For years slow cookers have been associated with heavy, rich dishes that are anything but healthy. While these dishes might be tasty and are fine for an occasional treat, for every day, some healthier recipes are needed. Luckily, it is as easy to make a healthy meal in the slow cooker as it is to make an unhealthy one. Making simple ingredient substitutions and choosing recipes that are high on flavor, fruits, fiber, vegetables, and lean protein instead of fat are the keys to healthy slow-cooking success.
Meals can be assembled in the morning and eaten immediately upon arrival home. It is even faster than getting takeout! Healthy alternatives to traditional heavy soup and canned-good slow cooker recipes are perfect for people who like modern, creative food similar to what would be served in a restaurant. These recipes are easy to follow and include ingredients that can be found in almost any supermarket.
Healthy eating means choosing foods for optimal health. Recipes that use whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and fiber-rich legumes go a long way toward promoting a healthy autoimmune system and digestive tract. The trick is to use foods that are high in flavor but not fat. Using fruits, vegetables, and spices to flavor a meal instead of rich sauces is a step in the right direction. Fresh ingredients like onions, garlic, fennel, celery, carrots, apples, pears, and mangoes add lots of flavor, are low in calories, and are high in fiber.
Eating healthily does not mean giving up entirely on old favorites, just learning how to prepare them in a new, more wholesome way. There is no reason to use high-sodium and calorific condensed soups when fat-free evaporated milk adds creaminess without the fat. Spices add richness and robust flavor while adding virtually no calories. Very lean cuts of meat will become tender after cooking for hours. Making biscuit and dumpling toppings from scratch saves calories, and these recipes are just as easy as using a mix. The slow cooker can also be used to create flavorful yet low-fat stocks and sauces that can be used in many other recipes instead of bottled or canned alternatives.
Slow cooking isn't just for dinner! Breakfast can easily be made in the slow cooker. Egg dishes are a wonderful way to start your day with lots of protein. Whole-grain cereals cook overnight so you can wake up to a hot, high-fiber, filling breakfast with no work required. Or try a dessert that is cooking while you eat dinner. Even appetizers, dips, sauces, and spreads can be made with minimal effort in the slow cooker. It truly is an all-day, all-year appliance.
In this book you will find 300 recipes to choose from based on calorie count, fiber content, fat content, and nutritional profile. Some recipes are “slimmed-down” versions of old favorites while others are fresh new ways to consume healthful foods with little effort. The recipes are all so full-flavored that you won't miss the extra fat and calories found in most other slow cooker dishes. The wide range of regional and international choices will suit large families, couples, vegetarians, vegans, and dessert lovers.