The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook: Simply Delicious Low-calorie Recipes to Make in a Snap

The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook: Simply Delicious Low-calorie Recipes to Make in a Snap


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609614232
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 11/08/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 790,536
Product dimensions: 7.97(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Devin Alexander has shared her secrets for unbelievably decadent-tasting foods through frequent appearances on such national TV shows as The TODAY Show, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America, and The View, and has also appeared on Discovery Health, HGTV, USA, Style Network and others. Devin's advice has also appeared in more than 100 magazine articles, including Prevention, Women's Health, Runners World, Shape, USA Today, Parade, Bon Appetite, and Health to name a few. Devin is currently the host of "Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander" in FitTv.

She is the author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook, The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook, The Biggest Loser Flavors of the World, Fast Food Fix, The Most Decadent Diet Ever, and I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening.

Read an Excerpt


The Biggest Loser Eating Plan

"I wish I could, but I just don't have the time."

These days, it's become an all-too-common refrain. Whether we're talking about going to the grocery store, cooking healthy meals, working out, or simply sitting down to the dinner table with our families, most of us have such busy schedules that it can feel impossible to carve out any time for a healthy lifestyle.

Why are we so busy all the time? Well, for starters, many Americans are feeling the pressure to work longer hours than ever before to pay for the rising costs of living expenses, to save for retirement, or simply to ensure that they keep their jobs. Between working and caring for our families, many of us feel too exhausted or stressed out at the end of the day to even think about cooking dinner or consider going to the gym.

But when we don't take the time to take care of ourselves, we're not conserving our time or our money. As we all know by now, obesity is closely linked to many life-threatening diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and some cancers. When we don't nourish our bodies with wholesome foods, get enough sleep, and stay active, we put ourselves at an elevated risk for developing health problems that are expensive to treat and can not only diminish the quality of our lives, but take years off of them.

In the pages that follow, you'll learn the basics of The Biggest Loser eating plan and exercise guidelines. While sustainable weight loss is a slow and steady process that requires hard work and discipline, just 20 minutes a day can make a real difference in your overall health. Sure, there will be days when the thought of making dinner feels too overwhelming. That's why Chef Devin has provided meal ideas you can throw together in just a few minutes, with a little planning ahead. When you map out a week's worth of meals in advance, shop accordingly on the weekends, and keep your refrigerator stocked with healthy ingredients, "not enough time" will no longer be an excuse to eat poorly.

Think about it: In less than 20 minutes a day, you can change the quality of your life. You're worth the investment.

Counting Calories

Yes, it's important to count calories. Why? Because one £d is made of 3,500 calories, and in order to shave off some £ds, you have decrease the amount of calories you take in through food and increase the amount of calories you burn through exercise.

Joe Mitchell SEASON 12

It's not about burning yourself out and going crazy at the gym. It's all about keeping a good, steady burn and keeping your heart rate up. Also, don't forget to incorporate weight training. Muscles burn more calories than fat and will help you lose weight.

A calorie is a measurement of how much energy the food you eat provides for your body. You need energy to fuel physical activity as well as all metabolic processes, from maintaining your heartbeat to digesting your meals. Only four components of the food you eat supply calories: protein and carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), alcohol (7 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram). Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water do not contain calories.

Keep in mind that the quality of the calories you eat is just as important as the quantity you take in. Some calories provide fuel for your workouts, keep you feeling energized, and help your body stay healthy. Other calories (often referred to as "empty calories") don't really provide any benefits-- in fact, they can make you feel tired, sluggish, and hungrier than you were before you ate. The Biggest Loser plan will show you how to fuel your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to lose weight and maintain overall health.

Season 5's Neill Harmer says he likes to think of calories as a daily allowance. "Let's say you have 2,000 calories to spend per day. If you drink that iced latte with whipped cream and chocolate, you just spent a BIG part of your allowance on something that really wasn't needed. Spend calories wisely."

The Biggest Loser plan helps you determine the exact calorie intake you require to meet your individual weight-loss goals. If you weigh 150 £ds or more, the simple calculation below will allow you to determine how many calories you should aim to eat each day. If you weigh less than 150 £ds, talk to a doctor about an appropriate calorie budget for your needs.

