Scope of Practice


Table of Contents:

Definition of a Nutrition Manager
Role of a Nutrition Manager
Areas of Practice
Entry-level Competencies
Glossary and Definitions

Definition of a Nutrition Manager

A Nutrition Manager (NM) is a multi-skilled, technically competent practitioner who is eligible for membership in The Canadian Society of Nutrition Management. NM’s hold a wide range of job positions that may include a combination of any of the following titles:

  • Nutrition Manager
  • manager, supervisor, director, executive, team lead, senior lead, specialist
  • food service, nutrition, dietary, dietetic, culinary, food and beverage, patient food
  • technologist
  • technician
  • menu analyst
  • support services manager

*The term “Nutrition Manager” applies to any of these titles, assuming the person holding the title also meets the admission criteria for CSNM.

Areas of Practice

As part of the nutrition management team, an NM is involved with the day-to-day operation of the food and nutrition/dietary department, providing the much-needed link between administrative and food service personnel.  

The NM works in collaboration with interdisciplinary health teams, including Registered Dietitians, to provide nutrition care to patients/clients.  The NM is responsible for clients/patients at low to moderate nutrition risk. The Nutrition Manager is a liaison between food service and clinical nutrition. 

The areas of practice for a Nutrition Manager include but are not limited to:

  • health care facilities - acute, chronic, rehabilitation, and long term care
  • retirement, assisted, and independent living
  • government agencies
  • correctional facilities
  • daycares, schools, colleges, and universities
  • hospitality industry
  • commercial catering services
  • foodservice sales
  • health and fitness
  • health promotion
  • post-secondary education faculty
  • food manufacturing
  • commercial and retail food services consulting services
  • private practice

Nutrition Managers regularly perform the following tasks:

  • Manage and/or supervise food preparation and service operations.
  • Co-ordinate and plan foodservice operations by developing department goals, policies and procedures
  • Monitor, maintain and improve quality standards through audits, surveys, checks and inspections; meeting with clients to assist in enhancing operational requirements
  • Implement, evaluate and maintain food safety and sanitation standards
  • Establish, monitor and evaluate customer service plans
  • Procure food, equipment and supplies based on established specifications and ensure proper receiving and storage
  • Develop and implement budgets and cost controls
  • Develop and/or participate in food services marketing strategies
  • Recruit onboard, develop, coach, performance manage, evaluate and direct the work of food service personnel.
  • Develop work schedules, job descriptions & job routines
  • Implement programs for attendance management  and payroll practices in accordance with collective agreements and applicable legislative requirements
  • Develop and deliver ongoing training and education programs to meet legislative, regulatory requirements and industry best practice
  • Maintain records of customer, patient and employee information in accordance with privacy and record retention legislation
  • Implement, monitor and train on occupational health and safety standards and legislative requirements
  • Plan menus according to established criteria, nutrition standards, menu-planning principles
  • Plan menus according to the client’s nutrition needs, cultural and religious requirements, and personal preferences
  • Adapt client menus for special nutrient needs or restrictions in accordance with approved diet manuals and established menu-planning guidelines.
  • Implement  and monitor production activities related to food texture modification and fluid consistencies, based on established guidelines and prevailing practice
  • Complete nutrition screening and dietary profiles.
  • Complete and document nutrition assessments, progress notes and nutrition-related status on patients/clients at low and moderate risk; referring high-risk clinical nutrition issues to a Registered Dietitian
  • Develop, monitor and recommend revisions to the plan of care according to policies and provincial standards/regulations.
  • Monitor residents/clients at mealtimes for safety, application of prescribed nutrition therapies and satisfaction; follow up on observations; refer to members of the interdisciplinary health team as applicable
  • Mentor and provide training for student placements
  • Liaise with other departments and participate in multidisciplinary teams/committees

Promote healthy eating and living to all Canadians using the guidelines established by Health Canada, including Canada’s Dietary Guidelines and Canada’s Food Guide


Members of CSNM have received training in many areas including:

  • Staffing, scheduling, recruitment and performance management
  • Personnel management, job descriptions, orientation
  • Accounting, budgeting and payroll
  • Purchasing and costing
  • Computer and technological applications
  • Work methods
  • Menu planning
  • Diet therapy/nutrition competence
  • Quantity food production, recipe testing
  • Portion control
  • Sanitation and safety
  • In-service education/communication
  • Quality assurance/customer service 

Entry-level Competencies

The following eight competencies (statements of knowledge, skills, and behaviours) which are required by a nutrition manager to be eligible for membership in CSNM, are comprised in The Competency Profile.

