Colder temperatures might make you crave comfort food, but indulging in a dish of something warm and hearty doesn’t have to derail your diet. Thanks to the magic of slow cooking, you can enjoy some of fall’s most delicious flavors without the extra ingredients that can lead to unwanted weight gain. Plus, “set it and forget it” is a mantra pretty much anyone can get behind. “I started slow cooking faithfully after I had my daughter,” says Sarah Olson, author of The Magical Slow Cooker. “Using my slow cooker makes getting dinner on the table easy.”
George Hess and Jamie Krauss Hess, the husband-and-wife duo behind the healthy living Instagram account @NYCfitfam, rely on their slow cooker to fuel their workouts during the colder months. “Just because you’re making ‘winter comfort food’ doesn’t mean you should abandon your healthy standards,” says Krauss Hess. “We really use the same theory behind all of our cooking methods: Think clean.”
Before you start, make sure you check out these crockpot cooking essentials thanks to Kristen Mccaffrey, who runs the website Slender Kitchen.
Crockpot Cooking Staples
- Start with a lean protein and a mix of spices (A Beginner’s Guide to Herbs and Spices)
- Broths and spices are your friend since they are very low calorie and flavorful
- The addition of liquids such as low-sodium soy sauce or salsa can enhance overall flavor
- Add heartier vegetables at the beginning and quick-cooking vegetables in the last 30 minutes
- Add a splash of coconut milk, butter, or cream at the end to add richness
Scroll down to check out three healthy and innovative slow-cooker recipes you’ll want to try out this season—there’s even a dessert sure that’s to please pastry fanatics. Click on the recipe cards for a printable version!