After a long, hard day at work or a day outside in the cold, nothing beats a hearty stew, soup or chili for dinner. Slow cookers, or “crock pots,” are great for making healthy, friendly family meals. And almost anyone can help, even children as young as 3.

There are lots of great crock pot recipes on the web. Some of our favorites can be found at EatingWell.com and Parents.com, but there are many others. And the recipe variations are endless too. You can fix an old favorite like beef stew, split pea soup or turkey chilli, or be adventurous and try something like fennel & pork stew, hot & sour soup, or vegetarian Mexican lasagna.

One of the reasons crock pot recipes make such great family meals is because everyone can help prepare dinner. Most require sliced or diced vegetables. If your children are too young to do the actual cutting, they can “dump” the vegetables into the pot once they’re prepared. They can also help measure liquids like water or chicken stock and then pour that into the pot. Fixing a crock pot meal can be a real family affair if you want it to be.

Because you’re not just emptying it out of a can, stews and soups made at home in your crock pot are often healthier too. We like vegetables, so we often add more than the recipe calls for when we use our crock pot. You can also use low fat and/or low sodium stocks to make your meals even better.

The best part is that you fix dinner in the morning and then forget about it until dinner time! It is great to walk into the house in the afternoon and smell dinner already cooking away. Just add a simple salad and you’re ready to eat!

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family’s health for generations! What choices will you make today?

If you want more ideas for healthy family meals, check out our FREE eBook, Do You Wish Your Kids Ate Better? It’s filled with tips and activities for getting the whole family craving healthy foods. Download your copy here.

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