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Idaho State University

State of the Art Foods Laboratory

Students in the Nutrition and Dietetics course sare learning to master equipment rivaling what they will later encounter in hospital kitchens and product development laboratories. A newly renovated, state-of-the-art commercial foods laboratory opened in January 2020.

Students reviewing the day's Foods Lab assignment

Students work in teams in the Foods Lab

Students conducting experiments in Foods Lab

When the Foods Lab was first established in the 1970s, professional opportunities for dietitians were fairly narrow.  Most dietitians worked in hospitals—supervising food service management operations and ensuring patient diets were compliant with required modifications. Today, the scope of practice for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) has mushroomed. You’ll find RDNs in a range of industries serving in a variety of roles:

  • From the local news to the Food Network, media-savvy RDNs give food demos and share recipes from cookbooks they’ve authored.
  • Dietitians working in the food industry leverage their expertise to optimize nutrition content and palatability of products.
  • At PR firms, they help create consumer educational messages.
  • RDNs are also key players in the up and coming field of culinary medicine, which combines the science of medicine with the art of cooking.

Students learn basic cooking skills

The Foods Lab includes a classroom area for lectures

The Foods Lab includes space for students to give presentations on their findings of experiments

This expanded professional scope coupled with the launch of the ISU Master of Science in Nutrition program, magnifies the importance of the Foods Lab renovation. By funding this project, Idaho State University is demonstrating a strong commitment to the field of Nutrition and Dietetics.

We envision a broader use of the facility. A place where students hone food demonstration and recipe development skills. And, a Lab with the technology equipment needed for students to finesse media and public spokesperson skills. In addition, we hope the new Foods Lab will be a place where inter-professional teams of health professions learn how to integrate culinary medicine principles into clinical practice.