Natalie Christensen

Natalie Christensen, director for Smart Cooking on the Run Every Daytrains ISU athletes to fuel their bodies for the physical and mental demands they face in school and in sports.

POCATELLO — Natalie Christensen, a registered dietitian at Idaho State University, spends her workdays in gyms, on athletic fields and even on team travel buses. As the sports nutritionist who manages ISU’s Smart Cooking on the Run Every Day program, Christensen champions a collaborative effort between Idaho State University and Dairy West, a regional dairy promotion organization.

Together they aim to empower ISU student-athletes with the skills and know-how required to eat well and optimize their performance both on and off the field.

A former ISU track and field and soccer athlete, Christensen is once again emerging as a winner, recently becoming one of just five dietitians in Idaho to be designated as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. The Commission on Dietetic Registration awards this honor to registered dietitian nutritionists who have served as sports dietitians for at least 2,000 hours and successfully passed a rigorous exam.

“I am so pleased to continue in my role as the SCORE sports nutritionist with this new credential. It gives me a renewed excitement for my work with collegiate athletes,” Christensen said.

The CSSD is the “premier professional sports nutrition credential in the U.S.,” according to the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Being board certified as a specialist in Sports Dietetics designates specific knowledge, skills and expertise for competency in sports dietetics practice.”

Dairy West supports dairy farmers in Idaho and Utah and works to promote the health benefits of dairy products in schools and communities across both states. ISU’s Smart Cooking on the Run Every Day program is funded by a gift from Dairy West, which was established in 2017 by United Dairymen of Idaho and joined in 2018 by the Dairy Council of Utah.

“We are thrilled to have a dietitian of Christensen’s caliber overseeing this very important collaboration. She does so much for the athletes — offering individual and group counseling sessions, hosting cooking classes and guiding grocery store shopping trips,” said Heidi Martin, vice president of health and wellness for Dairy West.

To learn more about ISU SCORE and Dairy West’s winning recipe, visit https://isu.edu/score/.