Biggest Loser RD Cheryl Forberg on Enjoying Avocados from Mexico

The first full day of FNCE has been abuzz. I will recap in another post. Check out my nice exhibit hall pull… a quick interview with Cheryl Forberg, RD the dietitian behind The Biggest Loser. In this short video, we talk about the benefits of Avocados from Mexico and a recipe for an avocado aioli in her Biggest Loser Six Weeks to a Healthier You book.

Watch the video.

Cheryl Forberg Discusses “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You”

I had the great pleasure to sit down with superstar dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD, who just so happens to be a professional chef and the nutrition expert behind the wildly successful weight loss on NBC’s The Biggest Loser! She talked with me about her latest book, The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You, which released yesterday. Plus, read on to see how you can win a copy for yourself!

Rebecca: Cheryl, you’ve authored several wonderful books for Biggest Loser so far and I was personally a big fan of Biggest Loser Simple Swaps, what makes The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You different than other books?

Cheryl: There are many books on the market catering to dieting and weight loss. One of the distinctions of The Biggest Loser eating plan is that the quality of the calories is as important as the quantity. Our eating plan has evolved since we began 10 seasons ago, and I’m happy to say that it’s continually improved in terms of including less and less processed food choices.

You won’t find any artificial sweeteners in the Ranch kitchen these days – no fat-free whipped toppings, etc. It’s all about whole foods/whole grains, lots of lean protein and good fats. The recipes in the new book reflect that. The other distinction is that this book includes 6 weeks of menu plans. It’s easy to tell/teach people which foods to choose, but it’s not so easy to put it into practice, especially when you’re busy, as most of us are. We’ve made it easy for you by providing 6 complete weeks of menus and recipes to help you with meal planning as well as shopping.

Rebecca: Wow, Cheryl! It’s like having you for a personal chef for 6 weeks! I see a huge value in that. I agree that it is about the quality of the foods you eat most of the time. I’m sure readers will be excited to know that the book will emphasize high quality whole foods.

I think a lot of people who are fans of the show watch and get inspired, but sometimes may feel like they won’t be as successful as contestants. How does this book help fans on the show with their weight loss journey?

Cheryl: You’re right, people sometimes hope for dramatic results as seen on the show. Though this IS a reality show, it’s NOT realistic to expect similar results at home. The contestants are sequestered away from their families, friends, jobs, school, etc. Their FULL TIME job is losing weight. They have the luxury of time, personal trainers, fabulous food, a registered dietitian, and our occasional guest chef, Curtis Stone, helps provide cooking instruction (as do I when I’m at Ranch for my assessments). This book reminds readers that a slower, more gradual weight loss is perfectly fine and not to expect the same results as what they see on the show.

Rebecca: That’s a good point. Viewers can get the book with the confidence that the meal plans are similar to the show and realistic for healthy weight loss, but they should not feel obligated to focus on nutrition and exercise full time. Slow and steady progress will still get them to their goal.

Is there something special about 6 Weeks to a Healthier You? Why not four or eight weeks?

Cheryl: Most books that provide menu plans may give you a week, 2 weeks, 10 days or a month! Six weeks is really an added dose not only of more menus to help you find your groove to stick with it, but each week also provides additional health tips and info. Overall, 6 Weeks to a Healthier You focuses on nutrient-dense high quality foods – but we also share the health benefits that these ingredients confer to make your choices and the recipes, even more seductive

Rebecca: Ohhhh…. seductive! I like that. I don’t know why people sometimes think eating healthy is boring! I also like that you give the education in weekly “bits” so they don’t have to take on too much, too fast.

As a successful chef and Biggest Loser nutritionist, what words of wisdom do you have for anyone who is struggling with healthy lifestyle changes?

Cheryl: Most people have fallen into an unhealthy rut over time, not overnight. Don’t place high expectations on yourself to reach your goals overnight either. Start with small approachable steps and build week by week. There’s less chance you’ll get overwhelmed and more chance that you’ll see slow, steady results making this plan seductive
and easy to stick with.

Rebecca: Excellent advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and best wishes with this book and The Biggest Loser!

Grilled Shrimp Salad with an Avocado Aioli with The Biggest Loser Dietitian, Cheryl Forberg

With season nine of The Biggest Loser wrapped up, you may be wondering where you can get your latest BL fix. Cheryl Forberg, RD, the show’s dietitian, has a book out — Six Weeks to a Healthier You — which focuses on quality foods that provide a powerhouse of nutrients for the calories.

In this video, Cheryl shares one of her recipes from the book, a Grilled Shrimp Salad with an Avocado Aioli The avocado aioli has over 20 vitamins and minerals and the “good” fats – heart healthy, unsaturated fats. With help from avocados and greek yogurt, the luscious and creamy quality of the aioli gives you a nutrient dense alternative to the typical bottled creamy dressing high in saturated fat.

