GOODLIFE Clinic cooking class a pilot program

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | June 26, 2014

Image with caption: From left, medical nutrition students Clare Becker and Jenna Paseka.

From left, medical nutrition students Clare Becker and Jenna Paseka.

A simple cooking class held this month at the GOODLIFE Clinic could pave the way for a series of classes at the clinics next year, with a focus on nutrition and preventive health care. Medical nutrition students Jenna Paseka and Clare Becker hosted the class at the clinic, which serves people who suffer from diabetes. The focus was on creating a healthy breakfast, in this case a panini. "A lot of these patients struggle with their eating habits and eating patterns," Paseka said. "There are questions like 'What kind of food can we have?' or whether a food is 'good' or 'bad.' " The inaugural class drew three participants, and although Becker and Paseka hope to boost participation in the future, they pointed out that three people represent 25 percent of the 12 clinic patients who were invited for the pilot program.

"It was a good mix of education, but also of taking the focus away from their disease state and focusing on the food aspect. And it was delicious, so it's kind of a win-win."


Clare Becker

"It was a good mix of education, but also of taking the focus away from their disease state and focusing on the food aspect," Becker said. "And it was delicious, so it's kind of a win-win." The class allowed the patients to see proper portion sizes and discuss the types of food and eating habits that could be adversely affecting their health. Becker cooked while Paseka led a discussion on the importance of a healthy breakfast, the role of carbohydrates in the healthy diet and other topics. "They were engaging us on how they would modify the recipe -- one woman said she would add spinach," Becker said. "They were very open to trying it at home." Click here for tips to a more healthful breakfast. The choice of breakfast as the sample meal was deliberate, Becker said. "When people are trying to lose weight, they'll often skip breakfast," she said. "This is not a good strategy for weight loss." Becker and Paseka are regulars at the GOODLIFE Clinic and enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of the work. "I like getting to work with the students in other health professions," Paseka said. Planning already has begun for the next class, to be held in August at the SHARING Clinic, said Sue McLaughlin. "It's a good opportunity not only to educate the patients, but the other future practitioners and clinicians on the importance of breakfast," McLaughlin said. "The number of people with diabetes (in the U.S.) has gone up to 29.1 million, so we have to look at ways to educate people with diabetes other than the more traditional methods."

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June 26, 2014 at 9:01 AM

What a fantastic idea-keep at it and good luck!