Centre: Wetherill Park

Location: Sydney

Diabetes NSW supports people living with, and at risk of, diabetes. Diabetes NSWs’ dietitian Mellissa was searching for a cooking program to assist young adults with independent living skills, including cooking and healthy eating.

“There is a real gap in services for teens and young adults transitioning into independent living and we feel strongly about getting some support in place for this vulnerable group.” – Mellissa, Diabetes NSWs’ Dietitian

Mellissa found Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Wetherill Park and after discussions with food trainer Renee, Diabetes NSW made a group booking. The group were 17-25 year olds with Type 1 diabetes who were in the process of moving out of home – the aim was for them to learn to cook healthy, fast and delicious meals.

Diabetes NSW booked groups into the Jamie’s Ministry of Food course and arranged for a Diabetes NSW dietitian to attend each class to provide advice, answer any questions and suggest recipe alternatives where appropriate.

The first class

The first class for the Diabetes NSW group took place on World Diabetes Day, 14th November. Through the interaction in the Jamie’s Ministry of Food program the young adults quickly bonded and by the end of the first class everyone sat together to enjoy the meal they just cooked, talking and laughing whilst getting to know each other.
“I was pleased the group were able to meet others their age with diabetes and learn how to put dietary advice into practice.” – Mellissa, Diabetes NSWs’ Dietitian

Participant feedback

The participants’ confidence grew, not only from learning new kitchen skills but in their food choices and meal planning as well.
“Loved having the opportunity to meet new people and learn so many different new things about cooking. Being able to try new foods and learn “insider tips” about cooking techniques and cooking in general has been great! The friendly and welcoming atmosphere made coming to the classes something I looked forward to! I feel more confident in making healthy choices when cooking. I have learnt so many things about cooking, especially with diabetes, and therefore I am able to plan meals to align with my dietary needs.” – Chloe, participant
Joshua drove all the way from Canberra to attend the final class because he didn’t want to miss it.
“It was an extremely friendly environment where I could learn basic cooking skills and understand nutritional information more clearly. All the meals cooked were simple enough to prepare on my own later. Also cooking healthy meals from scratch has been enjoyable. I cook every second night for myself and my housemates and we all love it! I’ve been able to share with them what I’ve learnt and now they also enjoy cooking for themselves. It has helped me understand the savings of the food I’m preparing and how much per week I should be eating of certain foods. Definitely glad I did this course! Would do it again in a heartbeat.” – Joshua, participant
Other feedback from participants included:
“Very worthwhile, wish it was a longer course.”
“Amazing opportunity to meet other diabetics, learn about cooking with the condition and integrate foods into our lifestyle.”
“It was really nice to hear someone comment on how things would specifically impact diabetics and helpful to receive extra info about living healthily with diabetes.”
Overall, participants enjoyed:
“Learning knife techniques”
“The last week – cooking roast!”
“The friendly atmosphere and experienced staff”
“The dieticians advice”
“I enjoyed the cooking and bringing home a sample”
“Learning new recipes & meeting people”
“Meeting others with type 1 diabetes & learning to cook.”

Diabetes NSW feedback

All participants would recommend the Jamie’s Ministry of Food course to others and all reported to be ‘very satisfied’ with the course. Diabetes NSW also believed the Jamie’s Ministry of Food course would benefit people living with Type 2 diabetes and have since made group bookings for Type 2 diabetics and parent and child groups. We look forward to continuing to work with Diabetes NSW to implement a program that benefits people living with diabetes.