The 10 Best Online Nutrition Certifications of 2022 – Intelligent

The best online nutrition courses blend science with practical knowledge to help you understand how food impacts your health. Good nutrition courses delve into the biochemical and physiological processes by which macro- and micro-nutrients make your body function. They may include healthy recipes to feed your family, exercise tips, or other material so you can make a positive difference in your health.

Our Ranking Criteria

We looked at 42 of the best-known online courses in nutrition to come up with our list of the ten best. Our decisions were based on analysing both basic and advanced ranking criteria and determining who stood out most in the categories we were rating. Our basic ranking criteria looked at elements that were common to all of the classes.

Basic Ranking Criteria

There may not be one single reason why you choose an online nutrition course, but the following are likely to be elements that matter to you.

Time to complete. There’s a fine balance between taking so little time that you don’t learn and spending more time than is necessary on a course. The best courses give you the time you need to truly assimilate the information, but they don’t drag things out so long that you lose interest.

Prerequisites required. Our chosen courses had no prerequisites. They assume that you have the desire and interest to learn about nutrition, but don’t expect you to have experience in the field. You’ll find that many of these courses offer you basic background information in addition to more advanced material that builds on that background.

Flexible schedule. You lead a busy life, and maybe the best time for you to learn and study is late at night or early morning. Our chosen classes take that into consideration, and allow you to access the classes when it works best for you.

Certificate of completion. Not all courses offer a certificate of completion, but those that do give you something tangible to add to your LinkedIn profile and resume. If you’re taking the course purely for personal enrichment, that may not matter to you. But if you’re hoping for professional advancement, a certificate can be useful in showing your dedication to the subject matter of the course.

Advanced Ranking Criteria

After filtering out those courses that didn’t meet our basic ranking criteria, we took another look at the courses. There were a number elements that stood out for those that we deemed the best, including:

  • The course material is comprehensive.
  • Instructors are experts in the field, with advanced certifications in education and nutrition science.
  • Instructors are engaging and able to convey the information in a way that doesn’t bore students.
  • The course features both theory and practical applications of course material.
  • Students can pursue hands-on assignments and exercises to reinforce the material.
  • Alumni are equipped to pursue job advancement opportunities.
  • Material covered is up-to-date and reflects current practice.
  • Student reviews are routinely above average.

10 Best Online Nutrition Courses

Udemy
Diploma Certificate in Nutrition

Internationally Accredited Diploma Certificate in Nutrition on UdemyInternationally Accredited Diploma Certificate in Nutrition on Udemy

Intelligent Award: Top Pick

Udemy’s nutrition program leads to an internationally-recognized Continual Professional Development (CPD) certification, and offers a solid grounding in basic principles of nutrition. There are four modules which include an introduction establishing principles such as basal metabolic rate (BMR) total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and the calculations that allow you to determine these key markers for nutrition. You’ll go on to study macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), micronutrients, including fat- and water-soluble vitamins, and nutritional guidelines and healthy snack ideas, along with dietary plans for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In addition to the video lectures, you’ll have access to articles, a practice test, and other downloadable resources. Your $129.99 fee includes lifetime access to course materials, so you can go back for a refresher whenever needed.

  • Price: $129.99
  • Time to complete: 4.5 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? Healthcare or food service professionals who would like to expand their knowledge base to include nutrition.

What we like
What we don’t like

Lifetime access
No instructor feedback available

21 downloadable resources

Options to train teams of 5 or more

 Learn more

 

Udemy
Nutrition Masterclass

Nutrition MasterClass Build Your Perfect Diet and Meal Plan on UdemyNutrition MasterClass Build Your Perfect Diet and Meal Plan on Udemy

Intelligent Award: Best for Weight Loss

Taught by fitness and dieting guru Felix Harder, this 93-lecture class is packed with information geared for those who want to improve their health by improving their nutrition. Harder delves into adjusting your diet to gain or lose weight and explores common diet trends such as paleo, gluten-free, and intermittent fasting. He tells you how to read a nutrition label properly and what vitamins and minerals you should be getting in your diet. Harder is not the most engaging public speaker, but his lectures are clearly broken down into logical segments that average anywhere from one to six minutes, with the whole course totaling four hours and two minutes. Since you get lifetime access with the course, you can spread that out as long as you wish, or finish up the course in one intense weekend.

