NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods

This first university-level continuing education course consolidates the world’s research on how dietary intake interconnects with human psychological, behavioral, cognitive, sensory-perceptual, interoceptive, and psychological processes, functioning, and experience. NP 110 is for anyone seeking to develop their understanding of the concepts, language, and methods used within nutritional psychology and who wishes to improve their understanding of the diet-mental health relationship (DMHR). This course does not provide applied tools for professionals to use in clinical practice; rather, it provides the theoretical foundation for further education in nutritional psychology.

This course is fully online, self-paced, and costs $299.00 (USD). CNP is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor Continuing Education (CE) for psychologists, as well as for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to provide Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for Licensed Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians Registered (RDs/DTRs). This course currently provides 10 CE Credits and 10 CPE Credits. CNP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


CNP is committed to identifying and resolving potential conflicts of interest in planning, promoting, delivering, and evaluating its continuing education curriculum and programs. As an APA-approved continuing education sponsor, and consistent with concepts outlined in the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, no individual involved in the planning, promotion, delivery, or evaluation of CNP continuing education has any personal, professional, legal, financial, or other interests that could reasonably be expected to impair his, her, or their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness.

Registering for NP 110 indicates that you have read and agreed to CNP’s Course Policy.

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When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary ideas.” — Frans Johansson.


It is imperative that our mental healthcare providers understand the role that nutrition plays in supporting mental health and psychological functioning. However, until now, neither students nor professionals have extensive access to university-level education* in how diet interconnects with psychological processes, functioning, and experience.

NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods is the flagship course laying the foundation for this field. This course provides 10 CE credits and 10 CPE credits and is structured into seven modules. Following the introduction, each module introduces the six different elements encompassed by nutritional psychology: the psychological, behavioral, cognitive, interoceptive, sensory-perceptual, and psychosocial elements. Language and concepts are introduced, and current research findings informing each element are examined. This introductory course is not designed to provide intervention, diagnosis, assessment, or skills for application within clinical practice.

NP 110 is the first of three courses in the NP 100 series that will culminate in the Nutritional Psychology Certification. The NP 100 certificate will not provide professionals with tools to apply NP in practice (practical applications and detailed scope of practice guidelines will be explored in the NP 200 series). In addition to NP 110, the NP Certificate will include NP 120 and 150, which are currently in development. For an overview of NP 110, download the course flyer.

*The first educational courses in Nutritional Psychology were part of the original certificate developed by CNP and taught through JFK University from 2008 to 2020.



  • • Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals
  • • Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Doctoral Students
  • • Dietitians, Nutritionists, Culinary Chefs, Health Coaches
  • • Case Managers, Social Workers, School Counselors, Educators
  • • Physicians, Psychiatrists
  • • Substance Use Counselors
  • • Physician Assistants, Nurses
  • • Anyone interested in learning about the field of nutritional psychology


  • State the definition of Nutritional Psychology (NP)
  • List each of the six elements within nutritional psychology
  • Define at least two of the six elements within NP  
  • Describe two research studies demonstrating the Diet-Mental Health Relationship (DMHR)
  • State two types of research methods used in NP-related research
  • Identify two dietary patterns often used in NP-related research
  • Explain scope of practice guidelines for using the information from this course within clinical settings (education vs. intervention or diagnosis, etc.)

Instructor/Contributor Credentials

Ephi Lu holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle, an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois, and a Diploma in Comprehensive Nutrition. Ephi has combined her dual education in Psychology and Nutrition to develop the first university-level courses in Nutritional Psychology beginning in 2008. Joining with Dr. Amanda Hull and other coauthors, Ephi led the development of the first 7-course Continuing Education Certificate Program in NP through JFK University from 2008 to 2020.

Dr. Kristine Lokken is a neuropsychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center. Dr. Lokken’s background includes clinical research, medical neuropsychology, and health psychology. Dr. Lokken is supporting developing the Diet and Cognitive Relationship (DCR) element of Nutritional Psychology within NP 110.

Ms. Doswell is pursuing her MS in Clinical Mental Health and Counseling at Adam’s State University, and currently works as a personal trainer. She has completed the original 7-course Certificate in Nutritional Psychology from JFK University, and is a CNP curriculum contributor assisting in the development of the Interoceptive element of NP. Her long-term goal is to one day incorporate her knowledge of the Diet-Mental Health Relationship into her graduate/clinical work, supporting those who suffer from various eating disorders.

Dr. Protogerou is an applied health psychologist. She works as a Lecturer and Researcher at the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA), and Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI), University of California, Merced, USA. Her research focuses on exploring psychological and societal determinants of health and risk-taking behavior and evaluating the efficacy of health behavior interventions. Cleo has contributed her expertise in research methods to NP 110.

