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10 High Protein Bariatric Slow Cooker Recipes

Your slow cooker is a fantastic kitchen tool that can be used in a variety of ways to support your weight loss journey.  Bariatric-friendly slow cooker recipes can be:

  • High in protein
  • Easily tolerated after surgery
  • Full of vitamins and minerals
  • An easy way to eat healthy after surgery

Benefits of Slow Cooker Meals

Not sold on the slow cooker just yet? Here are a few benefits of using the slow cooker to make high-protein, bariatric-friendly meals. 

1. Meals are super easy to put together. 

For the most part, slow cooker meals can be prepared in the morning with just a few ingredients and cooked throughout the day while you’re doing other things. The exception is if you’re using meat and you want to enhance its flavor by browning it in a skillet first. Otherwise, you can add raw meat to your slow cooker and it will cook gently with the rest of the ingredients.

2. Meals freeze well for later use.

Depending on how big your slow cooker is, you might want to take the opportunity to cook ahead for future meals. Slow cooker meals can be portioned out and kept in airtight containers in the freezer to enjoy later. This is great for when you can’t handle larger portions, but need your protein. Just be sure to let the meal cool thoroughly before sealing them up. 

3. Meat stays moist when slow cooked, even after being frozen and thawed. 

Dry and tough meat is a common complaint I hear after bariatric surgery. Meat that has been frozen is even more at risk of being too dry. Slow cooked meals give meat and other proteins a nice texture that tend to stay moist when reheated. The liquid in the meal seeps in slowly, softening the meat. The added bonus of this is that it makes these meals easier to digest and much better tolerated after bariatric surgery. 

4. Slow cooked meals are versatile. 

Slow cookers are a great tool to experiment with and use in a variety of different cuisines. Slow cookers aren’t just great for soups and stews. You can also use them to make curries, tender meat, or yummy side dishes. Furthermore, slow cooked meals can be blended or pureed to the appropriate texture based on what dietary consistency you need after surgery. 

5. Recipes made in the slow cooker can also be made in an Instant Pot. 

For the most part, anything you make using a slow cooker can also be made in the Instant Pot. Slow cookers are meant to cook ingredients at a gentler pace over an extended period of time. On the other hand, the Instant Pot is a sealed appliance meant to cook food over a short period of time (typically less than 30 minutes). An Instant Pot can give you the best of both worlds, a delicious “slow-cooker like meal” in a fraction time. 

Selecting High Protein Recipes

Protein is one of the most important nutrients to pay attention to following weight loss surgery.

Why?

It’s essential for healing after surgery, maintaining your muscle mass, improving your metabolism and will help support your continued weight loss. Not getting enough protein after bariatric surgery can lead to nutrient deficiency, loss of muscle, and lack of energy. 

Depending on where you are after surgery, look for recipes that are easy to meet your texture needs. Slow cooking makes this easier with different types of meat since it softens up to the texture a bit. Consider ground meats to begin with which are easier to puree if necessary. 

The type of recipe you choose will also depend on how much protein you need. While protein requirements are based on individual factors like activity level, surgery type, age, and gender, typical ASMBS recommendations for protein after weight loss surgery are 60-120 grams per day. 

Look for recipes that meet ¼-⅓ of your daily requirement for protein in one serving. This will help you meet your protein and weight loss goals.

10 High Protein Bariatric Slow Cooker Recipes

Flavorful one pot meals that are perfectly put together are some of my favorite go-to dishes, and they can be an easy option for after weight loss surgery. To get you started, I’ve listed below some of my favorite high-protein bariatric-friendly slow cooker recipes from my collection and other sites. 

Note that your personal protein and texture needs will be determined by your surgery center and the type of surgery you have. Remember that most of these can easily be pureed to meet texture needs. If you’re 6 months post-op or more you might want to add something crunchy to the side, like a nutritious green salad. 

