For many of us, losing weight is a constant struggle between our urge to eat the food we love and the realization that we need to make sacrifices to look good and stay healthy.
However, you can eat a much more fulfilling diet than your usual unseasoned salad and chicken breast. Slow cookers are both an easy way to cook succulent meals and a great tool for weight loss. The truth is, with so many healthy, delicious, low-carb slow cooker recipes to choose from, dieting need no longer be related with insipid meals.
The following are six of the best slow cooker recipes for those of us who want to watch our weight—or just eat healthier meals with minimum fuss. Whether you’ve just started on a diet or already reached your weight goal, these dishes will allow you to reap the full benefits of the slow cooker. Enjoy!
—Adapted from Milagros Rojas. With its high content of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats, this is an energy packed meal that will help you start your day on the right foot. Yields 4 servings.
1½ lbs. cottage cheese
12 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
12 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into ⅓-inch thick slices
4 big onions
2 lbs. bacon
- Place eggs and cottage cheese in a large a bowl. Stir vigorously until they blend to form a thick pastry mix.
- Add tomatoes, potatoes, onion, bacon, and egg mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours (or basically through the night).
- Serve warm with mashed potatoes (optional). Store in refrigerator, in a covered pan or bowl, for up to a week.
Sweet Vegetable Risotto
—Adapted from Milagros Rojas. This is not only one of the simplest ways to make a delicious risotto, but it’s also one of the healthiest. Rice is a great way to get healthy carbohydrates, and beans and peas are known to reduce the risk of cholesterol, heart disease, and even cancer. Yields 6 servings.
5 medium-sized onions, peeled and chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2½ lbs. brown rice
33 oz. vegetable broth
1½ lbs. green beans
1⅓ lbs. peas
- Add onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes to slow cooker. Next, add brown rice and vegetable broth. Cook on low for 2 hours.
- Add green beans and peas. Stir until evenly spread around the slow cooker.
- Cook for another 30 minutes and serve warm. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4–6 days.
Winter Vegetable Soup
—Adapted from Maribel Rueda. This is a simple yet highly nutritious meal. That’s because it’s packed with vitamin C, which is vital for cell regeneration and known to reduce stress levels. Yields 6 servings.
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons salt
60 oz. chicken broth
1 lb. lentils
- Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on high for 3 hours. Gently stir the soup before serving hot. Store in a covered pot in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
—Adapted from Maribel Rueda. Pumpkin Curry offers significant health benefits for your body. Not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals, but it’s also very low in calories, which makes it an ideal meal to strengthen your immune system without putting on extra weight. Yields 3 servings.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large bite-size pieces
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, peeled and cut into small squares
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lb. extra firm fermented tofu, cut into small squares
2 cups peas
14 oz. coconut milk
15 oz. pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- Add potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, and tofu to your slow cooker.
- Add peas, coconut milk, pumpkin, broth, curry powder, and turmeric powder. Stir for a few minutes.
- Cook on high for 7 hours. Serve hot (preferably with rice). Store in refrigerator for up to a week.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
—Adapted from Maribel Rueda. Rich in protein and vitamins, this gumbo is also a perfect comfort food. Yields 3 servings.
4 links Andouille sausage, cut into thick slices
2 chicken breasts, cut into thick slices
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, cut into thin slices
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups brown rice
1 large green bell pepper
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
- Place sausage and chicken into the slow cooker.
- Add chopped vegetables, celery, garlic, broth, brown rice, bell pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir for a few minutes
- Cook on low for 3 hours. Serve hot. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
—Adapted from Milagros Rojas. Lasagna is known for its high carbohydrate content, which gives you plenty of energy, but it also contains lots of healthy fats and proteins, a vital component in any healthy diet. Yields 7 servings.
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
½ lb. chopped spinach
2 tablespoons dried vegetable soup mix
2 lbs. tomato pasta sauce
10 whole grain lasagna sheets
- Place ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan in a bowl. Add spinach and dry soup mix. Stir until all the ingredients have combined evenly.
- Cover the bottom of slow cooker with 2–3 soup spoons of pasta sauce. Add a layer of lasagna sheets over the sauce. (If necessary, break one of the sheets into smaller pieces and use them to cover the gaps.) Layer cheese mixture over lasagna sheets.
- Continue layering sauce, lasagna sheets, and cheese mixture until you run out of lasagna sheets. Cover the last layer with whatever is left of your pasta sauce and cheese mix. Cook on low for 6 hours. Keep covered in your refrigerator for up to a week.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products