Establishing a lasting healthy lifestyle tends to top the list of New Year's resolutions come January 1. If eating right is one of your goals, it's best to start in the kitchen. Cooking at home allows you to take control of everything that goes into a meal, which makes it easier to manage your eating habits. However, the idea of preparing healthy meals every day can feel a bit daunting. From prep work to time spent cooking to the mass cleanup afterward, staying on track can be a serious time commitment.
If you don't have time to cook a healthy meal, turn to the crockpot. This handy device allows you to simply gather ingredients, place them in the pot, and go about your day while dinner pretty much cooks itself. Foodies and editors alike swear by the genius invention, and if you're looking for an easy way to reach your health goals, it's definitely worth the investment. Ready to start cooking healthy at home? Try your hand at one of these easy, healthy crockpot recipes for dinner tonight.
Thai Pork Salad
The Recipe: Thai Pork Salad
The Hero Ingredient: This dish gets its powerful flavor from the homemade curry paste dressing. It's what gives the veggie-packed salad and slow-cooked pork something extra.
The Pro Tip: Cassy Joy of Fed & Fit suggests whipping up extra dressing to have on hand. "I made extra so I could drizzle it over rice and chicken for days," she says.
The Recipe: Veggie Lasagna
The Hero Ingredient: Kale. Cooking it in the crockpot helps the superfood soften and become tender, making it the perfect filling for this veggie-packed lasagna.
The Pro Tip: Don't worry about breaking noodles to fit the pasta in the crockpot. "In the end, they all sort of just soak together to make layers that hold everything delicious together in one yummy meal," says Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum.
Potato and Cauliflower Curry
The Recipe: Potato and Cauliflower Curry
The Hero Ingredient: The cauliflower adds so many good-for-you nutrients to this dish, plus it makes the curry feel hearty and satisfying.
The Pro Tip: "This is one of those amazing slow-cooker recipes that you really do just drop in all the ingredients, forget about it, come back later, and eat," says Teighan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili with Quinoa
The Recipe: Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili With Quinoa
The Hero Ingredient: Quinoa is not traditionally found in chili. In this recipe, the protein-packed grain will keep you full long after the dinner table is cleared.
The Pro Tip: "This is a go-to recipe to prep ahead and make in the slow cooker while you're away all day and arrive home to all the delicious, homemade chili smells with dinner just a ladle away," says Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush.
Salsa Chicken and Spinach
The Recipe: Salsa Chicken and Spinach
The Hero Ingredient Fresh spinach. It provides you the nutrition you need to feel your best and adds a pop of color to the healthy dish.
The Pro Tip: "This recipe is low in calories, with a ton of protein, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and iron," explains Amy of A Healthy Life for Me. Just be sure to find a sugar-free salsa.
Vegetable Quinoa with Golden Milk
The Recipe: Vegetable Quinoa With Golden Milk
The Hero Ingredient: Golden milk—basically a mixture of coconut milk and turmeric—steals the show in the recipe. It's an unexpected healthy ingredient with bold flavors.
The Pro Tip: You can buy golden milk at the store to save time when cooking. "[It] already has the perfect blend of creamy coconut milk and a pop of sweet honey that is perfectly balanced out by all the spicy-warm flavor profiles of cinnamon," shares Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese
The Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese
The Hero Ingredient: Spaghetti squash may be the main ingredient, but this dish wouldn't be complete with a dollop of creamy burrata to top it off.
The Pro Tip: "It might seem weird, but you actually cook the spaghetti squash right in the crockpot with the Bolognese," says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. You don't even have to cut the spaghetti squash in half before cooking it. It couldn't be easier.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
The Recipe: Creamy Chicken Noodle soup
The Hero Ingredient: A variety of veggies makes this homemade soup healthy and delicious. Think yellow onion, celery, carrots, and corn, all seasoned with bay leaves, thyme, basil, and oregano.
The Pro Tip: If chopping vegetables is too much prep work, Chelsea of Chelsea's Messy Apron suggests seeking out pre-chopped veggies from the market. That way you'll really be able to simply throw all your ingredients in the crockpot and wait for dinner to cook itself.
Butternut Squash Soup
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup
The Hero Ingredient: This naturally gluten-free and vegan soup is brimming with flavors from the butternut squash. In addition to the fall vegetable, it also calls for carrots, apple, onions, vegetable stock, coconut milk, and seasonings like garlic and cinnamon.
The Pro Tip: Ali of Gimme Some Oven likes to top her soup with extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of toasted pepitas.
The Recipe: Paleo Chili
The Hero Ingredient: Slow-cooked chuck roast is the star of this easy, healthy crockpot recipe. Paired with lots of vegetables, tomato sauce, and spices, it's a Paleo meal that anyone can enjoy.
The Pro Tip: According to Natalie of The Modern Proper, the key to getting the texture of the beef just right is to brown it in a skillet before allowing it to cook all the way through in the crockpot.
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This post was originally published on January 8, 2018, and has since been updated.