Pictured: Slow Cooker Mama’s Roadhouse Chili
1. Purchase a slow cooker. You can find a slow cooker anywhere from $15 to $100. We recommend buying one that’s within your budget. Check out our recommendations here. To optimize the health benefits, we recommend buying a 5-6 quart slow cooker so that you can make more than one meal at a time.
2. Get to know your slow cooker. It’s always important to read the user manual first. All appliances will work differently. Once you make a few recipes, you’ll learn just how hot “high” is and start to adapt your cooking times.
3. Now, get to know your food. Using a slow cooker allows you to take advantage of fresh vegetables and other whole foods. Instead of relying on canned vegetables that are loaded with sodium and unpredictable frozen meals, you have more time to explore your vegetable options and not worry about if you are cooking them correctly or not. The slow cooker does all the hard work for you.
4. Look for a recipe. Our pot roast is a great place to start. It’s a traditional favorite with flavors you are probably very familiar with. Start with recipes that you know how they should taste.
5. Prep for the recipes. This is one of the ways that a slow cooker will help save you time. Take a Sunday afternoon to prep 2-3 meals for the week. For example, with our Herb Chicken and Vegetable Dish you could cut the vegetables ahead of time and place them in a bag in the refrigerator until you are ready to put them in the slow cooker. You could even cook the chicken ahead of time. Top 20 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes on SkinnyMs.
6. Prepare for dinner in the morning. Assuming that you have prepped for your slow cooker the night before, now it’s time to just follow the instructions and put the food into the slow cooker. Press start and be on your way. Try this Slow Cooker Hearty Vegetable and Bean Soup that cooks from 8-10 hours while you are away all day.
7. Sit back and wait. Go to work, spend time with your family and go run your errands. The slow cooker will be hard at work while you go about your day. Delicious flavors will develop without the help of fattening store-bought sauces, unnecessary salt and other unnatural ingredients that encourage weight gain.
8. Use this saved time wisely! Now that your meal has been cooking all day, you have at least another hour in the evening all to yourself. Squeeze in a workout before dinner, go for a walk or just take a few minutes to relax and do some yoga to rewind from the day.
9. Save all of your leftovers. Make sure that you let the meal cool completely and then pack them into small storage containers. Now you have healthy lunches and (even faster) dinners for the next few days. You can also freeze the leftovers for the weeks to come if you don’t want to eat the same thing all week long. Our Cream of Chicken Rice Soup would be a great option to take for lunch leftovers.
10. Satisfy your sweet tooth. Slow cookers are also a great vessel for cooking healthy desserts. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie is less than 150 calories a serving!