  • Price: $99
  • Time to complete: 4 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none, though having a digital food scale is helpful
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? A great choice for those hoping to lose or gain weight through nutrition management, as well as those who hope to build muscle and improve fitness.

What we like
What we don’t like

Lifetime access to course
Instructor not a trained nutritionist

30-day, money-back guarantee

Options available for training with a group

 Learn more

 

Coursera
Child Nutrition and Cooking

Child Nutrition and Cooking on CourseraChild Nutrition and Cooking on Coursera

Intelligent Award: Most Affordable

This course, which has a 98% positive rating among more than 34K reviews, is taught by Maya Adam, M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. It is based on an understanding that what children eat matters across their entire lifespan. The course covers health risks of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and how to prepare healthy, delicious meals that will appeal to both children and adults. Graduates of the course are prepared to handle the nutritional needs of children as parents, educators, and health care providers. Topics covered include how to determine a balanced meal, how to navigate supermarkets, and how to make food choices that are good for both you and the planet. Course certificate is sharable on LinkedIn, if you choose to purchase the fee-based course.

  • Price: free (no certificate); $39 (certificate awarded)
  • Time to complete: 11 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes, with paid option

Who should take this course? Parents and all those wanting to feed their children the most nutritious meals to safeguard their health.

What we like
What we don’t like

Reasonable price
No free trial

Audit option features free access to course materials
Certificate only available for fee-based version of course

Financial aid available

 Learn more

Coursera
Stanford Introduction to Food and Health

Stanford Introduction to Food and Health on CourseraStanford Introduction to Food and Health on Coursera

Intelligent Award: Best for Beginners

Taught by Dr. Maya Adam, like Coursera’s class on child nutrition, the Stanford Introduction to Food and Health course is designed to counter the bad nutrition habits that have led to a global crisis of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other nutrition-related diseases. Dr. Adam’s recommendations are simple, and include a return to minimally processed food and simple home cooking techniques. The course is broken into five general categories: background on food and nutrients, contemporary trends in eating, a two-part series on future directions in health, and a cooking workshop that is given over entirely to recipes — including lasagna, pad Thai, and gluten-free crepes. Although this course has a 4.7/5.0 rating based on nearly 20,000 reviews, those who didn’t rate it highly felt the information was too basic, at a high school level rather than the higher-education-level information you might expect from Stanford University.

  • Price: free, in audit mode; $39, with certificate
  • Time to complete: 7 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes, with paid option

Who should take this course? Anyone who wants to start from the beginning and learn the basic building blocks of nutrition.

What we like
What we don’t like

Instructor is a medical doctor
Certificate only with paid option

Good list of optional resources
Information is very basic

 Learn more

 

Human Nutrition- Introduction to Macronutrients, Revised, on AlisonHuman Nutrition- Introduction to Macronutrients, Revised, on Alison

Intelligent Award: Most Mobile-Friendly

Alison is a quite popular platform — as of August 2021, they have 20 million learners, 3.5 million graduates, and 3,000 courses. This particular course is focused on macronutrients, taking a scientific look at what we eat and why we need it. The course starts out with carbohydrates and the chemical formulas that are associated with them; and then dives into the world of proteins. You’ll learn about amino acids, protein synthesis, and the functions of protein in our diets. Finally, you’ll look at lipids and fatty acids to round out your study of the macronutrients. The course is taught by author Brian Lindshield, an associate professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health at Kansas State University.

  • Price: free (certificate available for a small cost)
  • Time to complete: 1.5-3 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes, at a small cost

Who should take this course? Those looking for a scientific understanding of the primary elements in our diet: proteins, carbs, and fats.

What we like
What we don’t like

In-depth coverage of topic
Must pay to remove advertisements

Tailored career guidance available
Must pay for certificate or attestation letter

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Human Nutritio- Introduction to Micronutrients, RevisedHuman Nutritio- Introduction to Micronutrients, Revised

Intelligent Award: Best Focus on Science

A complementary class to Alison’s course on macronutrients, this free course turns a spotlight on the micronutrients that are also part of a good diet. The course begins with a discussion of vitamins and minerals, including both fat- and water-soluble vitamins. Emphasis is placed on antioxidants, and entire modules are dedicated to vitamin E, vitamin C, and Selenium. Graduates of the course should be able to list and describe vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and the processes by which they are absorbed, metabolized, and excreted. Although micronutrients are only required in trace amounts in the body, understanding their value in your diet is vital in learning how to eat healthy. Like the course on macronutrients, this course is taught by author Brian Lindshield, an associate professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health at Kansas State University.

