Calorie Bargains: Free Online Nutrition Courses, Food Safety Course from NYC

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective’s Calorie Bargains: Free Online Nutrition Courses, Course from NYC

Calorie Bargain: Nutrition, , and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights (Free Online Course from Coursera)

The Why: This online course, administered by a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University, will help you to develop a basic understanding of nutrition, make better decisions and react more cautiously to media hype.

About the Course: “This seven-week course will explore nutrition concepts that take center stage in mainstream media outlets and become conversation topics among consumers interested in food choice as it relates to optimal health and physical performance. Separate fact from fiction and fads as you learn about core nutrition concepts and how to evaluate not only personal food choices and overall dietary patterns, but nutrition-related content in the media and in advertising. Such topics include fundamentals of a healthful eating pattern, nutrition labeling, dietary supplements, fortified and “super” foods, plant-based nutrition, nutrition and fitness, and food allergies and intolerances. The course will also include an overview of nutrition fundamentals as they relate to human health.”

About the Instructor: Jamie Pope, MS, RD, LDN, has been with Vanderbilt University since 1986, working in the areas of obesity research, weight management, health promotion, heart disease prevention, and since 2000 as instructor of nutrition in the School of Nursing. Jamie’s popular classes bring together undergraduate students from a wide range of majors to learn about nutrition science and the application to their personal and professional lives.

University: Vanderbilt University

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:

When: April 2013


Calorie Bargain: Fundamentals of Human Nutrition (Free Online Course from Coursera)

The Why: If you want to learn about nutrition, this is the real deal. You would be taking this course if you were a nutrition major in college. And again, it’s free from the University of Florida.

About the Course: “This introductory course provides an overview of the principles of nutritional science. Subject matter includes description and functions of nutrients, digestion and absorption, effects of nutrient deficiencies and toxicities, requirements, food sources, nutrient interactions, dietary guidelines, and the role of nutrition in health and disease.”

About the Instructor: Kristina von Castel-Roberts has a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from the University of Florida and is currently conducting obesity research as well as teaching nutrition. Her teaching focuses on basic nutrition, oral health nutrition for dentistry and nutrition in health care and public health.

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:

When: To be announced



Calorie Bargain: Economic Issues Food & You (Free Online Course from Coursera)

The Why: Are you interested in food policy? How food and economics intersect? If so, this is the course for you. Anyone who is a foodie and cares about food should take this free online course.

About the Course: “This course emphasizes the role of economics regarding its influence on food prices, the environment and government policies. The primary objective of this course is to explore the basic tool kit of economic concepts that will enable students to critically analyze the choices they face as consumers and world citizens.”

University: University of Florida

About the Instructor: Jennifer Clark earned both bachelor and master of science degrees from the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida after spending time involved in research and development in private industry. She currently teaches several courses at UF, both online and in person, focusing on agricultural economics and data analysis in agriculture.

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:

When: To be announced


Calorie Bargain: Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health (Free Online Course from Coursera)

The Why: Exercise and diet work together to create healthier behavior and weight loss. This free course, offered by two well recognized leaders in the field who teach at the University of Pittsburgh, provides another tool for your health education.

About the Course: “This course is designed to provide a foundation of nutritional knowledge to develop a pattern of healthy eating that is sustainable. To this will be added a foundation of knowledge related to physical activity and exercise. These two key lifestyle behaviors are then brought together under the umbrella of calorie balance, which is the understanding of how we balance the calories that we eat in our diet with the calories that we burn to sustain life and to perform all of our daily tasks and functions.”

University: University of Pittsburgh

Instructors: John M. Jakicic, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity as well as the director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center. Amy D. Rickman, Ph.D., RD, LDN, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity and a registered and licensed dietitian in the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rickman has played key roles in the development and implementation of a comprehensive lifestyle approach to weight and chronic disease management in numerous clinical trials.

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:


When: To be announced

Calorie Bargain: An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health (Free Online Course from Coursera)

The Why: Do you want to know why we eat what we eat? It’s not just because we’re hungry and crave a particular food. Everything we eat is part of our food system. Learn how it works and why from two very established professors from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

About the Course: “A food system encompasses the activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, equity and the environment. In this course, we will provide a brief introduction to the U.S. food system and how food-production practices and what we choose to eat impacts the world in which we live. Through several case studies, we will discuss some key historical and political factors that have helped shape the current food system and consider alternative approaches from farm to fork. The course will be led by a team of faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Guest lecturers will include experts from a variety of disciplines, including public health and agriculture.”

Instructors: Robert S. Lawrence, MD, is professor of health policy and international health and the Center for a Livable Future professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He holds a joint appointment as professor of medicine at the School of Medicine. Keeve Nachman, Ph.D., MHS, is an assistant scientist with a primary appointment in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and a joint appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Nachman directs the Farming for the Future program.

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:

When: January 2013


Calorie Bargain: New York City Department of Health Food Protection Course (Free Online Course)

The Why: How cool would it to be learn and understand food safety as if you owned a New York City restaurant?

About the Course: “This course is aimed at providing, online, information on Food Protection and Safety and the opportunity to prepare for the final examination for the New York City Department of Health’s Food Protection Certificate.” FYI, if you really want the certificate, you have to take the final, which costs $24.60.

The Price: Free

Where to Find It:

When: Any time

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