My Best Weight Loss Secrets

Final-Front-Cover-217x300-2The Small Guide to Losing Big, is getting some serious press! After 16 seasons as the chef and dietitian for The Biggest Loser, I have finally compiled the best of the best nutrition tips, menus and healthy, yet scrumptious recipes into one small handbook—and just in time for holiday gift giving and New Year’s resolutions! Here’s what personal trainer Jillian Michaels has to say:

“The Biggest Loser’s chef and nutritionist has created a no-nonsense handbook that outlines a simple plan in an easy-to-read, entertaining style. I watched Cheryl coach Biggest Loser contestants for 10 years, and her sensible approach to healthy and sustainable weight loss really works! This is a must-have book for anyone looking to lose 10 pounds–or 100.”    Jillian Michaels

I also have some very exciting projects coming up that coincide with the premiere of Season 17 of The Biggest Loser which starts Monday January 4th on NBC.  In anticipation, I now have my book on sale for $12.99 for a short time so that you can gear up for the New Year and new season along with our contestants! You can purchase it here or on Amazon.

More information coming soon on how you can join me as the show unfolds and get answers to your cooking and nutrition questions in real time. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!


A Cup of Zen: Zippy Green Tea Recipe (from my latest book!)

Cup of Zen

With the madness of the season upon us, it’s important to take a moment from time to time for oneself. My favorite ways to kick back and relax include a cup of warm tea, a book, and my two dogs. Below is my favorite quick-and-easy hot tea recipe for a cozy afternoon pick-me-up.


INGREDIENTS (6 servings, or 1 ½ quarts)

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3 green tea bags
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 lime slices, for garnish



  1. Bring the water to a boil in a 3qt saucepan
  2. Add mint and tea bag, remove from heat, and steep 5 minutes
  3. Strain liquid and stir in agave and lime juice
  4. Serve hot or iced, garnished with lime slices


Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories: 40, Fat: 0g, Sat Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 15mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 0g


Don’t miss these and other tips in my latest book A Small Guide to Losing Big!

Your Guide to Healthy Holiday Happy Hours

Healthy Holiday Happy Hours

Holiday parties means holiday cocktail hours, but how do you navigate the bar when you’re committed to a healthy holiday season? These 7 tips will be your guide to wet your whistle without the dreaded holiday hangover.

1. Have a Plan: Decide how many drinks you will have before arriving to the party—and stick to it! Drinking 1-2 drinks throughout the entire party will feel much better the next day than 1-2 an hour.

2. Choose Wisely: Choosing wine, champagne, or a spritzer will mean less calories. Avoid heavy beers and cream-based drinks, and DO NOT order the martini!

3. Make sure to eat: Happy hours often carry over until dinner and can mean overindulging if you allow yourself to get too hungry. Make sure to eat something small before and/or during the party to keep the alcoholic effects at bay.

4.Hydrate! Drinking plenty of water between drinks will prevent you from inadvertently telling your boss what you really think, and will ensure you have a job to come back to!

5. Opt for a “Mocktail.” Forgo alcohol completely by choosing a non-alcoholic drink instead. Ask for sparkling water with lime and mint for a “mock mojito”.


Don’t miss these and other tips in my latest book A Small Guide to Losing Big!

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Diet-Busters


With Thanksgiving comes the official start to the holiday season, and that means holiday parties are right around the corner. How will you navigate the smorgasbord of food without going overboard? If you are determined to stay on track throughout the holidays, there is only one way to approach celebrations: with a plan! These 5 tips will be your go-to for sticking to your health goals…even in the face of pumpkin pie!


1. Eat & Exercise Before You Arrive

As the holiday season gets under way, the invitations to parties start rolling in. How can you stick to your guns even before you arrive? Break a sweat! Make sure to get in a sweat session before the party and eat a small snack before leaving the house to ensure you do not overeat on fatty party foods. Like they say, if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail!


2. Stick to small bites

When faced with a long table of high calorie and high fat foods, it’s best to stick to smaller bites to avoid overeating. Don’t overload your plate and make sure to include a vegetable to round out richer dishes. Small sized appetizers will limit your intake and prevent unnecessary overindulgence.