Calorie Budget:

Your present weight x 7 = total daily calorie budget

As you lose weight, you'll need to continually reassess and reduce your calorie budget, in order to keep losing weight and break through plateaus. As you know from watching the show, The Biggest Loser contestants lose a lot of weight during their first few weeks at the Ranch. But after they've been at the Ranch for a little while and have less weight left to lose, they must readjust their calorie budgets and increase the intensity and duration of their workouts to keep losing.

All of the contestants have a daily homework assignment: At the end of the day, they tally up the total number of calories they consumed throughout the day. If they ate more calories than their budget calls for, it's up to them to burn off the extra calories by getting in one last workout, going for a walk, or doing a few laps in the pool.

Planning Your Calories

Once you've determined your daily calorie budget, the next step is to plan your meals and snacks accordingly. On The Biggest Loser plan, it's recommended that you eat three meals and two snacks each day. Parceling out your calories throughout the day ensures that you'll stay full and keep your blood sugar level stable. It will also prevent you from feeling deprived, keep you energized for exercise, and help you establish a regular pattern of eating that helps counter impulse eating and bingeing.

"At first, I had to work to get all of my meals in," recalls Season 8 winner Danny Cahill. "I wasn't used to eating healthy foods, but I quickly realized that nutritious food was way more satisfying than the fast food I had been eating. Eating healthy throughout the day kept my energy level up, and I felt fueled for my workouts."

Use the simple calculations below to determine how to best allocate your calorie budget throughout the day. In this example, the calorie budget is 1,800--yours may be more or less, depending on your goal and starting weight.

Calorie Budget = 1,800

1,800 / 4 = 450

450 / 2 = 225

So for each meal--breakfast, lunch, and dinner--the calorie budget is 450. For each snack, the calorie budget is 225.

This calculation is just a starting point. You can create any distribution of calories that works for you and keeps you feeling satisfied. Season 5 winner Ali Vincent has a strategy that works for her: "I always eat within half an hour of waking up to jump-start my metabolism. Then I eat every 3 to 4 hours, be it a meal or a snack. I think this is just as important for me as exercise," she says.

If you go to the gym in the morning and require a bigger breakfast to fuel your workout, feel free to shift your calorie load toward the beginning of the day. Or if you work out just before dinner, you might want to have a bigger snack before the gym and a smaller dinner afterward. Create a distribution of calories that works for you. The important thing is to plan ahead and stay within your calorie budget. As Season 7's Nicole Brewer wisely advises, "Planning will save you. Prepare your snacks and meals ahead of time, and always have them with you."

To understand your body's hunger signals and how to interpret them, see The Biggest Loser Hunger Scale on the opposite page.

Planning Meals and Snacks

As Nicole says, planning is an essential component of successful weight loss. The times when you are likely to be the most tempted to stray from your calorie budget are those when you're caught without a good option. In other words, when you've failed to plan, you've planned to fail.

Think about the week ahead each Sunday. Are there a few nights that you anticipate being too busy to cook? The recipes in this book give you many quick, delicious options for meals and snacks that you can take on the go, so plan ahead and cook several meals at once. Then store individual portions in resealable containers that you can heat up as needed.

Becky Comet SEASON 12

Find a workout buddy who can keep going even when you don't feel like it-- and you can do the same for them. Then, afterward, you and your workout buddy can celebrate your successes together. Find someone who won't take your excuses (and you won't take theirs). At the Ranch, there were times when I didn't really feel like working out. But I had teammates who would tell me to get to the gym with them. Sometimes all I needed was an encouraging word.

When it comes to snacks, make sure you always have healthy choices readily available. Season 6's Ed Brantley says he keeps hard-boiled eggs and baggies of fresh-cut fruit in his fridge at all times, so he has healthy options when hunger strikes, and he can easily take them on the road.

The Biggest Loser Hunger Scale

1. Famished or starving: You feel weak and/or lightheaded. This is a big no- no.

2. Very hungry: You can't think of anything else but eating. You're cranky and irritable and can't concentrate.

3. Hungry: Your stomach's growling and feels empty.

4. A little bit hungry: You're just starting to think about your next meal.

5. Satisfied: You're comfortable, not really thinking about food. You feel alert and have a good energy level.

6. Fully satisfied: You've had enough to eat, maybe a little too much. Maybe you took a few extra bites for taste only, not hunger.

