2 bagel and/or pretzels (at post-race fuel stations)
  • whole-wheat tortilla + peanut butter

Yes, I LOVE peanut butter. It’s a great source of healthy fats, protein, iron and sodium – all of which are important nutrients for refueling! Bananas add potassium, but my stomach tends to be sensitive to this fruit before I head out (same with any dairy products!).

Again, these are my personal preferences that I’ve provided to give you ideas and/or inspiration to find whatever foods work for You.  I am not a certified Personal Trainer, nor do I currently have any specific certifications related to Sports Nutrition. This is simply a list of options that I both enjoy and tolerate well!


What else would you like to know? Ask away!


7 responses to “FAQ

  1. Pingback: How Clean are Your Foods? « Dietitian on the Run

  2. Kell

    What are your thoughts on whey protein? I have been an avid runner for over 5 years & have just now lately been doing some more analysis of my diet & reading about protein benefits. I’ve recently added some strength training to my workout & have been attempting to increase my overall protein intake to help build muscle. Then I read about the benefits of whey protein powder. I’m thinking about purchasing some but am trying to get an overall consensus on if it is really going to make a difference or if it’s just a waste of money. I’d REALLY appreciate it if you let me know what you think! 🙂

  3. How often should we take water during long runs? to say running for more than 90 min?

    • Heather C

      It’s usually recommended to drink water for anything around 30 minutes and more. During the hot spring/summer, I take a small bottle on Every run (10 oz) and drink most of it by the end, sipping around every mile. On long runs (>60 min), I alternate water and a Sports Drink every mile or two. After an hour it’s important to start replacing electrolytes & carbohydrates! Hope that helps 🙂

      • balancejoyanddelicias

        Yes, thanks for answering my question.
        What do you think about coconut water? Is it a good fuel for running? I’ve seen many bloggers having it but want to hear your opinion. Thanks 😉

        • Heather C

          It’s great for running – less sugar, but more potassium, per ounce than Gatorade – but is definitely a “taste” preference. I tried it the other day and wasn’t crazy about the “syrup-y” texture, but a lot of runners do prefer it to water! Usually 1 container is ~60 calories (natural sugar) and is a good substitute for sports drinks if you’re exercising for >30-45 minutes! If you’re out longer than ~2 hours, I would recommend something with a little bit more carbohydrates (sugar) to help replace glycogen loss in the muscles.

  4. Jenn

    I just stumbled upon you through another’s blogroll and I’m SO glad I did! I’ve recently figured out that I want to become a RD (only took 4 years to figure out what I want to be when I grow up lol) Anyway, it’s great to see a blogger that is qualified to give nutritional information and suggestions. Looking forward to reading from here on out!!

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