By Cassandra Talmadge
All hail the crock pot! With so many advantages and so few disadvantages, this fuss-free method of cooking puts all others to shame.
On the quest to create wholesome, flavorful meals, there’s often one serious hurdle: time. But whether you want a meal you can leave alone to slowly cook during the day or while you run errands, crock pot’s got you covered. Plus, it saves energy and lowers the risk of burning food…so even the not-so-culinary-blessed can partake. From soups and meat dishes to oatmeal and cider, these 35 healthy crock pot recipes will get your meals on the table and a smaller waistline in the meantime. Looking for even more easy to make dishes to shrink your belly? Check out these 20 Best-Ever Recipes for Zero Belly
SOUPS AND STEWS
Nutrition per 1.3 cup serving: 507 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 220 mg sodium, 87 g carbs, 23 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 28.3 g protein
Although fall may be behind us, that doesn’t mean our pumpkin obsession is. High in fiber, low in calories and full of vitamin A(this recipe provide over a day’s worth)—pumpkins deserve their praise. And combining them with chili just makes this winter staple that much more enticing. Still pumpkin crazed? Check out these 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Weight Loss
Nutrition per 1.7 cup serving: 263 calories, 8.2 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 285 mg sodium, 16.8 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 28.2 g protein (calculated without salt)
Low cal, low carb, and high protein—this bowl is one serious weapon for weight loss. It contains detoxing celery, Vitamin A boasting carrots, and endurance-boosting onion. Plus, unlike most soups, it’s salt count isn’t through the roof. This especially important when you’re trying to shed a few because sodium causes water retention. Want more soup slimming tips? Check out these 7 Quick Ways to Make Any Soup a Fat-Burner
Nutrition per 1.5 cup serving: 228 calories, <1 g fat (0 g saturated), 577 mg sodium, 51.7 g carbs, 15.8 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 6.2 g protein (calculated with low sodium broth and low sodium salsa)
It’s hard to believe that just five ingredients, an easy recipe, and a crock pot can create such soup perfection. Brimming with flavor and nutrients, this pot’s staples, sweet potatoes, and black beans, are two of the best foods for flat abs
. And with less than a gram of fat per serving and 16 grams of satiating fiber, it’ll fill you up without filling you out.
Nutrition per 1.5 cup serving: 262 calories, 8.5 g fat (3.4 g saturated). 682 mg sodium, 37.4 g carbs, 5.8 g fiber, 6.6 g sugar, 10.8 g protein
Nothing says winter like a hearty bowl of beef stew with wholesome root vegetables. One bowl dishes up two days worth of vitamin A, 6 grams of satiating fiber and 11 grams of muscle-building protein. For more filling soups that won’t ruin your six-pack, check out these 26 Best High-Protein Soups For Abs
.Get the recipe from Real Food By Dad
Nutrition per 1.6 cup serving: 240 calories, 9.2 g fat (4.6 g saturated), 508 mg sodium, 27.9 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, <1 g sugars, 7.8 g protein (calculated with greek yogurt cream cheese and low sodium broth)
This skinny take on traditional creamy soups cuts calories, sodium and fat without compromising flavor. You don’t have to nix all the things you love to lose belly fat
. Just make sure to opt for a low-sodium chicken broth and reduced fat or greek yogurt cream cheese.
Nutrition per 1.3 cup serving: 247 calories, 7.3 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 378 mg sodium, 23 g carbs, 4.8 g fiber, 5.1 g sugars, 22.5 g protein (calculated with low sodium broth and whole grain organic penne)
While this concept may be a new one, we love this spoonable version of chicken parm. It’s low in calories, carbs, and sugar, but packs in nearly 26 grams of protein per serving. But when it comes to noodle choice, go for the brown stuff. According to registered dietitian Isabel Smith, “it’s better to choose whole-grain or less refined more often, because it contains more fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein as the husk of the grain is left on, making it ‘whole grain.’”
Nutrition per 1.4 cup serving: 289 calories, 3.6 g fat (<1 g saturated), 316 mg sodium, 53.7 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 4.7 g sugars, 13.8 g protein (calculated with tortilla strips and no salt)
Not only is this soup packed with nourishing veggies, but it’s got a lethal weight loss weapon–the black bean. It’s high fiber, high protein content help to keep you fuller longer without much caloric cost and no saturated fat. Without a doubt, this tiny bean contributes to this recipes’ 11 grams of satiating fiber and 14 grams of muscle-building protein. And did we mention they’re one of the 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss
Nutrition per serving: 213 calories, 9.8 g fat (7.5 g saturated), 138 mg sodium, 28.5 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 16.3 g sugars, 2.5 g protein (calculated with unsweetened almond coconut milk)
Despite being a tad bit dessert-y, this wholesome bowl is just a little over 200 calories. Plus, it contains fat from the magical coconut, which is metabolized differently than other fats, thanks their rich lauric acid content. This potent weight loss
food quells hunger, provides the body with quick energy and helps reduce abdominal fat. In fact, in a study in the journal Pharmacology found that those who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day shrank their waists by an average of 1.1 inches in one month!
