So… You Wanna Be a Registered Dietitian: What is It?

RD Picz

As promised, here is the first post in a series all about becoming a Registered Dietitian. My experience will, no doubt, be different from most as I started at university with the intent to go to law school – nutrition, at age 17, wasn’t on my mind at all. Since graduating college, I’ve met three high school age students (in my area, no less!) that are interested in dietetics. It is definitely a growing and very competitive field so grades and work/volunteer experiences are very important.

But before we can talk about coursework, let’s start with learning the difference between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Nutritionist – because believe it or not, there’s a huge difference.

What (or who) is a Registered Dietitian?

To clear up any confusion, a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) are the same thing. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics recently added “Nutritionist (the ‘N’)” to the end of the RD because often times, the average person has no idea what a “dietitian” does (or is for) but they understand what the word ‘nutrition’ means so the ‘nutritionist’ term helps to define the practice. So, a Registered Dietitian is a Nutritionist.

With that said, a Nutritionist is not always a Registered Dietitian and those that have earned the RD/RDN credential will be sure to emphasize that s/he is a RD/RDN. And if you decide you want some extra help in the diet department (and you don’t go through your doctor), make sure the person you decide to see has the RD/RDN credential. 

So… what can Dietitians do (that nutritionists can’t)?

It turns out, a whole lot. Nutritionists and personal trainers (PTs), while they may have some knowledge of nutrition, can (and should) only provide basic, generalized information – “you should eat vegetables instead of chips,” or “here are foods high in protein…” Nutritionists (and PTs) cannot (in most states), and should not, prescribe individualized meal plans or dispense medical advice (like taking a specific supplement/vitamin, for example). This is best left to RDs and/or a physician. RDs can also do much more than prescribe meal plans: they can help manage disease and allergies, they can help with weight loss/gain (or maintenance), and they are often specialized in specific care (renal, pediatric, oncology, sports, etc).

I hope Part 1 was helpful for those interested in becoming a Registered Dietitian or seeing one and you’ve learned a lot so far. In order to keep you from getting bored, I’ll discuss my coursework, my dietetic internship, and my exam experience in later posts.


Exciting News – Sprang Break

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a ham and chocolate-filled Easter Sunday. I DID! My mom made a copycat Portillos Chocolate Cake and it was delicious (though the secret ingredient really grossed me out and I really doubt I’ll be eating it again).

I have one really exciting thing to share — I PASSED MY RDN EXAM! — I’m officially a Registered Dietitian! I’ll be sharing all of the details (well, the details I can share) about the exam, the school-work, and the dietetic internship in a series of posts at a later date. I want to make sure I get all of the important stuff in there without glossing over anything. So stay tuned for that if you’re interested in becoming an RD.

So after passing the exam, I packed up and headed to Ft Myers Beach for some much needed spring break action with my family. The weather was hot for the most part and although the sun wanted to play hide + seek the few days I was there, the heat and relaxation was really great.

I managed to hit all of my training runs (3mi on Tues, 4.5mi Weds, 3mi Thurs) while gone and an additional 3 miles on the beach my last full day because why not?

On Wednesday, I ran up to the Tuckaway Bagel & Wafel Cafe where I met my sisters, Megan & Caitlin, and Megan’s boyfriend Kyle – if you’re ever on the beach and if you love bagel sandwiches as much as I do, GO THERE. It was amazing. The bagels were big and cheesy, the iced coffee is a perfect post-run pick-me-up (the coffee is locally roasted), and the atmosphere was really fun (see tree below + Bob Marley/Sublime songs the entire time). They also serve waffles (wafels? I’m unsure) which I’ve read are great and fresh smoothies which are perfect for a hot morning!

Aside from delicious bagels, Gulf-side dinners, and HM training runs, I didn’t really do a whole lot. It was great to get away but I was ready to come home and start applying for jobs and get back into the swing of things.

Saturday was full of traveling home – our flight was delayed an hour thanks to storms in northern FL – and dinner with Matt that evening so no long-run on Saturday. With Sunday being Easter, I missed (as in, didn’t plan for enough time) a long-run then but managed to get in a 10K in under 1h10m (nearly 20m faster than my B1G10K time in Summer 2015!!) and did 9mi this morning (Monday AM). The half is so soon!!

Well, that’s it for now. This post was kind of all over the place so… sorry for that! I’ll be publishing a post about my course-work required to start the RD process this week so be sure to comment if you have anything you’d like me to touch on in that post.


