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5 Ways Your Slow Cooker Can Help You Lose Weight

Want to eat healthier and lose weight? Meet your new best friend: the slow cooker! This kitchen appliance whips up wholesome, low-maintenance meals while infusing every dish with tons of flavor. We asked authors Tiffany McCauley and Gale Compton for five mouthwatering recipes (out of 155) straight from their Skinny Ms. Slow Cooker Cookbook, which had a sold-out premiere on QVC. These low-fat desserts and nourishing entrees require very little prep time but garner plenty of well-deserved kudos at the dinner table!

Savory Mexican Oats

Think oatmeal is just for breakfast? Turns out the warm cereal makes a nourishing lunch or dinner option as well. For a unique twist on oats, blend a steel-cut variety in your slow cooker with healthy veggies, like corn and red peppers, and enjoy its chewy consistency and unbeatable flavor. You'll never look at oats the same way again!

Time: 2-4 hours or until oats are cooked through
Temperature: Low
Yield: 3-1/2 c.
Recommended Slow Cooker Size: 4 quarts

1 c. steel-cut oats
1 c. salsa
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2-1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth, no sugar added
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 c. red pepper, chopped

Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker, cover, and cook as directed below.

Nutritional Content:
Serving size: 1/2 c.
Calories: 86
Total Fat: 1 g.
Saturated Fat: 0 g.
Trans Fat: 0 g.
Cholesterol: 2 mg.
Sodium: 181 mg.
Carbohydrates: 16 g.
Dietary Fiber: 2 g.
Sugars: 2 g.
Protein: 3 g.

Bananas Foster

Give bananas foster an easy, healthy makeover in your slow cooker. A combo of rich ingredients such as honey, cinnamon, and rum extract steep bananas in flavor and won't wreak havoc on your daily calorie intake.

Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Temp: Low
Yield: 4 servings
Minimum Slow Cooker Size: 4 quarts

1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp. honey
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
5 bananas, medium firmness, cut into 1/2 in. slices
1/2 tsp. 100% rum extract

Add and combine the first four ingredients to the slow cooker. Add banana slices, toss gently to coat with honey mixture. Cover and cook on low 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Add rum extract to bananas and stir to combine. Serve bananas foster as a topping or enjoy as a standalone dessert.

Nutritional Content:
Serving size: 1/2 c.
Calories: 141
Total Fat: 3 g.
Saturated Fat: 2 g.
Trans Fat: 0 g.
Cholesterol: 0 mg.
Sodium: 1 mg.
Total Carbohydrate: 32 g.
Dietary Fiber: 3 g.
Sugars: 21 g.
Protein: 1 g.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Craving chocolate? Indulge in a slice of this rich cake, which will only set you back 104 calories. Made with pared-down ingredients like unsweetened applesauce and egg whites, this satisfying treat is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Plus, cooking the dessert in your slow cooker ensures an irresistibly moist texture.

Time: 4 hours, or until a knife inserted in the middle pulls out clean
Temp: Low
Yield: 16 servings (cut like a pie)
Recommended Slow Cooker Size: 4 quarts

1 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. honey
2 egg whites
1/3 c. peanut butter, no sugar added
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

Line the bottom of your slow cooker with cut-to-fit parchment paper and spray the inside using an oil sprayer. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder until well combined. In a second large mixing bowl, whisk together all your wet ingredients, and then combine the two bowls. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.

Nutritional Content:
Serving size: 1/16 of the entire recipe
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 3 g.
Saturated Fat: 1 g.
Trans Fat: 0 g.
Cholesterol: 0 mg.
Sodium: 123 mg.
Carbohydrates: 19 g.
Dietary Fiber: 2 g.
Sugars: 10 g.
Protein: 3 g.

BBQ Pulled Pork

When you need a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, take a stab at this savory dish. Thanks to 4-6 hours of slow cooking, the recipe yields incredibly tender pulled pork soaked in a delectable barbecue sauce. Chili powder and cumin add a spicy and scrumptious kick!

Time: 4-6 hours or until internal temperature of meat reaches at least 165 degrees F. Meat should easily pull apart when done.
Temperature: Low
Yield: 8 servings
Recommended Slow Cooker Size: 4 quarts

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce, no sugar added
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 pork loin top loin chops

In your slow cooker insert, mix together all ingredients except the chops. This will create the barbecue sauce. Please note that this makes a lot of sauce. If you feel it's too much, simply save some of it for another use. But do not reduce by more than half. Place the chops in the sauce and cook as directed.

Nutritional Content:
Serving size: 1/12 of the recipe
Calories: 146
Total Fat: 2 g.
Saturated Fat: 1 g.
Trans Fat: 0 g.
Cholesterol: 35 mg.
Sodium: 426 mg. (This can be lowered with low or no-sodium tomato sauce.)
Carbohydrates: 15 g.
Dietary Fiber: 1 g.
Sugars: 10 g.
Protein: 18 g.

Cinnamon and Pecan Bread Pudding

Made with butter, eggs, and of course, lots of bread, standard bread puddings are loaded with calories and carbs. Try this melt-in-your-mouth recipe for a tempting treat that keeps you a tad more trim than the traditional kind. The result is a custardy confection studded with heart-healthy pecans and packed with antioxidant-rich spices.

Time: 2 hours
Temp: High
Yield: 12 servings
Minimum Slow Cooker Size: 5 quarts

2 eggs
3 egg whites
3 c. 1% milk
1/4 c. raw honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
9 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, cut into bite-size pieces

Add the first six ingredients to a medium mixing bowl, whisk to combine. Lightly spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Cut bread into bite-size pieces. Place one layer of bread on the bottom of the slow cooker, add the filling and distribute evenly, then add the remaining bread pieces. Pour egg mixture over bread, ensure all bread is moist. Cover and cook on high 2 hours or until bread has soaked up most of the liquid. If desired, sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon and sucanat.

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 c. raw honey
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. raw pecans, chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice

Filling Directions:
In a small mixing bowl, combine all the filling ingredients.

Nutritional Content:
1 serving = 1/2 c.
Calories: 198
Total Fat: 9 g.
Saturated Fat: 1 g.
Trans Fat: 0 g.
Cholesterol: 38 mg.
Sodium: 128 mg.
Total Carbohydrate: 25 g.
Dietary Fiber: 25 g.
Sugars: 16 g.
Protein: 6 g.