Nutritional Psychology Programs and Education

There is a crucial need to deliver better education to the public and clinicians about the role of diets and nutrients in sustaining mental health (Huang 2019).

Nutritional Psychology (NP) is the area of study that examines the relationship between our dietary intake patterns and our mood, behavior, and mental health. This examination includes the psychological, behavioral, cognitive, perceptual/sensory, interoceptive and psychosocial elements of psychological functioning and mental health related to dietary and nutrient intake.

%learn about nutrition mental health %The Center for Nutritional Psychology 1. NP Elements Diagram

This comprehensive view of the Diet-Mental Health Relationship allows us to develop a deeper understanding of how these patterns influence our mood, behavior, and mental health.

%learn about nutrition mental health %The Center for Nutritional Psychology

2. Nutritional Psychology Diet Mental Health Relationship (DMHR)

Education in Nutritional Psychology

NP education provides professionals with the conceptualization, tools and skills necessary to address DMHR-related issues in client care. These skills are aimed at creating positive changes for individuals in all NP-related aspects of psychological functioning and mental health.

The first four-year university-based Educational Curriculum in Nutritional Psychology resided from 2008-2020* at John F. Kennedy University. The courses and Certificate program were designed to assist mental health professionals, nurses, counselors, and marriage and family therapists, with conceptualization in the field of Nutritional Psychology, along with an introduction to some of the applied psycho-educational tools within NP.  A 3-unit scope of practice course was included in the certificate to provide guidance on how to incorporate NP education into practice within the scope of practice.

The JFKU Certificate in Nutritional Psychology is currently being taught out, and CNP is developing the next-generation curriculum in Nutritional Psychology available through CNP beginning in 2021-2022.

The Center for Nutritional Psychology – Developing the field of Nutritional Psychology from a scientific perspective

The organization fostering the development of the field of Nutritional Psychology is called The Center for Nutritional Psychology (CNP). CNP was founded in 2013 to support the development of the field of Nutritional Psychology, and to serve as an online resource for those seeking to understand the role that diet plays in mood, behavior, and mental health.

The Center’s mission is to provide mental health professionals, dietitians, health coaches, physicians, researchers, educators, students, parents, and interested individuals with access to research, information, and skills in the field of Nutritional Psychology. CNP believes that mental health professionals benefit from having access to formal training in Nutritional Psychology, and that NP should be considered a core concept within the field of mental health.

NP Curriculum for Undergraduate University Students

This mini-curriculum is for university professors and college instructors who wish to introduce NP as a special mini-unit providing students with a modularized one or two (50-minute class session) introduction to Nutritional Psychology. Presentation materials, background research, methodology, discussion points, experiential exercise, and quiz materials are included.

NP Curriculum for Mental Health Professionals

This course introduces mental health professionals to the field of Nutritional Psychology. Research highlights from areas encompassing the field are presented, along with concepts, and introductory psycho-educational tools for developing both practitioner and client awareness in the DMHR. Scope of Practice instruction is provided.

NP Curriculum for Pediatric Health Professionals

This course introduces pediatric and child mental healthcare professionals to a set of perceptual educational tools aimed at cuing a child’s awareness of the Diet-Mental Health Relationship during age-appropriate developmental periods. Childhood and adolescence are an important time for establishing healthy eating patterns into adulthood (Francis et. al 2019). In addition to a lack of education in the Diet-Mental Health Relationship for children or adolescents in the current mental health or healthcare system, ample evidence linking dietary intake (nutrients, quality and pattern) with child and adolescent mental health is available.

NP Animated Curriculum for Children

This online animated curriculum is designed to include cutting edge research embedded within an online series of animated videos for elementary-school age kids. The approach of “eat your vegetables” isn’t working. NP animated curriculum for kids is designed to be cool and engaging while incorporating cutting edge research in the Diet-Mental Health Relationship.

