By Brian Shaffer
Publix has become an almost iconic brand name throughout the Southeast, providing a grocery store experience “where shopping is a pleasure.” Area residents have helped make the Publix located in Winthrop Town Center one of the finest in the company.
Because of the success this store location has enjoyed, as well as its proximity to the company’s corporate headquarters in Lakeland, the Winthrop Publix was selected as the test site for the company’s new dietitian services.
Jamie Stolarz, a licensed and registered dietitian nutritionist, was hired as the first Publix in-store dietitian and she provides a wide range of helpful and important services to customers, associates and anyone who is concerned about their current dietary lifestyle.
“We provide services such as our one-on-one nutrition consultations, which is one of our most popular services and that is customized nutrition counseling that is based on each individual’s unique dietary needs,” Stolarz said. “It could be based on a nutrition goal or a disease state like diabetes or celiac disease, weight loss, weight gain, or sports nutrition and those are just some common topics.”
In addition to the nutrition counseling, Publix dietitian services includes grocery store tours in which Stolarz walks the aisles with a group and shares ideas on choosing healthy grains, heart healthy foods, shopping on a budget and a variety of other helpful “hot topics”. This type of in-store experience can also be arranged to happen one-on-one, with Stolarz serving as a personal shopping assistant.
While many of the services that are available from the Publix dietitian require payment, the store is offering a number of useful free services designed to help customers learn more about the foods they are buying and the choices they are making about what to eat. The free services include food tastings in the store featuring healthy foods and information, free grocery store tours, as well as free nutrition classes.
One group that Publix is going to great lengths to help is those diagnosed with diabetes. Due to the great influence that diet can have on this disease, Publix dietitian services often collaborates with the Publix pharmacy and even the Publix Aprons food preparation program to provide valuable information to anyone with diabetes.
“Everyone [with diabetes] comes in at a different level,” Stolarz said, “so it’s important to assess where that individual is at in order to help them get to that next level. Some people have had formal diabetes education and some people have never had any education. Some people have had diabetes for 25 years and are now coming to a dietitian to help improve their diet, whereas some people just found out the other day that they have been diagnosed.”
For full details on the ranges of services that are available at the Winthrop Publix, call the store at 661-3286 or log on to publix.com/dietitian to find information on each service as well as a calendar of events.