The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook: Budget-Friendly Meals Your Whole Family Will Love

The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook: Budget-Friendly Meals Your Whole Family Will Love

by Devin Alexander, Melissa Roberson

Paperback(First Edition)

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As grocery costs continue to rise, many family cooks are finding themselves in a tough predicament: How can they feed their families healthy, satisfying meals without breaking the bank? In The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, New York Times best-selling author Devin Alexander shows families that eating on a budget can be easy, nutritious-and delicious!
With more than 125 recipes that will satisfy every member of the family, Chef Alexander provides complete, affordable options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with mix-and-match side dishes, healthy snacks, and desserts. From Broccoli & Cheddar Frittatas to Steak Fajita Quesadillas, Family Sized Meatball Parmesan to Peanut Butter Fudge Sundaes, these wholesome, satisfying dishes will become an essential part of every family cook's repertoire.
In addition to an overview of the Biggest Loser eating plan and Chef Alexander's recipes, readers will find helpful cooking and cost-saving tips from favorite Biggest Loser contestants and online club members. They will also find simple ways to get kids involved in the kitchen and fun ideas for family mealtimes. Designed to make healthy eating accessible for everyone, The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook will help pad wallets-not waistlines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605297835
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 11/11/2008
Series: Biggest Loser Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

DEVIN ALEXANDER is the host of Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander on Discovery Health Channel and is the author of the New York Times best-selling The Biggest Loser Cookbook. She's written articles for Prevention, Women's Health, Shape, and Fitness, among others, and has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, The Biggest Loser, and more. She lives in Los Angeles.
MELISSA ROBERSON is the editor of She has worked on new media projects for the New York Times,, and, among others. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Read an Excerpt


The Weight of the Union

Let's face it: America has become a hefty nation. About two-thirds, or 66 percent, of us have been classified by health officials as overweight or obese. In the late '80s and early '90s, that statistic was 56 percent. In the late '70s, it was more like 47 percent. The numbers show a dramatic increase. Even more disturbing is the fact that about one-third of our children and teens are overweight or obese—triple the rate of their parents' and grandparents' generations. Doctors are diagnosing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes in elementary school kids and, in some cases, predicting shorter life spans for them than their parents for the first time ever. What we eat today has an impact not only on our future, but on the future of our children. Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser always shake their heads at the amount of fast food their contestants—and their families—are used to eating before they arrive at the ranch. "It's super-size this and super- size that," observes Harper, "with the result that portion sizes are out of control as well."

So how can you protect your family from our national health crisis? Two words: family meals. The demise of the once-hallowed ritual of family mealtime is emerging as a factor, say researchers, in this country's obesity epidemic. Studies indicate that dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to introduce healthy foods into your family's diet and to involve family members (that includes the kids!) in food choices, preparation, and cooking. But we're talking about more than just food. It's also a perfect time for family members to slow down and talk to each other. Parents might actually find out what's going on in their teenagers' lives! And when the dinner table is an enjoyable place—in terms of both food and environment—big strides can be made for the health of everyone sitting around it.

If family mealtime isn't already a part of your day, try to work it into your family's schedule so that it becomes a priority. Like soccer practice or day care, it will soon become an integral part of your day, and something you won't skip. If the kids are reluctant at first, start small. Gradually introducing change makes it easier for them to adjust. Start by filling everyone's drinking glass with water or skim milk instead of soda. Or turning off the TV during meals. And try to get your kids involved! Don't just put down a plate of food in front of them and say, "Eat it." Let them be involved in the shopping and meal preparation, and they might even try a few new vegetables.

We've witnessed firsthand the powerful influence of family on Season 6 of The Biggest Loser. Vicky and Brady Vilcan came to the ranch from Louisiana, worried about their weight but heartbroken about the example they were setting for their children, especially their daughter, who weighed 63 £ds at the age of 4. "I feel 100 percent responsible for my daughter. She's overweight, and I know it's because of me," said Vicky.

But after the Vilcans committed to a healthy way of life at the ranch, things changed. "Before my experience at The Biggest Loser ranch," said Brady, "We often ate whenever and wherever we felt like. Ninety percent of the time, we ate at a restaurant or took home takeout. Now I spend a lot of time planning what to get from the grocery store to prepare at home. The first thing I do at mealtime is turn off the television. Mealtime is now family time, where we all sit together at the same time and share thoughts about the day."

