One of the most common questions asked by fans of the Biggest Loser TV show is “What do they eat when they’re on the ranch?” To find out, we asked someone who knows first hand. Jesse Atkins, a Minnesota native, lost 166 pounds on Season 10 of the popular show. Here he shares what a typical day of eating looked like for him, plus what food stocked their fridge and how his eating habits have changed since being home.
The show helps determine the correct calorie intake for each person based on their current weight and the amount of calories being burned, right?
Yes, Dr. H determined the proper caloric intake for each of us. My recommended daily caloric intake when I got to the ranch was approximately 1750 kcals.
What kinds of foods did you eat on the ranch? What is the fridge stocked with?
The fridge was unlike any I’ve ever seen! It was stocked with every kind of healthy food known to mankind. There were always fresh cuts of lean proteins, various low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and of course, tons and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of the food was organic too. I’ve never eaten such healthy AND delicious food anywhere in my life!
What was a typical meal?
I’m kind of a creature of habit, so my days often looked something like this:
Breakfast: egg whites, turkey bacon, and sprouted rye whole grain toast.
Snack: fruit and a handful of almonds.
Lunch: a sandwich with chicken or turkey, piled high with veggies.
Snack: protein shake with almond milk, protein powder, frozen berries, and spinach.
Dinner: a big salad with lots of veggies and a lean protein source. As Bob always says, “lean and green!”
How often did you eat?
I tried to eat 5 times a day.
Were there any treats?
You can always make healthy treats! One of my favorites was no-fat Greek yogurt with no sugar added strawberry preserves and almond butter mixed in.
Rumor is there’s a “cheat” day once a week, what did you eat on those days?
No cheat days! There’s no cheating on living a healthy lifestyle! (Although I will admit to enjoying a cup of low-sugar frozen yogurt every now and again).
How has your diet changed since you’ve been home?
I am integrating more foods into my diet as I approach my goal weight (I’m only 25 lbs away!), but for the most part, my diet is very similar to what it was on the ranch. Lean proteins, fiber, and whole grains during the day, and lean and green in the evening. My biggest focus of late is keeping an eye on my sugar intake and avoiding foods high on the glycemic index.
Do you ever eat out at restaurants? Any tips for ordering?
I do eat out at restaurants. One thing I’ve started doing is looking at the menu online before I go, deciding what I will order, and then not open the menu when I go. This leads to less hunger-induced bad choices or choices based on those delicious-looking pictures they plaster all over the menu.