Specialist Award In Nutrition

Study human nutrition and nutritional health online. Increase your employability and capacity to work in food or nutrition industries.

Course CodeVRE504
Fee CodePA
Duration (approx)500 hours
QualificationSpecialist Award

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For people working in food, health or fitness industries; who have never undertaken comprehensive, formal training in human nutrition: this provides an opportunity to fill in potential gaps in your knowledge and pursue a learning experience to enhance, expand and improve the career you are already involved with.

The backbone of the course involves our key modules: Nutrition 1, 2 and 3.
In addition, you need to complete relevant industry requirements (which may already be satisfied by current and past work experience. If not, we offer lots of other, very achievable options).

Nutrition 1


The nine lessons are as follows:

1. Introduction to Nutrition

2. The Digestive System

3. Absorption & Enzymes

4. Energy Value and Foods

5. Carbohydrates and Fats

6. Proteins

7. Vitamins and Minerals

8. Water

9. Nutrient Disorders


  • Explain the role of different food types in human health.

  • Explain the physiology of digestive processes.

  • Recommend appropriate intake of vitamins.

  • Recommend appropriate intake of minerals.

  • Recommend appropriate food intake to meet an individual's energy needs.

  • Recommend appropriate carbohydrate intake.

  • Recommend appropriate fat intake.

  • Recommend appropriate protein intake.

  • Recommend appropriate water intake in different situations.

  • Recognise signs and symptoms of the major nutrient disorders.


Nutrition 2

This course is divided into eight lessons as follows:.

  1. Cooking And Its Effect On Nutrition

  2. Food Processing And Its Effect On Nutrition

  3. Recommended Daily Intake Of Nutrients

  4. Vitamins

  5. Minerals

  6. Planning A Balanced Diet

  7. Assessing Nutritional Status & Needs

  8. Timing Of Meals & Needs For Special Groups


  • Determine appropriate food preparation for different foods, in relation to food value for human health.

  • Explain the characteristics of food processing techniques and their implications for human health.

  • Recommend daily food intakes for people with differing nutritional needs.

  • Manage dietary intake of more significant vitamins including B and C complex vitamins for good health.

  • Manage dietary requirements of significant minerals including calcium & iron for good health.

  • Plan in detail, an appropriate seven day diet plan, for an "average" adult.

  • Determine dietary needs of different individuals.

  • Plan diets to achieve different, specific purposes.

  • Plan diets for specific needs for people at different stages of life.


  • Determine the reasons for cooking food.

  • Compare different methods of cooking food in terms of their effect on both health and nutrition.

  • Explain the effects on nutrition of cooking different types of foods, for different periods of time, including: *Meat *Fish *Eggs *Milk *Plant Foods.

  • Explain how meat can be ensured to be fit for human consumption in a raw state, such as in sushi and in smallgoods.

  • Distinguish between function, effects, and chemistry of different types of food additives, in food preparation, including: *Colours *Preservatives *Antioxidants *Vegetable gums *Flavourings *Thickeners *Anti caking agents *Bleaches *Emulsifiers *Humectants *Food acids *Mineral salts.

  • Evaluate taste and nutritional effects of adding different specified flavourings to five different specified food dishes, including: *Salt *Sugar *Herbs *Wines.

  • Explain, giving six examples of specific foods, how "freshness" of different specified foods, impacts upon nutrient status of those foods.

  • Explain how physical treatment of different specified foods (eg. cutting or crushing), may affect the food benefit of that food, including: *digestibility *keeping quality *nutrient status.

  • Explain different heat treatments for food preservation; in terms of the process, function and affects; including: *drying *canning *bottling *pasteurisation.

  • Explain freezing of food, in terms of the process, function and affects.

  • Define examples of each of the following types of food additives: *Colours *Preservatives *Antioxidants *Vegetable gums *Flavourings *Thickeners *Anti caking agents *Bleaches *Emulsifiers *Humectants *Food acids *Mineral salts.

  • Distinguish between function, effects, and chemistry of different types of food additives, in food preservation, including: *Colours *Preservatives *Antioxidants *Vegetable gums *Flavourings *Thickeners *Anti caking agents *Bleaches *Emulsifiers *Humectants *Food acids *Mineral salts.

  • Analyse in a report, the effects of food additives found in three different supermarket food items, selected by the learner.

  • Explain problems that may result from food additives including: *allergic reactions *hyperactivity in children.

  • Explain different dehydration processes, in terms of the process, function and affects.

  • Explain use of food processing techniques applied to six different common foods with respect to food quality, storage life and cost.

  • Compare the use of different food processing techniques on the same food, through in terms of the process, function and effect.

  • Demonstrate five different food processing techniques, by independently preparing samples to a commercial standard.

  • Compare recommended dietary intake information from three different sources.

  • Explain how food requirements vary, in terms of components and quality, at different ages, including: *babies *children *teenagers *young adults *elderly people.