Frustratingly, eating healthfully these days doesn't always come cheap. Even the cost of basic staples such as bread, milk, and eggs has climbed significantly—not to mention the price of produce and other wholesome foods. A trip to the grocery store has become an exercise in sticker shock, while the low prices of many unhealthful, processed foods and fast foods has remained relatively stable.

Once The Biggest Losers leave the ranch and re-enter the real world, they're struggling with the same budgetary issues as the rest of us. But, as you'll see throughout this book, there's hope! "We have found that since we're not eating out like we used to, we actually have more money to spend on good, healthy food," says Stacey Capers, another Season 6 member. "So we've moved the 'dining out' part of our budget over to groceries. And we're always on the lookout for a good sale!" Cooking and eating at home not only ensures that you're eating healthy, nutritious foods—it also helps you save money.

Coleen Skeabeck of Season 6 adds, "For me, getting the best deal possible and not breaking the bank is so important. I shop at a local farmers' market to get the best prices on produce instead of buying it at the grocery store. As for the other groceries, I plan out what I'd like to eat for the next week or so and then buy only what I need instead of throwing a bunch of items in my cart. And although sometimes it takes a minute to flip through the ads, finding items you need that may be on sale really helps!"

So, how to prepare the best food at the best prices? To that end, Chef Devin Alexander has come up with more than 125 recipes specifically crafted to keep your wallet—and your family—healthy. These are true crowd- pleasing recipes that will get everyone in the kitchen and satisfy even the pickiest tastebuds. Since food prices vary across the country (groceries tend to be cheaper in the Midwest and more expensive in major metropolitan areas and on the East and West coasts), we've come up with recipe items that would fit a weekly food budget of $175 to $215 for a family of four. For more information on the cost of groceries around the country, visit one of the Web sites listed in Resources on page 215.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to these recipes, and there's plenty of room to adjust for your family's budget and tastes. If a recipe calls for fresh vegetables but frozen are on sale at your local grocery store, go for what works best for you. Also, take advantage of your regional specialties. If you're in central Pennsylvania, for example, an area known for its farms and dairy cattle, milk and produce will be cheaper. On the West Coast, you may find better deals on salmon than the rest of us. And if you live in Florida, you'll have much cheaper access to citrus fruits than folks elsewhere in the country. It all depends on where the product originates and what your family likes. For more information about what's in season where you live, check out the Web sites listed in Resources on page 215.

Put yourself in control. The idea here is to have fun, eat well, and enjoy your family—all without going broke!

Watch Your Wallet

You'll find budget shopping tips throughout this book, but here are a few hard-core essentials that will get you started on the right foot.

* Make a list and don't leave home without it! Plan your meals in advance, itemize what you need, and stick to it. That way you can avoid the potato chip aisle.

* Buy less-expensive store brands or try warehouse or discount stores.

* Stock up on sale items that are nonperishable, such as canned goods.

* Don't forget the lowly bean! It offers great nutrition at a bargain price.

* Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store. That's where you'll find fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and fat-free dairy products. The inner aisles contain most of the processed, less healthy stuff.

* Always check the unit pricing on an item, not just the total price, to make sure you're getting the best deal. The best savings aren't always on the largest quantity

* Study the store circulars carefully to make sure you're getting a real discount. Sometimes manufacturers pay to have an item included in the circular, so compare weekly specials to the non-"special" brands to find the best deal.

* Don't always buy the items on display at eye level. Cheaper items are usually on the bottom shelf, and not at the ends of aisles.

* If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs, investing in a small window box filled with your favorites is a good option. You'll always have fresh herbs at your fingertips. To keep herbs that grow quickly from going to seed, clip and freeze as needed. Here's how: Wash and finely chop the herbs, then fill the sections of an ice cube tray about halfway with the herb pieces. Cover the herbs with water, pop the tray in the freezer, and freeze until solid. Once cubes are formed, transfer your "herb ice cubes" to an airtight container and store it in the freezer. Add the cubes while preparing moist recipes such as hot soups, stews, and sauces.

