Nutrition Toolkit



Proper nutrition promotes health and has a role in preventing and managing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Just as nutritional needs change over the lifespan, patients with chronic diseases need nutrition tailored to their specific medical conditions.

This toolkit seeks to equip PAs across all specialties and settings with the knowledge and skills to effectively address nutrition-related issues in their practice in order to promote optimal health for their patients. Use the resources here to earn relevant CME, improve patient care, advise patients and caregivers, and advocate for change.

PAF nutrition outreach image

PA Foundation Announces Nutrition Outreach Fellows

Meet the 40 PAs selected by the PA Foundation for its new Nutrition Outreach Fellowship. These fellows will receive special training and resources on nutrition to enhance their clinical practice and to give back to their healthcare peers and the community at large.


Essential Nutrition Concepts for All PAs

If you’d like to offer more in-depth nutritional counseling to your patients, start with this free, AAPA-approved curriculum developed in partnership with The France Foundation and supported by Abbott Nutrition. Learn evidence-based guidance from PAs with nutrition expertise on topics like assessing a patient’s nutritional status, offering nutritional counseling, and developing a nutrition plan.

The Essential Nutrition Concepts for All PAs curriculum consists of three short animated videos, two interactive modules, and one presentation. Earn up to 3.25 credits of AAPA Category 1 CME for completing this curriculum in Learning Central. Begin building your knowledge base in nutrition today with this free curriculum!

Animated Videos

Nutritional Health Animated Videos logo

Watch How PAs Discuss Management of Nutritional Health

(.25 credits of AAPA Category 1 CME total)

This 3-part animated video series led by Corri Wolf PA-C, MS, RDN, uses a patient case to explain the role a PA plays in nutrition, nutritional counseling, and treatment.

Image of first video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 1
Image of second video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 2
Image of third video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 3

To claim CME for watching these three videos please click here.


Diabetes and Nutrition (Recently Released)

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Wanda Andrews, PA-C and Ellen D. Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C, RDN, CDCES discuss the role of PAs in providing nutritional recommendations to patients with diabetes.

Special Considerations for Nutrition for the Elderly (Recently Released)

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Darrin Cottle, PA-C, RD and Kris Pyles-Sweet, DMSc, PA-C discuss subsets of patient populations, including the elderly, that present unique nutritional management challenges for which PAs must be prepared.

Surgery: Perioperative Nutrition and Wound Healing (Recently Released)

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Corri Wolf, PA-C, MS, RDN; Erin Sherer, Ed.D, PA-C, RD; and Veronica Victorian, PA-C discuss subsets of patient populations, including those patients undergoing surgery, that present unique nutritional management challenges for which PAs must be prepared.


Assessment of Nutritional Status

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Darrin Cottle, PA-C, RD discusses the role of PAs in managing nutritional health, how to incorporate nutritional screening into routine patient care, and how to use appropriate tests to analyze nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional Counseling and Developing a Nutrition Plan

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Ellen D. Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C, RDN, CDCES discusses the nutritional needs of special patient populations, the role of nutritional supplements, and different approaches to nutritional counseling.

A Call to Action: Raising Awareness About Nutritional Health

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Ellen D. Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C, RDN, CDE explains the role of PAs in nutritional health and gives a high-level overview of basic concepts in nutritional health as well as incorporating nutrition screening and treatment in patient encounters.


Nutrition & Immune Health

Nutrition Supports Immune Health

Quality nutrition is critical to support a healthy immune system. There is a strong relationship between poor nutritional status and compromised immunity. Patients who are at the highest risk for compromised immune health are those who do not get adequate amounts of food in their diets, do not have access to foods with key nutrients, are malnourished, or have certain health conditions that may require additional nutrition support.

Abbott, a trusted nutrition partner of AAPA, provides resources and science-based nutrition products with nutrients to help support patients’ immune health. Oral nutrition supplementation provides protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system.