Nutrition per 1.6 cup serving: 335 calories, 8 g fat (4.2 g saturated), 68 mg sodium, 60.9 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 32 g sugars, 9 g protein
Rich dark chocolate and tart cherries create a flavorful recipe that is both sour and sweet, and brimming with nutrients. Cherries are rich in vitamin A, which is essential to proper immune system function, tissue growth and repair and bone strength. And not only does dark chocolate deliver a serious dose of antioxidants, but it can actually help you lose weight! Check out these 5 Ways Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight
Serves: 8 Nutrition per .9 cup serving: 115 calories, 3.6 g fat (0 g saturated), 168 mg sodium, 18.6 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 5.9 g sugars, 3 g protein
With six simple ingredients, this Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal blows packaged varieties out of the water. It just under a cup serving contains 115 calories and 3.6 grams of fat so it won’t break your nutritional bank. Bonus: Cinnamon is one of the 5 Healthiest Spices On The Planet
, can boost your metabolism and help moderate blood sugar.
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 254 calories, 7.9 g fat (4.8 g saturated), 82 mg sodium, 43.3 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 2.7 g sugars, 6.1 g protein (calculated with 1/2 cup half and half and NF plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream)
No peeling, chopping or boiling involved here. Simply combine ingredients, let them boil for anywhere from 3-8 hours (depending on preference), mash and serve. And with boasting amounts of potassium and glycogen restoring starch, this a perfect dish to accompany any lean protein
for a post-workout dinner.
Nutrition per pepper: 434 calories, 12.9 g fat (6.6 g saturated), 318 mg sodium, 59.5 g carbs, 14.4 g fiber, 6.2 g sugars, 22.7 g protein
Who doesn’t like a good stuffed pepper recipe–especially when it involves quinoa and a crock pot? Quinoa is the only grain that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Plus it’s got a healthy amount of hunger-squashing fiber. Naturally, these peppers are overflowing with protein and fiber. Added bonus: it knocks out over two day’s worth of daily vitamin C demands (262%). Want more waist shrinking quinoa recipes? Check out these 7 Fat-Burning Ways to Cook with Quinoa
Nutrition per ¾ cup serving: 266 calories, 4.7 g fat (<1 g saturated), 303 mg sodium, 45.9 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 6.4 g sugars, 12.1 g protein
Barley aids in digestion, decreases inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar levels and suppresses appetite, making it one of the best carbs for weight loss
. Sub it in traditional rice dishes like this Barley and Chickpea Risotto for a serious nutritional punch.
Nutrition per serving: 260 calories, 8.1 g fat (5 g saturated), 279 mg sodium, 44.4 g carbs, 6.6 g fiber, 2.4 g sugars, 3.6 g protein (calculated with ½ tsp salt)
By now you know that these orange yams are a weight loss superfood loaded with slow-digesting fiber, a high vitamin profile (including A, C and B6) and carotenoids, an antioxidant that prevents calories from being converted into fat. The best part? They’re incredibly versatile. For more fat-burning sweet potato dishes, check out these Sweet Potato Recipes For Weight Loss
Serves: 12 sliders, about 6 servings
Nutrition per slider: 320 calories, 8.5 g fat (2.1 g saturated), 329 mg sodium, 25.7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 9.9 g sugars, 35 g protein (calculated with whole wheat slider buns)
Typically a dieter’s foe, these Pulled Pork Sliders are just 320 calories and boast a whopping 35 grams of protein a piece. But while they may be mini and less calorically dense alone, they’re not so innocent after two or three. For an added nutrition boost, ditch the white slider buns and sub in whole wheat. For more diet friendly patties, check out these Best Burgers for Weight Loss
Nutrition per .8 cup serving: 224 calories, 7.8 g fat (2 g saturated), 280 mg sodium, 7.5 g carbs, 1.2 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 30.1 g protein (calculated without salt)
As if fajitas weren’t quick and simple enough, this slow cooker version just made things even easier. Low in calories and high in protein, this Mexican dish will sizzle more than just your taste buds. Looking for a low-carb option? Ditch the tortilla and pair this dish with a side of veggies instead. Check out these 6 Best Veggies for Weight Loss
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 280 calories, 10.5 g fat (3 g saturated), 116 mg sodium, 13.8 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8.3 g sugars, 31.2 g protein
This recipe combines balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, brown sugar, rosemary and pomegranate seeds to create a bittersweet, sex-enhancing dish. In fact, a recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that pomegranates increase virility and improve erectile dysfunction. This is likely due to their rich antioxidant content, which supports blood flow. For more foods that increase sexual desire, check out Foods to Supercharge Your Sex Drive
Nutrition per .7 cup serving: 495 calories, 33.9 g fat (13.6 g saturated), 598 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 16.2 g sugars, 26 g protein
