15 Slow Cooker Recipes That Will Actually Help You Lose Weight


We know that eating healthy can be tough.

There’s the obvious reason - you have to change some of the foods you eat. But there’s another reason many people don’t talk about.

Sometimes, to change the way you eat, you have to change the way you cook.

That’s a big hassle!

You have trusted recipes the family loves. You’ve made them so many times you could cook the meals in your sleep.

But now, your routine is interrupted. You almost feel like a cooking newbie again.

Never fear, here are some healthy meals you can make in your crockpot. Meals that will help you reach your weight loss goals. The recipes are so simple, you’ll feel like you’ve been cooking them for years. And they’re tasty too, so the family won’t complain.

15 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

1. Healthier Mac and Cheese

Pureed butternut squash adds a hearty depth to mac and cheese without ruining the cheesy flavor.

Get the recipe: Healthier Mac and Cheese

If you love mac and cheese but wanted to try a more slimming version, check out this amazing recipe. The pureed butternut squash adds a hearty depth to the dish, without ruining the cheesy flavor.

Recipe Tip: If you have a family member who’s allergic to dairy, leave out the cheese altogether and use a good broth mix like this one. Stir in some navy beans for extra creaminess.

2. Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Get the recipe: Summer Vegetable Lasagna

This simple vegetable lasagna lets you pick your favorite summer veggies to layer between pasta and a bit of cheese. Or you can just follow the outlined recipe. Either way, this dinner will become a family favorite.

Recipe Tips: What if you don’t have all these veggies waiting patiently in the crisper? No worries, you can substitute a variety of vegetables. Even dark leafy greens pack fiber and a great punch of nutrients. This is another one of those recipes that can tie random bits of chopped leftover veggies into a sensational crowd-pleaser.

3. Split Peas and Brown Rice

Get the recipe: Split Peas and Brown Rice

This simple yet delicious dinner is one of our family’s favorites. It’s like enjoying a more filling version of grandma’s split pea soup. Homey and comforting.

Recipe Tips: We like it topped with tomatoes and fresh chives. The caramelized onion takes the recipe up a notch on two levels.

  • It doesn’t appear too healthy for those who are not ready to start eating the Full Plate Living way.
  • It gives it an air of simple elegance.

4. Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas

These tasty Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas take only 10 minutes of prep work. The crockpot does the rest of the work.

Get the recipe: Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Black beans and sweet potatoes take cheese enchiladas from so-so to nom-nom. The fact that it only takes 10 minutes to prep the dish makes it an easy choice on days when cooking dinner feels overwhelming. Just mix beans, potatoes, cheese and sauce, then layer in the crockpot in the morning. Your delicious supper will be waiting when you walk back through the front door after a long day.

Recipe Tips: You can skip the cheese altogether. (Ours only had a mild sprinkling on top.) This saves lots of calories. Salsa and guacamole make for a great topping as well. Bump up the food value with some sort of leafy green like spinach. Just chop and add in with the beans and potatoes.

5. Slow Cooker Lentils

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Lentils

Lentils are of the most versatile dishes you can make in the crockpot. Serve them over a hearty cooked grain or even in a whole grain wrap! My husband eats lentils under a salad. Believe me, the options are unending.

Recipe Tips: Don’t like the flavors? You can try red curry powder, although I confess I never have. You can also change up the recipe by replacing the green curry powder with yellow and the coconut milk with diced tomatoes.

6. Turkey Chili

Get the recipe:

Turkey Chili

Using turkey instead of beef instantly slims down any chili recipe. But the beans are the real hero in this dish. They amp up the amount of fiber, which helps you feel full without needing to overeat. Plus, fiber helps you feel full longer after your meal. Try a bowl of this chili on a breezy fall evening. It’s deliciously satisfying.

Recipe Tips: Use the chili in a taco salad, top your baked potatoes with it, or serve it on top of brown rice or soft polenta.

7. 16 Bean Soup

Get the recipe: 16 Bean Soup

There are times when you are cleaning out your pantry and you find random samples of beans that don’t amount to much on their own.

This is a recipe is perfect for those times.

Just throw all your random bean scraps in the crockpot together with the tomatoes, onions and spices. The slow cooker does the work while you’re busy in the real world. If you don’t have any bean scraps around the house, purchase the 16 bean soup mix at your local grocery store.

Recipe Tips: Don’t have 16 types of beans on hand? No worries. Use whatever you find in your pantry. Just check your soup a few times and add water if needed.

