A dietitian holding juice and looking at her computer.

15 Side Hustles for Dietitians to Make Extra Money

Are you a dietitian looking for ways to make some extra money? With today’s challenging economic climate, it can be difficult to get ahead financially – but there are plenty of creative and rewarding side hustles for dietitians that may be perfect for you. Here are some ideas for bringing in extra income while maintaining your job, so you can start growing both your wallet and career opportunities.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.

1. Private Practice

Private practice is probably the number one idea that springs to people’s minds when they think about side hustles, so let’s cover that first. (That said, just know that there are tons of other ideas below that don’t require 1-1 counseling if that’s not your thing.)

Starting this type of side hustle can seem daunting, especially if you’re already working a full time job! But with the right plan, you can easily start to bring in additional income by seeing clients on your own.

First, you’ll want to double check that your current position doesn’t have any policies in place that prohibit seeing private clients. Assuming that’s all set, you’ll want to look into any legal requirements for setting up your practice.

In many states, if you’re practicing under your own name, you may not need a business license – but this is always something to double check on. You should also consult small business development centers, lawyers, and/or accountants to help determine the right business structure for you.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have the necessary insurance. Professional liability insurance as a dietitian is generally reasonably priced and will be well worth the peace of mind.

From there, it’s all about deciding on a niche and marketing. While it may seem tempting to try to market to many different conditions and personas, it’s typically better to find a narrow niche, as it will be easier for you to create a recognizable brand and standout from the competition.

You can market yourself online via your website, social media profiles, and referral sources like HealthProfs. You can also market yourself locally to healthcare providers, fitness centers, and other professionals who might be interested in referring clients to you.

2. Freelance Writing

If you enjoy writing, take your nutrition knowledge and try your hand at paid freelance writing. You can write blog posts and articles for nutrition magazines, health websites, food brand websites, or even fellow dietitians.

I’ve seen great freelance writing gigs in Facebook groups like RDs Who Write and Cult of Copy. You can also reach out to editors of industry publications or websites and pitch them your ideas. (And of course, you can check marketplaces like Upwork as well, but know that the rates offered there tend to be on the lower side.)

Generally, freelance writing rates are set per article (with a certain word range) or per word.

Want to learn more? Get info about how to find freelance writing gigs. You can also check out Ana Reisdorf’s freelance writing guide for RDs and her more comprehensive freelance writing course for RDs.

A freelance writer working on a laptop at a coffee shop.

3. Creating Digital Products

Love designing a nutrition education handout? Have you developed systems in your own business that would benefit other RDs? Got an eye for creating great social media graphics in Canva?

Take those skills and put them to good use by developing digital products that you could sell to other dietitians.

For example, I’ve taken a few things I’ve developed in the past and posted them for sale on RD2RD. Every month, I might make a couple sales, which is nice for passive income for things I had already created!

Here are some ideas for digital products you could sell to your colleagues:

  • Nutrition education handouts
  • Social media graphics or templates
  • Business systems like intake forms, meal plan templates, nutrition assessment documents
  • Done-for-you presentations
  • Editable e-books
  • Meal Plans
  • Clinical reference guides

In addition to developing products for dietitians, you could also develop products for the public. You could sell these on a website of your own, or on a marketplace site. For example, just take a look at Etsy and you’ll see lots of meal plans, fitness trackers, and other digital products for sale.

The great thing about creating digital products is that there’s no limit to the number of people you can sell them to, so if your products are well received, it could become a nice source of ongoing side income for you. (No 1-1 counseling required!)

4. Blogging

While it’s not a quick money maker, blogging can be a great way to bring in extra income over the long run. You can create content around nutrition topics or recipes that you’re passionate about, and share your expertise with the world.

The key to most successful blogs? Good SEO! SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords and phrases.

