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For those of us that have 40 – 50 hour weeks, spare time is rare, and the world asks us to make the most of it. This means finding efficient ways to get the children to their activities, mapping out your errands, and finding quick and convenient ways to prepare meals. We’re about to help you with the latter.  This list of 4-hour slow cooker meals will let you quickly prep meals after a busy day to make a variety of nutritious and delicious meals.

The Best Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Meals

Celiac disease and gluten allergies are difficult to deal with. The convenience of getting something without gluten usually costs you an arm and a leg. However, for these delicious recipes, you don’t have to sacrifice a limb or your hunger for great food.

1. Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce wraps

This delicious and healthy meal takes 4-6 hours to make. It asks for filling lean ground meat such as chicken and turkey. In addition carrots, bell peppers and a lot of flavors to give you nutrients that even the pickiest of us will eat.

2. Crockpot Chicken Soup With Mexican Seasonings

This meal will warm up those cold spring nights. However, it’s not only warm in temperature, as is seasoned with a different kind of heat. For example, the recipe calls for cumin which is good for digestion, anemia, and immunity to sickness.[i] In addition to, carrots which provide prevention of heart disease and potassium to increase blood circulation.[ii]

Healthy Hearty Soups

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3. Indian-style curried eggplant

This dish also has a little kick by using super herbs like ginger, and turmeric. Additionally, this gluten-free delight only has a 3-hour cook time, so the only thing that will slow you down is enjoying it.

4. Apple sauce

This recipe is not necessarily a meal for the hungriest. However, it’s a delicious homemade recipe that can bring you a snack without preservatives and added sugar. You can also get all the benefits of apple cider vinegar with this recipe.

Lots of Veggies

Vegetables are the best way to get your vitamins, and if done right they can fill you better than the heaviest and greasiest food. These recipes show us what superfoods have to offer, reminding us that healthy doesn’t mean losing hearty.

1. Meatless Quinoa Chili 

Quinoa is a Great grain to fill you

Except for quinoa, this chili is made from ingredients that we can pronounce. Although with a mouthful of beans, cumin, peppers, and other vegetables, pronouncing anything might be a little tricky. Quinoa is an excellent way to replace the sustenance of meat frequently put in chili, as it gives Protein, helps to reduce migraines, and is a complex carb good for managing your weight by keeping you full.[iii]

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2. Quinoa, Chicken, and Kale Soup

This soup uses chicken and quinoa to keep you full along with kale’s Vitamins, fiber, and omega-3s.[iv]

3. Quinoa Tex Mex 3-4 hours

This casserole exploits the powerful flavors of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and more. With a 3-4 hour cook time, they will be blended nicely and timely.

4. Buffalo Chicken Chili

For a heartier, healthier, and more heavenly version of buffalo style chicken wings use this recipe. It includes carrots, celery, and onions along with proteins like chicken and beans to keep you fuller longer. This recipe will satisfy those fatty food cravings without any of the guilt afterward.

5. Slow-cooker Vegetarian Lasagna with Mushrooms & Kale

When you read the word lasagna in a health article, you might roll your eyes. However, this is temptation you are allowed to give in to. Even though it involves cheese and pasta, the recipe suggests methods of reducing the caloric value by using low-fat ricotta, whole wheat pasta and by offering other nutritious fillers like peppers, mushrooms, and kale. Also, it has less than a 2-hour cook time!

Dairy-Free

Cheese, butter, and milk are hard to avoid. They bring the fat and richness we crave. However, vegetables and good spices are another way to satisfy our fervor for flavor

1. Ginger Crock Pot Chicken 

Ginger will help with stomach problems

Ginger is a new superfood and finding ways to incorporate it might be tricky as it is a very potent herb. However, this recipe offers a range of flavors such as citrus, chicken broth, carrots, and ginger, making nothing too overpowering, while getting the benefits of ginger.

2. Butternut Squash with whole grains 

Slow cookers see a lot of chili and simple soups. However, a high-class soup like butternut squash? No way! Yes, way! You can make a flavorful and simple meal with the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, and healthy eyesight benefits of spinach. [v] In addition to the Vitamin A, and filling fiber attributes of butternut squash.[vi]

3. Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Taco

This recipe is a flavorful combination of ingredients, such as avocado and cumin to make you forget about the sour cream and cheese that often goes on tacos. However, if not everyone needs to be dairy-free in the family, you can add cheese afterward.

4. Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

This last recipe is a Mexican inspired slow cooked meal. Mexico knows how to use the most of the flavourful ingredients without relying on fatty staples like red meat and cheese. Instead, this recipe incorporates heat from jalapenos, citrus from lime juice, and the sweetness of salsa to create a dynamic dish to avoid fatty substitutes.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Delicious

“Vegan,” “gluten-free,” and “delicious” are more likely to appear together in a game of Scrabble. Yet, we’ve gone the extra step and have even found recipes that embody all three words.

1. Slow Cooker Mixed Bean Vegetable Soup

Perfect gluten-free, vegan meal

This recipe keeps it simple as most of the ingredients you could grow yourself. As long as you find a gluten-free bean and grain mix like Pereg, your body will be happy. In addition, the proteins from the beans will fill you up, while carrots, vegetable stock, and lemon wedges provide a delicious flavor determined to get you back. And it has a prep time of only 10 minutes, so you’ll be back often.

2. Chinese Barbecued Tofu and vegetables

This vegan slow cooked dish infuses tofu with flavor over its 4 hour cook time. These flavors include ginger which lessens stomach problems like gas and nausea [vii] alongside the benefits of a vegetable like garlic.  Therefore making you happy until your next slow cooked meal.

3. Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

This meal costs less than $10 to make in most places, and has about a 4 hour cook time providing you with a cost-effective and time-efficient way to cook a healthy meal. For example, it is filled with lentil’s high amount of fiber and protein, good for staying full.[viii] In addition to the recipe’s sweet potatoes which provides calcium, potassium, and vitamins.[ix]

4. Whole Cauliflower Curry and Cashews

Cauliflower is another overlooked superfood often paired and ruined next to 4 cups of cheese. This recipe uses curry to add flavor to the bland cauliflower which provides vitamin C  and potassium to fight illness and irregular blood pressure.[x] This recipe can be made in 3 hours, so it’s a very convenient way to use cauliflower.

5. Chipotle Black Bean And Quinoa Stew

This recipe explores spices as it uses chile powder, coriander, along with the cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon which has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.[xi]

6. Sweet Potato Apple Cider Chili

This hearty chili incorporates the advantages of cumin and vitamin-rich sweet potatoes.[xii] This chili will become a weekly staple the everyone can look forward to.

7. Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Studies such as the one found in the “Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutic” found that curcumin in curry has anti-inflammatory properties and can treat bowel disease and types of cancer.[xiii] However, these advantages might be eclipsed by the coconut milk, spinach, cauliflower, chickpeas, ginger, and olive oil, a super-team of super-foods that only a liter of corn syrup and a pound of margarine could ruin.

Conclusion

Healthy and hearty slow cooker meals on a restricted diet can be difficult. However, the options above give you some tasty options to work with! Hopefully, these inspire you to come up with even better recipes that you can share these ideas in the comments below so we can all live a better life.

[i] 13 Surprising Benefits of Cumin | Organic Facts. Organic Facts. Available at: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-cumin.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[ii] Top 10 Benefits Of Carrots | Organic Facts. Organic Facts. Available at: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/carrots.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[iii] Herrington D. 7 Reasons Quinoa is the New Health Food Superstar. The Huffington Post. 2015. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/diana-herrington/7-benefits-of-quinoa_b_3363619.html. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[iv]Kale: Nutrition, Types, Cooking, and More. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/kale-nutrition-and-cooking#1. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[v] Lewin J. The health benefits of… spinach. BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-spinach. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[vi]Landsman, Kara. Healthy Butternut Squash Plus a Risotto Recipe. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/butternut-squash-packed-with-vitamin-a-and-delicious. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[vii] Lewin J. The health benefits of… ginger. BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-ginger. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[viii] Carson T. What Are the Benefits of Red Lentils for Fatness?. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2017. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/509085-what-are-the-benefits-of-red-lentils-for-fatness/. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[ix] Nutrient Profile of Sweet Potatoes. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/5-winter-superfoods-sweet-potatoes-nutrient-profile. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[x] Holovach N. The Health Benefits of Cauliflower. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2015. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/410151-the-health-benefits-of-cauliflower/. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[xi] Lewin J. The health benefits of cinnamon. BBC Good Food. Available at: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-cinnamon. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[xii] Nutrient Profile of Sweet Potatoes. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/5-winter-superfoods-sweet-potatoes-nutrient-profile. Accessed March 13, 2017.

[xiii]Curinga K. Side Effects and Benefits of Curry Powder. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2017. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/547524-side-effects-and-benefits-of-curry-powder/. Accessed March 13, 2017.

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The Hearty Soul
Health Network
We believe in using natural ingredients to be as healthy as possible. We believe dieting will never work as well as a lifestyle of healthy habits will. We believe you can treat pain and disease without relying on addictive drugs. We believe being happy is a big part of a healthy life.