Customer Reviews

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Biggest Loser Family Cookbook 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 189 reviews.
GirlieMac More than 1 year ago
I've watched one episode of Biggest Loser so am not an expert on the show. This cookbook hooked me with the family label. The tips in the book are great, both for saving money and for getting children to eat better (such as having your children help with the shopping and the cooking). Importantly, the book has recipes for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. If you are concerned with what your children are eating, this is a great cookbook.
michluvsboston More than 1 year ago
Simple, enjoyable recipes for the whole family especially the kids who loved these recipes as well as enjoyed helping to make them. Using this book you learn a lot of alternatives to cooking some family favorite more fattening recipes. These are lean yet full of flavor and very easy to cook. Eating at home is healthier and saves money too...very important in today's economy. Its also practical for our very busy culture who is gaining weight at an alarming rate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking for something I could whip up at home that wouldn't be over-ladden with calories and this book from the Biggest Loser fit the bill. Inside, I found more than enough recipes to keep dinner from getting stale. Best of all, these recipes are delicious and nutritious. A great way to lose weight and keep it off, if you don't mind cooking.
TeriMA More than 1 year ago
I bought this cookbook, lost it and bought another one ! That is how much I enjoyed it. Loved the chicken tacos, trail mix and pizza burgers. Make sure you try stuff that you would not intially try ! I could go on an on ! PS down 46 pounds since January, 2010, I used this cookbook alot and other WW receipes.
Janann More than 1 year ago
The recipes are healthful, delicious and beautiful in presentation and in no way resemble "diet" food. I love to cook and I am a very good cook, unfortunately I am the only one among family and guests who needs to lose weigh. This cookbook allows me to do both and keep everyone else happy with the food I present to them.
sub_sailor More than 1 year ago
Using this book & the 'Lose It' app for the iPhone I managed to lose 20 pounds in the last 12 weeks.
LBDay More than 1 year ago
My husband and I wanted to start watching what we eat and get into better shape. We love the show and the trainers, so we thought "why not?". It has been really great to us so far. The recipes we've tried are easy and fairly quick. One drawback is that we don't have access to all ingredients a lot of the recipes call for because we are in the middle of the mohave desert with not much of a grocery store! If we plan ahead, we can make recipes with all ingredients..otherwise we may have to substitute things here and there. The food always tastes great!
LBrov More than 1 year ago
I'm trying to get my family to eat healthier and I'm trying to lose weight in the process. My youngest son can be a very picky eater. I let him pick out one or two recipes to try each week and so far he has enjoyed each one. The recipes are easy to prepare and taste so good. My oldest son, loves the smoothies and has made his own variations of the recipes given. What a great way to incorporate fruit into his diet. This book not only includes recipes but great suggestions on losing weight. I highly recommend this to my family and friends, not just for losing weight but eating healthier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a huge fan of The Biggest Loser since season 1. At home, I've been trying to cook healthier, without always making the same thing every night. This cookbook has been great! The recipes are simple to follow and never lacking in flavor, which is a problem with some "diet" cookbooks. I strongly recommend this book!
nicknice14 More than 1 year ago
This cookbook is great. There are some interesting twists on the food we love but all in all, this is great. We love trying these recipes and being able to still eat the foods we love.
CJKilker More than 1 year ago
Some very surprising and tasty dishes are contained here. My family was plesantly surprised.
Eatinright More than 1 year ago
The food and recipes in the two Biggest Loser Cook Books we own are tremendous. No tofu's just good outright food. Who'd a thunk you could eat Tostitos, meat ball subs, pastas, etc. on a diet and truthfully be full when you are done. From appetizers to deserts these cook books have it all. My wife and I wear these books out. On average in a two week period at least 6 or more meals come from the two we have.
mijm9727 More than 1 year ago
I've never watched the show other than skimming through the television channels & catching a glimpse of one of the people on there that lost weight & I've heard great things about it. I decided to purchase this cookbook because I thought it would be great for the whole family- definitely a GREAT decision. We have made quite a few of the recipes in here & have loved everyone one that we have tried out, some even becoming a family favorite that we've made a couple times. We have 4 children & the whole family loves these recipes. They are easy, quick & very delicious!
Lorilgt More than 1 year ago
I looked through the cookbook and flagged several recipes, but unfortunately I haven't made any of them yet! I am a fan of the show so I know the book will be valuable to me as the recipe instructions look very easy and many of the recipes caught my eye as something my family would enjoy.
GOTWINS More than 1 year ago
recipes were easy, and good. Plus you didn't need to spend a lot at the grocery store for ingredients. The desserts were good and low cal! I recommend it!
lakesideMA More than 1 year ago
So many great recipes and very easy to make.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the show so I was excited to see the cookbook. The recipes are all very easy to follow with very regular ingredients that are very affordable.
CMLeaf More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. This book has great tips from Bob and Jillian and from contestants on the show. It is an excellent motivator and source of information for great, healthy, delicious recipes. I bought the book for myself and really enjoy it. I gave this book to my mother and she loved it as well...and now she is going to purchase it for my brothers and sister. I hope everyone is as happy with this purchase as I am.
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