Here are some initial SEO tips (you can find lots more in my SEO ebook or my content creation course):

  • Choose a specific niche, and ideally one with lots of low-competition keywords. Essentially, you want to choose keywords that people are searching for, but that aren’t completely dominated by all high authority sites. [Read more about how to do keyword research using my favorite tool, KeySearch.]
  • Use those keywords to guide the blog posts you write. (So much more effective than writing posts first and trying to find keywords that “fit”.)
  • Write comprehensive content that could be one of the top ten pieces on the internet for that topic.
  • Use proper structure in your blog posts – use heading tags break up sections, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, etc. Make it easy for people to read!
  • Provide quotes to media outlets so that you can start getting backlinks to your site, which will help you grow as an authority in the field (and help your site improve rankings).

Once you’ve grown your traffic, you can monetize it with ads, sponsored blog posts or social posts, affiliate marketing, or selling products like ebooks or courses through your website.

5. Adjunct Teaching

Adjunct teaching can be a great side hustle – and because you’re employed by the college, you don’t have to do any marketing or business on your own. Plus, as an adjunct professor, you have the opportunity to share your expertise with students who could become future dietitians, food service employees, or health care professionals.

If this sounds like something you’d like to pursue, start by looking at HigherEdJobs, where adjunct positions are frequently posted. You can also reach out to your alma matter to see if they have any openings. Keep in mind most adjunct positions require a Masters Degree.

When I was starting my blogs, I also taught as an adjunct professor at a local community college, where I taught Nutrition for Foodservice Managers. It was a great option for bringing in consistent cash while I was building up my own business.

6. Recipe Development

If you have a knack for creating delicious meals, you could become a recipe developer. As an RD, you may have a unique selling point in that you can develop recipes for specific conditions, and may even be able to offer the nutrition analysis for what you create. (There are many online programs available to help you with the later).

You can find freelance recipe work for food brands, other bloggers, magazines, digital publications, meal delivery companies, or even local bakeries or restaurants.

Try browsing Facebook groups – like The Unconventional RD, RDs Who Write, or VA for Hire – Content for Bloggers – to keep an eye out for bloggers or other dietitians looking for recipe development.

Don’t be afraid to also pitch your services to the other outlets mentioned. For example, have you noticed any brands or commodity boards that don’t have many recipes on their website? Reach out and see if they’d be interested in working together.

One note – in the freelance media world, recipe development is often (though not always) bundled with food photography. If your photography skills aren’t quite there yet, you may be able to find positions for just recipes, but they may be a bit tougher to track down.

A dietitian cooking in the kitchen doing recipe development as a side hustle.

7. Food Photography

Don’t do a lot of recipe development yourself – but have great photography skills? You can offer your services to recipe developers, food bloggers, brands, or publications as a professional food photographer.

For example, a brand I had previously connected with had a lot of recipes on their website but didn’t have photos for them. They hired me to photograph the recipes.

Many bloggers that have been around for a long time also hire out for recipe reshoots; these are often tested and established recipes that just have subpar photos.

If you’re looking to get into food photography, try checking out the Facebook groups mentioned in the last section, along with Food Bloggers Central (where you’ll sometimes see bloggers looking for photographers, and also see helpful discussions about food photography rates).

It’s helpful if you have a portfolio of several recipe photos available, as well as a set of standard rates.

8. Meal Planning Services

Meal planning is a great way to help busy families and individuals save time in their weekly routines. As an RD, you can create meal plans tailored for specific health conditions or dietary needs.

There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Offer on-demand meal plan downloads on your website for a fee
  • Start a subscription-based meal planning service, where people are charged weekly or monthly for access to meal plans
  • Have one-on-one consultations with clients that need personalized guidance, and provide them with a meal plan afterwards.

You can create these yourself, or you can use tools like That Clean Life or EatLove Pro.

9. Personal Chef Services

Whether you’re a professional chef or you’ve gotten a certification in culinary nutrition training, personal chef services are a great way to make extra income. As a personal chef, you create meals for clients that can either be cooked in their home (sometimes on-site) or delivered to them.

You’ll need to have the right tools and equipment to get started, as well as liability insurance to protect yourself from the risks of cooking in someone else’s kitchen. You’ll also want to look into local regulations surrounding cooking; some may require you prepare the food in a commercial kitchen if you’re delivering to clients.

Personal chef services can be quite lucrative in high earning areas. Be sure to consider the cost of your ingredients, time and labor, and any fees (for example, kitchen usage) when deciding on your rates.