According to Abbott Nutrition, there are 6 key nutrients to support immune health:

  • Protein is needed for the building of antibodies and immune system cells. In addition, some of the amino acids that make up proteins are important fuels for cells in the immune system.
  • Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect the body by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy.
  • Vitamin C helps the body build healthy skin and connective tissue, which help to block the entry of foreign microbes. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells (e.g., cells of the immune system) from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Vitamin D helps to activate immune cells and properly regulate function.
  • Zinc is needed for wound healing and for cellular production, which is important in the synthesis of new immune system cells.
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Consuming adequate fluids (water) and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride help regulate the body’s temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that sick people need to drink extra fluids to keep from dehydrating.

Available Resources



Nutrition Resources Help Serve Diverse Communities

Select PAs participating in the PA Foundation’s Nutrition Outreach Fellowship have benefited from the program’s training and materials to educate patients with limited knowledge of nutrition and its impact on chronic disease. Five of the Fellows shared lessons learned with AAPA.

Christmas cookies

Holiday Eating Tips? You’ve Got This!

Holidays can be challenging for those who want to maintain their weight. Don’t let available holiday treats detract from overall healthy eating goals – yours or your patients! AAPA asked the PA Foundation’s Nutrition Outreach Fellows to share their best tips and tactics.

Sondra DePalma with a patient

5 Tips for Better Patient Nutrition Counseling

PAs are in a unique position to be leaders in nutrition management on behalf of their patients. Addressing nutrition in sensitive ways can have a significant impact on patients’ health. Here are five tips for PAs as they counsel patients on nutrition.

Allyson Hamacher

Take the Guesswork Out: Meal Replacement Study Results Can Help PAs Advise Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Meal planning is critical for patients with type 2 diabetes and PAs can be challenged to provide recommendations to help patients to manage blood sugar levels. A new study provides evidence to help PAs advise patients about sensible options for diabetes-specific meal and snack replacement.

Matthew J. Wright quote

Unlocking the Value of Nutrition in Your Practice

Abbott Nutrition recently cited PAs’ important role in nutrition care and in supporting healthcare metrics and key performance indicators that are critical for patient health. Matthew Wright, MS, PA-C, RD, commented on the research, nutrition care upon hospitalization and discharge, and calls to action for PAs.

Patient Education Resources

Patient Education Resources

Approaches to Optimize Nutrition

Approaches to Optimize Nutrition

This brochure provides an overview of the benefits and considerations of 3 nutrition approaches: Macronutrient-based, Pattern-based, and Calorie-restricted, along with examples of popular diets that fall under each.

Fast Facts About Popular Eating Plans

Fast Facts About Popular Eating Plans

From Ketogenic to DASH to Paleo, help your patients understand the benefits and considerations about popular eating plans and what studies are saying about their effectiveness. Provides an in-depth analysis of each plan.

The Power of Proper Nutrition

The Power of Proper Nutrition

Help your patients learn the basics of building a healthy diet, including how much of each food group to include in their daily diet. This two-page brochure also provides tips for making healthy substitutions for snacks that may be sabotaging their weight loss journey.


CDC’s Nutrition Data, Guidelines, and Resources

Educate yourself on dietary guidelines, state-specific nutrition data, and more, in order to inform your conversations with patients.


Practical Nutrition for Health and Wellness

Check out these videos from the PA Foundation that aim to enhance patient-provider conversations about nutrition and its role in overall health and wellness. Test your knowledge!


USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025)

This comprehensive publication includes four overarching science-based dietary guidelines as well as key recommendations for each stage of life.



Food for Thought: Reframing Nutrition With Patients

PA Ellen Mandel, who began her career as registered dietitian, explains how to include nutrition conversations in your patient visits, keeping in mind issues like food access and cultural considerations.


Diet Dialogue: Approaching Patient Conversations Using National Nutrition Data

PA Ashlyn Smith and Chris Taylor, PhD in Nutritional Sciences, explore some key findings from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Learn how you can use some talking points from the survey to make your nutrition conversations with patients more productive.



How We Eat: The Current State Of Nutrition In America

Identifying and Helping Patients Make Small Shifts in Food Choices

Developed as a part of AAPA and Abbott Nutrition’s national collaborative, this free webinar will equip you to incorporate nutrition counseling into your everyday practice and educate your patients about improving their nutritional decision-making.

For practicing clinicians only.