  • Price: free (small fee for certificate)
  • Time to complete: 1.5-3 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes, at a small cost

Who should take this course? Anyone wishing for a clear review of what micronutrients are and how they impact our bodies.

What we like
What we don’t like

Science-based coverage of the topic
Not as much practical info as other courses

Good career guidance included
Certificate only available at a cost

 Learn more

 

Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health at EdXProfessional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health at EdX

Intelligent Award: Best for Career Advancement

The EdX business model pulls faculty members from institutions including Harvard and MIT to create classes that offer a university-level understanding of topics. This particular series of two courses is created by tenure-level instructors at Wageningen University, a research institution and international center for the life sciences in the Netherlands. To earn the certificate, you’ll take two courses, each of which requires 6-8 hours of work per week, the first for nine weeks, and the second for seven weeks. You’ll focus first on macronutrients and overnutrition, drilling down into the chemistry of fats, carbs, and protein and how they are absorbed, stored, and metabolized. In the second course, you’ll look at vitamins, minerals, and trace elements and learn how they are used by our bodies, with an additional focus on malnutrition and global hunger.

  • Price: $358.20
  • Time to complete: 4 months (6-8 hours/week)
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? Best for those already in a nutrition-related field who want to sharpen their skill set.

What we like
What we don’t like

University-level instructors
At the higher end, in terms of cost

Professional certificate available

Coverage of topics is in-depth

 Learn more

 

Shaw Academy
Online Nutrition Course

Nutrition Course at Shaw AcademyNutrition Course at Shaw Academy

Intelligent Award: Best Free Trial

Shaw Academy’s Online Nutrition Course is taught by registered dietitian Abby Courtenay, RD. The course is held over four weeks, each week includes two lessons. These range from a review of body basics, to overviews on carbs, proteins, fats, and micronutrients. Unlike many nutrition courses, it also features a lesson on the importance and role of hydration in the diet, and a final lesson that focuses on body measurements. This course is actually module 1 in a four-course series that leads to an evidence-based EQF (European Qualification Framework) diploma in nutrition, with subsequent modules tackling more advanced concepts and disease prevention.

  • Price: $49.99 (free trial available)
  • Time to complete: 16 weeks
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? Aspiring nutritionists and dieticians who need to earn a professional degree to break into the field.

What we like
What we don’t like

Course is on diploma track
Instructor not U.S.-based

Includes information on hydration

Lessons in body image and mindful eating

 Learn more

 

New Skills Academy
Introduction to Sports Nutrition Certification

Introduction to Sports Nutrition Certification at New Skills AcademyIntroduction to Sports Nutrition Certification at New Skills Academy

Intelligent Award: Shortest Course

This course follows the format of many of our chosen classes, with modules on carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as information on micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The key difference separating this course is the focus is on sports nutrition and how athletes should eat to maintain their optimal level of health. Sports nutrition is a growing field as the science expands on how nutrition affects the performance of athletes, whether they are weekend warriors or Olympians. Although this course clocks in at just 2.5 hours, it offers a good foundational review of what is involved in becoming a sports nutritionist.

  • Price: $199
  • Time to complete: 2.5 hours
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? Good for anyone who is interested in the field of sports nutrition but isn’t sure where to start. Also a good course for athletes who want to ramp up their nutritional game.

What we like
What we don’t like

Lifetime access to course
On the pricey side

Includes exams to test knowledge
Website not user-friendly

 Learn more

 

Stanford Center for Health Education
Nutrition Science

Nutrition Science at Stanford Center for Health EducationNutrition Science at Stanford Center for Health Education

Intelligent Award: Best for Health Professionals

Affiliated with San-Francisco-based Stanford University, this course is a significant investment in time and money, but if you are serious about your goals, it may be a good fit for you. For the eight weeks of the course, you will be committing yourself to self-paced learning for 8-10 hours each week. The course is taught by Professor Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, along with input from other tenured faculty members at Stanford’s Center for Health Education. Graduates of this class will have acquired the skills needed to develop sound diet plans and be able to critically evaluate nutrition studies and trends.