3. Mingle!

One of the best ways to avoid the diet-busting dessert table? Mingling! Stand up and work the room, don’t hunker down in a corner with your plate. You will soon realize that one plate is enough to satisfy you when your mind is on interesting conversations—and not on seconds.


4. Watch beverages

Don’t be fooled, alcohol–yes even vodka and white wine–has calories. A 4oz serving of wine has about 100 calories, but do you remember the last time you were served only 4oz? Today’s serving sizes are sometimes double that, so it’s best to be mindful of libations going in. Also, alcohol has a pesky way of lowering your inhibitions—and your willpower to stay away from the dessert table!


5. Know when to indulge

While it’s important to stay mindful of diet bombs during the holidays, it is also important that you treat yourself from time to time. A mindful holiday partygoer will know what is worth the indulgence in the spirit of celebration. Your mother’s pumpkin pie or your annual glass of egg nog will not hinder your goals in the long run, but half the pie and 3 glasses will! Knowing what treats will satisfy you most and planning to enjoy them is part of becoming a more mindful eater overall. So go ahead, have your treat and enjoy!

Ask Cheryl: What are Antioxidants & What Do They Do?

Antioxidants Nutrition

We’ve all heard about the protective properties of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, but what exactly are they and what do they do? To understand this, first we must dig deep and do a little biology and chemistry lesson…it will be painless, I promise. Let’s get to it!

The Science

To understand antioxidants, first we must explain free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen molecules with one or more unpaired electrons (have I lost you yet?). Why is this a problem? The free radical with its unpaired electron zips around your body and tries to steal an electron from another molecule to neutralize its negative charge and once it does this, it creates another free radical from the molecule it stole from. This ongoing process results in damage referred to as oxidation or oxidative stress and can ultimately damage DNA, which in turn can cause mutations that inhibit protein production in your body and lead to cancer and other diseases.

How does this process start? Well, sorry to say, but it’s a part of the normal aging process. As we breathe in oxygen, about 2% of it is said to make free radicals. Other lifestyle habits such as smoking, sunlight radiation, and pollution exacerbate this problem. Luckily our bodies have natural defenses against free radicals, but these processes slow with aging. Would you like to know another way to fight free radicals? Nutrition!

What Can You Do?

There are many foods, in particular fruits and vegetables, that are packed full of antioxidants. Antioxidants circulate in your body and donate their electrons to free radicals, which stops the damaging chain reactions that free radicals create. Some of the most important antioxidants from food are vitamins A, C, and E, minerals that support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses, and plants properties called phytochemicals that give fruits and veggies their vibrant colors.

So, the lesson of the day? Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are bright colors such as green, red, and orange.


What’s the best way to get a variety of antioxidants in one sitting? A smoothie! Smoothies, especially those packed with greens, can be the prescription you need to boost your body’s natural free radical defenses. Below is a recipe for a Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie, utilizing this fall’s seasonal produce for an antioxidant punch!


Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie

Antioxidant Smoothie

The Formula: Greens + Liquid + Fruit + Extras

Choose 1-2 cups of greens:

  • Kale, spinach, chard, romaine, or any other green

Choose 2 cups of liquid:

  • Water, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk

Choose 2-3 cups of fruit:

  • Banana, apple, pear, persimmon, avocado, oranges, etc


  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, chia seeds, flax seeds, yogurt


Want to learn more about healthy aging? Check out my book, Positively Ageless!

Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pistachio Cheesecake

This week officially kicked off holiday season on the blog, and I’ve featured a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Our final recipe is what everyone has waited for, the dessert! This pumpkin cheesecake is not only a healthier alternative, but it’s also pistachio powered!

I hope you have been inspired for the holidays and I’d love to if you tried any of this week’s recipes. Enjoy!

Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake

This can be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.