Thanksgiving in March & HM Training

Where, oh where should I begin? Should I talk about the amazing Thanksgiving brinner I made last week or training first? I’m gonna go with training because then we can get to the good stuff.

Training Recap:

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve done two long runs and a handful of smaller, quicker runs. Last weekend I completed, what felt like, an easy 7 miles (actually more! closer to 7 1/2) throughout my neighborhood(s). The shorter runs were fairly routine: 4 miles here and there. Today though. Today was tough. I had an 8 miler scheduled so I went to one of the local forest preserves to do it. I don’t have a lot to add about it except it was really difficult. There was no walking but I stopped to tie my shoes around mile 6 1/2 and when I got up, I had a really bad stomach cramp. Like, bad. Was I dehydrated? Probably. Did I fuel properly? Maybe, maybe not. But did I do it? Yes.

Now let’s get to the good stuff… a Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet. It’s loaded with fall/winter veggies that make a great breakfast all year long. As you’ll see below, the picture quality is terrible but pictures wouldn’t do this meal justice! The apples with the sausage and sweet potatoes are AMAZING. Enjoy!


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped small
  • Brussels sprouts, quartered (as much/little as you want)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Gala apples, chopped small (approx. same size as potatoes)
  • 6oz (uncooked) turkey sausage
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves or seasoning
  • 4-6 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 400* – while preheating, mix olive oil + sweet potatoes in a bowl and lay flat on baking sheet. Do the same for brussels sprouts.
  • Bake sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, throw around a bit midway. Do the same for brussels sprouts but cook for 15 minutes.
  • While sweet potatoes + brussels sprouts are baking, saute onion while browning turkey sausage.
  • Once turkey sausage is browned, add in apples & cook up until slightly mushy and brown in color.
  • After all is done – throw everything into a large mixing bowl and then back into a large oven-safe skillet.
  • Crack 4-6 eggs throughout and bake until eggs are desired doneness.
  • Season with salt + pepper as needed.
  • Eat.

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Catching Up

Hello, hello! It’s been like… two weeks(?) since I last posted. And one of my goals for the new year was to post at least once a week. So, I fail. But I’ve really been so busy and this just fell by the wayside. Sorry.

With all that said, we have a lot of catching up to do! I’ll break it down bit-by-bit. Read on if you’re interested or don’t if you’re not!

RD2Be Stuff:

I’ve been studying and applying to jobs like a mad-woman. The other day I applied to close to 20 jobs, which may not seem like a lot (I’ve never had to really apply for jobs before so this is new to me) but I had to write a ton of cover letters. I’ve applied for anything and everything in the hopes that I’ll catch somebody’s eye. If you’re the praying type, please pray for me! And if you’re not, well, uh, just have hope for me!

Running Stuff:

I feel like I’m not running as much as I should be but in reality, I’ve only missed one run in 2 weeks and that was due to a major stomach issue I was having. I’m still not picking up a lot of speed but that’s okay. On the schedule this weekend is a 7 miler that I’m going to do today since I won’t have time on Saturday or Sunday. The distances aren’t difficult but the fact that it takes me so long is a bit discouraging. It is what it is, though, and all I can do is run. And run. And run.

CrossFit Stuff:

I don’t have a lot to say other than I love going! It’s very refreshing (is that the right word?) to go into the gym and already have the workout planned for you. No thinking! It’s great. This week, I hit a deadlift 5RM of 205 and a 3RM of 215. My current 1RM is 255 belted. I also tried rope climbs for the first time since… middle school. And I’m still terrified of heights. So, that’s nice! Depending on how I feel after my run, I’m going to go try a scaled 16.3 (not officially, though).

Other Stuff:

Matt and I are watching Thor again (we love him so much) and he’s so fun to have! We’re able to let him off of his leash and watch him run around but he listens when we call him back to us and doesn’t disturb others.

Last week, when I was sick with my stomach thing, Matt went to visit his brother in Chicago and got me a cupcake! It was… okay… might have been better if it was fresh.

I also got a grill last week! Sorta. My dad had a charcoal grill that he wasn’t using so he gave it to me! I’m still trying to figure it out but I managed to successfully grill some chicken the other day, yay!

Next week, I’ll be presenting to a local girls’ lacrosse program about nutrition and the female athlete! It’s my first presentation to a group of non-classmates so it’s a bit intimidating but I’m very excited!

I think that’s really it for now – an exciting life, I know! I’m going to attempt to post more regularly, though. Even if it is only once per week.