I am Sarah Pflugradt, a registered dietitian, family nutrition expert, author, and educator.
What is a Dietitian?
By definition, a dietitian is an expert on nutrition and health. Every dietitian meets a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, plus a 6-12 month supervised practice, also commonly known as an internship. In my supervised practice, I worked in clinical settings, food service, sports nutrition, corporate nutrition, WIC, and long term care. In order to become a dietitian, one must take a national examination and pass.
Dietitians must remain credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration and some states require licensure. What this means is that “dietitian” is a legally protected term. Some states have made it illegal for anyone other than a dietitian to offer medical nutrition therapy, which can include providing meal plans, dietary advice for medical conditions, and using the term dietitian.
Why is licensure important for you and for me? For you, it ensures that the nutrition advice you receive is safe and ethical. When you seek out nutrition advice, you can be sure that dietitians have the skill, knowledge, and competency without doing harm to your body. We are healthcare professionals and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standard in practice.
Dietitians are trained to look beyond the food, I look at you – all of you. Food is medicine and there are foods that are not right for every person. There is no ONE diet for everyone, which is why we practice medical nutrition therapy and personalized nutrition counseling. Nutrition is also a science, which means it is always evolving and dietitians are skilled in reading and interpreting research of all types.
Most importantly, dietitians are people too. We all eat and we all realize the struggles associated with nutrition, child feeding, cost of food, accessibility, emotional eating, and every issue imaginable. We are required to maintain our credential with continuing education each year to ensure you are getting the BEST nutrition advice around.
Seek out a dietitian today if you have questions about nutrition – we can help.
Who is Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN?
My hats: Mom, wife, proud Air Force vet, foodie.
In 2004, I graduated from University of Missouri – Columbia with a BS in Nutritional Sciences. I had a difficult time with being strictly a “nutritionist”, which has never had a clear definition and I found that employers wanted credibility. That meant I needed an upgrade – to RD. I went back to school with a 2 year old and a 6 month old and entered the Dietetics Coordinated Program at Eastern Michigan University. I graduated in 2010 with a BS in Dietetics and took the RD exam shortly after. After I had my 3rd and final little bundle of joy, I decided to go back for more. I graduated with my Master’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Colorado State University in 2014. I am currently a PhD candidate in Health and Human Performance at Concordia University – Chicago.
My background is in clinical practice at two different hospitals and outpatient counseling in diabetes management, weight loss, healthful weight gain and general nutrition. I worked at WIC overseas and maintained a private practice. I have been writing and teaching education classes to children since 2013. I am a writer for LIVESTRONG.com and have been featured in Food and Nutrition Magazine, Military Kids Life Magazine, and Redbook. I have also been quoted as a nutrition expert in many online publications such as Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health, and Weight Watchers.