Chef-led Dining with Diabetes class accepting registrations

GETTING READY: (From left) Don Zimmer, chef; Clinton Zimmerman, Red Fox Market owner; Scott Lombard, director of care management and community outreach for Spectrum Health; and Pam Daniels, Michigan State University Extension health educator, look over the advertising and materials for the upcoming Dining with Diabetes class, set to begin Nov. 1 at Red Fox Market. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

GETTING READY: (From left) Don Zimmer, chef; Clinton Zimmerman, Red Fox Market owner; Scott Lombard, director of care management and community outreach for Spectrum Health; and Pam Daniels, Michigan State University Extension health educator, look over the advertising and materials for the upcoming Dining with Diabetes class, set to begin Nov. 1 at Red Fox Market. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

BIG RAPIDS — Food choices are an important part of managing diabetes. A class through Michigan State University Extension aims to help those dealing with the disease make good choices while enjoying tasty meals.

Dining with Diabetes is a four-week class led by volunteer chef Don Zimmer. The class will meet from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 22, at Red Fox Market, 112 S. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids. Participants will learn about cooking, nutrition, taste recipes and have a store tour.

Participation is free, but pre-registration is required because the class is limited to 20 participants. To register, call Lisa Baker at (231) 592-0792 no later than Wednesday, Oct. 26.

“With these classes, we’ve found that people really enjoy a chef-led class,” said Pam Daniels, MSUE health educator. “The draw is they feel — at any age — that they can learn something new about cooking. And they do — Chef Don takes the fear out of food by introducing simple cooking, and prepping techniques. The chef gives us so much insight about prepping food it’s easy to leave the classes wanting to go out and cook.”

The class is designed for people with diabetes, their caregivers, people at risk of developing diabetes and anyone who wants to learn more. Past participants have given the class extremely positive reviews, saying they’d learned a lot during the four-week time period.

“If you have to choose healthy carbs as a diabetic, instead of a challenge, that’s an opportunity to try something new,” Zimmer said. “The classes are a lot of fun and help get people back on track to eating better, as well as creating a foundation of community support.”

Having the class in a grocery store instead of a hospital kitchen trains people to think about healthy choices when they visit places that are part of their daily lives, such as a grocery store, organizers said.

“If you’re diabetic, in some sense, food is medicine. People have to realize there are outcomes to the things they choose to eat,” said Scott Lombard, director of care management and community outreach for Spectrum Health, one of the class sponsors, adding that making healthy food choices reduces the risk of health complications.

“Food is medicine,” agreed Clinton Zimmerman, Red Fox owner. “This class is a great opportunity for people to educate themselves about what they should be eating. We’re a community-driven market — anything involving the wellness of the community, we want to be part of.”

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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