Improving Health Through Nutrition

Improving Health Through Nutrition image

Written by Sarah Huber, RDN, Nutrition Manager

Gleaners is very fortunate to partner with Indy Hunger Network to host Cooking Matters classes several times a year. The free 6-week classes take place at our on-site Cynthia H. Hubert Community Cupboard Food Pantry, and a team of staff and volunteers transform the waiting area into a welcoming cooking classroom each week of the series. Participants learn about planning, purchasing, and preparing healthy meals and snacks on a budget, and they enjoy cooking and eating a meal together at each class. Participating households receive a cookbook full of recipes and nutrition tips, helpful kitchen utensils, and groceries to prepare the meal made in class for their family each week.

We caught up with Caroline, a recent graduate of the program, to learn what kind of impact Cooking Matters has had on her life. She explained that she has Type 2 diabetes, and before starting the classes, her hemoglobin A1C was around 10% (240 mg/dl). A1C measures what an individual’s average blood glucose levels have been for the past 2-3 months, and it is a key indicator of health for diabetics. Ideally, most adults with diabetes should keep their A1C below 7% (154 mg/dl). Caroline told us that she learned so much from Cooking Matters, and applying these new skills at home helped her improve her eating habits. Because of this, she has had much better blood sugar control, and she happily reported that her latest A1C was around 6% (126 mg/dl) – what an exciting achievement!

November is National Diabetes Month, a dedicated time to emphasize what a powerful tool nutrition can be in improving individual and community health. However, Gleaners strives to provide nutritious foods, healthy recipes, and nutrition education year-round in order to empower our neighbors to reach their fullest and healthiest potentials. To learn more about diabetes prevention and management, visit https://www.diabetes.org/ or check out Gleaners’ “Eating Well with Diabetes” handout.

Cooking Matters is changing lives. From program graduates making turkey tacos together to student Tamara, sharing what she learned, this program is changing the way graduates think about food. Read more on the Cooking Matters program at the Community Cupboard here and get the scoop on what it's like to be a Cooking Matters volunteer.

*Participant’s name changed for confidentiality