Do you want to start taking your health seriously? It has to start somewhere, and the kitchen is an excellent place to begin making changes.

That’s because it’s where many of us go wrong. We choose unhealthy, processed foods over fresh and nourishing foods. Some of us don’t even go to the kitchen anymore, because take-out is so much easier.

But that has to stop, even if you’re crazy about convenience. The key is to choose an easy method of cooking that won’t cramp your style or impede other daily activities.

The slow cooker is an excellent choice. You might even happen to have one laying around, gathering dust in one of your forgotten kitchen cabinets.

So, what should you cook? It can be daunting to try new recipes, and easy to get mixed up when considering which foods are healthy. But never fear. We’re here to help with these 5 healthy slow cooker recipes you’ll want to eat again and again.

The Benefits of Slow Cooker Cooking

There are several reasons why slow cooker meals are the bomb:

  • Easy Usage: Slow cookers are very simple to use, and usually have just two or three settings. They allow you to pop your food in, turn on the cooker, and forget about it. It’s even safe to leave your cooker on when you leave the house to go to work or run errands, as long as you follow the guidelines on how to use it.
  • Health-Friendly: Slow cooked meals can allow you to be more health-conscious. Of course, this depends largely on what exactly you’re cooking in the slow cooker — you
    should learn a little bit about healthy cooking before you begin.

But since this method is so convenient, it cuts down on desires to order out. Plus, you know exactly what’s going into your food, so you won’t be fooled by restaurant-prepared “healthy” food which isn’t healthy at all.

  • Cost Effectiveness: It’s much more energy-efficient to cook your food in a slow cooker, as it uses less electricity than an electric oven. Not only that, but the slow cooker tends to make meats very tender and rich. That means you can buy cheaper cuts of meat. They’ll still taste great, but they’ll cost a whole lot less.

5 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes We Can’t Get Enough Of

Check out these healthy slow cooker recipes and feel the flavor coming into your life.

1. Shrimp and Orzo Crockpot Jambalaya

healthy slow cooker recipes

This shrimp jambalaya is bursting with flavor, healthy fats, and nourishing protein. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cooked
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Once you chop your vegetables, you’re almost ready. Stir everything together in the pot except the orzo and the shrimp. If you like, you can add a bay leaf. Put the cooker on the low setting, and let sit 7 to 9 hours.

Once everything is nice and tender, turn the setting up to high and stir in the orzo. Cook until the pasta is soft, around 15 minutes. Finally, you can stir in the shrimp for a few minutes until it’s thoroughly heated up. The recipe makes 8 servings, each of which has 270 calories.

2. Mexican Chicken Chili Crockpot

healthy slow cooker recipes

This special crockpot chicken chili is perfect for a cold winter night. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 15 oz. can pinto or black beans
  • 1 11 oz. can sweet corn
  • 1 16 oz. jar salsa
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 chicken breast halves, boneless & skinless
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put the chicken and salsa into the slow cooker, along with all the spices. Cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Then shred the meat, using 2 forks to separate it. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, it should be quite tender. Once it’s shredded, let it cook another 3 or 4 hours.

Then add the cooked corn and beans, and continue cooking until they’re heated up. After that, it’s ready to go. You’ll have a delicious and nutritious slow-cooker meal. This recipe makes 6 servings, each of which has 188 calories.

3. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

healthy slow cooker recipes

This pulled pork recipe is one of the easiest healthy slow cooker recipes we’ve ever seen. Use this powerful protein to stuff tacos, top nachos, or put into a sandwich. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2.5 lb. pork loin
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers packed in adobo
  • Water

Put everything into the slow cooker. Add enough water so that the pork is covered up to the halfway point. Set the cooker to high and cook for 4 or 5 hours, until the pork is tender. Then remove it from the pot and shred it with two forks. This recipe makes 6 servings, each of which has 267 calories.

4. Vegetable-Bomb Crockpot Minestrone

healthy slow cooker recipes

This minestrone uses fresh vegetables and flavorful spices to bring on a whole new world of
health. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup macaroni, cooked
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the herbs, vegetables (excluding the spinach), and vegetable stock into the slow cooker. Cook for 7 or 8 hours on low. Once everything has been nicely tenderized and the flavor has spread, add the spinach and the cooked macaroni.

Cook the soup for another 15 or 20 minutes on low to wilt the spinach and heat up the macaroni. If you like, you can top the soup with a small portion of parmesan cheese before you serve it. This recipe makes 8 servings, each of which has 138 calories.

5. Creamy Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew

healthy slow cooker recipes

This beef stew is quick, easy, creamy, and delicious. On top of all that, it’s healthy. What more could you want? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 lb. beef chuck steak, cubed
  • 4 cans cream of mushroom soup (condensed for
    best flavor)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh peas

Once you chop everything up and cube the beef, this recipe practically makes itself. All you need to do is add everything to the crockpot. If you like, you can brown the meat first on the bottom of the pot. It’s not necessary, but it tends to impart a better flavor.

Cook the stew on low for 7 to 9 hours, stirring occasionally. This dish is hearty and thick, yet full of veggies for added nutrients. This recipe makes 6 servings, each of which contains 300 calories. If you’re planning on serving this up for dinner, it’s a good idea to throw some potatoes into the pot or serve it with bread.

Slow Cooker Cooking Tips to Know Before You Begin

So, now that you’re enamored with these healthy slow cooker recipes, you’ll probably want to start using your cooker on a daily basis. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to learn a few tricks
to enhance the flavor of food and generally make cooking easier.

Firstly, it’s important to preheat your slow-cooker. Since this utensil works like a small oven, the extra twenty or thirty minutes to get it heated up do matter. It’s a good idea to turn your slow cooker on to your preferred setting as you begin to prep the rest of the meal.

Secondly, always let your meat rest outside of the fridge before cooking it. Cold meat is inflexible and the flavors tend to be unevenly distributed throughout the meat. Letting it sit until it reaches room temperature allows for even cooking and more tender meat.

Another thing to remember is not to fiddle too much with your meal. That means once you put it in the cooker, you usually just have to leave it alone. If you keep checking on the food to stir it around, add spices, or taste it constantly, it won’t cook as quickly.

Lastly, keep in mind that liquid does not reduce in a slow cooker as it does on the stove. This means that you must be careful not to put too much liquid in because chances are that the liquid will not thicken or evaporate but continue to boil as-is. It also means you have to be careful with the addition of wine and alcohols. Since they don’t reduce, the flavor of them
could easily overwhelm your dish.

Try These 5 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes for a Delicious Day

Now that you’ve got some healthy slow cooker recipes to try out, there’s no reason to order take-out tonight. Skip the pre-cooked meals and get to chopping, because you’re about to cook up a storm.

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