In The Kitchen with Celebrity Chef Devin Alexander
During my 20 years in the business of writing about weight loss, nutrition, diet and food, I’ve encountered oodles of experts. Celebrity chef and New York Times best-selling author Devin Alexander remains one of my all-time favorites.
You may recognize her name and face from her years as the food expert on the hit TV series, Biggest Loser, or from her stints on America’s Chefs on Tour and Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander.
Because she is such a good sport, Devin has agreed to provide a few nuggets of advice for Meal Plan Map and our army of followers seeking to eat better and feel healthier.
Dinner is served …
What are some tips for the busy person to make/find time for cooking?
Just do it! 🙂 In all seriousness … it’s important to cook to know what you’re putting in your body. The real trick is having options on hand. I always recommend cooking a lean protein and some quinoa or sweet potatoes or another high quality carb a couple times a week, then creating variations on them on the fly the other nights. Also, it’s best to get your whole family involved.
Got any tips for food shopping – how to make it fun, effective and healthy?
I love going to ethnic markets. They often have so many offerings that you don’t find in Americanized grocery stores. And in many cases they can be way healthier AND less expensive. My other big tip is to befriend the butcher, fishmonger and produce guys and then use them as a resource. If you’re a friendly face, they’ll likely get the freshest stuff, do special requests, and sometimes even provide discounts.
Other than MealPlanMap.com, where can someone go to find healthy, great-tasting and easy recipes?
I know a great place … my website, DevinAlexander.com 🙂 I have two books designed specifically for that. One is called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening. The other is The Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook.
What are the main benefits of cooking your own meals?
Having owned, worked in and consultant with restaurants, I can tell you that the constraints of the restaurant setting – coupled with the demands of wanting/needing you to want to come back – make it impossible for the food to be as consistently healthy as you can prepare at home! Nutritional analysis provided is often inaccurate too (and not out of malice – read the disclaimers sometimes). Also, when you cook at home, you can make tomorrow’s lunch while making tonight’s dinner helping you to avoid “bad” options at work!
How did you get interested in cooking and what are you doing to inspire others?
I had an Italian grandmother who taught me how to roll pasta when I wasn’t even big enough to reach the counter. It was a major part of my childhood. I’m hoping I’m doing a ton to inspire others. I do a lot of weight loss coaching of private clients and then I have my books and I would like to think that the fact that I’ve kept off 70 pounds for close to 30 years while being Italian and a foodie might make some people think, “If she can do it, so can I”! I also have a radio show called, “Have It All” where I interview CEOs, experts and influencers about how they were able to live their passions. And they break things down for us so we can use their expert advice to get a better roadmap and/or success in following our own dreams!
How did you keep it healthy for Biggest Loser contestants whose goal was major weight loss quickly?
All of the Biggest Loser contestants, while on the show, “needed” quick weight loss. They were participating in a giant game show. I think the show was phenomenal in demonstrating that ANYONE can lose weight. That said, I don’t EVER recommend anyone try to lose weight like that at home. Just like Survivor, you’d never go out in the jungle and do some of the things they do on your own unsupervised!
What’s next for Devin Alexander and how can people get more of your sage advice?
I was lucky enough to become a mom last year to an angel who had been one of the 34,000 babies/children in the Los Angeles County Foster Care System that need a home. She is so inspiring to me on so many levels. I got her from the hospital when she was only 3 days old. She turned one on Thanksgiving! She is the best thing that ever happened to me. She’s brought more love and more joy than I ever could have imagined. And though I’m humbled and proud of my New York Times bestselling books and things, nothing compares to the awesomeness that is “Jelly Bean” (that’s her social public persona). Additionally, one of my core values is obviously eating healthy foods so I desperately wanted to share that with her. I’m proud to say that she LOVES Brussels sprouts and broccolini and parsnips. She had a butternut squash “fry” and egg scramble this morning for breakfast and loves it when I share my avocado toast! I know a lot of people have had challenges getting their kids to eat healthy foods. I also had an interesting experience with experts that could have pushed me to feed Jelly Bean processed foods (I cook EVERYTHING from scratch for her). So I’m super passionate about helping moms find workable solutions to get their kids started out on a life of fitness! That’s one place where people will see projects roll out soon!
For more of Devin’s tips and advice for eating healthier, check out her website DevinAlexander.com
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.