By Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director, Health & Well-being, FMI
Oldways Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

When gathering around the table for Mediterranean-style family meals, the connections made between food and health and people and joy can grow even stronger. The Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditional eating habits of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean and is consistently rated as the healthiest diet, #1 plant-based diet and the easiest diet to follow by U.S. News & World Report. Today, the Mediterranean Diet is more popular than ever with new research linked to health benefits and more consumers cooking at home who embrace Mediterranean ingredients and flavors. It is not just a diet, but an adaptable lifestyle that embodies good food and daily activity, along with cooking and eating to enjoy the many social, emotional and family benefits that go along with taking time to relax for a shared meal.

The Beneficial Foods on the Table

The foods included in the Mediterranean Diet align with recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Plant foods are encouraged daily with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy fats, such as olive oil, as key components, along with moderate amounts of fish and seafood twice a week. Eggs, poultry and wine are included along with traditionally produced cheeses and yogurt in reasonable portion sizes. Red meat and sweets are also included, just less often. The base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid connects to people with a lifestyle note to “be active and enjoy meals with others.”

The Value of Retail RDNs Bring to the Table

While research demonstrates the many health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, retail RDNs are expert at translating science into actionable nutrition messages to execute family meal campaigns that create value for both customer and retailer. With health interest rising, retail nutrition programs show that strong and correct health messaging can drive business. When retail RDNs work collaboratively with other departments marketing messages can connect the Mediterranean Diet to the values customer seek: affordability, immune support, healthy aging, sustainability, not to mention great-tasting food and lasting memories.

Retail RDNs keep the focus fresh, familiar and friendly to engage consumers with a direct tie into family meals. They help customers visualize how favorite foods fit into Mediterranean meals and snacks with cross-department solutions with tips and ideas that include key ingredients, like seafood, whole grains, legumes and vegetables.

Retail RDNs leverage digital channels to increase visibility of information to consumers by retail websites and social media for tutorials, meal plans, cooking demos, recipes and shopping lists to help shoppers embrace Mediterranean meal solutions at home together.

No Travel Required – Use Inspiration from the Supermarket

May is International Mediterranean Diet Month and the perfect time to merge the messaging of the Family Meals Movement and the Mediterranean Diet. This year consumers don’t need to travel any farther than the local grocery store to discover the delicious flavors, fresh foods, health benefits and affordable family meal inspiration of the Mediterranean style.

Retailers can plan now for a May celebration to encourage consumers to stay strong, have fun cooking at home, shop to have nutritious ingredients on hand for easy meal assembly and inspiration! Let’s all gather around the table to promote the Family Meals Movement along with the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and the importance of gathering family and friends together for good food and good health.

Learn more from this webinar with Oldways on Retail Dietitians Create Value with Mediterranean Family Meals.