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NMSU assistant professor to debut diabetic-friendly cookbook

  • By Adriana M. Chávez
  • 575-646-1957
  • adchavez@nmsu.edu
  • Sep 26, 2018
Counter with dessert ingredients
Woman standing at a kitchen counter

Before her mother passed away, Kelley Coffeen had to think of helpful and healthy diabetic-friendly recipes to plan not only for her mother, but also for her whole family.

“My mom was diagnosed with diabetes, so our family really had to learn how to be patient and thoughtful in determining what she could eat and how to prepare it,” Coffeen said. “She loved Tex-Mex cuisine but there weren’t many resources, so good recipes and planning became powerful tools. I think that’s the biggest gift to give to someone in your family who has diabetes, not make them feel like they’re a burden.”

That gave Coffeen, an assistant professor in the Clothing, Textiles & Fashion Merchandising program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and noted cookbook author, inspiration for her new cookbook featuring diabetic-friendly recipes. “Tex-Mex Diabetes Cooking: More than 140 Authentic Southwestern Favorites,” was published by the American Diabetes Association and features healthier versions of Tex-Mex favorites such as enchiladas, burritos, tacos and queso dip.

Coffeen said her latest collection consists of low-carb, low-fat and low-calorie recipes with authentic flavors. Each one of the 140 recipes is within the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association.

According to New Mexico’s Indicator-Based Information System, diabetes prevalence has steadily increased in New Mexico and the U.S. over the past 20 years. In 2016, the crude (non age-adjusted) prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among New Mexico adults was 11.5 percent. And according to the American Diabetes Association, 12.1 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. have diabetes, while 15.1 percent of American Indians and Alaskan natives and 12.7 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in the country suffer from the disease.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 84 million American adults, or more than one out of three American adults, are prediabetic. What’s more, 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

“This cookbook is a great resource for not only those who are struggling with diabetes or are potentially prediabetic, but really we should all be eating this way,” said Priscilla Bloomquist, interim head of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department. “The recipes are wonderful because they keep the authentic flavors of Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine that we love, but in a healthy way.”

Lourdes Olivas, associate faculty member of the Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department, said that while eating right is a primary concern for those with diabetes and prediabetes, everyone can benefit from the healthy recipes in Coffeen’s new cookbook.

“As a member of the American Diabetes Association I was able to get a glimpse of some of the recipes about a year ago in one of the journal articles that featured a few of the recipes,” Olivas said. “As an educator for diabetes and someone with a family history, I am always referring to diabetes cookbooks for ideas to make at home as it will benefit me and my family as they are low in carbohydrates, fat and sodium. Everyone should be eating like this, which is what we always tell our participants in our programs. Special meals or foods do not need to be made for individuals with diabetes. All can benefit and so far the recipes I have made from Dr. Coffeen’s line of recipes have all been tasty.” 

Along with healthier versions of Tex-Mex favorites, Coffeen’s cookbook contains tips on how to make dietary changes that will help make meal planning easier for diabetics and prediabetics following the American Diabetes Association guidelines.

“One of the biggest changes in my recipes for the American Diabetes Association is focusing on low carb, low fat and low calorie to work within their guidelines,” Coffeen said. “When I am creating a recipe like enchiladas, I use a lower fat cheese and am not sautéing the tortillas in oil. There’s lots of great little techniques that I’ve included to lighten up every recipe in the book.”

Coffeen has written seven cookbooks over the past 20 years that have highlighted variations of Mexican cooking.

“I’ve been able to showcase American Mexican food, traditional Mexican food and now Tex-Mex cuisine. I love the wonderful embracing culture of the Hispanic people, and I’ve come to know that so well as part of my family. It’s become a passion for me,” Coffeen said.

The cookbook is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. Coffeen will host a book signing and Q&A from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Barnes & Noble’s Mesilla Valley Mall location. Follow Coffeen on Instagram at Kelleys_kitchen and for more information, visit www.kelleycoffeen.com.

Excerpt from Kelley Coffeen’s cookbook, “Tex-Mex Diabetes Cooking: More than 140 Authentic Southwestern Favorites,” published by the American Diabetes Association.

Tres Leches Parfait

Tres Leches means “three milks.” This combination makes a sweet sauce that’s perfect for drenching a fruity parfait.

1/4 cup reduced-calorie sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup evaporated skim milk

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 medium-sized store-bought angel food cake or loaf, cut into 32 1-inch


2 cups strawberries, chopped

2 cups blueberries

4 Tbsp whipped cream, sweetened

Zest of 1 small lemon


In a medium-sized bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and almond milk. Mix well.

Combine strawberries and blueberries.

Place two cake cubes in each parfait glass. Top with 1/2 cup of berries. Place two cake cubes on top of berries.

Top each with 2 Tbsp sauce and 1/2 Tbsp of whipped cream.

Garnish with lemon zest.