By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Cooking healthier and planning well-balanced meals are the force behind the annual Kitchen Creations cooking class that began on Monday.
“It’s (the class) for diabetics and their families and caregivers,” said Connie Moyers, Roosevelt County home economist.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 7 percent of the population in the United States — 20.8 million people — have diabetes, while another 6.2 million people are undiagnosed.
Held for the sixth year in Portales, the class is funded through a grant provided by the state Extension Service, the New Mexico Department of Health Diabetes Prevention Program and Eastern New Mexico University, Moyers said.
Carol Calderon was excited to learn tips to help her manage her diabetes. During a class exercise, she was able to see how to control portions using the 50/50 method, she said.
“You can eat everything with the right portion control,” Calderon said.
During the four-week session, participants will be introduced to a variety of ways that will enable them to prepare healthier meals. The class will also cover nutrition taught by a registered dietitian, Moyers said.
“It’s to help them to understand their diet and how to live a healthier life,” Moyers said.
Class members will prepare the meals, which allows them to sample dishes prepared using substitutions or healthier alternatives, Moyers said.
“I think it helps them have a better understanding,” Moyers said.
Diagnosed with diabetes within the same week, Ellouise Holt and her daughter-in-law, Rhonda Holt, attended the class in hopes of gaining more information to help control and manage their diabetes.
“I’d like to just learn more,” Ellouise Holt said.
Exercise is also a big part of the program.
Participants are encouraged to wear a pedometer that will track the number of steps they walk each day. The goal is to help people see how much they walk and gradually introduce more steps into their daily routine if possible, Moyers said.
For Rhonda Holt, exercise and diet have made a drastic difference in her health.
By controlling her portion sizes and eating every couple of hours, Holt does not have to take medication to control her diabetes, she said.
“I kept reading losing weight is the key, and I have no doubt of that now,” she said.