Easy Crock-Pot Recipes to Help You Eat Clean and Stay Fit

Slow Cook Your Way to a Fitter Body

Have you considered using a crock-pot to start eating cleaner and as part of your fitness program? They are also known as slow-cookers and have resurfaced as the current trend for healthy nutrition accountability. Many active individuals and athletes are using crock-pots to maintain fit lifestyles.

Crock-pots were initially designed to save time and have a hot meal ready to eat after working long hours. Saving time is still one of the numerous advantages of using a crock-pot but other health benefits include:

  • Consuming whole foods that are more nutritious.
  • Eliminates temptation to order fast food.
  • Eating at home is healthier than restaurant dining.
  • You control what you eat.
  • Keeps you on track with a healthy diet.
  • Simple, one-step preparation. 

The Best Crock-Pot

CHICKEN STEW IN CROCK POT
Rita Maas / Getty Images

The best crock-pot will be one you feel comfortable using. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your personal needs. Slow cookers allow for easy meal prep and simplify getting ready for a busy week where cooking daily can be difficult.

Selecting a large crock-pot with a timer is the best way to cook multiple meals in one pot while you’re sleeping or off doing other things. It really takes the stress out of healthy cooking, a common complaint with many who are trying to get fit and struggling with nutrition. Most slow cooker settings follow these guidelines:

  • Low setting – food is ready in 6 to 10 hours.
  • High-setting – food is ready in 4 to 6 hours.
  • Variable setting – food cooks on high for a few hours and downshifts to low setting.

Because crock-pots come in varied sizes ranging from 1 to 7 quarts, many individuals opt to purchase more than one. This is helpful when preparing healthy foods like steel cut oats and chicken breasts on meal prep day

Cooking Tips

Crock-pots can be used year round to keep you on track with healthy eating. One-step preparation allows you to put whatever lean meat, vegetables, and seasonings in your slow-cooker before bed or work having meals ready in the morning or when you get home. 

Active adults and athletes are known to slow-cook meal prep on a weekly basis. Selecting a day on the weekend or another day off enables plenty of time to cook and portion out your meals. It’s recommended to purchase several seal-tight containers easily portable in a cooler to portion out your crockpot creations. Your slow cook leftovers will become a refrigerator full of grab and go meals for the week. This will keep you on track with eating healthy and reaching your fitness goals. 

The following crock-pot recipes will help get you started:

Crock-Pot Chicken Breasts

Lean meats are a great protein source and slow cook to tender perfection in the crock-pot. How much chicken, lean red beef or pork being slow cooked depends on if you’re cooking for one person or a family. Athletes and bodybuilders portion and use the leftovers for a variety of chicken meals throughout the week. The most popular fit meals include chicken coupled with brown rice or ½ sweet potato, and side of green vegetable. 

Any lean meat can be cooked in the crock-pot for the same amount of time. The following crock-pot chicken recipe is one of the most popular slow-cooked meals for athletes: 

  • Add 6 to 12 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts to the crock-pot.
  • Chop up hearty vegetables that you like and toss those in (frozen is OK).
  • Add a small amount of chicken, vegetable, or beef broth (salsa works, too).
  • Sprinkle your favorite herbs all over the food (going spicy will boost metabolism).
  • Turn crock-pot on low and cook for 7 to 8 hours (timer shifts to warm after selected cook time is complete).

Most athletes prefer cooking lean meats like chicken and fish, but will sometimes indulge in leaner cuts of red meat. If you’re trying to eat cleaner, the following meat and poultry nutrient breakdowns will be helpful:

  • Chicken breast (boneless/skinless) – 3oz. serving, 102 calories, 2g fat, 19g protein
  • Turkey breast (boneless/skinless) – 3oz. serving, 125 calories, 2g fat, 26g protein  
  • Beef pot roast – 5oz. serving, 290 calories, 20g fat, 25g protein
  • Tri-tip roast – 3oz. serving, 158 calories, 7g fat, 23g protein
  • Pork roast – 4oz. serving, 150 calories, 6g fat, 23g protein

Slow Cooked Brown Rice (Never Dry)

Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate and excellent source of fiber and essential nutrients. It’s easy to prepare and adding vegetables ensures the rice is never dry. Using a round, 4-quart slow cooker set to high will have the following rice recipe ready in approximately 3 to 5 hours:  

  • Measure 2 cups organic brown rice and add to crock-pot.
  • Add 5 cups water.
  • Add one 14.5oz can organic ready-cut diced tomatoes (do not drain).
  • Add 4 ribs chopped organic celery.
  • Chop and add half of a large onion.
  • Spice it up by squirting hot chili sauce all over the top before stirring.
  • Add your favorite herbs (2 Tbsp. no-salt herb blend, ½ to 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika)
  • Stir and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir again and check to see how the rice is doing. It will be done when liquid is absorbed but without rice being mushy. (approx. 3-5 hours)

Enjoy hot from the crock-pot and divide the leftovers as part of your grab and go weekly meals.

Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are amazing when cooked in the crock-pot. They are an excellent source of fiber and also considered a heart-healthy antioxidant superfood. Load your crock-pot before going to bed and wake to a nutrient-dense breakfast meal. The following recipe is a great way to fuel your body for the day and kick-start your metabolism: 

  • Add 1 to 2 cups steel-cut oats to the crock pot (1 cup of oats requires 3 cups of water).
  • Add in water according to steel-cut oats measurement.
  • Add in options include - chopped walnuts, tablespoon ground flax meal, 1 tsp cinnamon,  3 cinnamon sticks, or chopped apple along with skin (pick your favorite add-ins).
  • Set the timer to low and cook for 6 to 7 hours.

Divide any leftovers into portions for the rest of the week.

A Word From Verywell

Slow cooking is a fun, simple, and great way to help you adopt eating healthier, an important part of achieving your fitness goals. It’s really a trend that has never gone out of style and athletes have been using to maintain their fitness. You can enjoy the same health benefits from nutritious foods by implementing this method of cooking and be on your way to a fitter you.   

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