The slow cooker is one of the most versatile cooking tools for good reason: It saves time and turns inexpensive, tougher cuts of meat into tender delicacies after cooking all day. It’s also a great tool for those who don’t have time to dedicate to meal prep on a Sunday.
To celebrate our love of the slow cooker, we’ve rounded up MyFitnessPal’s 10 most pinned slow-cooker recipes of the year, all under 450 calories. Be sure to check out our Pinterest boards for other healthy recipes and fitness tips, too!
1. SLOW-COOKER GARLIC CHICKEN
This 265-calorie recipe calls for pan-frying the chicken and then slow-cooking it to perfection in wine, cognac and thyme. Cut down on time by substituting the whole chicken for 3 pounds of precut chicken pieces and using pre-peeled garlic cloves. Recipe makes 5 servings at 4 ounces chicken + 3 tablespoons sauce + 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
2. SLOW-COOKER TURKEY BEAN CHILI
This chili uses lean ground turkey in lieu of beef, reducing the cholesterol and saturated fat content and adds beans for bonus fiber (10 grams!). Put the ingredients into the slow cooker before bed for a satisfying next-day lunch. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 1/2 cups chili + 1 ounce baked tortilla chips each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 428; Total Fat: 17g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 377mg; Carbohydrate: 46g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 25g
Trust us: This stew is a crowd-pleaser well beyond St. Paddy’s Day. With tender beef, brown potatoes and carrots in a thick gravy, it’s hard to believe this recipe has less than 400 calories and 27 grams of protein. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 cups each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 363; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 9mg; Sodium: 582mg; Carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 27g
4. SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN LENTIL CHILI
With lean chicken breast and two different kinds of beans — lentils and black beans — this Tex-Mex-inspired dish contains nearly half your fiber quota for the day and less than 300 calories. Recipe makes 8 servings at 1 1/2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) each
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 282; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 38mg; Sodium: 448mg; Carbohydrate: 39g; Dietary Fiber: 18g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 28g
5. SLOW-COOKER ITALIAN TURKEY MEATBALLS
Slow-cooking locks in the moisture, making for extra juicy meatballs. Cooking them with the sauce saves time for you to prepare the pasta to serve them with. If you’re watching your carbs, serve with spaghetti squash instead. Recipe makes 6 servings at 4 meatballs + 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
6. SLOW-COOKER SWEET POTATO CURRY
This vegetarian slow-cooker sweet potato curry is high in flavor and protein (a whopping 31 grams!), while being low in calories, fat and sodium. The yogurt adds a tangy flavor that balances the heat if you use a spicy curry powder. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 cup each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 297; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 70mg; Sodium: 582mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 31g
7. SLOW-COOKER JERK CHICKEN
This dish is for those who like a bit of kick with their chicken. Craving more heat? Increase the Cayenne pepper. This crispy chicken pairs well with a side salad and basmati rice. Recipe makes 5 servings at 2 drumsticks each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 253; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 184mg; Sodium: 376 mg; Carbohydrate: 6g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 4g; Protein 34g
8. SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP
Why spend hours making soup when you can drop the ingredients in the slow-cooker and come home to a soup ready to devour? Top each bowl with crushed, whole-wheat tortilla chips to give this 319-calorie recipe extra crunch. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 1/2 cups soup + 2 tablespoons cheese + 2 teaspoons scallions + 2 teaspoons cilantro + 1/6 avocado each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 319; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 43mg; Sodium: 741mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 23g
9. SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
With cooler weather approaching, it’s hard not to crave cozy classics like chicken soup. This riff boasts 33 grams of protein and only 323 calories. We like orecchiette, but you can swap in your own preferred pasta or extra veggies to limit the carbs. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1/4 of dish + 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 323; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 73mg; Sodium: 536mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 33g
10. CROCK-POT BOLOGNESE
Impress guests with this low-calorie Bolognese sauce, made by slow-cooking lean ground beef, pancetta, onions, tomatoes and wine over several hours. Tip: This sauce freezes well, so make an extra batch for later in the month. Recipe makes 20 servings at 1/2 cup sauce each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 143; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 48mg; Sodium: 145mg; Carbohydrate: 5g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 15g
Head over to our Pinterest page for other healthy recipes!