Find out how your slow cooker can help you lose weight, cook healthier meals and save money.


Pictured Recipe: Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Trying to lose weight, save money and be healthier? If you're committed to even one of these goals, here is a tip for how to get started…use your slow cooker to make healthy recipes. Sound too good to be true? Find out how this one handy piece of kitchen equipment can help you meet your weight-loss and health goals.

1. Lose Weight

How the slow cooker can help: Cooking at home is a great first step in trying to manage your weight. Since slow-cooked food relies on long, moisture-rich cooking, you can use less oil than if you were cooking with dry heat in the oven or on the stove, saving you calories. Using your slow cooker to make dinner means that dinner is ready when you get in the door-no more hungrily snacking on other food while preparing dinner. Cook up a big batch of Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup and freeze your leftovers so you always a satisfying low-calorie meal on hand.

2. Cook More Healthy Meals

How the slow cooker can help: Using a slow cooker can save you major time preparing meals. By prepping ingredients and putting them in the pot before you leave for work in the morning, you know that when you come home dinner will be waiting. Bonus: Use the extra time you save and hit the gym after work. If weeknights are really busy for your family, meal-prep your slow-cooker ingredients ahead of time and stash them in the freezer for an easy load-and-go dinner.

3. Save Money

How the slow cooker can help: Crock pots lend themselves to stews and other one-pot meals that let you stretch more expensive ingredients, like meat, further. You can save $6.45 per month ($78 a year) if you replace 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast [$4.99] with 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs [$3.49] once a week. Try these Slow–Cooker Recipes for $3 or Less per Serving, such as Rich Chicken Stew and Pulled Pork. Or skip the meat entirely and try some vegetarian slow cooker recipes. Bonus: chances are a slow-cooked meal will yield leftovers. Bring leftovers for lunch the next day and you'll save on lunch money, too!

The Best Slow-Cooker to Buy?

Look for a programmable slow cooker: it will cook your meal for a predetermined time and then switch to a "Warm" setting that keeps the food at a safe temperature until you're ready to eat. The EatingWell Test Kitchen recommends the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Its digital touchpad allows the user to control the heat settings and time the cooking in increments of 30 minutes up to 20 hours. Buy it on Amazon for $39.99

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