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Dining With Diabetes

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Class shows delicious meals can still be part of healthy diabetic diet

By Kaitlin Keane

Low- or no-sugar recipes were on the menu at the Dining With Diabetes cooking school in the Roane County Health Department this week.

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The class is put on through a joint effort between the health department and UT Extension Roane County. It is ideal for anyone with diabetes or who cooks for a diabetic family member.

“We focus on carb moderation and how to plan a meal,” said Justin Thomas, UT Extension agent.

“We also look at how to make good meals that will fit into the 45-to 60-carb range.”

Betty Cooper was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes — the kind that usually strikes later in life —this year.

While she had been borderline diabetic for a while, her doctor finally urged her to start taking medication.

One of the biggest things Cooper was wondering after being diagnosed was how to cook.

“We want people to understand they can still eat good food in their diabetic diets,” Thomas said.

Pam Harvey has found the class to be helpful. With diabetes being prominent on her grandmother’s side, she was diagnosed in January.

“After getting diagnosed, they give you a long list of ‘no’s,’ things you can’t have, but this class shows what you still can have,” Harvey said.

Thomas said a bonus to this program is people leave the classroom with more hands-on experience.

“We try to be as realistic as possible with our recipes,” Thomas said. “To keep it simple yet effective.”

“You think you will never get to taste anything good again,” Harvey said. “But this class is helpful to know what you still can have.”

The four-week class is offered for free thanks to the Project Diabetes Grant though the Tennessee Department of Health.

The UT Extension office is looking to offer another class in mid-July.