Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

Eating healthy while maintaining a busy schedule might not be as hard as you think. At the end of a long day or intense workout, you don’t want to come home and cook a big meal. One option is crockpot cooking, which enables you to have a nutritious meal without cutting down on your family or fitness time.

“Crockpot cooking is great because it’s slow and steady and there’s very little preparation time involved,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Jamieson-Petonic. “You put your meal in the crockpot in the morning and it cooks slowly for four to eight hours so you can come home to a meal that is completely done.”

Not only are crockpot meals easy to put together, but they’re also a great way to incorporate healthier recipes into your week. To ensure you're getting maximum benefit from your crockpot, Ms. Jamieson-Petonic offers these tips:

  1. Include lots of vegetables. “The recommendation is at least three cups per day, but most people don’t get that in,” she says.
  2. Plan your meals in advance. You can prep or buy pre-cut vegetables and cut and sear meat ahead of time. You can also prep and freeze your ingredients in a bag for quick dump-and-go meals.
  3. Don’t forget the juice. A lot of nutrients from your food is in the stewing liquid.
    “One benefit of slow cookers is that they’re fully covered containers,” Ms. Jamieson-Petonic says. “Some of food’s nutrients are destroyed by heat when you’re cooking, but unlike frying or boiling, some of the nutrients that would otherwise be lost are contained in the stewing liquid.”
  4. Use less expensive cuts of meat. “The low and slow cooking will make it tender and juicy," she says. "This will stretch your food dollars.”
  5. Freeze your leftovers. Crockpot meals tend to have leftovers, which freeze well.

If you want to warm up your crockpot and your belly, Ms. Jamieson-Petonic suggests trying these two recipes:

Turkey Chili

Makes 8 one-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds 99 percent fat-free ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, no salt added, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 3 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until crumbled and brown, draining excess liquid as necessary.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium/low heat. Enjoy!

Reprinted from Eat Yourself Skinny.

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

Makes 6 one-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups beef-flavored or chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz.) dark beer (or substitute additional broth)

Directions

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high. Place meat in a large bowl and sprinkle with the flour, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  2. Place half of the meat in the skillet and brown, not disturbing the meat too often, turning and continuing to cook until most sides are brown. Set the first batch aside to a plate.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, brown the rest of the meat, then transfer both batches to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the Worcestershire, mustard, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle over the beef. Add the carrots, potatoes, celery and onions to the slow cooker, then pour the broth and beer over the top. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.

Reprinted from Tablespoon .

For more ideas to plan healthy meals this spring, a registered dietitian can help. To make an appointment, call 216-844-1499.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed., RDN, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Ms. Jamieson-Petonic or any other University Hospitals health care professional online.

Share
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Email
Print
Subscribe
RSS