7. Very full: Now you need to unzip your jeans. You're uncomfortable, bloated, tired. Maybe you don't feel great. Where's the couch ... ? You should never feel like this after a meal.


1-3: Eat! Eat!

5: Stop, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

6: Definitely stop.

7: You may have waited too long. Better go find the couch and start over tomorrow.

If your hunger is anywhere from level 1 through 3, you should eat.

If you're at level 4, drink a glass of water, chew a piece of sugar-free gum, or do something else to distract yourself from thinking about food.

When you're trying to lose weight, you should try to stop eating when you reach level 5, but definitely no later than level 6. If you get to level 7, you've eaten too much. Anything above that is way too much and will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.


If you haven't typically been a breakfast eater, you may struggle with the idea of eating within an hour of waking up--but it's essential that you do so. Try starting small and eating something simple, like some whole grain toast with almond butter or oatmeal with fruit. Eventually, you can work your way up to heartier breakfasts like Chef Devin's Asparagus and Chicken Apple Sausage Scramble (page 71) or Steak and Egg Breakfast Bowl (page 75).

Season 11's Austin Andrews says he's always loved eating breakfast-- sometimes a little too much for his own good. His favorite dishes were carb- heavy meals like buttermilk pancakes or French toast with maple syrup and butter. These days, he still eats a hearty morning meal, but he's made some important swaps. Instead of eating a plate full of empty calories that would leave him hungry by mid-morning, he eats a breakfast that fuels him until lunchtime. "These days, I make French toast with whole wheat bread instead of white, and top it with fresh strawberries and a little stevia instead of high-calorie syrup. It's absolutely delicious."

Shay Sorrells SEASON 8

I used to love great family-style southern breakfasts. Now I use one whole egg and add egg whites for my scrambled eggs. I use turkey bacon instead of the real stuff, and I use Ezekiel raisin bread for toast. I substitute some fresh fruit for potatoes

Season 10 winner Patrick House says he usually eats a protein-heavy breakfast to keep him feeling satisfied throughout the morning. "I like to eat egg whites and turkey bacon or ham on an English muffin," he says. "I also eat some fruit, and I always have a glass of milk in the morning."

No matter what kind of a breakfast eater you are, "not enough time" in the morning is not an excuse to skip this important meal.


When you're running around between school activities, appointments, or meetings, it can be very tempting to grab lunch from a drive-thru or a vending machine. After all, who has time to actually sit down and eat lunch during the week?

Well, you do. Everyone has 15 minutes to sit down and eat a healthy lunch. Doing so will help keep your metabolism on an even keel for the rest of the day.

Make sure your lunch includes a combination of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. You might have a salad with lots of vegetables and a serving of lean protein, or a sandwich made with whole grain bread. Danny Cahill says he's discovered an easy lunch that contains all of the nutrients he needs to keep up his energy for the afternoon. "Turkey bacon is one of the most amazing foods I discovered on the Ranch!" he raves. "It's so satisfying. I can whip up a quick lunch with a whole wheat tortilla, turkey bacon, and freshly chopped veggies and tomato. I'm ready to go in 5 minutes."

You've got a lot to accomplish in your afternoon, so feed yourself wisely!


You should plan to eat your snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon, a few hours after you've eaten breakfast or lunch and/or when you're beginning to feel hungry or tired. As a general rule, snacks should be eaten about every 3 to 4 hours, which will help keep cravings at bay and keep your energy up so that you feel alert and focused.

Aim for a snack that combines a serving of carbohydrates (such as a piece of whole fruit) with a half-serving of protein (such as a piece of low-fat cheese). Protein will help you feel full and satisfied, and when combined with carbs, a snack will help to keep your blood sugar stable.

Season 10's Lisa Mosely says she's learned that sometimes the simplest snacks are the most delicious. "You don't always have to cook to eat," she says. "Make something out of the healthy ingredients in your fridge in seconds." She suggests a mid-morning snack of lean turkey tucked into lettuce leaves. "It's so quick and healthy."

Courtney Rainville SEASON 12

Keep focusing on the end result--what you'll look like, how you'll feel, that you'll be an athlete. Imagine that to push yourself through your workouts.

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