Featured Course: Culinary Medicine

Aug. 30, 2022

What comes to mind when you think of “eating healthy”? Do you picture a salad? Steamed veggies and baked salmon on a bed of brown rice? A green smoothie? Zucchini noodles?

The truth is, there are as many ways to “eat healthy” as there are people, and eating for optimal health is going to look different for each individual. It’s going to depend on their health status, their age, their activity level, yes, but it’s also going to depend on their values, their culture, their budget – and their skills in the kitchen.

That’s where this month’s featured course, Culinary Medicine, comes in. Instructors Connie Bell, from the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness (NSW) has designed their course to give students “real-world, transferrable culinary skills they can use to help people adopt healthier eating behaviors.” Over the course of a semester, students learn how to create and adapt recipes for different budgets, eating habits, and health concerns – including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and food allergies – and they pick up some impressive cooking skills themselves. They stir-fry, sauté, roast, and braise; they make stocks and sauces; they learn to shop and meal prep. And then, they learn how to teach these skills to others through food demonstrations.

“This class is great!” says Professor Bell. “You learn all about cooking for health in a fun, tasty way – and you get to eat what you make! We love having students explore new frontiers in food and culinary skills.”

It isn’t just about the skills learned, though. It’s also about connecting with others over the making and sharing of food, and learning to approach eating for health with curiosity and generosity. “Culinary Medicine was full of opportunities to ask questions, to try new things,” says Abby Doyle, a former student. “I really enjoyed the community in the classroom. Everyone was very accepting and knowledgeable.”

Nicole Pena, another former student, loved all the practical knowledge she got in the course. “Culinary Medicine offers great hands-on experience,” she says. “We learned about preparing, cooking, and presenting meals that were delicious, cost-friendly, user-friendly, and widely influenced by all food cuisines. It’s been one of my top favorite classes!”

Culinary Medicine, listed in the course catalog as NSC 395B – Special Topics in Nutritional Sciences, is offered in-person on the UArizona Main Campus. The course is open to all UArizona students, regardless of major. It’s recommended that students complete Introduction to Nutrition (NSC 101) prior to enrollment. 

For more information on registering for the course, please click here.

*Story updated to reflect current course name on 8/30/23.