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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 focused on positive change

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 in the diet. It also provided a safe and supportive environment to set realistic and achievable dietary goals.

In Australia, Accredited Practicing Dietitians (APDs) are qualified professionals with extensive knowledge of health and nutrition and specific training to identify motivators and barriers to change. So individual sessions in the study were used to discuss current dietary intake, recognise what can be improved based on needs, abilities, taste preferences, social environment and other factors.

Participants were also able to discuss aspects such as:

  • Food-specific skills and knowledge
  • Time-management
  • Food label reading
  • Recipe modification
  • Long-term dietary goals.

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.

Simple meal and snack idea
Table. Example of Convenient Meal Ideas given to participants to support compliance with the ModiMedDiet (see Supplementary material for a full table and further information). © Deakin university

The ModiMedDiet did not have a weight loss or gain focus and participants were expected to eat according to their appetite.

Nutritious snacks were encouraged, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Other ideas included plant- or yoghurt-based dips; dairy foods; 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 suggestions for olive oil use at each meal was given.

The dietary intervention was intended to improve diet quality and variety, foster healthy relationships with food, and to facilitate the long-term behaviour change.

Your task

In the comments, share your favourite recipes that fit 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