Extension in Action

Three women standing in front of a MyPlate banner.

Shelby Curry, Bobbie Daniels, and Vanessa Wells participated in Extension’s Dining with Diabetes program.

My doctor said my sugars were fine and my A1C was normal. I don’t have diabetes, but I attribute those numbers to following the diet regime we learned in Dining with Diabetes. It helps you eat healthier, it makes you feel better, and you don’t have all that baggage.

— Bobbie Daniels,
member of Sunshine Seekers

“Taking Dining with Diabetes was beneficial because it’s a hands-on program that tells you step-by-step what you need to do and how you need to start moving on your own. If you have the chance to take Dining with Diabetes, you should.”

— Vanessa Wells,
family navigator with the Mississippi Department of Health

“The Dining with Diabetes workshops taught me that you can have healthier foods, and you can pass that on to your grandchildren, too. When they see the importance of what you are eating and how you’re living, that can create the generational change we need.”

— Shelby Curry,
member of Sunshine Seekers

“I saw that Mississippi was number one in the nation for people being diagnosed with diabetes, and I saw that Claiborne County was number three in the state for new diagnoses, and African Americans are diagnosed at a higher proportion than any other race. I brought in Dining with Diabetes to empower the African American community to manage the disease and help people get off medication.”

— Casnacita Gray,
Claiborne County Extension agent and Sunshine Seekers club facilitator

Dining with Diabetes workshops inspire healthier food choices at home

Story by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson


The hands-on Dining with Diabetes program can benefit people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease, people at risk for these diseases, or people who are interested in healthy eating or improved heart health. The Mississippi State University Extension Service delivers Dining with Diabetes, and Extension agent Casnacita Gray recently presented the program in Claiborne County.


Dining with Diabetes covers healthy eating, physical activity, disease monitoring, medication compliance, and risk reduction, and the course empowers participants by giving them access to nutrition knowledge and resources for food preparation. Classes include research-based education, cooking demonstrations, and healthy recipe tasting. These tools can help people make positive changes by planning menus, counting carbohydrates, controlling portions, and reading labels.


After they completed four workshops in early 2023, Sunshine Seekers club members received their certificates of completion for Dining with Diabetes in May. These women continue to forge a new way forward, focused on intentionally eating healthier. Gray offers the workshops twice each year.


The Sunshine Seekers club in Claiborne County, which began as a group of Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers, meets monthly in their local Extension office to make a meaningful impact on their collective future, both for themselves and their loved ones.


Dining with Diabetes participants are increasing their knowledge about healthy foods. They get to taste healthier versions of favorite foods that demonstrate new cooking techniques. The group connects as they learn and share with one another and from health and nutrition professionals.

CLICK HERE to learn how Dining with Diabetes can help you eat healthier and be more active.


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