Curry Chicken Lentil Soup – by Bariatric Meal Prep 

Curry Chicken Lentil Soup in meal prep containers

This aromatic recipe combines protein from chicken and lentils with cumin, curry, onions, and carrots to give you a comforting and satisfying end result. You can use the Instant Pot as indicated in the recipe, or you can choose to slow things down with a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Turkey Chili – by Bariatric Meal Prep 

Instant Pot Turkey Chili Regular

Chili is one of my favorite recipes to eat as leftovers, so you might consider making a large batch of this one to freeze. To prepare this recipe in a slow cooker, brown the turkey meat in a skillet first with a little oil to bring out its flavor in the final dish, then add it to the rest of the ingredients to heat through. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Good Luck Greens Soup – by Bariatric Meal Prep

Instant Good Luck Greens Soup

Just one cup of this soup offers 16 grams of protein. It’s a delicious combination of greens, beans, and sausage that can be combined in a slow cooker and fill your kitchen with yummy smells. 

Easy Pasta Fagioli – by Bariatric Meal Prep

Bariatric Soft Diet Food

Don’t let the name fool you! Pasta is not usually bariatric-friendly, so this dish doesn’t actually contain any noodles. Still, it’s a flavorful Italian meal packed with basil, oregano, and tomatoes, along with high-protein turkey meat, kidney beans, and cannellini beans. 

Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Chicken – by Bariatric Cookery

Bariatric Slow Cooker Meal

If you’ve never had peanut butter chicken before, you’re in for a treat with this recipe. Both of these main ingredients are great sources of protein, and the end result is a perfect combination of mild spice, bold smell, and gentle texture. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore – by Griffin Bariatrics 

This is a versatile recipe that can be adjusted to your liking when it comes to boldness of the herbs and any other veggies you might like to add, like mushrooms. Simply place a chicken breast in your slow cooker, cover with crushed tomatoes, veggies, and seasoning, and cook through. If you would like to add a “pasta type” component to the side you can use edamame fettuccine.

Slow Cooker Beanless Butternut Squash Chili – by Beautiful Eats & Things

We all know chili can be an easy option after bariatric surgery. This beanless chili is a nice twist from the traditional version. It uses butternut squash instead of beans and a creole seasonings to produce a unique flavor. It also calls for ground turkey instead of beef which may be easier for your body to digest after weight loss surgery. It has about 15 g of protein per 1 cup serving and it is full of flavor.

Beef Ragu Over Spaghetti Squash – by The Nutrition Adventure

Beef Ragu over spaghetti squash

This recipe produces a delicious sauce that’s simple to make and high in protein. If you miss pasta after bariatric surgery then you will love this dish. It has the traditional flavors of Italian but the fresh ragu is served over spaghetti squash instead instead of pasta. This can make it easier for your body to tolerate. The meat also stays moist. Since this recipe produces a large amount of food you can either cut the recipe in half or freeze the leftovers (my preference).

Slow Cooker Eggs Over Cauliflower Hash– by Nutrition Starring You

Slow cooker egg meal

If you’re looking for a high protein breakfast option, then look no further than this slow cooker eggs over cauliflower hash. It cooks for about 2 hours, so you will need to get up ahead of time to prepare it. Or you could meal prep it on the weekend and then eat it throughout the week. The author suggest adding your own sauce to it like salsa or sriracha but that is up to you.

Turkey Albondigas Soup – by Bariatric Meal Prep

Turkey Albondigas on counter

This recipe offers classic flavors using high-protein turkey and egg meatballs, green beans, and Italian seasonings. The garnishes can easily be removed and the soup pureed if needed. 

Healthy Crockpot Carnitas– by Lively Table

Carnitas

One of my favorite meal prep methods is to cook a large portion of protein on the weekend and then use in dishes throughout the week. If that’s your style too then you will love this carnitas recipe. You can use carnitas in soups such as pork posole, lettuce wraps, salads or on top of cauliflower rice. Pretty much anything goes. It has lots of flavor and simple to make.

Bariatric-friendly slow cooker recipes can help save time and effort while sticking to post-surgery guidelines. Hopefully that gives you some creative new ideas for how to use your slow cooker to make some delicious, high-protein recipes that support your weight loss journey. For more guidance and recipes, check out some of my Bariatric Meal Plans and collection of other Bariatric Recipes on my site.

Kristin Willard, RDN

I am Bariatric Dietitian that teaches you how to eat before and after weight loss surgery to help you feel and look your best.

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