  • Price: $2,300
  • Time to complete: 8 weeks (8-10 hours per week)
  • Prerequisites required: none
  • Flexible schedule: yes
  • Includes verified certificate of participation: yes

Who should take this course? Perhaps the most academically rigorous course among our choices, this is best suited for those who have a serious interest, professional or personal, in nutrition and are willing to commit significant time to understanding how nutrition impacts health in the various contexts of human development.

What we like
What we don’t like

Faculty are top names in the field
Most expensive of our chosen courses

Course focuses on critical thinking
Significant time investment

 Learn more

 

Online Course Comparison Chart

Tips for Succeeding in an Online Nutrition Course

1. Consider the cost

How much do online nutrition classes cost?

Our chosen courses range from several free options up to a high of more than $2K. Several of the courses offer free material, but have a cost if you wish to be able to share a certificate of completion on your Linkedin profile or CV. Only you can determine if a course is worth it, but generally free courses offer more basic information with less instructor interaction, while courses that have a cost associated with them delve more deeply into the subject matter, and may offer the chance to ask questions of your instructors.

Will my employer pay for me to take the course?

Possibly. If you are working in the field of nutrition, food service, or an associated area, your employer may be willing to help pay for a course that improves your skills and allows you to take on additional work responsibilities. A certificate from an established expert in the field, such as the Stanford Center for Health Education, may convince your employer that your time spent on professional development is well worth rewarding.

2. Get your tech squared away

Our chosen nutrition courses don’t require a great deal of tech. A solid internet connection is required to access the course, although some of the courses allow you to download material to watch or read it offline. It’s helpful to have the latest version of your preferred web browser, and these classes should work on any common browser, including Safari, Chrome and Firefox. One quick tip: if you are using Chrome, download Google’s Video Speed Controller, which allows you to speed up, slow down, rewind, or advance videos easily.

3. Use the right study resources

There are countless books and websites featuring information on nutrition and diet; you will undoubtedly find your favorites while taking your chosen course. Here are a few resources we like:

  • Website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: a wealth of information broken down into categories of food, health, and fitness. You can search for information that is specific to kids, seniors, men, or women, and there’s an additional section on food safety.
  • How Not to Die: this book, despite the alarming title, is actually an excellent source of information on food that can improve your health and even, in some cases, reverse diseases.

U.S. Department of Agriculture website: information on food shopping, meal planning, healthy recipes, and more, including an extensive database that provides nutritional information on thousands of food products.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Nutrition Courses

What jobs can you get after completing an online nutrition course?

Dieticians and nutritionists need a bachelor’s degree or comparable education in the food sciences, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. With that education, you can expect to earn a median pay of $63,090 a year, and jobs are expected to grow much faster than average in the next decade.

Are there free online nutrition courses?

Several of our chosen courses are free, although these often have a minimal charge if you wish to earn the certificate associated with the course. Free courses often feature fairly basic information and little interaction with the instructor. Generally, if you wish to take a class where you will be able to ask questions and have some interaction with your peers or faculty, there will be a cost involved.

How long is the average online nutrition course?

Online writing courses vary from less than an hour to up to a year. Since most offer a flexible schedule, you can do them when you have time available. Keep in mind that in addition to lectures you’ll be watching or reading, you may also have exercises to complete, which take additional time.

What is the best online nutrition course?

There is no best course for everyone. All our top 10 choices offer value for the student of nutrition. If your focus is, for example, on children’s nutrition, you may want to consider Coursera’s class on child nutrition. If you are exploring the field and hope to continue your studies at an academic institution, you may be better served by Stanford Center for Health Education’s course.

Can you become a certified nutritionist online?

Although certifications are available through many online courses, you will need to look at the requirements in your state if you wish to become a registered dietician or licensed nutritionist. In many states, you are required to earn a bachelor or master’s degree (which may be available online), participate in an internship or practicum experience, or take an exam to achieve your license to practice.