Makes 16 thin slices



For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


For the filling

  • 1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) plain pumpkin puree
  • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch salt



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

For crust:

  • In the bowl of a food processor, chop nuts to very fine meal.  Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. 
  • Mix in the agave and vanilla with a fork.  The dough should be cohesive but not wet. 
  • With a rubber spatula, pat dough into a nonstick 9-inch spring form pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for about ten minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. 
  • Remove from oven.   Add 2 cups hot water to a round or square cake pan. Place pan on lower oven shelf*.
    • *The steam will minimize cracking of the top of the cheesecake

For filling.

  • In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine all of the filling ingredients.
  • Process or blend just until smooth. Pour into crust.
  • Spread out evenly and place in oven on shelf above the cake pan and water. (The steam will help to minimize cracking of the cheesecake top).
  • Bake cheesecake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Turn off oven.
  • Open oven door halfway and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven.  (This will also help to minimize cracking top).
  • Remove cheesecake from the oven.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving



Nutrition Analysis for one slice Pistachio Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Calories 170
  • Calories from Fat    70
  • Total Fat 8g
  • Sat Fat 2g
  • Trans Fat   0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 70mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 18g
  • Fiber    2g
  • Sugar 11g
  • Protein 5g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Vitamin C    0%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron     4%

pistachio cheesecake 2

Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio Butter

sweet potatoes with pistachio butter

This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Today is everyone’s favorite, sweet potatoes–and this time it comes with a pistachio punch! Tis the season for wonderful food!

Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio Butter

This is a great make ahead dish as they actually taste better if allowed to refrigerate overnight before serving.

Yield:  Eight ½ cup servings


  • 2 pounds cleaned and trimmed sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Pistachio Butter*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Optional garnish:  2 tablespoons chopped pistachios



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and prick with a fork.  Bake until very tender when a fork or knife is inserted, approximately one hour.  Remove from oven.
  3. When cool enough to handle, remove peel and place in bowl of a food processor.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.
  5. Transfer to ovenproof serving dish.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for up to two days).
  6. Bring to room temperature one hour before warming.
  7. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  8. Place casserole in oven and heat just until warmed through, approximately 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped pistachios if desired.  Serve immediately.


*Pistachio Butter

Yield: Approximately 1 cup or 16 tablespoons


  • 1 cup roasted unsalted pistachio kernels
  • 2 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil



  • Place pistachios and olive oil into food processor or blender
  • Process or blend until pistachio butter is smooth and creamy.


Nutrition Analysis for one 1/2 cup serving of Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio Butter

  • Calories   140
  • Calories from Fat    15
  • Total Fat  1.5g
  • Sat Fat  0g
  • Trans Fat     0g
  • Cholesterol  0g
  • Sodium  270mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 30g
  • Fiber    4g
  • Sugar  6g
  • Protein  3g
  • Vitamin A  380%
  • Vitamin C    25%
  • Calcium  2%
  • Iron     2%

Turkey Roast with Sausage, Fruit and Pistachio Dressing

Turkey Roast with Sausage, Fruit, & Pistachio Dressing

Turkey Roast with Sausage, Fruit, & Pistachio Dressing

This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Today we focus on the main event, the Turkey Roast with Sausage, Fruit, & Pistachio Dressing. Tis the season for wonderful food!


Serves 8 (Two slices per serving)


  • 1/2 boneless, skinless turkey breast, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 1/2 cups Sausage Fruit and Pistachio Dressing
  • Kitchen twine
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil



  1. Preheat oven to 350 °Fahrenheit.
  2. Place large piece of plastic wrap on countertop. Place turkey breast half on plastic and cover. Cover with additional plastic wrap.
  3. Using meat mallet, pound turkey to rectangle about 9-10 X 6 inches, about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Remove plastic wrap from top of turkey and spread 1 ½ cups of the dressing evenly lengthwise over surface, almost to edge.
  5. Roll turkey lengthwise. With kitchen twine, tie roast lengthwise once and in several places across turkey. Discard plastic wrap.
  6. In small bowl, mix together spices.
  7. Rub oil over all surfaces of roast; rub spice blend evenly over roast.
  8. Place turkey roast in shallow roasting pan, then place in preheated oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes or until internal temperature measured with an instant-read thermometer reads 155 °F. 
  9. Remove roast from oven and let rest 15 minutes before carefully removing twine and slicing into 16 half-inch slices.


