Kitchen Creations

If you have diabetes, making healthy meals can be a real challenge. Kitchen Creations can help!

About Kitchen Creations

Kitchen Creations is a series of four cooking classes for adults with type 2 diabetes. Participants learn to plan and prepare delicious dishes that manage carbohydrates and promote heart health.

In addition to preparing and tasting healthy dishes, class participants will receive a workbook and recipe books! To view a calendar of scheduled cooking schools, visit

Kitchen Creations is a free program sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Health Division, Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.


The Kitchen Creations curriculum was written to respond to the needs of people with diabetes in New Mexico. Kitchen Creations consists of 4 classes which last about 3 hours each. A Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered Dietitian, or other healthcare professional with expertise in diabetes teaches the nutrition education portion of each class. An Extension Home Economist typically prepares and leads participants in the cooking portion of each class. Participants prepare and sample recipes at sessions 2, 3, and 4 so they can practice making balanced meals that help manage blood sugars.

Session 1 - Meal Planning

Participants are introduced to the Diabetes Food Guide Pyramid, serving sizes, the 50/50 plate method, and food labels.

Session 2 - Balancing Carbohydrates

Participants learn to identify carbohydrate sources and make appropriate choices to reduce simple sugars, hidden sugars, and empty calories. Recipes prepared in class model the 50/50 plate method. For example, the class may prepare a meat, fish, or poultry recipe, a grain or starchy vegetable recipe, a vegetable, a salad, and a dessert using fruit or a sugar substitute.

Session 3 - Vegetables, Beans, and Grains

Participants are encouraged to increase consumption of foods in the vegetable group. Foods from the vegetable group contain only small amounts of carbohydrate and can be eaten liberally at meals and snacks. Foods from the grains/beans/starchy vegetable group contain a significant amount of carbohydrate. It is important to balance choices from this group with other lower carbohydrate foods. Foods from these two food groups provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also contain phytochemicals that have been linked by research to preventing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and eye disease. Participants are encouraged to prepare recipes using ingredients they may not have used before or cooking methods they may not have tried.

Session 4 - Heart Healthy Cooking

Heart healthy refers to choosing foods that are low in fat and sodium and high in fiber. People with diabetes are much more likely to suffer from heart disease than people without diabetes. Eating a diet high in saturated fat and having elevated blood glucose and high blood pressure can contribute to heart disease and other vascular problems. This session focuses on improving the flavor of food while decreasing saturated fats and sodium. Participants are introduced to herbs and spices, healthier cooking oils, and flavorful cheeses to liven up recipes. Participants prepare meat, poultry, and fish recipes using low-fat preparation methods and herbs and spices for seasoning, rather than salt.

Professional Newsletters

Three Kitchen Creations Faculty Newsletters are developed each year for diabetes management professionals who are teaching this important program to people with diabetes and their families. To access the most recent newsletters, please click on the link below.


If you have questions about a Kitchen Creations cooking school in your area, please contact your local County Extension Office. For other questions, please contact:

Cassandra Vanderpool, MS, RD, LD
Extension Diabetes Coordinator
5404 La Terra Bella Rd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
Cell: 575-202-5065
Fax: 575-646-5042