8. Quinoa Lentil Taco Filling for Two

Protein rich quinoa and lentils pair up nicely in this low fat, tasty taco filling.

Get the recipe: Quinoa Lentil Taco Filling for Two

This taco filling is seriously good stuff. Feel free to double or triple this recipe. You won’t regret it. It freezes well and makes future taco nights a cinch.

Recipe Tips: I liked the color and texture variation with tri-color quinoa instead of plain quinoa. But if you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. Regular quinoa works as well.

9. Slow Cooker Brown Rice

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Brown Rice

Brown rice is a good staple to have on hand. Unfortunately it takes a long time to cook on the stovetop. So unless you have a rice cooker, a slow cooker is perfect for making a large batch. Freeze leftovers and serve them with beans, leftover chili, asian vegetable sautés, even falafels.

Recipe Tips: Experiment with different flavors for a more hearty taste - Italian seasoning; dill, salt and pepper; or vegetable seasoning.

10. Eggplant Tomato Sauce with Pasta

Peeling the eggplant before cooking it keeps the vegetable plump and juicy and makes the pasta sauce more chunky.

Get the recipe: Eggplant Tomato Sauce with Pasta

You don’t have to be an eggplant lover to like this recipe. In fact, a family friend who hates eggplant asked for seconds last time she visited. The key? Peel the eggplant first. It keeps the vegetable from tasting like shoe leather.

Recipe Tips: You can skip the onion in this recipe, but don’t skimp on the garlic! Add more fiber to the dish with white beans. Or for a twist, skip the pasta, and serve the sauce over soft polenta made with whole grain cornmeal. It’s a simple way to turn this meal gluten free!

11. Stuffed Peppers

Get the recipe: Stuffed Peppers

Here’s what I love about this recipe - instead of the normal 1-3 hours it takes me to prep and cook this meal, I have it in the crock pot in 30 minutes. And then I can focus my attention elsewhere until the peppers are done.

Recipe Tip: This is a great recipe to use after cooking a large batch of brown rice. Just be sure you have 2 cups of cooked rice left over before attempting this meal.

12. Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Chili

Get the recipe: Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Chili

Mixed together, one-pot meals of protein, grains, and veggies are really easy for those nights when you work late. Getting one of these meals prepared in the morning is like giving yourself a present in the evening (when you might be worn out).

Recipe Tips: Serve over a bed of crunched chips if you want to make the chili taste more hearty.

13. Mushroom Barley Risotto

Get the recipe: Mushroom Barley Risotto

While rice is the usual grain used in creamy risotto recipes, barley was used before rice became so popular. Unlike white rice which is stripped of its fiber, barley is a whole grain. And in this recipe, the deep barley flavor pairs nicely with the woodsy mushroom taste.

Recipe Tip: Keep up the Italian theme with a side of fresh tomatoes with lemon zest in summer, or a pear and arugula salad in the fall.

14. Kale Cannellini Farro Stew

Farro, a Mediterranean favorite, makes white bean kale stew more hearty and filling. Perfect dinner for a chilly evening.

Get the recipe: Kale Cannellini Farro Stew

If you’ve never heard of farro, don’t worry, most people haven’t. It’s a more ancient variety of wheat that’s still common in Italy. However, it can be hard to come by at your local grocery store. Feel free to substitute whole wheat berries or barley, if needed.

Recipe Tips: If your beans are mashed instead of whole, they make a wonderful, creamy-thick broth. Soups are great opportunities for using up random bits of leftover vegetables. Go ahead and slip them in.

15. Chicken Quinoa and Kale Soup

Get the recipe: Chicken Quinoa and Kale Soup

This hearty soup is perfect for a quick dinner or as a warm lunch at the office. The fiber and protein from the beans will keep you full longer, so you don’t have to worry about your stomach grumbling during your afternoon meetings.

Recipe Tip: You can make this recipe vegetarian by using Gardein Chicken Strips. Be sure to add some chicken style seasoning to the broth, since it will need the extra flavor.

Try One of These Simple Crock Pot Recipes Immediately

Eating healthy may disrupt your kitchen routine, but we know these simple crock pot recipes will keep the hassle to a minimum. So choose the most appealing one and try it this week. Happy cooking!

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Full Plate Living is a small-step approach with big health outcomes. It's provided as a free service of Ardmore Institute of Health.

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