Healthy Food & Nutrition

The world around us is changing very rapidly. Not just because of climate change, digitisation, a scarcity of raw materials or sustainability issues, but also because we’re more aware that our health is something we can control. People are increasingly making conscious lifestyle choices, which includes being conscious of what they eat. Food and nutrition are hot topics. It’s becoming increasingly possible to steer towards individualised health outcomes, and this in turn is making it more important for us to develop products targeted either to individuals or to groups of people who are physiologically similar. The emergence of new ingredients, such as plant-based proteins, and slowly digestible starches and fibres, is also triggering a lot of debate about how healthy they are. And in particular whether these new products are something we should be eating or not. That’s before we even get onto the topic of how sustainable such products are. Also, every individual is different. Identical foods can cause very different physical reactions among different people. One person might gain weight from eating pasta, while another stays slim. One person might have a slow rate of digestion, while someone else’s is fast.

The applied research group on Healthy Food & Nutrition focuses on all of these pressing, interesting questions. “It’s a fascinating field!” says Dr. Lizette Oudhuis, professor of Healthy Food & Nutrition. Oudhuis works with the private sector to integrate the latest trends into the Life Sciences & Technology study programmes in Leeuwarden, where students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to make a professional contribution to innovative concepts for healthy food and nutrition at all stages of life.


  • Healthy and sustainable beverages: it’s been predicted that by 2050, demand for protein will exceed the planet’s capacity to deliver it. That’s why the agro-food sector is urgently looking for alternative food and nutrition solutions. This project aims to unravel the potential of fibre-protein interactions and increase their use in food applications through the development of nutrient-rich beverages.
  • Food waste market: a proportion of the food produced on farms still fails to make it into the food chain, due to imperfections or minor damage. In the village of Buitenpost, work has started on making these tomatoes, cauliflowers and other crops available for sale as local products. Over the next few years, HVHL will help to develop new products from crops that would otherwise not make into the food chain.


Everything published by the Healthy Food & Nutrition applied research group can be found on Greeni, the online library for the green universities of applied sciences.

Lizette Oudhuis, professor of Healthy Food & Nutrition

About the professor

Lizette Oudhuis was awarded a doctorate from the University of Groningen in 1995 on phase behaviour in polymer mixtures. She then spent 10 years working as a senior researcher at Avebe, the world’s largest producer of potato starch, potato protein and derivatives. From 2006 to 2012 she worked at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) Quality of Life unit as a senior researcher / project leader. During that time she was in charge of two major projects as the project leader for the Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) at Wageningen: Slow Starch, and Healthy Carbohydrates. Since June 2012, she has simultaneously held two part-time jobs: principal scientist at Avebe and professor of Food Physics at Van Hall Larenstein in Leeuwarden. Since August 2020 she has combined her professorship in Healthy Food & Nutrition at Van Hall Larenstein with a professorship at the KBCCE at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Her work focuses on: natural polymers, the development of new healthy ingredients for human consumption from a physical chemistry perspective, and new consumer-driven and sustainable food products with a focus on texture, taste and digestion.

Knowledge network

  • Jeannette Nieuwenhuis
  • Maaike Stoel
  • Catrinus van der Sluis
  • Wieneke Rietman
  • Folkert Faber
  • Menthe Malingre
  • Frits Pluimers
  • Ewold Dijk
  • Koos Oosterhaven
  • Doede Binnema
  • Anna Sijbrandij

The applied research group on Healthy Food & Nutrition works closely with other applied research groups at VHL, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and relevant private sector businesses. These are mainly:

  • Bakery Sweet Centre
  • Fascinating
  • Protein Competence Centre
  • Fjildlab
  • CoE Healthy Ageing
  • CoE Groen
  • WUR
  • WFBR
  • NIZO

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the applied research group, please email [email protected].