5 Simple Slow Cooker Recipes

Whether you are cooking for a family, a group of friends, or meal prepping; you most likely have a crazy busy schedule and just don’t have the time to cook full meals everyday. In today’s society, we are consistently running around and staying busy. The slow cooker (Crock Pot) is going to be your best friend. All you need to do for most recipes is throw all the ingredients in the pot and let it cook for 4-8 hours. You can trow everything in the pot in the morning and when you get home after work, you’ll have dinner ready. Or you can put oatmeal in the pot before you go to bed and wake up to a healthy, filling breakfast.

Here are 5 of my favorite chicken crock pot recipes that are also diet friendly.

1) Balsamic Chicken with Potatoes: Recipe

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2) Chicken Tortilla Soup: Recipe

(Skip the cheese and sour cream to reduce the calories per serving)

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3) Lemon Garlic Chicken: Recipe

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4) Honey Teriyaki Chicken: Recipe

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5) Chicken Fijitas: Recipe

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Bonus Recipes: Honey Garlic Chicken and Vegetables, Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Try a few of these out the next time you know you will have a busy schedule coming up. Planning ahead is key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Having a pot of these ready will help you stay away from the fast food options for lunch and dinner, while also keeping the empty calories away. Also, a pro tip, invest in Crock Pot Liners! They will save you when it comes time to clean up.

Have any slow cooker recipes that your swear by? Please post them below in the comment section. I would love to give them a try!

Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl

Looking for a healthy meal but don’t have the time to get fancy and make something complicated? We’ve all definitely been there and it can be frustrating to try to find recipes that are quick, easy, and require few ingredients. One issue I always run into when looking at recipes is that almost all recipes require some sort of spice and seasoning that I do not have and it would be a waste of money to go buy them just for one meal. Below is a recipe that I love to make when I need to focus on eating clean but also need to have it be ready quickly.

Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl

This is one of my go-to recipes because it is only 5 ingredients, cooks fast, and tastes amazing. Zucchini noodles are just zucchini that have been spiraled instead of chopped. If you do not have a spiralizer in your kitchen, you can get a cheap one here. The idea here is to have the flavor and nutritional benefits of zucchini, but to create the texture of pasta. This will help trick your mind into thinking you are indulging in a bowl of spaghetti, when in fact, you are eating a low carb, low-calorie entrée. The best part of this is you can load up your bowl with as much zucchini as you want and not feel guilty about eating out of a large serving bowl. Another great thing about the recipe is that I mostly use chicken breast for the protein, but you can always change that up to steak, turkey, fish or any other type of protein so that it never gets old. Check out the ingredient list and cooking instructions below:

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Zucchini Noodle Chicken Bowl with a tomato salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Zucchini (spiraled)
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Chop the chicken breast into cubes and cook in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken until the internal temperature is 165F and the inside is no longer pink.
  2. Set Chicken aside and let cool
  3. Spiralize the zucchini (if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can simply chop or julienne the zucchini)
  4. Add zucchini into the skillet and saute over medium heat. Add in garlic salt and pepper (Or whatever seasoning you prefer or have handy). Cook until it starts to become slightly translucent. Try not to over cook/steam the zucchini. If cooked for too long it will lose its density and will be mostly mush.
  5. Add zucchini and chicken into the bowl.
  6. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and on top of the bowl.
  7. Finish off the bowl with some garlic salt and pepper
  8. Enjoy a delicious and low carb dinner!

As you can see from the recipe, this is super simple and can be made in under 30 minutes. You can also throw in chili powder or pesto or curry and change the flavor palate so that it never gets old. This is a good trick if you are meal prepping and do not want to be tired of all the food you made for later in the week.

If you are a wine lover and/or want to make this for a special date night dinner, go ahead and grab a nice Chardonnay to pair with this meal!

Hope you enjoy!

 

Health Tip: Cut The C.R.A.P

Just like how Teri Garr in Young Frankenstein had to PUT…THE CANDLE…BACK, you need to PUT…THE DOUGHNUT…BACK! Seriously, put it back. There is next to no nutritional value in doughnuts, cake, cookies and white bread. They may taste great and that sugary snack can get you from lunch to dinner but it does nothing good for your body.

There are about 1000 different diets and schemes to losing weight, being fit, or just being healthy in general, but the one thing they all have in common is that eating healthy is the key. One of the most common phrases you will hear in the fitness community is “Abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen” and it is absolutely correct. One of the prime examples of this that has been in the new lately is from Tom Brady. The dude is now 39 years old and in the best shape of his life. While most quarterbacks in the NFL are breaking down on almost every other play, he’s slinging the ball around like guys who has never been hit by a linebacker. The main reason for this is because of an overhaul in his diet. It’s absurdly strict and definitely not recommended for everyone, but the point is that what you put in your body is extremely important and affects everything from your weight to your attitude to your energy levels. If you want to read up more about how Brady keeps dominating the NFL, check out this article from Yahoo.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to my diet and eating habits, but I know that the healthier I eat the better I feel. A rule that I like to follow is the 80/20 rule. This just means that the I focus on eating healthy and natural foods 80% of the time and I allow myself to indulge in cheat meals 20% of the time. Now those cheat meals tend to be fries, chips, bread, or chocolate. I’m not going all out with fried food and extra fatty food. One way I focus being healthy is by cutting the C.R.A.P. and eating F.O.O.D!

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Cut the C.R.A.P.