1.0 Professionalism 
2.0 Quality Management 
3.0 Nutrition and Healthy Living 
4.0 Clinical Nutrition 
5.0 Food Service Systems Management 
6.0 Human Resources Management 
7.0 Financial/Business Management 
8.0 Marketing and Promotion

For more detailed information about The Competency Profile, review our Professional Performance Competencies document.


Low nutrition risk - Patients/clients at low nutrition risk are stable and have predictable outcomes. Nutrition intervention will result in the maintenance of nutrition status or health promotion. Nutrition Manager works independently with patients/clients at low nutrition risk. 

Moderate nutrition risk - Nutrition intervention for patients/clients at moderate nutrition risk results in improved nutrition status or decreased progression/stabilization of the condition. Nutrition Manager works collaboratively with Registered Dietitian for patients at moderate nutrition risk. The Nutrition Manager levels of involvement will be determined by patient complexity and Nutrition Manager experience. 

High nutrition risk - Nutrition intervention for patients at high nutrition risk is a central treatment and will influence recovery and survival. Nutrition Managers complete delegated tasks supervised by the Registered Dietitian.


The client refers to all consumers using the services of the facility including patients, residents, their families or associates, and customers. 

Competence is the quality of being able to perform the role of a specified position with the requisite knowledge, ability, skill, judgement, attitudes and values. 

Competencies are statements of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. The competency profile comprises the competencies required by a nutrition manager to be eligible for membership in CSNM. 

Coordinate is to exchange information with others, generally of equal rank, to relate and adjust systems or programs. 

Demonstrate is to give evidence of, display, explain, illustrate, show with the intent of proving. 

Describe is to tell or write about, give a detailed account of. 

Diet history is the tool and a process by which data describing a client's past and/or current food intake and behaviours are collected. The tool may include food records, diet recalls, food frequency questionnaires, etc. to estimate the usual patterns of food and nutrient intake, variations in patterns, and the factors affecting them. 

Entry-level describes a position that requires the minimum level of competence required to practice as a nutrition manager. This level of competence is expected of all graduates from an approved or accredited nutrition manager education program. With additional experience and continuing education, additional responsibilities can be assumed, requiring higher levels of competence. 

Food service systems management is the process of coordinating and integrating the resources within the subsystems and the total system to accomplish the food service objectives. 

Health care team is a group of health professionals with a variety of skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes who work together to solve health problems. 
Identify is to establish the identity of; distinguish, discriminate, recognize. 

Monitor is to observe or check on the progress or quality

Implement is to accomplish, fulfil, complete, carry out and put into effect. 

Nutrition care is the application of the science and art of human nutrition in helping people to nourish their bodies during all aspects of the life cycle through the provision of nutrition counselling and the provision of food. 

Nutrition care plan is a program of strategies and actions, based on individual assessment, to assist the client in meeting nutrition needs. 

Nutrition screening refers to procedures used to identify clients who are at increased risk for malnutrition. For these clients, a more detailed assessment is required to define the extent of nutrition problems and plan and implement appropriate nutrition support. 
Participate means to take part in an activity, either in response to direction or by initiating the action. The degree of involvement or responsibility will depend on the employment situation. 

Performance indicators are statements that describe skills and behavioural objectives which contribute to the competency standards. These are examples of criteria for assessing the standards that suggest the level and scope of performance appropriate for the standard. 
Policy is a general rule of action to define the boundaries within which decisions are made; to provide guidance towards the accomplishment of goals. 

Procedure is a specific guide to action relating to the manner in which activities are to be performed to attain an objective.

Quality assurance refers to all measures undertaken to establish and maintain a reasonable level of foodservice and nutrition care. 

Risk management is a process for identifying and minimizing the actual and potential sources of loss to the person or property of anyone involved with the program, service, or operation. 

Supervise is to give direct orders and instructions followed up by personal observation of activities of subordinates; carry our assignments through subordinates. 

Utilization review is a dynamic ongoing process to maintain and improve the quality of care or service through a review of the appropriateness of care or service and the efficient utilization of resources to provide that care/service.

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