NP Culinary Cooking Skills for Children

Research is demonstrating the importance of teaching children and adolescents cooking skills. Better cooking skills lead to better self-efficacy, behavioral change, and healthier outcomes (see the cooking studies in the CNP Parent Resource Library). These courses provide basic cooking skills for children, and teach them how these skills can be used to improve the way they feel.

CNP believes that all mental health professionals can benefit from understanding the basic principles of Nutritional Psychology. Providing education in NP curriculum will help accomplish this goal.


*Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), The California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), and the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)


Huang, Q., Liu, H., Suzuki, K., Ma, S., Liu, C., Linking What We Eat to Our Mood: A Review of Diet, Dietary Antioxidants, and Depression. Antioxidants 2019, 8(9), 376.

Nutritional Psychology

Diet and psychological:

Diet, Mood & Well-Being

Diet and behavioral:

Diet and Behavior

Diet and cognitive:

Diet and Cognition

Diet and perceptual/sensory

Diet and Gastrointestinal Sensitivities

Diet and interoceptive:

Diet and Gastrointestinal Sensitivities

Diet and psychosocial:

Diet and Psychosocial

Diet-Mental Heath Relationship (DMHR).

Educational Curriculum

Certificate – Nutritional Psychology

Introduction to Nutritional Psychology

Nutritional Psychology Tools: Assessment and Macronutrient Remediation

Integrating Nutritional Psychology into Clinical Practice

Effects of Nutrition on Clinical Disorders

Sugar and Emotion

The Stress-Mood Axis

The Gut-Brain Axis

Next-generation Curriculum in Nutritional Psychology

The Center for Nutritional Psychology

Francis HM, Stevenson RJ, Chambers JR, Gupta D, Newey B, Lim CK (2019) A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults – A randomised controlled trial. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0222768.



  • CNP Super Admin
    March 21, 2022 at 04:26 am
    Hello, thanks for your inquiry. Please see our NP 110 page, and our Education page for specific enrollment information and course requirements. This is an online program and available internationally. These pages should have all the information available, including FAQs. Thank you for your interest!
  • CNP Super Admin
    June 17, 2021 at 11:03 pm
    Hello! You can register for NP110 at To signup for the newsletter, please subscribe here This updated certificate is being developed by the same group that developed the JFKU program but this new program is updated and includes more research findings. Thanks for your interest!
  • June Untalan Sulivan
    June 17, 2021 at 05:34 pm
    Please send me information on the NP Program, including the newsletter! I am interested in the NP110 as well as what is to come in 2022 as far as certification. I am hoping it will be comparable to what JFU was previously offering.
  • CNP Super Admin
    May 08, 2021 at 03:18 am
    Hello, Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like to stay informed where you can keep informed and receive monthly updates. Thank you for your interest.
  • Emelita Outerbridge
    May 07, 2021 at 06:09 pm
    Please forward me information regarding your programme(s) in Nutritional Psychology.
  • CNP Super Admin
    April 09, 2021 at 06:17 pm
    Hello! We are currently building out the full certificate in NP which will be available in mid 2022. The first of the courses in the NP certificate (NP 110) is now available online and open for enrollment. You can find out more information and/or register for the course here: Thanks for your interest, The CNP Team
  • Billie Westerlind
    April 09, 2021 at 11:22 am
    I am an educator and would like to gain certification in Nutritional Psychology. Can you please send me course requirements and enrollment information? Is this offered as an online program?
  • CNP Super Admin
    March 27, 2021 at 12:42 am
    Hello! There was an accredited 7-course certificate in NP that we developed which ran through JFK University from 2012 until we retired it in 2020 to make way for next-generation curriculum. NP 110 (available March 31st) is the first in such next-generation curriculum and is the first of several courses that will comprise a new certificate in NP. This new certificate is being developed and made available throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023. Please sign up for our newsletter if you wish to stay informed, and registering for NP 110 can be done through the website NP 110 page Thanks for your interest! CNP Team
  • Candis
    March 27, 2021 at 12:22 am
    How does one get certified in NP?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.