A Prescription for Food
By Lainey Younkin MS RD and Sam Teece MPH RD
Wouldn’t it be nice if customers walked into the supermarket and came to you with their food prescription instead of going to the pharmacy with their medication prescription? While that might not be the norm now, as the role of the retail dietitian expands, you have the opportunity to provide food prescriptions to your customers.
A food prescription is simply a list of various foods that help an individual manage their specific health condition(s), such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Providing a list of foods specific to consumers’ dietary needs, not only helps them manage their health, but also provides an opportunity to increase basket size and show an ROI.
The concept of food prescriptions stands on three pillars: education, goal-setting, and action. A solid understanding of nutrition recommendations for a specific health condition can lead to setting educated SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based). Food-related SMART goals brings the food prescription to life, where action takes place in the grocery store by way of specific direction and guidance from a licensed retail dietitian. As the retail dietitian, not only are you increasing basket size and sales with this process, you are also promoting foods that have a direct purpose of improving health conditions. This is why we as dietitians chose this profession - to assist people in improving their health through food.
Below is a sample consult with brief education, goal-setting, and an in-store food prescription - in addition to having an outlined plan, help yourself and your client stay organized with resources such as an actual food prescription form. We’ve created the attached editable sample for you to use in your store.