RIVERVIEW — Shoppers at the Publix in the Winthrop Town Center will be able to get a little help with their grocery lists from the store's new dietician services.
Jamie Stolarz, a registered dietician, will be on hand to help costumers make sense of food labels and plan healthy meals.
The program includes personal shopping assistance, nutrition counseling, meal planning, and group tours of the store. Stolarz also will work with the pharmacy, which offers services like cholesterol testing. Shoppers can bring their lab results to her for specialized nutrition help.
"My goal here is to make this inviting and exciting, and make nutrition fun and informative," Stolarz said. "I want to translate science into something that's practical."
Some of the services will be free, and some will have a fee. Meal planning will cost $50 per week. Personal shopping assistance will cost $20 per session. Store tours are $15 per group, with no limit on the number of people in a group.
"It's no surprise to us that having the right diet and eating the right foods is a big emphasis of our customers," said Shannon Patten, spokesperson for Publix. "But when they are busy, it can be very challenging to make the right dietary decisions."
One common misconception Stolarz hears is that eating healthy costs more and means going totally organic or gluten free, but "there are ways to eat healthy within whatever lifestyle and whatever budget," she said.
"There are definitely a lot of nutrition trends going on," Stolarz said. "There's a lot more awareness about nutrition and health, a lot more people are following a gluten free diet, a lot more people are coming in with questions about diabetes."
Publix has already offered things like shelf tags pointing out which items are low fat or low sodium, and shopping lists online catered to dietary needs like low fat or gluten free diets. The new dietician services are an extension of that.
"I can help someone read labels, whether that's a nutrition facts label or the ingredients label, or there's certain ingredients you have to avoid," Stolarz said. "I can help someone manage the grocery store and make it a more inviting experience, as opposed to something more intimidating."
The store, located at 11109 Winthrop Market St., Riverview, is holding an open house today from 10 a.m. to noon to preview the new services. The dietician services are currently only available at the Winthrop store. The company is testing the program, Patten said, and will use costumer feedback to evaluate it.
Information on the program is available online at publix.com/dietitian. Costumers can contact Stolarz at [email protected] or (813) 684-3039.
Keeley Sheehan may be reached at [email protected]