Healthy and Scrumptious Thanksgiving Menu from the Biggest Loser Nutritionist

I have received so many requests for this that we decided to upload an absolutely delicious feast of holiday recipes for you and your family. I prepared this menu with the BL contestants just a couple weeks ago while visiting the Ranch (and planning ahead for Thanksgiving!). The best part of all is that it contains no guilt!. Happy holidays and bon appetit! And if you would like more frequent nutrition and cooking tips, please sign up for my Facebook page.


  • Thanksgiving Menu from Biggest Loser Nutritionist
  • Smoked Salmon Spread
  • Poached Turkey Breast
  • Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Prunes
  • Spicy Spanish Green Beans
  • Roasted Root Veggies
  • Cranberry Ginger Sorbet

Recipes with permission from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale) 2009 and The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jumpstart by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale) 2009

Smoked Salmon Spread Move over cream cheese. This light and full flavored spread is great on a toasted whole grain bagel with tomato slices and capers. It can also be thinned and used as a dip. smoked salmon has a richer color and flavor, but canned pink salmon works well too. For Thanksgiving, serve on cucumber rounds or small whole grain crackers.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups or Six 1/4 cup servings


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) plain non fat Greek-Style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 4 ounces finely chopped smoked salmon (or 4 ounces drained, canned wild salmon)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon. prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Garnish: Chives

Instructions: In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Stir before serving. Garnish with chives

  • Nutritional Analysis: Per 1/4 cup- serving
  • Calories 60
  • Total Fat g 2.5
  • Sat Fat g 1
  • Chol mg 10
  • Sodium mg 500
  • Total Carb g 3
  • Fiber g 0
  • Sugars g 1
  • Protein g 7

With permission from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

Poached Turkey Breast

This is an easy way to cook a really moist turkey breast. The added bonus is that the flavorful broth can be used as a soup base for your leftover turkey—or it can be frozen to use later.

Makes 12 (4-ounce) servings (about 3 pounds cooked turkey) and 2 quarts broth


  • 1 whole turkey breast (about 6 pounds), halved, skin and bones removed
  • 8 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 6–10 peppercorns (optional)


Fold each turkey breast in half lengthwise. Cut six 12″ lengths of kitchen string or twine and tie 3 pieces, evenly spaced, around each breast. The breasts should be somewhat cylindrical. Set them aside.

Place the broth, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, oregano, and peppercorns (if desired) in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.

Carefully place the turkey breasts in the hot poaching liquid. Reduce the heat , cover, and simmer, turning the breasts occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reaches 170°F and the juices run clear.

Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Allow the turkey to cool in the broth for about 20 minutes, then remove the turkey and reserve the poaching liquid for soup or gravy. Strain the broth and refrigerate or freeze it. Slice the turkey thinly and serve it hot or cold.

Per serving: 150 calories, 34 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates (0 g sugars), 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 95 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 220 mg sodium

With permission from The Biggest Loser 3-Day Jumpstart by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Prunes

This scrumptious dish is fancy enough for a special occasion but so delicious that it’s bound to become a mainstay on your dinner table. And unlike most dressings, it’s as rich in health benefits as it is in flavor.

Makes 14 servings (about 1⁄2 cup each.)


  • 5 cups toasted cornbread cubes
  • 8 ounces (about 2 links) lean turkey Italian sausage
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped prunes
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1⁄2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Instructions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small nonstick skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until brown and cooked through. Drain well, crumble and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions, celery and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, but don’t allow the garlic to brown. Stir in the sausage, prunes, thyme, sage, marjoram and 1⁄2 cup of the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour the vegetable mixture over the cornbread. Add the parsley and stir well. Season with the salt and pepper. (The stuffing may be prepared to this stage a day ahead and refrigerated, covered, in the mixing bowl.)

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish. Combine the eggs and the remaining 1 1⁄2 cups broth and pour over the cornbread mixture, tossing well. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake the stuffing for 25 minutes. Remove the foil. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees and bake the stuffing for about 10 minutes longer, or until the top begins to brown.

Per serving: 150 calories, 7 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 65 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 400 mg sodium.

With permission from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables

Perfect vegetable roasting requires a hot oven and a pan large enough to eliminate crowding. This ensures a crispy exterior and even browning. You can change the proportions of the vegetables if you like; just be sure they’re cut the same size for even baking. Butternut squash or sweet potatoes work well too.

Makes 4 servings


  • 16 ounces any combination of parsnip, rutabaga, or turnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place vegetables on a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Toss well and distribute evenly over pan. Roast, stirring or shaking vegetables every 15 minutes, until tender and evenly browned, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper; taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrient Analysis – per serving

  • Calories 70
  • Total Fat 2
  • Sat Fat g 0
  • Chol mg 0
  • Sodium mg 180
  • Total Carb g 13
  • Fiber g 3
  • Sugars g 5
  • Protein g 1

With permission from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

Spicy Spanish Green Beans

This colorful green bean dish is adapted from a classic Spanish sauce called romescu, whose key ingredients are dried chile peppers, almonds, olive oil, garlic, and sometimes tomatoes or roasted red bell peppers.

Makes 4 servings



  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, and cut in 2″ lengths, or 12 ounces frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and cut into 2″ strips
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Instructions: In a 2-quart saucepan, blanch the green beans by adding them to lightly salted boiling water and cooking them for about 2 minutes. Quickly drain and transfer the beans to ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, until they’re softened but not browned. Add the garlic, chipotle pepper, and paprika to the shallots and stir well. Add the beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nearly tender. Add the bell pepper, stir well, and cook for another minute, or until heated through. Remove from the heat. Add the almonds and lemon peel, and mix well. Season with the salt and pepper.

Note: Chipotle peppers, canned in a spicy sauce called adobo, are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets. Leftover canned chipotles can be transferred to a glass jar and stored in the refrigerator.

Per serving: 60 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates (3 g sugars), 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 310 mg sodium

With permission from The Biggest Loser 3-Day Jumpstart by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

Cranberry Ginger Sorbet

The motto at the Ranch is “eat your calories”. For that reason, the focus is always on whole fruit instead of juice. But used as a cooking ingredient juice can be a great way to add fruity flavor while minimizing use of added sweeteners. This creamy frozen treat is as gorgeous as it is scrumptious.

Yield: 3 cups (6 1/2-cup servings)


  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen thawed) unsweetened cranberries
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (or xylitol)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions: Place cranberries, juice, ginger and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until berries have popped. Cool slightly and place e in work bowl of food processor. Add agave nectar and vanilla. Cover and process until completely pureed. Chill. Freeze.

Nutrient Analysis – per serving

  • Calories 110
  • Total Fat g 0
  • Sat Fat g 0
  • Chol mg 0
  • Sodium mg 20
  • Total Carb g 27
  • Fiber g 1
  • Sugars g 25
  • Protein g 0

With permission from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps by Cheryl Forberg RD and Melissa Roberson (Rodale)

© Cheryl Forberg 2016