Inspired by football season and the opportunity to show her husband up, this blogger created a barbecue rib recipe that is “manly, messy, and down and dirty.” However, she also created a dish that fights skin cancer. In fact, a study from the Dermatology University of Sydney, in Australia, found that people who take vitamin B3 supplements cut their risk of skin cancer recurrence by 23 percent in just one year. A 6-ounce half-rack serving of ribs provides about 10 mg of B3, or half your daily value for the vitamin (and even more if you choose a leaner cut). To create more cancer-fighting meals, check out these 7 Foods that Fight Cancer
Nutrition per .8 cup serving: 387 calories, 16 g fat (3.6 g saturated), 469 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 10.8 g sugars, 35 g protein (calculated with low sodium soy sauce)
Skip the Chinese takeout and make this recipe instead. The first notable difference, aside from the simple ingredient list, is the sodium count. An order of Sweet and Sour Chicken from PF Chang’s contains double the salt. But the savings don’t stop there–this dish also has 383 fewer calories, 66 fewer grams of carbs and half the fat. Curious how bad your other takeout go-to’s are? Check out Chinese Restaurant Entrees They Won’t Eat in China
Nutrition per .6 cup serving: 202 calories, 1.3 g fat 0 g saturated), 832 mg sodium, 26.8 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 25 g sugars, 22.5 g protein (calculated with 1/4 cup low sodium tamari and 1/4 cup Sriracha)
With chicken, tamari, honey, sriracha and garlic you can create a high protein, low calorie fat-burning
meal. Sriracha fires up more than your tongue. Capsaicin, the compound that gives the sauce its signature kick, has been proven to boost metabolic rate, reduce belly fat and suppress appetite.
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 330 calories, 17.9 g fat (3 g saturated), 297 mg sodium, 3.7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1.7 g sugars, 38 g protein (calculated with low sodium broth)
While you may still be in a turkey coma, don’t completely write off this one. It’s got almost 40 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of carbs and less than 2 grams of sugar. Plus, it’ll hit the spot when the thought of chicken seems like a bore. To cut the fat content, opt for white meat over dark.
Nutrition per .9 cup serving: 292 calories, 7.3 g fat (1 g saturated), 419 mg sodium, 28.6 g carbs, 3.3 g fiber, 5.5 g sugars, 28.1 g protein (calculated with whole grain tortillas)
Forgot to book your tickets to someplace tropical? Not to worry, these Spicy Hawaiian Carnitas Tacos will transport your taste buds to paradise. And with metabolism-boosting and fat-blasting cayenne, cancer-fighting pork and energy-boosting pineapple, you’ll be doing right by your body too. Sayonara, love handles
Nutrition per 1.3 cup serving: 382 calories, 14.8 g fat (5.2 g saturated), 198 mg sodium, 9.3 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 4.3 g sugars, 50.6 g protein (calculated with low-calorie coconut milk)
This Paleo recipe requires coconut milk, free-range chicken, garlic, onion and plethora of spices, including cumin, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric, known as the “Golden Spice of Life” by health experts. The most recent research shows this “super spice” may be an effective treatment for brain disease and may even help to both prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. For more super spices, check out these 5 Healthiest Spices on the Planet
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 382 calories, 9.4 g fat (2.7 g saturated), 392 mg sodium, 41.5 g carbs, 2.6 g fiber, 4.5 g sugars, 31.2 g protein
Red meat, like this Pepper Steak recipe, is packed with slimming protein
and iron, an essential mineral that fights anemia and helps our bodies transport oxygen. However, there’s a catch. When consumed in excess, iron can actually deter weight loss
and increase the risk of disease, according to a Journal of Clinical Investigation study. Limit your intake to no more than two or three servings (each about 3 ounces) of red meat per week, and stick to lean and grass-fed varieties whenever possible.
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 289 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 106 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 1.9 g sugars, 43.1 g protein
It doesn’t get any simpler than dropping an entire chicken into a slow cooker with veggies and seasoning, walking away and returning hours later to a wholesome cooked meal. ETNT TIP: Go organic. A recent study comparing conventional, antibiotic-free, and USDA Organic chicken found that inorganic arsenic concentrations were four times higher in conventional chicken meat than in USDA Organic chicken. For more chicken tips, check out these 5 Rules for Buying the Healthiest Chicken
Serves: 12 wraps, about 6 servings
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 359 calories, 8.2 g fat (2 g saturated), 457 mg sodium, 39.3 g carbs, 2.3 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 30 g protein (calculated without salt)
Although many lettuce wrap varieties allow you to cut carbs without compromising flavor, this recipe isn’t one of them. Rather it contains 39 grams of slow digesting carbs, that come from wholesome brown rice in place of nutrient-void white wraps. And you can have two for just 359 calories and 30 grams of protein.
