Winthrop's Diabetes Education Center - recently relocated to 163 Mineola Boulevard - offers a comprehensive, interactive series of classes that teach individuals with diabetes how to eat sensibly when dining out.
"The Dining Out with Diabetes" series was born of patient need," explained Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, Director of the Center. "Studies show that, on a weekly basis, most Americans enjoy four meals away from home. People are just not cooking. We also found patients want to know what's in the food they order, so we created lectures promoting awareness of nutritional content with a focus on how to make more healthful food choices." The Center's first offering at a local all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant focused on portions. Subsequent programs have addressed various ethnic cuisines, including Chinese, Italian and Mediterranean. The class became so popular the team added programs to the series centered on fast food lunch choices and breakfast items, including chef-prepared omelets. The key objectives of each program are simply to enable participants to learn what they can eat so they may enjoy dining out.
When designing each specialized class, diabetes nutritionist, Lynne Chimon, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, works with the chef to identify portion sizes and menu ingredients. She then develops a detailed nutritional guide.
"Going inside the kitchen provides me with a true picture of what's actually going into the food being served," she explained. "The participants really appreciate having specific menu information that's not straight from a book." More importantly, the interactive group setting is an opportunity to learn new nutritional and behavioral strategies among peers. The connection, camaraderie and understanding the group shares have benefited many participants since the program began in 1999.
For more information about the "Dining Out with Diabetes" series or the Diabetes Education Center, call (516) 663-2350.