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Extension Agent: Cooking well with diabetes

By By Erika Bochat
March 25, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 24, 2014 at 10:25 p.m.

Erika Bochat

Some of our fondest childhood memories are of home-cooked meals - especially those delicious main dishes. In Texas, our favorite main dishes have for many years included fried chicken or fried catfish.

Nowadays, knowing that our food must not only be delicious but also nutritious, we wonder: Can we still enjoy some of those great-tasting entrees? The answer is yes, but with some changes to help reduce the amount of fat used in the way we prepare food.

People managing diabetes are more likely than others to develop problems with their heart, blood vessels and blood pressure, so they need to limit the amount of fats they eat. But people with diabetes can enjoy some meat dishes if they change the recipes to use smarter ways to prepare those dishes and use leaner cuts of meats, low- or lower-fat milk products and choose lower-in-fat type foods.

Instead of cooking with traditional Southern fats such as animal fats (bacon grease or lard) or shortenings, using oils, margarines and other fat substitutes with higher levels of unsaturated fats is recommended.

For people accustomed to eating fried foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, it may be a little difficult to adjust to this new way of eating and cooking. But it is possible to reduce the fat in recipes without losing all the flavor.

Our discussion will cover smart cooking, fat substitutions and main-dish recipes to replace some of our high-fat favorites. Participants will be able to:• Identify the sources of different types of fat on food labels

• Reduce the fat and cholesterol content of main dishes by eliminating or substituting ingredients when cooking

• Demonstrate cooking methods that require little or no fat

• Use low-fat recipes, low-fat cooking methods and more unsaturated oils

This course complements the "Do Well Be Well With Diabetes" self-care and nutrition series offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

For more information and how to register for this low-cost workshop series that runs April 1, 8, 15 and 29, contact Tricia at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension-Victoria County Office at 361-575-4581 today. Deadline to reserve your place is 5 p.m. Friday.

If you'd like more information about how you can cook well to manage your diabetes but cannot attend the class series, you can always contact me at the Victoria County Extension office.

Revised by Mary Claire Kinney Bielamowicz, PhD, MS, RD, LD, CFCS, Regents Fellow, Professor and Nutrition Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, May 2012.

Erika Bochat is a Victoria County extension agent - Family and Consumer Sciences.

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