The Avocado Aioli can even be used in several ways:

  • as a creamy sandwich spread — It would be delicious with a few slices of turkey, tomatoes, and cucumber. Yum!
  • a thick veggie dip — chomp on red pepper, celery, and zucchini strips
  • thinned out with water for an amazing salad dressing — try it with Cheryl’s recipe or your favorite salad

If you love BL or are just looking for a quality nutrition plan that focuses on good foods that do good for your body, Six Weeks to a Healthier You is a great pick up!

Watch Cheryl’s video demonstrating the avocado aioli.

Want to see Cheryl’s recipe? Visit

Want to learn more about Cheryl? Visit her website:

Biggest Loser Nutritionist on Today and Twitter Wednesday May 19th

If you’re a Biggest Loser fan, you’ve probably wondered at one point or another what the contestants eat while on the show and how do they learn to eat healthier to keep the weight off. If you don’t already know, it’s Cheryl Forberg, RD — a fellow dietitian and professional chef. She sees the contestants throughout the show to help them make changes to their eating habits.

Watch Cheryl on the Today Show this Wednesday morning (May 19th). She will be talking about her new book “6 Weeks to a Healthier You” that focuses on the long-term benefits of weight loss. She’ll share changes that people can make, one change a week for 6 weeks, to improve their nutrition and overall well-being.

After the show, she’ll be on Twitter answering YOUR nutrition and health questions. (How cool is that?) And if you tweet her your question, you’ll be in the running to win one of ten signed copy of her new book! This could be the closest you’ll get to The Biggest Loser!

Follow @CherylForbergRD and join in the conversation from 1-2pm ET on May 19th. This nutrition Q&A is made possible by Avocados from Mexico and more information about how to participate is available here:

Get your questions ready and good luck!

(disclosure: compensation received for this post from Avocados from Mexico)

Book Review: Biggest Loser Simple Swaps Cookbook

As a dietitian, I am well aware of where people get their health information. By and large, people search the Internet, read blogs (like this one), watch the news, and read books and magazines. There is no shortage of information available and books especially seem to carry a layer of credibility. That’s why I think it is crucial that when I find a book I love, I need to shout it from the rooftops! The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps, by the show’s dietitian and chef Cheryl Forberg, is one such book. In this post, I’ll share why you should run (not walk) to pick up your copy today.

Next Best Thing to Being There

jerry biggest loser winnerWe can’t all be at The Biggest Loser Ranch. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the same transformations. Just look at Jerry Hayes from Season 7, the at-home winner barely had any time on the ranch and he still lost hundreds! Cheryl Forberg explains the Biggest Loser eating plan in a nutshell, how to determine your calorie needs to lose weight, and the best ways of cooking food to keep nutrients high and calories low.

Simple, Sensible, and Smart Changes

Life is hard. Being healthy shouldn’t have to be. Cheryl takes the struggle out of it by explaining the role of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the body. She explains the best food sources of these nutrients and then goes on to provide simple tips for getting more of “the good stuff.”

For example, swap white rice for lentils to get 10 grams of protein in a half-cup. What’s more, she even gives a killer recipe! Who needs drive-through windows and meal delivery plans when you can have culinary creations from Cheryl, and even a few recipes from former cast members? Try the huevos rancheros and quinoa with spinach and cheese. mmmMMMmmm

Like Having Five Books in One

From estimating portion sizes to understanding nutrition labels to using a hunger scale to curb emotional eating, Cheryl provides exactly what you need to initiate a weight loss trend and continue watching those numbers fall without any gimmicks or empty promises. I literally could replace my top-five nutrition books with this one and be happy. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

But perhaps what I like best are the inspirational and honest stories from the former contestants. They’ve been there. They’ve changed. So can you.

“Positively” Essential – A New Book About Aging Healthfully

What do you get when you combine a chef and nutritionist for the hit TV show “The Biggest Loser“? You get cookbook magic! Cheryl Forberg has been a chef (catering to Lucas Films – as in George Lucas – as in Star Wars) and a registered dietitian (RD) for years and she knows what she is talking about. She has written or contributed to 9 books and she has helped dozens of Biggest Loser contestants shed pounds by helping them transform their nutrition behaviors. Now, she wants to help you learn how you can eat healthfully and age gracefully in her latest book, Positively Ageless. Oh, and did I mention that she is also a James Beard award-winning recipe developer? How cool is that?

I had the great fortune of interviewing Cheryl about the new book. Read on to find out what she has to say and decide if you think this book is for you! Also, be sure to check out her new blog “healthy is sexy“.

Rebecca: You have a new book out “positively ageless” what is it about?