Nutrition Analysis – per two-slice serving 

  • Calories: 190
  • Calories from Fat: 70
  • Total Fat: 7g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g  
  • Cholesterol: 40mg
  • Sodium: 230mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 9g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Vitamin A: 8%
  • Vitamin C: 2%
  • Calcium: 2%
  • Iron: 10%


Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Fruit and Pistachios

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Fruit and Pistachios (gluten free)

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Fruit and Pistachios (gluten free)

This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. We continue our succulent side dishes with this Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage, Dried Fruit, and Pistachios. Tis the season for wonderful food!

Yield: Sixteen ½ cup servings (8 cups)


  • 6 cups dried cornbread cubes (or dried whole wheat bread cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 ounces lean turkey sausage, cooked, drained and crumbled (2 links)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup diced dried fruit (apples, apricots, cranberries, raisins, figs or pears)
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup roasted salted pistachio kernels, chopped (3.25 ounces)


  1. Place cornbread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, celery and carrot; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, but don’t allow garlic to brown.
  5. Add cooked sausage, fruit, herbs and 1⁄3 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the cornbread. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Just before roasting turkey, add parsley and pistachios to the dressing; stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Whisk together egg and 1 cup broth and pour over cornbread mixture, tossing well. Mixture should just hold together but should not be wet.  Add extra 2/3 cup broth if necessary.
  9. Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking oil spray (use larger baking dish if not reserving dressing for Turkey Roast) and transfer all but 1 1/2 cups of dressing to baking dish. Cover dish with foil and set aside.
  10. After Turkey Roast has been in oven 30 minutes, place covered baking dish of remaining dressing in oven.
  11. After 15 minutes (or when internal temperature of roast, measured with instant-read thermometer, is 155 °F), remove roast from oven.
  12. Remove foil from baking dish with dressing. Continue baking dressing for about 15 minutes or until top begins to brown. Serve hot.


Nutrition Analysis for one – 1/2 cup serving

  • Calories: 210
  • Calories from Fat: 110
  • Total Fat: 12g
  • Sat Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 310mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Vitamin A: 15%
  • Vitamin C: 8%
  • Calcium: 4%
  • Iron: 15%

Holiday Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Green Beans

Holiday Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto

This week officially kicks off holiday season on the blog, and I’ll be featuring a different pistachio-inspired, gluten-free, and diabetes-friendly recipe each day. Let’s start the week out with a healthy green bean side dish, sure to rival any traditional green bean casserole out there. Tis the season for wonderful food!

Holiday Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto 

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) trimmed green beans, cut in 2 to 3 inch pieces, blanched*
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (red, yellow or white)
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 2 roasted yellow or red Bell peppers, peeled, seeded and cut in matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup Pistachio Pesto (recipe below)


Heat oil in large nonstick sauté pan.  Add onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and just beginning to brown. Add bacon and cook one minute longer.  Add beans and bell pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until beans are tender but still bright green.  Crumble the pesto over the beans and toss evenly to distribute.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Analysis for one serving

  • Calories: 100
  • Calories from Fat: 50
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 85mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin A: 15%
  • Vitamin C: 70%
  • Calcium: 6%
  • Iron: 6%

* I used 1 24 oz. pkg TJ’s frozen green beans FYI – thawed but not blanched

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Pesto

In addition to the Holiday Green Bean recipe, this pesto is fabulous on pasta or bruschetta too.

Yield:  ~ 2 cups or 32 tablespoons


  • 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted pistachio kernels (6.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed (or olive) oil
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.


In the bowl of a food processor, chop the pistachios. Add the oil, basil, garlic and pulse til mixture is somewhat smooth but slightly chunky.  Transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Add cheese, salt, pepper and transfer to covered container.  Refrigerate.

Nutrition Analysis for 1 tablespoon Pistachio Pesto

  • Calories: 70
  • Calories from Fat: 60
  • Total Fat: 7g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 90mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Vitamin A: 0 %
  • Vitamin C: 0%
  • Calcium: 2%
  • Iron: 2%

© Cheryl Forberg 2015