Bracci E, Davis C, Murphy K (2023) Nutrients Mar 30;15(7) doi: 10.3390/nu15071692.
Introduction: Australian healthy food baskets are typically modelled off the Government Guidelines for healthy eating. However, these baskets have not been updated recently, nor has there been a Mediterranean Diet basket developed for an Australian population despite research suggesting high adherence is possible and subsequent health benefits observed. Food baskets typically only present the nutrition profile or the cost of a basket, seldom both.
Methods: Baskets were developed based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, The Mediterranean Diet and typical Australian dietary intake (Western Diet). Four reference families were created based on data from Australian censuses and population statistics. Seven-day meal plans for reference families were entered into Foodworks software and aimed to meet 100% of nutrition and energy requirements. Basket costs were calculated from Coles Australia online.
Results: The AGHE basket met all NRVs except for VLCN3 for the 7-year-old male (73% adequate intake). The Mediterranean Diet met all NRVs except zinc (44-year-old male) ranging from 98 to 257% of the RDI. The Western Diet failed to meet NRVs for numerous nutrients. The MedDiet baskets were generally cheaper ($78 for a one-person household to $285 for a four-person household) than AGHE and Western Diet.
Discussion: Meeting nutrition requirements over seven days for zinc can be challenging for males. Fortified products provide an opportunity to improve nutrient profile; however, nutrient intake should equilibrate over time. Further, cost saving strategies can increase affordability. This research suggests a MedDiet is not more costly than a typical Western Diet or healthy AGHE diet.