Tips From the Nutritionist of TV’s “The Biggest Loser”


I took a cooking class last week taught by Cheryl Forberg (RD), the nutritionist and chef for tv’s “The Biggest Loser”. I’m a huge fan of the show and thought it would be a great opportunity to see what the contestants eat on “The Ranch” and also see what they are taught about food and how to eat healthy. During the cooking class, Cheryl gave a lot of good advice to the audience including:

1) Incorporating more fruits and veggies. She said that at the Biggest Loser ranch, the contestants are given a variety of fruits and veggies that have a lot of fiber and also water (think watermelon, apples, etc.) to fill them up FAST. One of the reasons people don’t stick to new nutrition plans is because they don’t like to feel hungry. If you fuel your body with plenty of fruits and veggies you will fill full (from fiber and the H2O) and less hungry… just like they do on the ranch! Plus, you will be loading up on lots of vitamins and antioxidants which help us to look and feel our best.

2) Sneak in hidden vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3’s when you can. For instance, during our cooking class, she said that she likes to include flax seeds (rich in omega-3’s) in a variety of recipes. I buy mine at Whole Foods and mix them into my yogurt or morning cereal.

4) Buy organic when you can but don’t stress if you don’t have access or can’t afford it. Cheryl stressed using organic products that don’t contain pesticides or added steroids and hormones (in meat), etc. when you can. But, she said she likes to be practical and the recipes in her book call for ingredients you should be able to buy all over the US and not just large cities or specialty stores.  Cari’s TIP: I encourage my clients to buy organic meat when they can and try to buy organic when they purchase fruits/veggies  that are known for high pesticide use such as apples, tomatoes, grapes and lettuces. Usually, the fruits and veggies that we eat the outer portion of (or skin) usually have the highest pesticides because crop growers aren’t concerned with keeping the outer appearance so nice if we are just doing to discard it. For example: avocados, bananas, etc. tend to have lower amounts of pesticides and herbicides.

5) Use good quality oils and flavor with lots of spices. This was a huge tip for me…use quality olive oils and use an oil sprayer to mist foods. A lot of times I will drizzle olive oil over veggies or foods before I bake them but sometimes it doesn’t come out right or I use too much oil. She showed us how to use an oil mister (I got one a Williams Sonoma) and fill it with olive oil. This allows you to lightly spray a small amount and get better coverage than if you were pouring it from a bottle (and less fat/calories). Also, Cheryl said that some kinds of spray oils (I’m guilty of using PAM) contain poor quality oils and they have more calories than we think. Who actually uses “1/3 second spray”???!!

These are just a few of the things discussed in the class and also in her book. Cheryl also discusses how you can stay young by preventing osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease through diet and exercise. Also, she stresses the importance of adding weight training to your routine, which of course I agree with!! I think her book is great and I can’t wait to try more of the recipes (the “Zippy Hummus” is one of my favorites). To find out more, you can visit her website at

*Be sure to check back later this week as I start blogging about Season 8 of The Biggest Loser and my take on the trainers, the workouts and what we don’t see on camera!

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