Skip to main content

What is RD-Approved?

The Registered Dietitian Approved (RD Approved) program is a healthy approach to food and drink. The goal of the RD Approved program is to make choosing healthy meals an easy choice. 

RD Approved items follow dietary guidelines for a healthy diet and meet the nutritional value standards set by Registered Dietitians. 

You can find RD Approved items anywhere on the University of Utah Health’s campus. The program offers healthy food and drink options you can easily find and afford. 

We also educate faculty, staff, and students about healthy eating habits. The program is a collaboration between the Osher Center for Integrative Health and Nutrition Care Services.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert. This expert has met academic and professional requirements. These include the following:

  • Completed a master's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility, community or foodservice corporation
  • Passed a national exam by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Continues professional educational requirements

What Does a Registered Dietitian Do?

A registered dietitian specializes in the use of food and nutrition to promote healthy living. They encourage healthy eating habits to prevent and manage disease. Dietitians have many roles both inside and outside of healthcare:

  • Counseling clients on nutrition related issues
  • Directing nutrition programs to help people lead healthy lives
  • Managing food services to provide healthful meal options

Dietitians work with a variety of people.  From inpatients to outpatients to children and adults, everyone can benefit from meeting with a dietitian.

How Do We Choose RD Approved Meals?

Our RD Approved Program focuses on three nutrients: 

  • Saturated fat
  • Sodium
  • Added sugar

Research shows that people who eat a moderate amount of these nutrients along with plenty of fruits and vegetables, reduce their risk of chronic illness. 

Items that are RD Approved meet the following criteria:

Saturated Fat

< 0.5g – condiments
< 3g – snacks, apps, soups, desserts
< 5g – entrees, milk 
< 6g – sandwiches 


< 60mg – condiments
< 250mg – snacks, apps
< 600mg – soups
< 700mg – entrees
< 750mg – sandwiches
< 200mg – desserts


Added Sugar

Added Sugar
< 1g – condiments
< 4g – snacks, apps, soups
< 8g – entrees, sandwiches
< 12g – desserts 

*Beverages that include added sugar and/or artificial ingredients are not recommended.


Choosing meals that meet RD Approved criteria is essential for good health. Healthy meals can help protect against many chronic diseases and boost immunity.

RD Approved can benefit you! Choosing RD Approved meals and snacks will keep your body and brain working efficiently through the afternoon with important nutrients that re-energize your day. 

See our RD Approved options for the day and look for our RD Approved logo. 

Examples of RD-Approved Meals

  • Roasted Salmon w/ Blistered Beans & Tomatoes
  • Ginger Tamari Chicken w/ Arugula
  • Korean Bibimbap
  • Romesco Shrimp with Charred Cauliflower and Wild Rice
  • Lemon Miso Salad w/ Salmon or Garbanzo Beans

Locations of RD Approved Meals

  • U of U Main Hospital Cafeteria – Meals, snacks, and beverages
  • South Jordan Health Center (Tumbleweed Café) - Meals, snacks, and beverages
  • Farmington Health Center - Snacks and beverages
  • Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) (Summit Cafe) - Snacks and beverages
Healthy food

Learn More About Dietitian & Nutrition Services

Hear From Our Specialists