  • Recommend daily food intake requirements for a variety of four different people who the learner isfamiliar with (e.g. elderly, young children, active young adults), listing components of a typical daily intake together with a profile of the person.

  • List quality food sources of C complex vitamins in order of richest to poorest source.

  • List quality food sources of B complex vitamins in order of richest to poorest source.

  • Explain nutrient disorders associated with three different significant vitamin imbalances, including vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and one other vitamin.

  • Evaluate two different people the learner is familiar with, with respect to vitamin intake, lifestyle and health status, to determine if vitamin B & C needs are being satisfied.

  • List food sources of calcium in order of richest to poorest source.

  • List food sources of iron in order of richest to poorest source.

  • Distinguish nutrient disorders associated with calcium and iron imbalances, in terms of diagnosis and significance.

  • Evaluate two different people the learner is familiar with, with respect to mineral intake, lifestyle and health status, to determine if mineral requirements including calcium and iron needs, are being met.

  • Develop a questionnaire to analyse the dietary requirements of a person.

  • Analyse the diet, lifestyle and general health of three different individuals and compare the individuals analysed.

  • Recommend aspects of diet which could be improved for individuals analysed.

  • Explain discrepancies detected between different sources of dietary recommendations.

  • Conduct a self assessment of dietary practices, determining in a summary report, areas of deficiency in the learners normal diet.

  • Explain the significance of considering medical history when diet planning.

  • Prepare an appropriate diet plan over a seven day period, for an "average" adult.

  • Compare changes in dietary requirements for people at different stages of life,including: Nursing mothers, Babies, Young children, Teenagers, Young adults, Elderly.

  • Develop a five day menu for a ten year old child.

  • Prepare a one day menu for an immobile elderly person.

  • List unique dietary requirements for different types of people including: Weight lifters, People suffering obesity, People with coronary disease, Diabetics, People with gastric problems.

  • Plan a three day menu for a serious weight lifter.

  • Plan a diet for an obese person wishing to reduce weight.

  • Plan a healthy diet for a thin person wishing to gain weight.

Nutrition 3

This course is divided into eight lessons as follows:.

  1. Problems With Eating

  2. Dental Problems

  3. Fibre and Bowel Diseases

  4. Different Ways of Eating

  5. Food Toxicity A

  6. Food Toxicity B

  7. Detoxification/Body Cleansing

  8. Consulting/Giving Advice


  • Explain different food related health problems.

  • Determine the effect which different physical methods of food intake, can have upon health, including time and order of eating, and chewing.

  • Manage food sensitivity problems.

  • Implement procedures to avoid food poisoning.

  • List food related factors which can have a negative influence on health.

  • Distinguish between characteristics of the diets of two healthy people with diets of two unhealthy people, studied by the learner.

  • Differentiate between dietary and other affects, on the health of a specific individual.

  • Explain the significance of cholesterol to health of a specific demographic group.

  • Explain the significance of diet to cancer in a specified demographic group.

  • Compare differences in physiological responses to different patterns of eating, including: *The order in which different types of food are eaten; * The time of day when different

  • types of food are eaten; *The degree to which different types of foods are chewed; *The speed of swallowing; *The amount of time between eating different food types.

  • Explain food combining principles, in a diet designed to optimise food combining principles.

  • Plan a dietary timetable which optimises the ability of a typical person on a specified budget, to digest and assimilate food.

  • Formulate a nutritionally balanced vegetarian diet.

  • Formulate a diet compatible with a person's level of physical activity.

  • Manage fibre in the diet.

  • Manage diet to optimise dental health.

  • Recommend a safe method of detoxification.

  • Recommend a nutritional program to a client in a proper and responsible manner.


  • Distinguish between food sensitivity and toxicity in two different case studies.

  • Distinguish between chemical and pathological toxicity, in four different case studies.

  • List foods commonly associated with sensitivity problems.

  • List foods commonly associated with toxicity problems.

  • Explain problems associated with common food sensitivity and toxicity including: -Gluten Sugar -Salt -Yeast -MSG.

  • Develop a checklist of body reactions which may occur, in response to food sensitivity or toxicity, as a tool for diagnosing possible causes.

  • Describe two different scientific procedures used to test for food sensitivities and toxicities.

  • Explain the role of histamines, anti histamines and steroids in human toxicology.

  • Explain first aid treatments for people suspected to be suffering from two different food sensitivity or toxicity problems.

  • Explain a procedure used by a health practitioner, to treat someone affected by a specified type of food poisoning.

  • Determine guidelines to minimise food toxicity problems in a restaurant visited by the learner.

  • List factors which can cause food poisoning.

  • Explain three different pathological sources of serious food poisoning; including identification, physiological effects and control.

  • Explain three chemical poisoning risks associated with the use of chemicals to control pathological poisoning risks.

  • Explain food storage and preparation techniques essential to minimising food poisoning.

  • Develop guidelines to minimise food poisoning in the learners kitchen, based upon the learners normal dietary requirements.

  • Develop guidelines to minimise food toxicity problems in a restaurant visited by the learner.

