(John Sakata / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

PITTSFIELD — An avocado can be a great addition to a salad or a Monday night football dip — but to chocolate pudding?

For those with diabetes, nutrition consultant Morgan Kulchinsky says avocado can be added to the dessert for guilt-free enjoyment.

Kulchinsky is willing to share the secret technique, and others, in a series of healthy eating workshops hosted by the Pittsfield Nutrition Center that will be held every Thursday in October at the Christian Center.

“[The pudding] doesn't taste like avocado — it just makes it creamy, filling and satisfying,” said Kulchinsky, a certified natural food chief and nutrition educator.

Upcoming workshops will cover eating on a budget, eating with diabetes and then creating meals for those with high blood pressure. The free workshop series was paid for by a grant from the Pittsfield Human Service Action Coalition.

The purpose of the classes is to deliver nutrition information and teach basic cooking skills to the Pittsfiled population in order to improve health and prevent food-related diseases.

Each workshop will include “hands-on cooking with a nutrition focus,” Kulchinsky said. Those in the class will not only talk about delicious meals — they will make some.

Hands-on experience is key.


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“We counsel all day, but if you want to eat differently, that will require you to make the stuff at home,” Nutrition Center Executive Director Peter Stanton said. “If they don't know how, they won't do it.”

On Thursday, the class will focus on eating for those with hypertension and high blood pressure. During these classes, Kulchinsky emphasizes the importance of cooking without sodium. A bean burrito with carefully washed canned beans can be a great meal, she said.

“While things are being sautéed, sliced and diced, I am giving tips through the whole time,” she added.

On Oct. 17, the workshop on healthy and afforable meals will focus on buying in bulk and buying fresh ingredients at home.

“The message to get across is to eat real food, and the thing to stress in the classes is that eating can be affordable and delicious,” Kulchinsky said.

Kulcinsky has a secret she's willing to share with diabetics on Oct. 24: there are plenty of recipes they can enjoy.

“The people I have seen come to class have diabetes or are pre-diabetic,” Kulchinsky said. “Doctors don't have a lot of time to explain diabetes. They'll often get a handout, but a lot of questions get unanswered.”

(John Sakata / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

If you go ...

What: Nutrition Center healthy cooking classes Where: Christian Center, 193 Robbins Ave., Pittsfield

Workshops: Oct. 10 — Cooking for hypertension, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 17 — Healthy and affordable meals Oct. 24 — Desserts and diabetes 

Admission: Free 

Information: (413) 429-8110, info@thenutritioncenter.org, www.thenutritioncenter.org