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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get the recipe:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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