  • Explain procedures practiced by a visited food manufacturer, to control food sensitivity and toxicity problems with their product.

  • Compare in a chart or table, three different styles of vegetarianism.

  • Explain two different specified risks associated with a vegetarian diet.

  • List alternative sources for twenty different components of foods normally derived from animal products, including: *Tryptophan *Methionine *Valine *Threonine *Phenylalanine *Leucine *Isoleucine *Lysine.

  • Formulate a balanced vegetarian diet, for a specified individual.

  • Explain the relationship between different types of food and exercise.

  • Explain the management of diet for a specified situation, before, during and after activity.

  • Explain how diet can effect performance of three different specified types of exercises.

  • Explain the role of fibre in the digestive system, of a specified demographic group.

  • Explain possible implications of inadequate fibre in the diet, for 3 different specified demographic groups.

  • Compare relative value of the fibre content of twenty different foods.

  • Explain inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in a specified case study.

  • Compare fibre content in the diets of four different people interviewed by the learner.

  • Recommend modifications to the fibre intake of two of the people interviewed in 7.5.

  • Explain the biology of the teeth, including anatomy and physiology.

  • Explain the effect of five different foods on the teeth and gums.

  • Describe dental problems influenced by diet.

  • Develop guidelines for healthy dental hygiene procedures, including both dietary and other practices.

  • List factors which affect accumulation of toxins in the body.

  • Explain different benefits of detoxification, for three different demographic groups.

  • Explain different techniques of accelerating elimination of toxins from the body -Heat (eg. Sauna) -Fasting -Diet Modification -Antioxidants -Exercise -Drugs and Herbs -

  • Disease Stress control.

  • Explain the dangers of excessive detoxification, for two different demographic groups.

  • Evaluate appropriate detoxification needs for an specified individual.

  • Recommend a detoxification program based upon a specified evaluation.

  • Explain legal risks involved in giving nutritional advice to a client.

  • Explain the moral responsibilities involved in providing nutritional advice.

  • Determine ways in which a two specific examples of nutritional advice may be misinterpreted.

  • Develop guidelines for a system to ensure nutritional advice is followed by clients as intended, including provision for monitoring.

  • Demonstrate a consultation with a client, real or hypothetical, presenting a nutritional program, designed for that client.

Workplace Project (Industry Based Component)

This is sometimes satisfied by a letter of reference from an employer or professional colleague. Alternatively, you may satisfy it through a research project or providing proof of attendance at industry meetings such as conferences and trade shows.

Options available to you to satisfy this requirement include:

Alternative 1.

If you work in the industry that you have been studying; you may submit a reference from your employer, in an effort to satisfy this industry (ie. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (ie. recognition for prior learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.

The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

Alternative 2.

If you do not work in the relevant industry, you need to undertake a project as follows.

This project is a major part of the course involving the number of hours relevant to the course (see above). Although the course does not contain mandatory work requirements, work experience is seen as highly desirable.

This project is based on applications in the work place and specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.

Students will design this project in consultation with a tutor to involve industry based activities in the area of specialized study which they select to follow in the course. The project outcomes may take the form of a written report, folio, visuals or a mixture of forms. Participants with relevant, current or past work experience will be given exemption from this project if they can provide suitable references from employers that show they have already fulfilled the requirements of this project.

For courses that involve more than 100 hours, more than one workplace project topic may be selected. For example, 200 hours may be split into two projects each of 100 hours. This will offer the student better scope to fulfill the needs of their course and to meet the number of hours required. Alternatively, the student may wish to do one large project with a duration of 200 hours.

Students will be assessed on how well they achieve the goals and outcomes they originally set as part of their negotiations with their tutor. During each 100 hours of the project, the students will present three short progress reports. These progress reports will be taken into account when evaluating the final submission. The tutor must be satisfied that the work submitted is original.

If the student wishes to do one large 200 hour report, then only three progressive reports will be needed (however the length of each report will be longer).

How Do You Help People Learn to Eat Better?

Learning is a process of gaining knowledge of (something) or to acquire skill in (some art or practice). It is based on memorising something, gaining experience with something or to become informed. Factors that effect learning include:
Things that Influence the person
  • everyone is an individual with unique needs and experiences; and different triggers they are motivated by
  • active participation improves learning/ doing it repeatedly helps develop habits
  • readiness to learn and do things should be encouraged/ encouragement can build motivation.
Influence from Others
  • advice from someone credible will build trust and confidence
  • when the atmosphere  is conducive, the learning is better 
  • motivation from trusted and admired people is more effective (friends, family, peers, etc)
  • positive attitudes should be reinforced
Material influences:
  • if information is relevant, appropriate and meaningful
  • repetition and practice will consolidate information
  • distribution of work, study and practice/ learning is best if the person is not overwhelmed
  • presentation mode may influence the learning process/ some people are more receptive to visual messages, others experiential; written information works well for some but more slowly for others.
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Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projec
Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Di
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