If you’re looking to start a new diet, get back to proper eating after a holiday break, or simply shake up the healthy lifestyle you’re already living, your slow cooker can help. To make things even easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite recipes that don’t have a lot of calories, are high in things like fiber and protein, or have other desirable health benefits. Whether they’re full meals, side dishes, or even some desserts, here are 20 of the healthiest slow cooker recipes.
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An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but that adage gets a bit questionable when the apples are baked into a dessert. However, this apple crisp from Slender Kitchen isn’t actually that unhealthy—it only has 246 calories, which leaves you some leeway for ice cream.
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Balsamic Brussels sprouts
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Beef and broccoli
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This beef and broccoli recipe from The Clean Eating Couple is paleo-friendly, Whole 30-approved, and gluten-free. It’s simple—just steak tips, broccoli, cauliflower rice, and a homemade marinade—and amounts to only 500 calories, with healthy servings of fiber (5 grams), protein (54 grams), iron (28%), and vitamin C (162%).
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Beef brisket tacos
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So-tender-it-falls-apart brisket is the best taco filling, and the best way to make it is in your slow cooker. As for the best recipe, we’ll just mention that this one from Taste of Home calls for a full can or bottle of beer—and is still less than 300 calories for a two-taco serving.
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Butternut squash risotto
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This in-season butternut squash risotto from It’s a Veg World After All will fill you up without compromising your diet. Its eight ingredients (squash, brown rice, shallots, broth, parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper) have just 255 calories per serving, as well as 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
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We love this chicken enchiladas recipe from Skinny Ms., not only because it’s healthy (fewer than 300 calories per enchilada), and not only because it’s delicious, but because you can make the entire thing in the slow cooker. The chicken is cooked and sauced in the pot before getting rolled into tortillas and put back in for the finishing touches.
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Chicken noodle soup
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Mom always said chicken noodle soup was good for colds, but it’s also good for your diet. A mix of chicken, egg noodles, celery, and carrots, this version from Well Plated by Erin has only 245 calories per two-cup serving, as well as 29 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
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Honey garlic chicken
“Honey garlic chicken” sounds like it has too many tasty words to be healthy, but Diethood makes it happen—and using a slow cooker! Each serving (one thigh) is just 227 calories with 25 grams of protein.
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Tagged as both low calorie and heart-healthy, this jambalaya recipe from EatingWell contains fewer than 300 calories with nearly 30 grams of protein per serving. That includes chicken, turkey sausage, shrimp, veggies, and brown rice!
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“Tagine” or “tajine” is the name of both a type of cooking pot as well as the North African dishes prepared in it. This version from Recipe This includes diced lamb, onions, carrots, butternut squash, tomatoes, chickpeas, and apricots, and just 350 calories per serving to go with 39 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
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Some pulled pork is loaded with grease, but not this version from SkinnyTaste. A 3-ounce serving with 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce has 203 calories and 30.5 grams of protein, which means you can throw it on a couple of slider buns (and even add some coleslaw) with no guilt.
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The lentil-based Indian food known as dal is a solid source of both protein and fiber, but relatively low in calories. This red lentil dal recipe from Hey Nutrition Lady, for instance, has fewer than 200 calories per serving with a whopping 14 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein.
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A healthy dessert option, this rice pudding from SupergoldenBakes clocks in at just 150 calories, but boasts 8 grams of protein. It also requires only four ingredients, unless you feel like adding vanilla extract, fruit, honey, maple syrup, or all of the above.
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Root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and parsnips are high in fiber, making this recipe from Family Style Food good and good for you. If you need further convincing, the veggies are cooked in an apple cider glaze.
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We need at least one true seafood dish in this list, so why not one that features four-count ‘em—four different types of seafood, but still registers just 205 calories and 29 grams of protein per 1.25-cup serving. This seafood stew from Taste of Home includes shrimp, haddock, clams, and crabmeat.
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Steel cut oatmeal
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If you’re going to make oatmeal in your crockpot—and you totally should—go for steel-cut oats, as they have a lower glycemic index and higher fiber content than traditional old-fashioned oats. Customize it to your liking, or try this recipe for overnight steel cut oats from Well Plated by Erin, which has fewer than 200 calories per serving, but still packs 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
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As healthy as it is delicious, there’s a good reason why this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen is called “Seriously, the Best Healthy Turkey Chili.” Featuring ground turkey, kidney beans, corn, and several other super-comforting ingredients, a 1.5-cup serving is just 336 calories with 31.8 grams of protein and a whopping 17.4 grams of fiber.
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Vegetarian split pea soup
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Only 112 calories (and 6 grams of fiber!) are in each serving of this split pea soup recipe from Yummy Mummy Kitchen. And despite its complex appearance, it actually only requires 10 ingredients, including healthy doses of carrots, onions, celery, and, of course, split peas.