People to Know 2017: Ingrid Hoffmann
Ingrid Hoffmann wants people to eat healthier—and she thinks they can do it without throwing away their favorite foods. She’s already published several cookbooks and hosts cooking shows in English and Spanish, focusing on healthful Latin-inspired dishes. Now she wants to help people with diabetes, especially people of Latin American heritage, who are more than 50 percent more likely than whites to have the condition.
Ingrid’s upcoming cookbook, Latin Comfort Foods Made Easy (releasing in 2018 from the American Diabetes Association), adapts traditional Latin American cuisine to meet the American Diabetes Association’s dietary guidelines. The dietary guidelines for diabetes aren’t just a way to manage chronic illness—they’re “how we should all be eating,” she says, “no matter what disease we have or don’t have.”
When I got a chance to talk with Ingrid, I was thrilled to meet someone who shared some of my own opinions on healthy eating. I know from experience that the best diet is one that you actually enjoy—it’s how I was able to lose weight and help many of the contestants on The Biggest Loser do the same. That’s why Ingrid and I both focus on helping people make healthier versions of the foods they already enjoy. “A lot of the foods that you think people with diabetes can’t eat … we’ve got to make a few small changes, but you can,” Ingrid says.
Ingrid shared with me some of her favorite tricks for making recipes more healthy: “I like adding a lot of zucchini to recipes because they help build bulk,” she says. “Their flavor will melt into anything: soups, stews, guacamole.” To reduce the amount of sodium in her recipes, Ingrid reaches for herbs, spices, and garlic before adding salt to a dish.
At a time when diabetes is epidemic, and the Latin American community is particularly hard hit, Ingrid’s work is more important than ever. I’m glad to have found another dedicated chef who is showing people with diabetes how to eat healthier without giving up the foods they love.
The Author: Devin Alexander is the chef for NBC’s The Biggest Loser and a New York Times bestselling cookbook author. You Can Have It: Decadent, Diabetes-Friendly Recipes Too Good to Believe, her forthcoming cookbook with the American Diabetes Association, will hit bookstores in 2018. She’s coached thousands of pounds off others and has maintained her own 70-pound weight loss for close to 30 years. She lives (and eats) her message: You don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy.