In my journey to living a Real Food Whole Lifestyle I ran into the same problem over and over again: how to get real food on the table on busy weeknights and activity-filled weekends.

When I discovered slow cooking, it was like a lightbulb went off. Here was a tool that allowed me to get a nourishing dinner on the table, and with only a few minutes of prep the night before or morning of.

No more scrambling to throw dinner together after a long day of work while a cranky toddler demanded my attention. And no more take-out temptations, because dinner was ready and waiting for us at home.

I love creating simple slow cooker recipes that are easy to prepare and full of real food ingredients. I also love slow cooker recipes that can be made ahead, making the process even easier.

Read on for my favorite make ahead tips, along with 10 Real Food Prep Ahead Slow Cooker Recipes. You’ll find many that are vegetarian, Paleo and Whole30 friendly as well!


1 | The night before, assemble all the ingredients in the slow cooker insert. Cover and refrigerate. The day you plan to serve, place the insert back into the slow cooker base. Cover and cook according to recipe instructions.

2| You can also chop fresh ingredients so when it’s time to prepare the recipe it’s as simple as dump and go. 


1 | Once cooked, allow the slow cooker meal to cool completely. Ladle into individual jars, leaving at least 1-inch of room at the top of the jar.

2 | Cover, label and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Tips: How to Freeze in Jars

vg: vegan | v: vegetarian | gf: gluten-free | df: dairy-free | p: paleo | ff: freezer-friendly

1 | Slow Cooker Sweet Potato, Apple and Turmeric Soup (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

2 | Slow Cooker Citrus Chicken (Pollo Asado) (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

3 | Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Corn Chowder (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, freezer-friendly)

4 | Slow Cooker Chicken, Kale and Sweet Potato Stew (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

5 | Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

6 | 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Fajita Salsa Chicken (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

7 | Slow Cooker Chicken, Veggie and Quinoa Stew (gluten-free, dairy-free, freezer-friendly)

8 | Slow Cooker Garlic Balsamic Whole Chicken (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

9| Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, freezer-friendly)

10 | Slow Cooker Farmer’s Market Mexican Chicken Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, whole30, freezer-friendly)

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