Nutrition Coaching “Red Zones”

A birds eye view of a family eating a meal with the text nutritional coaching red zones' text

Nutrition coaching is a great way to help your clients reach their fitness and health goals as well as add an additional revenue stream into your business. 

Nutrition coaching can be done by anyone, but some states do have stricter regulations on what exactly you can do as a nutrition coach. Please review this map: American Nutrition Association

What are you allowed to deliver, do and say? Nutrition coaching laws can be divided into three zones on ANA the map: green, yellow and red.

In the Green Zone, it is completely legal and safe to do nutrition coaching. This includes coaching behaviors and lifestyle changes that are sustainable to the client, as well as giving out information written by a health-care professional. 

The Yellow Zone is the grey area. In some states, this may be giving out macro prescriptions. It may be giving clients meal plans. 

The Red Zone is off limits and it involves medical nutrition therapy (MNT). 

We believe it is best practice to coach within the Green Zone (or safe aspect) of nutrition coaching. This not only helps clients get sustainable results but also helps keep the nutrition coach safe from performing any illegal tasks. 

What Can You Do in the Green Zone?  


You can encourage clients to eat lean proteins and nutrient-rich vegetables.

You can educate clients about the benefits of proteins, carbs and healthy fats.

You can offer clients recipes and demonstrate different food-prep skills and ideas. 

You can provide behavior-based coaching to improve eating habits. 

You can help clients choose the right foods to eat around their workouts.

You can suggest that clients drink water and avoid sugary drinks. 

You can share resources written by RDs and other medical professionals. 

You can actively listen and empathize with client struggles.

You can provide accountability and support.


What Can You Not Do?


You cannot perform medical nutrition therapy (MNT). 

Unless you are licensed (like a registered dietitian [RD] or medical doctor [MD]) or otherwise certified to do so, you cannot offer specific dietary advice in the form of medical nutrition therapy (MNT).

You can’t prescribe nutrition for specific health conditions and illnesses, such as:

  • Post-surgery recovery. 
  • Diabetes. 
  • Cancer. 
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Hormone imbalances. 
  • Liver disease. 
  • Kidney disease or kidney stones.
  • Clinical eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder). 
  • Digestive disorders (Crohn’s, colitis, celiac).

This all falls into the Red Zone. In some states, such as Illinois, you may give out meal plans and macro nutrition prescriptions written by an RD or medical professional, but as soon as you change one aspect of that meal plan or alter that macronutrient prescription, you are no longer in the Green Zone and are now in the Red Zone.

With the Two-Brain Nutrition Coaching Course, we teach you to coach in the Green Zone with information and proven methods that allow you to coach nutrition no matter what your state or country regulations are. 

The course was created by a registered dietitian for non-RD nutrition coaches and teaches you how to become a world-class nutrition coach using client-centered motivational interviewing and behavior-based habit coaching

It also includes three one-on-one mentoring calls with a registered dietitian to help you grow your confidence and capabilities as a nutrition coach.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.