“Simply Delicioso” Host Ingrid Hoffmann’s Top 5 Tips for Healthy Latin American Cooking

Through her Food Network show, “œSimply Delicioso” and her active Twitter page, restaurateur Ingrid Hoffmann helps dismiss the myth that Latin American-influenced food is unhealthy. Instead, she told Top5 that Latin American food is one of the easiest cultural cuisines for proper nutrition “œbecause of the amount of tubers and root vegetables and beans and grains that are in our tradition.”

Hoffman offers recipes and healthy tips in her new book “œLatin D’Lite” “” something she stressed is not a diet book (she doesn’t believe in those) and instead is more of a lifestyle guide. She was also kind enough to share some of her favorite ingredients and suggestions for healthy eating with us.

5 Pineapple

Image credit: Wikipedia

Instead of binging on sugary desserts when you get a sweet tooth craving, Hoffmann said to turn to fruit””and perhaps add a little kick. She likes grilled pineapple with a spiced rum crème.

“œI put some pineapple on a grill pan to caramelize those beautiful stripes,”she said. “œAnd then I make a little yogurt with some Stevia or honey or agave and add a little bit of rum. Then I add toasted pistachios or a small amount of shredded coconut flakes”¦ and I’m a happy camper!”

Recipe: Ingrid Hoffmann’s roasted pineapple with whipped cream

4 Tortilla Bowls

Image credit: Theyummylife.com

Hoffmann puts a healthy spin on chicken tortilla salads, starting with her homemade, baked tortilla bowls. She fills them with red kidney beans, grilled chicken, lettuce, a bit of feta cheese and her own house-made tomato sauce with chipotle.

“œI assemble it all together with lettuce leaves on the bottom,”she said. “œAnd here you have a deliciously flavored meal that is super clean.”

Recipe: Ingrid Hoffmann’s tortilla tower

3 Sweet Potatoes

Image credit: Flickr by SaucyGlo

Think sweet potatoes are only meant as a side dish on Thanksgiving? Think again.

“œI make mine like a mojito,”Hoffmann said. “œI put lime and mint in it, and even some vanilla extract and all of a sudden you have this very interesting side dish that fills you up, is totally healthy and gives you variety.”

Recipe: Ingrid Hoffmann’s sweet potato casserole

2 Chiles

Image credit: Fantom-xp.com

Forget the salt or pre-packaged sauces, which can be loaded with sugar and preservatives. Hoffmann will add some spice to her dishes naturally with chiles.

“œWith all of our Mexican chiles to all of our Peruvian chiles, you can flavor food in such smart ways with low calories,”she said.

Recipe:Ingrid Hoffmann’s chipotle tamale pie

1 Beans

Hoffmann said beans are cooking staples throughout Latin America, with different regions using their own type and color.

“œI always say that the only division between South Americans is the color of their beans,”she said.

She listed ways to make healthy dishes with beans””yes, even ways to make refried beans.

“œYou can do refried beans really healthily really just by cooking them and mashing them,”she said. “œInstead of using lard and bacon, you can use olive oil or peanut oil. You can flavor it with cumin and garlic and then you can sauté it again with some brushed oil in a skillet.”

Recipe: Ingrid Hoffmann’s black bean dip
Recipe: Ingrid Hoffmann’s ranchero beans

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