Cheryl: the subtitle says it all: it’s A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You. In Positively Ageless, I explain all of the ways that we are empowered to slow the aging process via environmental factors which include diet and exercise. Most people believe that genetics determine the rate at which they age. In reality, genetics are a minor part of the equation. Environmental factors such as diet and exercise are key determinants. We can literally slow down or speed up the aging process with simple food choices as well as our decision to make (or not make) exercise a part of our daily routine.
That’s interesting. I know that’s probably something people don’t think about on a daily basis. If you are busy, “what will I eat” becomes an afterthought. Sometimes it’s even just grabbing something to-go from a restaurant or scrounging around the house. It would be good to know what foods to have on-hand that can help prevent cell damage.
Rebecca: why did you decide to write this book?
Cheryl: My first book, Stop the Clock Cooking: Defy Aging — Eat the Foods You Love was written about five years ago. It was the first antiaging cookbook and the science on which it was based hasn’t changed. Positively Ageless builds on that book by adding new and emerging research. I also covered other areas this time such as exercise, stress and skin care to create a more comprehensive approach to the subject matter. And as the Nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser for five seasons, I’ve learned so much about the affect that obesity has on our health and on the aging process. The 28-Day plan in Positively Ageless is similar to what the contestants follow on the show. It offers a fun and delicious way to achieve and maintain an optimal weight and a strong body at home.
You do an amazing job on TBL, it is hands-down my favorite show on television. It must be so rewarding to transform lives and know that the world is watching. I think that’s great that Positively Ageless uses your nutrition concepts from TBL because I think people watch the show want to know – “hey, how can I do that?”
Rebecca: Who is this book for?
Cheryl: Though part of this book addresses what happens to our bodies as we turn 30, 40 and 50, this book is really for everyone. The dietary recommendations are for everyone — it’s never too early or too late to begin.
You are right about that. I think the best time to start is when a person feels ready and motivated to make positive changes. Nobody said it was easy… especially if you have spent years making poor nutrition choices and avoiding exercise like the plague. It sounds like this book is a place to start.
Rebecca: How do you think consumers will be able to use this book, how will they benefit?
Cheryl: One of the things I’ve learned from working on the show [TBL] is that our hectic lives often force us to compromise on important daily decisions that directly affect our health. This often results in skipping meals, making the wrong food choices, not eating the right things, eating too much and not exercising. For those reasons, Positively Ageless makes easy-to grasp recommendations and breaks it down into doable steps. This includes exercise plans, shopping lists, four weeks of menus, and scrumptious recipes.
It sounds like this book hits it from all angles. I personally believe that the most value comes from making changes in both nutrition and exercise – even walking and swimming or simple, light weights at home. So many people choose one or the other, but if there is any “magic bullet”, it would include both.

Rebecca: When should people start caring about aging?
Cheryl: It’s easy not to think about until you start noticing physical changes such as facial lines or a few gray hairs. But we should be more aware of our food choices much earlier on. And in terms of exercise, our muscles lose strength and start to shrink in our thirties. For optimal health, we should all, young and old, include exercise as a part of our daily life.
I have to agree again. I am in my early 30s and I noticed a shift in my metabolism and those lovely lines that just pop up. It’s interesting that most women don’t notice the drop in calorie needs that happen in their 30’s – and it is across the board even if you are active. Women over 30 need 200 fewer calories a day (estimated – see table 3). If you don’t decrease your intake or exercise more, those “measly” 200 calories can add up to 21 pounds in weight gain in a year! It’s no wonder people say excess weight sneaks up. That’s also the time women are having babies and people are growing in their careers so diet and exercise may suffer.
Rebecca: You’re a professional chef, are the recipes in the book easy for the average person?
Cheryl: Yes, I intentionally developed the recipes with home cooks in mind. I tried not to make the recipes too fussy or time-consuming. I also tried to focus on ingredients that were easily accessible instead of high antioxidant foods that may be obscure and expensive. There is nothing processed or artificial. The focus is on the quality of the calories as much as the quantity. You truly are what you eat. As a chef first, nutritionist second, my focus is on flavor first. I think the recipes reflect that.
That’s good to know. It’s also good for people to know that the recipes have no processed or artificial ingredients. There are a lot of people out there who need to watch for health issues, like migranes, autism, ADHD and others who just have a personal preference to eat all natural. I personally don’t always stick to that, but it would be great to have a book with recipes I can pull from to try to get better at it. It is also important that you are focusing on flavor. I hear time and again that vegetables are bland and I am convinced it is because people are overcooking them and not using enough spices, seasonings, herbs, or juices for flavors.

Rebecca: What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

Cheryl: My hope is to spread the word that we can dramatically improve our health and our lives with the simple choices we make at the grocery store. This is not a restrictive or limited regime. The offerings are extensive — there’s something here for everyone. That makes the plan seductive and easy to stick to.
Who can argue with “seductive and easy”? Sounds wonderful! Thank you Cheryl for introducing your book. I can’t wait to try some more of the recipes. Best wishes to you – and keep up the great work on TBL. I will definitely be watching!

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