Sharing The Tips And Tricks I Have Learned Through The Years
Holidays are a joyous time for family and friends to gather. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 easy, healthy slow-cooker recipes so you can just set it and forget it. Less time in the kitchen, plus more time with your special ones? It’s a win-win scenario!
SIDES & STARTERS
1. SLOW COOKER ITALIAN TURKEY MEATBALLS | SKINNYTASTE
Want the secret to making the juiciest turkey meatballs ever? Add shredded zucchini. Rather than frying or baking the meatballs first, this recipe cuts down on prep time by plopping the meatballs right into the sauce and lets them slow-cook together. Recipe makes 6 servings at 4 meatballs and 2/3 cup sauce each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 235; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 104mg; Sodium: 471mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 22g
2. CROCK POT PUMPKIN RED LENTIL CHILI | KITCHEN TREATY
Thick and hearty, this vegetarian chili radiates comforting vibes with every spice-infused bite. For the cherry on top, this hassle-free recipe requires only 10 minutes of prep! Cooking Tip: Use reduced-sodium ingredients whenever possible, so that you can control the amount of salt in your dish. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 221; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 304mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 13g
Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Potatoes | Damn Delicious
3. SLOW COOKER GARLIC PARMESAN POTATOES | DAMN DELICIOUS
Crisp-tender potatoes are loaded with garlicky-Parmesan goodness for the easiest side dish made right in your slow cooker. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 265; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 171mg; Carbohydrate: 43g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 6g
4. SLOW COOKER HOLIDAY POT ROAST | EVERYDAY GOOD THINKING
It’s easy to see why slow-cooker meats are popular weekday entreées — just dump ingredients into a pot and come back in a few hours. This holiday season, make a holiday roast that’s as easy as any weekday dinner, but with all the thoughtful touches that makes the season special. Recipe makes 8 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 396; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 100mg; Sodium: 302mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 23g; Protein: 34g
5. SLOW COOKER GARLIC CHICKEN | COOKING LIGHT
This pan-fried garlic chicken is slow-cooked to perfection in wine, cognac and thyme. Don’t let those creamy cloves of garlic go to waste — spread them on chunks of crusty baguette or mix into brown rice and soak up the fabulous sauce as you enjoy every morsel of this super-tender chicken. Recipe makes 5 servings at 4 ounces chicken, 3 tablespoons sauce and 8 garlic cloves each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 265; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 80mg; Sodium: 264mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 30g
6. CROCK POT QUINOA PILAF | COTTER CRUNCH
Loaded with golden beets, broccoli and cranberries, this colorful, slow-cooked quinoa bowl makes for a flavorful vegetarian and gluten-free main. This wholesome, earthy pilaf uses the best veggies of the season, then tops them with feta and sunflower seeds. Recipe makes 8 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 236; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 292mg; Carbohydrate: 32g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 9g
7. CLEAN EATING SLOW COOKER BROWNIES | THE GRACIOUS PANTRY
If you didn’t think desserts could be made in a slow cooker, check out this recipe. Chocolaty brownies take a clean-eating turn with simple pantry staples and fruit, a perfect respite from the sugar overload of the season! Recipe makes 32 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 95; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 25mg; Carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 3g
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake | Amy’s Healthy Baking
8. SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE | AMY’S HEALTHY BAKING
A moist, tender pumpkin coffee cake with a thick cinnamon oat streusel topping? And made without refined flour or sugar? Yes, please! Serve this comfort food with tea at your next holiday gathering — you won’t have any leftovers. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 171; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 169mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 4g
9. CREAMY CROCKPOT HOT CHOCOLATE | PRACTICAL STEWARDSHIP
Creamy, rich hot chocolate is a must during cold weather. Skip the packaged hot cocoa packs for this easy-peasy slow-cooked holiday drink that’s made with less fat, sugar and additives. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, top your hot cocoa with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 cup each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 124; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 41mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 16g; Protein: 1g
10. SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN LATTE | FAMILY FRESH MEALS
Forgo the classic PSL at Starbucks, and save yourself 14 grams of sugar with this recipe. A warm cup of homemade spiced pumpkin latte certainly hits the spot during the holidays! If you’re on a strict sugar limit, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by one-third (it doesn’t ruin the taste). Recipe makes 10 servings at 1 cup each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 119; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 24mg; Sodium: 48mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 4g
Mason Jar Salads are super easy and super healthy. You can cut your meal prep time in half for those days you're in rush.
