I love my crock pot! It helps me make good food with little effort and even less time. My mother-in-law once told me it used to be called the “working mom’s best friend.” I’d say it’s just the mom’s cooking best friend, period.
My problem with crock pot meals is that they can often involve some unhealthy stuff. I want the convenience of the crock pot, but I also want to serve my family a nutritious dinner.
“Cream of” soups are a common ingredient, and they add fat and sodium that we don’t need. One can of cream of chicken soup has 22% of the saturated fat we are supposed to get in a day. It also has 87% of the amount of salt that we should get in one day. That’s just plain unhealthy. I don’t know about you, but if I’m getting a bunch of saturated fat, I want it to come from something sweet and delicious.
When it comes to making healthy crock pot meals there are 2 keys for me…
1. Take out the bad stuff
For example, the cream of soups and the Velveeta cheese
– A homemade substitute for cream of chicken soup using butter, milk, and low-sodium chicken broth has 9% of the daily allowance for saturated fat and 22% the daily value of sodium (as compared to 87% in a can of cream of chicken soup).
2. Add in the good stuff
Vegetables! There are so many ways to get vegetables in – this will add great benefit to the meals you fix. And usually, when vegetables are mixed into a dish, kids are more likely to eat them.
Some of my favorites:
My very favorite and seriously so very easy pork recipe. I love making pork tacos with this one! Go heavy on the veggies, fix some brown rice, and use light sour cream and cheese and this is a good, healthy meal.
I make this Sante Fe Chicken a lot. It’s easy and a really good protein-rich meal with beans and chicken. I also add a can of diced tomatoes, just to add more color and flavor. Use light cream cheese instead of regular (but not fat free because it doesn’t melt well). Serve this with brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and fruit.
Veggie Chicken Pasta Bake is a little more time consuming but by far the most nutritious crock pot meal I make. This pasta bake makes for a super healthy meal! It’s full of vegetables, which are covered in sauce making it more likely for the kids and husband to eat. Top it off with a low-fat cheese, whole wheat bread, and a salad on the side.
We’d love for you to share your favorite crock pot recipes in the comments section!