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2.21.2017

Slow-cook your way to warm, healthy meals

It’s always nice to come home to a hot, healthy and home-cooked meal. Using a slow cooker to prepare healthy food that’s ready when you’re ready to enjoy it can help you avoid stopping at the drive-thru on the way home or having to cook while hungry. Plus, winter is a great season to break out your slow-cooker—it can easily help you prepare many traditional winter recipes like stews and chili! Check out our picks for healthy, tasty slow cooker recipes, and keep reading for tips and tricks to use your slow cooker.

Chicken

Turkey

  • Turkey Chili – Hot chili on a cold night is a great combination. Not only will this taste good, but it will also leave your house smelling delicious as well.

Lamb

  • Irish Lamb Stew – This staple of Irish cuisine is a great source of Vitamin A and iron.

Beef

Vegetarian

  • Minestrone Soup – This soup is low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber! You can use it as a main or a side dish.
  • Eggplant & Chickpea Stew — This recipe is delicious and very high in Vitamin C and potassium!

Breakfast

  • Overnight Oatmeal: Set this one up at night and wake up to a fiber-rich breakfast in the morning! You can even make a large batch to re-heat throughout the week.

Tips for using your slow cooker

Using a slow cooker is simple. As you can see with the recipes above, all you have to do is prep any ingredients called for, put them in the slow cooker, and turn it on. Depending on the recipe, 4-8 hours later you will have a delicious meal ready for you!

Here are some general tips for making your slow cooker meal as delicious as possible:

  1. Pay attention to size. Pick recipes that work with the size of your slow cooker. Make sure that you are not under- or overfilling it with food to ensure that it cooks properly. (It is recommended to avoid filling it more than 2/3 of the way full.) Take a minute to make sure the recipe you want to try works with the slow cooker size you have.
  2. Keep the lid on! While it can be tempting to remove the lid to check on a recipe, it is best to leave it be—this helps to keep the slow cooker’s heat focused on cooking the food. But when you get within 30-45 minutes before your meal is scheduled to be finished, it’s okay to remove the lid to check on your food.
  3. Be mindful of the temperature and size of your ingredients. It is inadvisable to use frozen foods in a crockpot, so take them out of the freezer beforehand to thaw if necessary. Also, if cooking meat, it is best to cut it into smaller pieces before adding it to the slow cooker to ensure that the meat gets cooked all the way through. Following both of these guidelines can help protect against food-borne illnesses.

For Health Advocate members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching component of your wellness program, reach out to your Coach for more healthy recipe ideas.