March is National Nutrition Month and March 8 is Registered Dietitian Day. So what exactly is the difference between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist? The term nutritionist isn’t regulated, so technically, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even with no formal training or certification. Holding the title of registered dietitian (or RD after one’s name) requires:

1) A minimum of a four year college degree from an accredited university’s program that includes specific course work in human physiology, nutrition science, and other sciences;

2) A 900 hour supervised hands-on internship;

3) Passing a comprehensive examination and;

4) Completing ongoing continuing education.

In honor of National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day, I asked five RDs at my work (the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center) what they typically eat for lunch. This way you can see how a dietitian really eats! Here is what they said:

Tracy, MS, RD:

“A typical work lunch for me would be a Lean Cuisine (I eat a variety but recently had the Chicken Tikka Masala [310 kcal, 51 g carb, 18 g protein, 4 g fat]). I add a vegetable such as 1 cup of fresh baby carrots and a fruit such as 1 serving of grapes (20 grapes [70 kcal, 18 g carb]).

Another go-to for me is 3 ounces drained tuna fish (canned in water) mixed with 1 Tbsp 2% Greek yogurt, 4 Tbsp avocado in a small pita. I have 1 cup sliced fresh seedless cucumber and 1 lunch box sized apple. I’ll pair this with a sparkling water such as La Croix and maybe a Ferrero Roche too.”

Marsha, MS, RD:

“Usually I have leftovers heated on a bed of spinach or salad. My favorite leftovers are chicken and roasted vegetables or turkey chili.”

Tanya, PhD, RD:

“My go to lunch is a lentil bowl with mixed veggies, black beans, hardboiled eggs, and whatever sort of ‘spices/herbs/dressing’ I am in the mood for. I’ll usually make a big batch of lentils on the weekend and portion it out into Tupperware with the other ingredients for an easy grab and go lunch to bring to work.”

Lisa, MS, RD:

“I love a baked sweet potato with a yogurt for protein or a salad (made from leftovers, beans, and always with homemade dressing of lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper) with a veggie burger. Anything quick and that I can eat in between classes.”

Lauren, RD:

“My favorite thing to meal prep for the week is a stir fry. You get your protein, your vegetable, and your carbohydrate, all wrapped up into one easy meal. I take a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, a bag of frozen brown rice, and whatever protein I am craving (chicken, shrimp, lean beef), mix it all together with low sodium soy sauce and Sriracha. Easy and healthy and lasts me several days.”

Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Check out her website, Facebook page (The Dessert Dietitian), and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips and recipes! View the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness website at