Eating a healthy diet isn’t too difficult during the summertime. Sure, there are the occasional slip-ups with icy cocktails or fried chicken picnics. However, at that time of year, fresh fruits, leafy salads and cold veggies all taste very appealing. In the summertime, eating a green salad can feel as appealing as yellow snow.
Is it still possible to enjoy healthy and easy meals throughout the winter? Sure! Even when you’re scorning the thought of a salad, you can toss tons of veggies into your slow cooker for a delicious meal. Consider the following five delicious and wholesome slow cooker meals that will help to support your weight loss efforts.
1. Waistline friendly macaroni and cheese – The last thing most people want to do when they’re trying to lose weight is to load up on a meal absent of veggies but chock full of white pasta and heavy cheeses. They may taste great but that’s a fast route to negating all the great progress you’ve made with your dieting until now. Instead, use whole grain pasta and a sauce made in your slow cooker out of butternut squash that you can puree along with low fat cheddar and skim mozzarella once it’s cooked. You’ll add even more richness to that delicious cheesy taste. Want to boost the protein and creaminess even further? Toss some navy beans in with the squash, then puree them, too, once it’s all cooked.
2. Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas – In the morning, layer your beans, sweet potatoes, beans, sauce, etc in the slow cooker. By dinnertime, you won’t believe how delicious the house will smell. Sprinkle lightly with a bit of your favorite low fat cheese before serving.
3. Summer veggie lasagna – Use your slow cooker to make a whole grain lasagna with layers of chopped zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, bell pepper and even spinach, with light cheese and sauce. All the flavors will simmer together and blend all day for an ultra rich dinner you’ll forget is packed with nutrients and fiber.
4. Split pea and brown rice soup – In the middle of winter, a hearty split pea soup can warm you as it fills you up. Give it even more nutrients and zing by adding green onions, chopped tomatoes and brown rice. You’ll be stunned at the range of flavors it provides while still feeling like a warm hug from grandma.
5. Turkey chili – Swap out your favorite chili recipe’s beef for ground turkey meat instead. Instead of using one kind of beans, try using two or three to add even more flavors and textures. Red kidney beans and black beans are easy favorites. This will help to keep the fiber, protein and flavor right up there while eliminating a good amount of the unhealthy fat.