Stephanie Greunke, MS, RD, CPT, PMH-C is a Registered Dietitian specializing in Maternal Nutrition and Mental Health. She holds additional certifications in Perinatal Mental Health, Behavioral Psychology, and Nutritional Psychology, and is an internationally recognized speaker. Stephanie has contributed her expertise in NP 110 by developing materials within the course that explain the different dietary patterns traditionally used in Diet-Mental Health Research.

Course Administration

Joe Booth is CNP’s Online Education Developer. Joe brings a unique blend of professional experience in technology, education, and mental health. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sacramento State in 2005, and went on to run corporate Learning and Development programs for global software companies. Joe is currently the Executive Director of Class Five Mind, a substance abuse recovery platform that blends technology with mindfulness and holistic wellness.

Olga Baryshnikova is the Administrative Editor for NP 110, assisting with all aspects of content revision, course development, administrative implementation, and management. She has a background in industrial/organizational psychology and professional experience in education and marketing. She is also CNP’s Organizational Development Coordinator.


"The course was fundamental for me ... I learned many new concepts that I will need for my work."(June 2021)
"I'd like to sincerely congratulate you on the wonderful, enriching, highly professional and easy to comprehend course you've created! I have spent years trying to figure out this matter from books, research and different professionals and your course was the validation I needed to continue doing the education work I'm doing in my community. The structure was easy to follow, wonderfully presented and the information was concise and to the point. I highly value your scientific and evidence-based approach. Yet everything was explained in a language that makes sense. For me this is the greatest advantage of the course! " (May 2023)
“I’ve read several studies on the relationship between mood and nutrition, but I knew little about the neurological background. Here, I could learn about it.” (June 2021)
"The course information is extremely useful and practical. Although the information is educational and not intervention-focused, the summarized research helps have the conversation on the importance of nutrition and its impacts on mental health. I am beginning these conversations with my professors and the need to integrate these topics into mental health-related school curriculums." (July 2021)
"It's an outstanding introductory course. A great deal of highly useful, cutting-edge information is packed into a relatively short course and it is clearly presented in a way that will reach a variety of students with varying educational backgrounds and interests." (June 2021)
"'The Nutritional Psychology connection is something Dietitians get very little training on. NP 110 expands on the huge effect psychology has on nutrition and vice versa. Specifically, learning about Interoceptive Awareness was huge and will be very important to apply in working with clients who struggle to recognize their hunger cues." (August 2021)
"This course affirmed how much the medical field has been neglecting food as our medicine. It will change the way I practice medicine as a whole, with a big foundation for focusing on diet and what we put into our system." (October 2021)
"This course taught me about the concrete interconnections encompassing nutritional psychology, along with new terms and language used within NP like eudaimonia, positive/negative dietary intake effects, ad libitum, epicurean eating pleasure, positive alliesthesia, and interoception. This will change the way I study and conduct my psychology practice because I now have more concrete and organized knowledge of the DMHR." (February 2022)
"I had an idea that nutrition affects the mental state of humans, but this broke it down to more scientific details. I can now share with patients that there are numerous studies backing interaction of nutrition and psychology." (February 2024)

Course Specifics

A: Yes, this course is taught fully online through the CNP website and can be completed at your own pace.

A: Yes, NP 110 has open enrollment and you can begin at any time.

A: NP 110 is estimated to take 8-12 hours to complete, depending on your learning style and previous experience in nutrition and psychology. If this information is new to you, it may take more time to complete.

Proper NP 110 citation format: Author(s) (last name, first initial). (Year retrieved). Module Number: Module Title; Section Title (e.g., Module 3: The Diet-Cognitive Relationship; Neurodevelopment through the Lifespan). In (Ed.), Course title. Publishing organization. Web address.
Example: Morphew-Lu, E., Lokken, K., Doswell, C., Protogerous, C., Greunke, S. (2021). Module 3: The Diet-Cognitive Relationship; Neurodevelopment Through the Lifespan. In E. Lu (Ed.), NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology. The Center for Nutritional Psychology.

A: Yes, a description of nutritional psychology is published in: Elsner, F., Matthiessen, L. E., Średnicka-Tober, D., Marx, W., O'Neil, A., Welch, A. A., Hayhoe, R. P., Higgs, S., van Vliet, M., Morphew-Lu, E., Kazimierczak, R., Góralska-Walczak, R., Kopczyńska, K., Steenbuch Krabbe Bruun, T., Rosane, B. P., Gjedsted Bügel, S., & Strassner, C. (2022). Identifying future study designs for mental health and social wellbeing associated with diets of a cohort living in eco-regions: Findings from the INSUM expert workshop. International journal of environmental research and public health, 20(1), 669.

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CNP’s vision for the future of mental healthcare includes the role of diet and nutrients in supporting mental health. We are working to fill the void in our current mental healthcare model by consolidating research, creating methods and developing curriculum that allows us to better understand and improve our Diet-Mental Health Relationship.

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