Learning to dine with diabetes

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asparagus, tomatos and steak

By Tracy Turner | Ohio State Chow Line

“My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes and was advised to change his diet. Do you know of any local resource to help us understand which diet changes he’ll need to make?”

One of the best resources your dad can turn to is his doctor, who might be able to connect him with a dietitian who can possibly help him tailor an eating plan specific to his dietary needs.

Additionally, your dad and the rest of your family can learn more about diabetes and how to manage nutritional needs through a free online course created by Ohio State University Extension family and consumer sciences educators. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Dining with diabetes course

The course, Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen, offers participants information about how to make healthy food choices when eating at restaurants, going grocery shopping, or planning weekly meals.

The course, available at go.osu.edu/DWDBtKis self-paced and includes interactive presentations, fact sheets and resources, informational videos, and links to websites and apps that provide more information about managing diabetes. During the course, participants can share ideas, questions, and tips with one another, and they can speak directly with OSU Extension professionals.

Your dad also has the option to take part in an in-person Dining with Diabetes class. This four-class program is taught by OSU Extension family and consumer sciences educators and a certified diabetes educator.

The class offers the following:

  • Live cooking demonstrations
  • Menu-planning
  • Diabetes management
  • Carbohydrate-counting
  • Portion-control insights
  • Label-reading
  • Healthy recipe taste-testing

Nutrition is a key component to managing diabetes. Both the online and in-person Dining with Diabetes courses are informative options to help those with diabetes and their families understand the role that healthy, well-balanced meals can play in managing this disease, said Shari Gallup, an OSU Extension educator and one of the instructors for the in-person class.

Studies show that serious complications can arise with diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and nontraumatic lower extremity amputations, so it’s very important for those managing this disease to understand the role that nutrition plays in their health.

“Some of the people who have taken the class say that they now read the nutrition labels on the foods they buy and that they’ve increased their daily exercise,” Gallup said. “Others have reported that they are cooking with olive oil more and that they’ve seen their blood sugar levels decrease after using some of the tips and techniques they’ve learned in class.”

OSU Extension periodically offers the Dining with Diabetes class in 31 Ohio counties. To find the class closest to you, go to go.osu.edu/CxXV.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

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