Carbonated Drinks: 

By cutting these out, it means that you’ll be cutting out a lot of sodas and drinks that contain chemicals, sugars, and calories that have no nutritional benefit. These drinks are what are considered empty calories. They may taste great and help curve that sweet tooth, but your body doesn’t need them. When your body doesn’t need calories, it stores them as fat for later. This is why those diet drinks that are so popular do not actually lead to weight loss. Your body sees these chemicals/ingredients and doesn’t need them, so it’ll flush them out or store them for later.

Refined Sugar:

That white bread, white cake, and favorite breakfast cereal is doing nothing for you. Refined sugar has zero nutritional value (fiber, minerals, vitamins) and are extremely high in calories. Cut these out by switching to high fiber breads and oatmeal and you’ll notice how you’ll be more full, more often. That full feeling will lead to eating fewer calories and more weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners/Alcohol:

Artificial sweeteners are those yellow, blue, pink sugar packs you see people loading up their morning coffee with and is one of the main ingredients in soft drinks. If it’s not natural and needs to be created in a science lab, it’s probably not ideal for your body.

Alcohol is another option here. Beer gut is a real thing. No don’t get me wrong, I love to have beer/wine as much as the next person, but alcohol is processed through the liver as a toxin and signals the body to store fat. So this is something you should definitely cut back on or cut out all together.

Processed Foods:

These foods are ones that have additives that allow the food to not expire or have longer shelf lives. Examples being cereal, fruit snacks, dried fruits, mixed nuts, and microwave popcorn. These are great because you can buy them in bulk and not worry about them expiring before you can eat them. But avoid them as much as possible because the artificial ingredients and additives are terrible for your body. There is great article here that explains more about why exactly you need to avoid these foods.

Consume Real F.O.OD.

Fruits & Vegetables:

There is a reason that health professionals want you eating multiple servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs. Replace those fruit snacks, candy, and sugar snacks with unprocessed and natural food. This simple change will boost your energy in no time. You

Organic and Lean Proteins:

The reason you should focus on these is that they are all natural. You know what you are getting when you are eating these organic and lean proteins. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t eat organic that often because they are expensive. So when I don’t eat organic, I look at the labels that and ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Add these into the diet by eating more fish, specifically salmon. Omega 3s are great because they are anti-inflammatory and will help reduce overall swelling.Not only that, but they can help reduce risks of heart attacks and strokes, they can reduce anxiety and depression, and they can help improve sleep. For a full list of benefits, check out this article.

Drink Water: 

If you think you are drinking enough water, you are not drinking enough water. The majority of the human body is composed of water and is the key to life. By drinking more water you will not only have more energy and feel hungry less often, but your skin will clear up and your body will be flushed of harmful toxins. The recommended amount of water you that you should drink is 1 oz per 2 lb of body weight. So if you weight 150 lbs then you should drink 75 oz of water. Honestly, I think that is nowhere near enough. I’d recommend drinking 1 oz per 1 lb of body weight. I weight 155 so that is  roughly 1.25 gallons. When I’m working out regularly, I’ll definitely hit that amount and never have to worry about dehydration.See the image below for just a few of the great added benefits of drinking more water.

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Now, I know that making all these adjustments at once will be tough but they will absolutely be worth it. If you do not feel like you can completely make these changes at once, then start small and slowly work them into your eating habits. I’d love to hear more about other eating habit changes that you have been making that have been successful. Feel free to comment here  or reach out to my social media pages with details. I always love learning new and different ideas to living a healthier lifestyle.

 

Super Bowl: Healthy Snack Idea

It’s almost game time! The biggest sporting event of the year is just two days away. Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will be watched by an estimated 120 Million people. If you are like many of those people and myself, you will most likely be watching at a watch party surrounded with friends, family and a lot of food. On average, Americans will consumer 6,000 calories during the 4-5 hour game……yeah that’s the equivalent to how many calories one would burn if they ran a full marathon.

I’ll definitely be indulging more than usual during the game this weekend, but I’m going to try to make sure that there are some healthier options and snacks available. This way I can still indulge in some great food but not worry about what may happen to my waist line. My contribution to the watch party snacks will be a twist on the classic mozzarella sticks. I’ll cooking up some awesome Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks (yea, I’ll be the guy who brings something somewhat healthy and I’m not ashamed). Below is the recipe.

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Eat Clean, Train Dirty

Lately, I’ve been hitting the workouts hard. Improving my speed in my runs, increasing my weight training and trying out new body weight routines. Now this is all fine and dandy, but in order to see results you’ve got to pair the training sessions with consistent clean eating. Focus on eating for a purpose. Check out this quick and easy clean eating dinner I whipped up tonight in 30 minutes:


Ingredients:

  • Frozen Chicken Tenderloins
  • Asparagus (trimmed/chopped)
  • Green and Red Peppers (sliced)

Directions:

  • Bake chicken tenderloins at 375F for 15 minutes
  • Flip chicken and add vegetables to baking tray
  • Finish baking everything together at 375F for another 15 minutes or until the chicken’s temperature reaches at least 170F (I always tend to slightly over cook my chicken to insure there is no risk of food poisoning. Rather have it a little dry  and some salsa or dipping sauces than risk getting sick)

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not only because it gives you the fuel and energy you need to get through the morning, but because it sets the tone for how you will eat the rest of the day. For me, I need to have something packed with protein that will keep me full until lunch. This way I do not reach that point of feeling starved and eat way too much at lunch.

My go to breakfast is super easy and I make them when I meal prep for the week. They are Scrambled Egg Muffins and are so easy to make that someone like me, who doesn’t bake, can make without any effort. I’ll make a muffin tin full of them and they will last all week. Simply just grab a few and heat them up for a minute and you are all set. Below is my go to recipe:

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