10. Corporate Wellness Services

Many companies are prioritizing employee wellness, so corporate wellness gigs are a great side hustle for dietitians. You can create your own corporate wellness company that offers services, or you can find established companies that offer up opportunities for part time contractors.

Examples of corporate wellness services might include…

  • Lunch-and-learn nutrition workshops
  • Cooking demos
  • 1-1 health coaching or nutrition counseling
  • Health fairs
  • Fitness classes (for those who also have a fitness certification)

Before I dove into blogging full time, I actually owned a corporate wellness business for several years. I worked with several companies in my local area. The work pays very well. If you plan to do it on your own (rather than working for another company), just keep in mind you’ll want to market yourself well, set up a website with good local SEO, and network frequently in your area.

One important note – since most corporate wellness events take place during or directly after the workday, you’ll likely need to have at least one weekday available for this type of side hustle.

A dietitian giving a corporate wellness presentation in a conference room.

12. Brand Consultant

If you’re a marketing pro, consider becoming a brand consultant. Brands pay dietitians to help them in many ways – from advising on industry trends to creating nutrition marketing material for existing products.

For example, a brand may be looking to hire a dietitian to provide quotes for a press release about a new product. You can charge the brand for your time creating the quotes, as well as your use of name and likeness.

You could also be a spokesperson for a brand and participate in media interviews. (The Master the Media course is a great deep dive into media and brand work. It’s an investment but could be great if you’re looking to do this full time).

13. Social Media Influencer

We all can give a collective eye roll about the “wellness influencers” out there promoting detox teas and fat loss supplements. But there are also plenty of opportunities for us as dietitians to use our influence for good!

The industry is seeing a focus on TikTok and Instagram Reels right now, so if you want to get sponsored social work, it would be wise to focus on these two areas.

If you can grow an engaged audience, consider working with brands you already love and use to promote their products and services (otherwise known as “sponsored content“). The brand can pay you up front, and in exchange you share about them on social media. Be sure to always disclose when you’re getting paid by a brand for a post.

For example, I’ve worked on past partnerships promoting watermelon, which was a natural fit for me as a dietitian, runner, and watermelon enthusiast.

You can find helpful contracts for sponsored content over at Businessese. They’ve got great done-for-you options that make it easy for you to feel confident in sending over a contract.

You might also choose to participate in affiliate marketing as an influencer. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product and link to it, and if someone purchases that product through your link, you get paid a commission. This can be lucrative when done right with high value products/services/courses, but doesn’t offer any guaranteed payment because it’s only based on sales. (For this reason, I usually prefer sponsored content for social media posts).

14. Social Media Marketing

Earn some extra cash by helping other dietitians or food brands with their own social media marketing. If you understand how to grow an audience, create eye-catching posts, and engage with followers, this is the perfect side hustle for you.

You can create a portfolio of your past work (or do some discounted short-term work to build one) and start offering your services as a contractor. Fees will depend on the length of the project, number of profiles you’re managing, amount of content creation expected, and type of content (i.e. static image vs. videos).

As an alternative, you could also offer up a one-off social media evaluation for fellow RDs or brands where you provide an audit of their accounts and offer helpful tips and tricks for them to implement.

15. Speaking

Last but not least, speaking is a great side hustle option if you have expertise in a particular topic! Conferences are always looking for speakers, and typically have a budget to pay you. You can also look for sponsors for your talk if allowed.

Look into your state AND conferences, the Today’s Dietitian Symposium, DPG events, or other local health care professional conferences.

You can also look into events outside the healthcare space if your expertise transfers over to that area. For example, maybe you speak at a food blogging conference about how to do an accurate nutrition analysis, or maybe you speak at an executive event about how busy working professionals can manage healthy eating.

A male dietitian giving a presentation to a large audience.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this list of side hustles for dietitians gives you some inspiration! Whether you’re looking for extra money during a slow season or have been wanting to dive into entrepreneurship head first, there are lots of different options available. The key is finding something that speaks to you and matches your skills. Try out what sounds fun and interesting, and remember that you can always switch to another option if it doesn’t fit. Good luck!

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