DIPS AND SAUCES
Nutrition per ⅓ cup serving: 116 calories, 8.4 g fat (5.2 g saturated), 190 mg sodium, 4.8 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugars, 6.8 g protein
If you’ve ever had a Spinach Artichoke Dip, you know how divine of a combo spinach, artichokes and cheese are. However, you also know it’s a diet disaster. TGI Friday’s Tuscan Spinach Dip has a horrifying 870 calories, 29 grams of saturated fat and 1440 mg sodium. That’s why we love this slow cooker version with just 116 calories, ⅙ of the saturated fats and ⅛ of the sodium. For more deadly restaurant menu items, check out these 10 Meals That Should Have Warning Labels
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 122 calories, <.5 g fat, 3 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs, 5.8 g fiber, 24.5 g sugars, <1 g protein
All you need is apples, cinnamon, and a slow cooker to make this one. And it’s free of added sugars, fat, and questionable ingredients. Apples are bursting with belly-slimming fiber, antioxidants and as their rep claims, vitamins C and B6. Want to find out how to make this superfruit even healthier? Check out this video
Nutrition per ½ cup serving: 214 calories, 12.9 g fat (7.6 g saturated), 783 mg sodium, 3.9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2.2 g sugars, 19.7 g protein (calculated with 1 cup mozzarella and 3/4 cup hot sauce)
Although it seems far away, the Superbowl will be here before you know it. This Buffalo Chicken Dip is both low-cal and low-carb. Plus it’s got 20 grams of satiating protein and calls for a hearty amount of metabolism boosting
hot sauce. Who says you have to wait till the Superbowl?
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 103 calories, < .5 g fat (0 g saturated), 73 mg sodium, 26.6 g carbs, 4.5 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 2.3 g protein (calculated with low sodium vegetable stock)
Cutting into a butternut squash is pretty simple, which is why we are obsessed with this ingenious crock pot cooking method that makes cooking this superfood a breeze. Not only is butternut squash brimming with potassium and fiber, but it’s packed with carotenoids that fight heart disease and inflammation, as well as promote healthy vision and skin. This sauce provides almost five days worth (482%) of vitamin A per one cup serving and 79% of daily vitamin C demands.
Nutrition per ¼ cup serving: 44 calories, < .5 g fat (0 g saturated). 1 mg sodium, 11.7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 8.9 g sugars, <.5 g protein
Apple butter (aka spreadable applesauce) is less nutritionally dense than other butters
like peanut or almond. It contains just 44 calories and less than a gram of fat. It also doesn’t provide any protein and because it’s made from fruit, contains 9 grams of sugar per ¼ cup serving. Nonetheless, it’s a tasty, wholesome lower calorie option when nut butter just won’t cut it.
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 335 calories, 17.6 g fat (2.9 g saturated), 436 mg sodium, 33.7 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 3.6 g sugars, 14.4 g protein
Any pad thai lover will enjoy this One Pot Thai Peanut Pasta that mimics the Thailand dish’s flavor
with a different spin on the noodle. The best part? This version has 335 calories, 436 mg sodium and 14 grams of protein.
Nutrition per 1.2 cup serving: 397 calories, 14.8 g fat (8.8 g saturated), 440 mg sodium, 39.1 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 10.3 g sugars, 27.4 g protein (calculated with whole wheat lasagna noodles, reduced sodium tomato sauce, and part-skim mozzarella)
Skinny and lasagna are two words you don’t often see together, but that’s exactly what this crock pot recipe is. Rich in flavor and textures and low in calories, you can consume a hearty slice of this lasagna without breaking your calorie, carb and sodium banks.
SNACKS AND DRINKS
Nutrition per 1 cup serving: 133 calories, <1 g fat (0 g saturated), 3 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 25.9 g sugars, 1 g protein (calculated with stevia instead of granulated sugar) 50% DV vitamin C
If you aren’t apple-d out yet, we have just one more recipe that’ll truly fit around the holiday season. Whether you’re shopping for a Christmas tree, raking leaves or shoveling snow, this apple cider will provide you with a burst of energy and half a day’s worth of vitamin C, thanks to the sneaky orange that found it’s way in the pot. And if you truly aren’t done with apples, check out these 10 Apple Recipes for Weight Loss
Nutrition per 1 oz serving: 200 calories, 18.5 g fat (3.4 g saturated), 24 mg sodium, 7.4 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein