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Qualification - Foundation Diploma in Food Coaching and Nutrition

Course CodeVRE043
Fee CodeFD
Duration (approx)1000 hours
QualificationFoundation Diploma

Train as a Food Coach

This diploma level qualification combines ten 100 hour modules looking at food coaching, weight loss, child and baby nutrition, food and nutrition, life coaching and more. The course is studied by distance learning and can be started at any time to suit you.

Food Coaching is a growth industry. This course provides you with detailed information on healthy and balanced diets and the coaching skills to help clients to achieve what they want with their diet.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Foundation Diploma in Food Coaching and Nutrition .
 Industry Project BIP000
 Food Coaching VRE110
 Human Nutrition and Food 1 BRE102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 7 of the following 10 modules.
 Personal Energy Management VRE105
 Workshop I BGN103
 Food Preparation & Cooking BRE212
 Human Nutrition and Food II BRE202
 Nutrition For Weight Control BRE210
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Child & Baby Nutrition BRE304
 Food Technology -Processing BSS301
 Human Nutrition and Food III BRE302
 Sports Nutrition BRE303

Note that each module in the Qualification - Foundation Diploma in Food Coaching and Nutrition is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Help People to Achieve Healthier Eating Habits?

You are what you eat; and for most people in today's modern world, there is a great deal of scope to improve what they eat.  This course deepens and broadens your understanding of food and nutrition in order to improve your capacity to help anyone with eating; however it may be people with more extreme and obvious eating problems who you are more likely yo be dealing with more often. 

Unhealthy eating habits may be related to not eating the best food types in the best proportions. It can also be related to eating too much or too little.

Most people do probably over eat a little; some over eat to the extreme. For others, under eating can be the issue.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are marked by extreme behaviours in relation to food. They are present when a person has severe disturbances in their eating behaviour, such as reducing their food intake in an extreme way or overeating in an extreme way. They may also experience severe distress about their body, eating and their body shape.

The charity, Beat, estimates that 725,000 people in the UK have an eating disorder. They estimate that 1/250 women and 1/2000 men have anorexia nervosa, whilst bulimia is two to three times more common than anorexia nervosa. Ninety percent of bulimia nervosa sufferers on female. They state that anorexia nervosa tends to start around 16 – 17 years of age, bulimia developing around 18 to 19 years of age. Binge eating disorder usually affects people later in life, in their 30s and 40s. It is estimated that 5% of the adult population are binge eaters. However, these are all generalisations as children much younger than the ages above can develop eating disorders. Beat report that children as young as six have been found to develop anorexia nervosa.  The NCS-A (National Comorbidity Survey – Adolescent Supplement) found that 2.7% of 13 – 17 year olds have an eating disorder and girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to have an eating disorder. 

Most children who develop anorexia nervosa are girls, but that is now changing as more boys are suffering from the condition. Also, the condition used to be found mainly in upper and middle class families, but now it is found in most socioeconomic, racial and ethnic groups.
If children or adults fall outside the expected age ranges for develop an eating disorder, it can mean that they are not diagnosed or do not receive the support they require as quickly as they need it.

The three main types of eating disorders are – 

  • Anorexia nervosa – where a child tries to keep their weight as low as possible. They may starve themselves and exercise excessively
  • Bulimia nervosa – where a child goes through periods of binge eating followed by the use of laxatives or making themselves sick to purge the food and control the weight
  • Binge eating disorder – a child will eat large amounts of food in a short period of time

There are other forms of eating disorder. A younger person may be diagnosed as having an EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), which means that they do not have all the typical signs of anorexia or bulimia nervosa.

Causes of Eating Disorders

The specific cause of it is unknown, but there are several factors that exacerbate the situation.  These things can be parents divorcing or other usually stable home factors changing.  Also as the teen begins to judge her or himself with his peers, they may have problems with their self image and see themselves as fatter than their actual weight.  Peer pressure can also be thought to contribute as well.  It is not known what causes eating disorders, but there are various factors that are thought to be relevant –
- Societal pressures to be thin or conform to certain body shapes and sizes

- Biological, genetic and environmental factors that combine with an event that triggers the eating disorder, such as 

  • Criticism for their body shape or weight
  • Criticism for their eating habits
  • A family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
  • Concern with being slim, for example, if they are pressurised to be slim for their job or interests, such as athletes, models, dancers
  • Underlying issues, such as anxiety, perfectionism and low self-esteem
  • Difficult family relationships – children with anorexia nervosa can come from critical and rigid families, where the parents are overprotective. The child may then be emotionally immature and cut themselves off from others.
  • Stressful situations

Signs and Symptoms
When a child develops an eating disorder, they will start to behave differently to their usual behaviour. They may become touchy, withdrawn and rude. They can be hard to talk to.   
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two main types of eating disorder which fall within the broader spectrum of eating disorders not otherwise specified.  There can be some overlap between anorexia and bulimia.  Clients can also present with both.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa commonly start during adolescence, typically with the onset of puberty, but it can start earlier or later. Anorexia nervosa is a life threatening disorder.  It leads to severe loss of appetite (anorexia) for emotional reasons (nervosa).  

Anorexia nervosa

Sufferers of anorexia can have:

  • severe weight loss
  • intense fear of becoming obese
  • refusal to eat enough to gain or maintain weight.

