Food is Medicine: An Introduction to Culinary Medicine

Department: Family Medicine

Food is Medicine: An Introduction to Culinary Medicine

Location: University of Alberta/Stanley Milner Public Library

October 2023-April 2024

~12 hours required (4 modules): 18 hours available (6 modules, ~3Hrs/module)


Preceptor: DrChris Koo (

Medical Student Co-Leads Lauren Wong ( Ashraf Aborawi (

Junior Lead:  Kristina Lyngberg (


Do you enjoy food, find cooking and baking fun, or want to learn more about preparing nutritious meals? Your passion for the culinary arts has a role in your future clinical practice. Culinary medicine is a field where nutrition and culinary knowledge and skills are applied to choose high-quality and healthy food to support patients in preventing and maintaining health and treating disease, alongside appropriate medical care.

This culinary medicine elective is designed to enhance participants’ personal wellness and give them the skills and knowledge to better address nutrition in clinical settings. Participants will gain insight into supporting disease prevention and improving clinical outcomes through incorporating discussions of food into medical management and treatment. Each month, participants in the culinary medicine elective will be taught evidence-based and practical nutrition concepts for their clinical practice, and have the opportunity to apply their learning in a corresponding hands-on in-person cooking session.

The culinary medicine elective consists of 6 Modules (approx. 1 session/month). Each module will include a mandatory 1 hr presentation from a content expert (dietician, nutrition researcher, or physician) and 2 hrs of cooking time where students will be guided through 2-3 recipes that reinforce concepts learned in the prior lecture. Cooking sessions will culminate in a meal that students can enjoy together.

Tentative Sessional Topics

  • From Cradle to Grave: Nutrition Across the Lifespan
  • Relevance of Nutrition for Brain Health & Empowering Your Patients to Optimize their Brain Health
  • Plant Proteins and Sustainable Eating
  • Nutrition for Preventative Medicine and Personal Wellness
  • Considerations of Diet in the Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease and Malnutrition
  • Cultural considerations in Nutrition Counseling and Patient Management

Completing this elective should:

  • Support students in developing essential skills in and out of the kitchen for optimal self-care and to avoid burnout
  • Introduce the role and importance of healthy dietary patterns in promoting and maintaining overall health and wellness
  • Improve nutritional literacy amongst students and instill culinary confidence through focused sessions and hands-on learning

Empower future physicians to raise nutrition-related issues with their patients as a fundamental part of well-rounded patient management, and to appropriately collaborate with nutrition experts

Additional Notes:


Open to pre-clerkship (Year 1 & 2) University of Alberta medical students.

Students will be offered the opportunity to enroll in the elective in September.

There is a 24 person limit for the cooking sessions. Enrollment will be first-come, first-served, unless capacity is reached, in which case a lottery draw will be done. No cooking experience is necessary, and anyone new to cooking is encouraged to join!

Successful completion of the elective is contingent on finishing at least 4 of the 6 modules, where participants must attend both the lecture and cooking session for each module. Although only 4 are mandatory for the 12 hour requirement, students are encouraged to attend all 6 if possible to gain a broader appreciation of culinary medicine topics.

Recipes, ingredients, and cooking materials are provided for the sessional cooking components, so all you need to do is bring yourself and your enthusiasm! (So yes, this is essentially a way to get free and healthy food!)  

Last Updated: August 21, 2023