How to Make Balanced and Healthy Slow Cooker Dishes

Image representing healthy slow cooker recipes with beef and veggies prepped together in a crock pot

Do you have a packed schedule or lots of tasks around the house to accomplish? Healthy slow cooker dishes can be your best friend! On a busy evening with so much going on, a slow cooker (also called a crock pot) can be your answer to a nutritious dinner that everyone will enjoy. You can purchase a slow cooker for as little as around 25 dollars, and they provide a big payoff.

Benefits of Healthy Slow Cooker Dishes

  • Are you stressed about meals on a busy night? Put dinner in a slow cooker and go about your business. Come home to a nutritious meal waiting for you.
  • Spending too much money on fast food? Slow cooker meals can save major amounts of money when you shop sales and meal plan.
  • Worried you are eating too much junk? Instead of throwing a processed fast-food pizza in the oven, take a few minutes in the morning to prep for a healthy dinner in the slow cooker.

How to Make the Most of Your Slow Cooker

  • Choose the Right Meat – Pork shoulders, chicken thighs and roasts become tender in the slow cooker. Leaner cuts of meat may dry out.
  • Don’t Overfill – Fill your crock pot to about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  • Watch Your Settings – Low settings take seven to eight hours. High settings take four to five hours.
  • Chop Your Vegetables in Uniform Size – This will help the food cook evenly.

Try a Meal That Contains it All

Soups, stews and chilis can give you all the basics of a balanced, healthy meal: protein, produce and whole grains. These one-pot meals are great for any day! They’re easy to throw together quickly and enjoy later in the day, making them a huge time-saver.

Use the Slow Cooker for the Main Dish

Use the slow cooker for a main dish such as beef, chicken, fish or beans. Include some easy sides in your meal to balance it out. A quick salad or a roasted vegetable can help you round out dinner with an additional option.

Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

Pork Vegetable Soup

Source: TasteofHome.com


  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsps. canola oil
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 can (12 oz.) light or nonalcoholic beer
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg


Sprinkle pork with garlic powder. In a large skillet, brown pork in oil; drain.

Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaves.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken

Source: EatingWell.com


  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tsps. cornstarch
  • 2 tsps. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 large bell-pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sliced scallions for garnish


Coat a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in one layer at the bottom of the slow cooker. Whisk broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a measuring cup until smooth. Add sesame oil, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper; stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the chicken, then scatter pineapple, bell pepper and onion over the top. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours or on high for 2 hours.

Remove the chicken and vegetables by placing them in a bowl. Transfer the liquid to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Coarsely shred the chicken; place the chicken mixture in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and stir to combine. Garnish with scallions, if desired.

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