The basic idea when packing salads in jars is to start with the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients with the dressing on the bottom of the jar and work your way up through the lighter ingredients until you end up with the salad greens themselves. As long as your jar doesn't accidentally tip over in your bag, the delicate greens will be well-protected from the dressing until you're ready to eat.
When you're ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Everything gets pretty compacted in the jar, so some vigorous shaking may be needed! This shaking also helps to toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.
Any canning jar can be used, but wide-mouthed jars are the easiest for both packing the salad into the jars and shaking them out again. Pint-sized jars are great for individual side salads of mostly greens with just a few "extra" salad toppings. Use quart-sized jars for larger lunch and dinner salads that have a lot of extra veggies and salad goodies. Two-quart jars (or larger) are great if you're taking the salad to a potluck or cookout.
With the lid sealed tightly, these salads can last for several days in the fridge — up to five days or so. If you're making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked chicken breast, wait to add those ingredients until the day you plan to eat the salad. Also, if you have a vacuum-sealer attachment for your canning jars, vacuum-sealing the salads right after assembling them will keep your greens and veggies even crisper and fresher.
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What is the best source of carbs and nutrient timing post workout?
There are three things we look for in a post workout carbohydrate:
1: High on the glycemic index.
2: High on insulin index.
3: Low in fructose.
You need to spike insulin post workout if you want to replenish your glycogen stores. Foods that you might think are good but are not will include: grapes, mango, banana. Which could have high as 4.9% for fructose content. Also, avocados would be a poor choice because they have a high-fat content. You should be looking for fruits like apricots, Kiwi's, pineapples, figs, white rice and rice cakes. You also must have fast acting protein like whey or iso whey which will increase the amount of glycogen stored by approximately 32%. Having said that, the anabolic window has recently been studied to be a lot larger than originally thought. So don't worry too much about trying to get the carbs in before the 30-minute mark. You have more like 2 hours.
"I was 19 and I started dating someone — it was an unhealthy relationship," McGee, now 26, explained. "I stopped seeing my friends, stopped going to the gym, and started gaining weight."
The Ashford, Surrey, United Kingdom, resident felt like she lost herself. She couldn't look in the mirror without hating how she looked. One night, she was getting ready to go out and something snapped.
"I couldn't find anything to wear. I was dreading going out because I didn't want to be the fat friend. I broke down and cried," McGee recounted. She didn't end up going out that night; instead, she decided she had to make a change.
"I looked at myself (in the mirror) and I said, 'The amount of energy you're spending hating yourself, you could use that time and energy for changing yourself into who you want to be.'"
This was three years ago and McGee hasn't looked back since. She joined the weight-loss program Slimming World and took control of her life.
"I was really excited to start. Joining the plan felt like a glimmer of hope, and like I would gain control of my life again," she said.
Here are the five steps McGee took to start living a healthier lifestyle:
"Back when I was heavier, I was eating less. I would skip breakfast, eat a sandwich for lunch, and then end up binge eating in the evening," McGee remembered. Now, she prepares for her day the night before.
"I learned how to portion my plate, to include veggies, carbs and proteins."
McGee started by walking more with her dog, then she got a bike and started cycling a lot. But what really worked was finding a fitness class she loved.
"I started taking Zumba classes, and I really enjoyed it!" McGee said. "When you enjoy something, you want to do it more."
"I've had weeks where I cried, but the support network provided by Slimming World gave me a safe place where I could cry, but they would still help me focus on the positives," she said. "They helped me celebrate, even on the weeks that I had gained (weight)."
"There are millions of people who struggle to lose weight, if we're all in it together, it makes it less scary," McGee explained. "You should never feel ashamed of where you're at."
McGee isn't a slave to the number on the scale.
"I've gone on holidays where I expect to gain weight, and when I return and get back in my routine, it's off again," she explained. "I'm living life in the healthiest way possible — physically and mentally."