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Food-specific skills and knowledge was a factor in making successful long-term dietary behaviour change.

The ModiMed diet: the details

The ModiMedDiet is focused on positive change.

As discussed in The SMILES trial, the dietary group of the SMILES trial received seven individual sessions with an accredited dietitian.

(You can find supporting resources in the supplementary materials of the dietary protocol paper.)

This one-on-one approach allowed participants to build motivation, knowledge and confidence about the diet. It also provided a safe and supportive environment to set realistic and achievable dietary goals.

In Australia, Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are qualified professionals with wide nutritional knowledge and specific training to identify motivators and barriers to change.

As a result, the individual sessions were used to discuss current dietary intake, recognise what can be improved based on needs, abilities, taste preferences, social environment and other factors, and review continuous changes.

Participants could also discuss their food-specific skills and knowledge, time-management and budget for food shopping. To build capacity for sustainable change, individual sessions also included information on food label reading, recipe modification and long-term dietary goals discussions.

Simple meals and snacks combinations

The ModiMed diet used simple principles of combining foods to create meals and snacks. For example, the meal ideas used foods from three main food groups.

Protein Cereal and Starchy Vegetables Vegetables
Tinned tuna with wholemeal pita bread plus hummus and salad
Egg on wholegrain toast with capsicum, spinach and mushrooms
Baked beans with baked potato and salad

Table. Example of Convenient Meal Ideas given to participants to support compliance with the ModiMedDiet.

The ModiMedDiet did not have weight-change focus and participants were expected to eat according to their appetite.

Nutritious snacks were encouraged, with fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts recommended as the key foods to snack on. Other snack ideas included dips – plant- or yoghurt-based; dairy; wholemeal and wholegrain crisp breads; home-made muffins and muesli slices.

Extras, such as ice creams, custards, chocolate, chips or cakes, were limited. Naturally sweet foods, such as honey and fruit, or salty nutritious foods, such as olives and cheese were recommended, while suggestion for olive oil was to include in every meal.

The intention of the dietary intervention was to foster healthy relationship with food, with a focus on the inclusion of a wide variety of nutritious, easy and tasty meals and snacks that would improve diet quality and facilitate long-term behaviour change.

Your task

In the comments, share your favourite recipes that fit with the ModiMed recommendations.

Explore the recipes other learners have posted and choose one or two that you would like to use in your cooking. Why do you find these recipes appealing?

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This article is from the free online course:

Food and Mood : Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition

Deakin University