You know the struggle. With temperatures in the 40’s, you want to binge on macaroni and cheese and other hearty comfort foods. But with June just around the corner, you want to stay healthy and fit, so you can shed those winter coats in exchange for summer shorts.
Walking the line between hearty, indulgent winter meals and healthy, nutritious weeknight meals is a balancing act. Enter the slow cooker.
With a crockpot, some seasonal produce, and a bit of time, you can create drool-worthy (and Instagram worthy!) healthy meals that you’ll actually be excited to come home to.
Pulled Pork Tacos
(Photo credit: Food Network)
Who doesn’t love tacos? When you get home after a long day, just grab a tortilla, a slice of avocado and a dollop of sour cream and you’ve got a restaurant-ready dinner in minutes. Bonus: Make a batch of low cal margaritas to really feel like you’re indulging! Grab the recipe here.
Skinny Vegetarian Lasagna
(Photo credit: Pinch of Yum)
Not a lot of foods are quite as synonymous with “comfort” as lasagna. Hot bubbly cheese – delicious pasta – decadent sauce – oregano. It’s the perfect dinner for a cozy night in. But traditional lasagna is packed with fat and calories. Not this one! Veggies not your thing? Toss in some extra lean ground beef to punch it up a notch.
Mac and Cheese
(Photo credit: Dizzy, Busy, and Hungry)
Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese? Gasp! We know, it’s a bit against nature. Macaroni and cheese should come fresh out of the oven bubbling and slightly crunchy on top. But when you consider how healthy this meal is, you may be able to forgive the slow cooker. Just toss the completed mac and cheese under a broiler for 20 minutes to get that decadent crunch.
(Photo credit: Joe Lingeman)
To loosely quote Joey from Friends, “Pesto, good! Chicken, good! Tomatoes, good!” If you’re a pesto lover missing your pasta, this healthy alternative may be just what you need on a cold winter night. What’s really nice about this recipe is you can make a big batch of the pesto to start and save all the leftovers for other pasta dishes throughout the week. Pesto also freezes well for later use.
Stop the presses! You can make carrot cake in a slow cooker. Not just that – you can make HEALTHY (well, healthy-ish) carrot cake in a slow cooker. Each piece clocks in at about 9.5 grams of carbs and about 9 grams of protein. Not too shabby for a weeknight dessert.
You should never have to sacrifice flavor, comfort, or decadence for health. Now you don’t have to! What’s your favorite healthy slow cooker recipe?
Nicole Hunt is a copywriter and marketer based in DC. When she’s not helping local businesses thrive online, she’s probably in a kayak. Follow her on IG @dcnicole_marie or LinkedIn @dcnicolemarie.