Some symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be:

  • Person refuses to maintain normal body weight for age and height.
  • Weighs 85% or less than what is developmentally expected for age and height.
  • Young girls do not begin to menstruate at the appropriate age. Puberty is delayed in both sexes.
  • Menstrual periods may stop. In males, levels of sex hormones fall. Sex drive disappears or is much diminished.
  • Terrified of becoming fat.
  • Terrified of gaining weight even though she is alarmingly underweight.
  • Reports feeling fat even when emaciated and super thin (distorted body image)
  • Kidney damage and liver damage and eventually death.  Death can happen years after the patient has stopped being anorexic from damage to the body caused by this disease.

In addition, anorexia nervosa often includes depression, irritability, withdrawal, and peculiar behaviours such as compulsive rituals, strange eating habits, and division of foods into good/safe and bad/dangerous categories. Person may have low tolerance for change and new situations; may fear growing up and assuming adult responsibilities and an adult lifestyle. They also may be overly engaged with or dependent on parents or family. Anorexics are commonly young women, but young men can also suffer anorexia.  

There are also specific symptoms that may occur in a child, such as –

  • Low body weight
  • Fear of being obese
  • Seeing their body as fat when they are underweight
  • Missing three or more periods without cause
  • Refusing to stay at a normal minimum body weight
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Denying they are hungry
  • Obsession with preparing food
  • Strange eating behaviours

They may also have physical symptoms due to malnourishment and starvation, such as –

  • Extreme sensitivity to cold
  • Abnormally thin
  • Lanugo hair (fine downy hair over their body)
  • Dry skin
  • Stomach aches
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Yellowing of skin

These symptoms can also be signs of other health problems, but a medical professional’s help should be sought.
There are also serious complications that can arise if a child has anorexia nervosa, such as –

  • Complications in the child’s blood. Around 50% of children with anorexia nervosa suffer from leukopenia (low white blood cell count) and approximately 1/3 have anaemia (low red blood count).
  • Heart – the child may have an irregular, slow or fast heart beat and low blood pressure due to malnutrition or frequent vomiting.
  • Kidneys – the kidneys can be damaged due to dehydration, which causes the urine to be highly concentrated. Or a child may urinate more than normal, so the kidney’s ability to concentrate the urine drops.
  • Digestive tract – the intestinal tract’s movement can slow down when a person has severe weight loss or restricted eating.
  • Bones – children with anorexia nervosa are at more risk of breaking bones, as their bone density can be lower. The peak time for developing bones is in the mid to late teens, which can be a time when anorexia nervosa develops, putting the child at a risk of bone loss or decreased bone tissue. Also, the child may not get enough calcium in their diet which also affects their bones, nails and hair.
  • Endocrine system – a lack of menstruation is common in anorexia nervosa due to severe weight loss. This can lead to delayed growth in girls with anorexia nervosa. 

In children, bulimia and anorexia nervosa are forms of self-starvation. The child may think they weigh too much, so they will severely restrict what they eat in two main ways - 

  • Bulimic type – where the child binges and purges. The child with bulimia will eat too much and then make themselves vomit.
  • Restrictor type – the child severely limits what they eat.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is often referred to as binge-purge syndrome.  Research in America has suggested there has been an increase in the number of people with bulimia nervosa over the last 50 years. It is estimated that 20% of adolescents have bulimia nervosa and 1.1% - 4.2% of females in the US have bulimia.  Bulimics will grossly overeat followed by self-induced vomiting or overdosing on laxatives to purge the food ingested.  Bulimics may not have abnormally low weight, but will share an abnormal concern about their body size and fear becoming fat.  They often feel disgust when they are bingeing and find the purging as a relief.  They will eat large amounts of food in a short period. They may purge a couple of times a week or as often as several times a day. Bulimia usually starts at a later age, typically 18, and can continue into the twenties and sometimes beyond.  

Bulimia can affect sufferers in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Suicidal feelings
  • Sore throats, swollen salivary glands, destruction of tooth enamel – due to vomiting.
  • Intestinal damage
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration
  • Menstrual irregularities.

Binge Eating Disorder

There are more people with binge and compulsive eating than any of the other eating disorders.  They may not be too thin, they may not be bulimic, so they are hard to identify as having a problem.  They may often not recognise themselves that they have a problem, so do not seek help or treatment. They may suffer for years with this condition, going on diets and struggling with the weight they put are.  They will binge or excessively over eat. Often in secret. They will usually be very concerned about their body weight and shape and often describe themselves as “comfort eaters”. 

Binge Eating Disorder involves the person eating large amounts of food in a controlled way, often in secret. This is not accompanied by purging. They may binge on any kind of food, but it is often foods like biscuits, chocolates and cereals. They may feel they are “taken over” by someone else or lack control.  

Warning signs to look for that may indicate a person has an eating disorder include –

  • Missing meals
  • Complaining that they are fat when they are normal or underweight
  • Constantly weighing themselves
  • Looking in the mirror constantly
  • Claiming they have eaten when they haven’t
  • Cooking big, complicated meals for others, but eating little of the meal themselves
  • Eating low calorie foods in the presence of others, such as salad
  • Refusing to eat in public
  • Using pro-anorexia websites (pro-ana)
  • Hiding food
  • Eating in secret
  • Defensive about their eating




The course can be started at any time to suit you.

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Meet some of our academics

Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).
Melissa Leistra B.Ed., Masters Nutrition 16 yrs experience - in hosapitality, teaching, cooking Lives a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals. experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.