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15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

You work all day, and you come home exhausted and hungry. Naturally, the last thing you want to do is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking dinner. If you love cooking, but your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to cook every night, you can simplify your life by making crockpot freezer meals. These meals will allow you to still eat homemade, healthy, filling dinners without the countless hours and enormous effort spent in the kitchen. You can store the simple ingredients in freezer bags and put them in the crockpot when it is time for dinner, or you can cook over the weekend and stock your freezer with delicious ready meals that will make your life easier. Here are 15 easy-to-make recipes to make delicious dinners for busy nights!

1. Cheesy Tortellini With Ground Beef

Cheesy tortellini with ground beef

    This is a perfect crockpot freezer meal that even your kids will love. The best thing of all is that it’s incredibly easy to prepare. All you have to do is crumble some ground beef and combine all the recipe’s ingredients in your crockpot. The other ingredients needed for this super delicious meal include tomatoes, herbs, and onions. Tortellini is one of the most commonly ordered meals when eating out, but this way you will get to eat a homemade, healthier version of the popular dish. Find the recipe here.

    2. Cranberry Pork Roast

    Cranberry pork roast

      Cranberry pork roast is a gluten-free meal that everyone can make, regardless of their culinary skills. The dish requires only these few ingredients: onion, cranberry sauce, bone-in pork shoulder, and honey. To prepare this mouthwatering dish, simply combine all the ingredients together in the crockpot and let them cook. If you don’t like pork or if you prefer not to eat it, you can easily use beef as a substitute without impacting the flavor. Click here to see the recipe.

      3. Greens and Beans

      Greens and beans

        Greens and beans are the ideal dishes if you want a dish that is both delicious and nutrient-dense. Combine vegetable broth with beans, garlic, kale, escalore, and Parmesan, and let cook. The result will be a dish with a soup-like consistency that will fill you up and provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals.

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        As a bonus, if you or someone else in your family suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or some other common types of arthritis, greens and beans can reduce the inflammation. That’s because kale and other veggies rich in Vitamin K are anti-inflammatory and are known for relieving arthritis. Click here and start cooking!

        4. Chicken Curry

        Chicken curry

          That is yet another gluten-free recipe that you’ll love to make. Chicken curry requires basic ingredients such as tomato paste, coconut milk, honey, onions, and garlic, in addition to chicken and curry of course.The result is a sweet and spicy dish where different flavors are perfectly balanced. Find the recipe here.

          5. Honey Sesame Chicken

          Honey sesame chicken

            Honey sesame chicken is a simple and effortless dish that delivers an amazing taste. To make this wonderful recipe, you have to combine all the ingredients except for the sesame seeds and green onions and let them cook. Use the sesame seeds and green onions for garnish when serving. Click here for the full recipe.

            6. Mushroom Spinach Stroganoff

            Mushroom spinach stroganoff

              In this warm weather, many people opt to eat lighter food that is easy on the stomach. Mushroom spinach stroganoff fits the bill being a vegetable version of a famous comfort food that you and your family will love. The dish requires simple ingredients such as sour cream, onion, garlic, ketchup, vegetables, and mushrooms. This dish is very simple to make, and thanks to your crockpot, you won’t have much work to do. Find the recipe here.

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              7. Stuffed Peppers

              Stuffed peppers

                If you’re looking for a healthy, simple, and delicious recipe, you’ll love this one! These crockpot stuffed peppers are easy to make, and they require only a few ingredients such as ground turkey or beef, onion, garlic, bell peppers, and pasta sauce. This meal will remind you of grandma’s kitchen. You can find the recipe here.

                8. Cilantro and Lime Chicken

                Cilantro and lime chicken

                  Summer is the perfect season to experiment with more exotic flavors, and this meal can help you do just that. To make cilantro and lime chicken, you will need to combine some simple ingredients such as lime, jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro, and salsa. The result is chicken that is super tender and that you’ll want to make over and over again, so get the recipe here.

                  9. Beef Fajitas

                  Beef fajitas

                    This is an excellent meal for busy weeknights. The best thing about this recipe is that the required ingredients are probably already there in your kitchen. The recipe is also quite simple — combine all the items in a crockpot, cover, and let cook.

                    The result will be beef and peppers that melt in your mouth. You can easily pair this beef fajita with rice and tortillas and get a meal that the entire family will love. You can find the recipe for this delicious beef fajita here.

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                    10. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                    Asian chicken lettuce wraps

                      Asian chicken lettuce wraps are sweet, slightly salty and very easy to make. All you need to do is add the chicken, red bell pepper, carrots, soy sauce, honey, garlic and the other ingredients to your crockpot and let them cook. You can also replace the chicken with beef or turkey if you like. The presence of different flavors gives this meal a summer flavor you are sure to love. Learn how to make this meal here.

                      11. Hawaiian Chicken

                      Hawaiian chicken

                        This dish enjoys phenomenal exotic tones due to pineapple and lemon flavors. To make this yummy crockpot freezer meal, you need skinless chicken breasts, peppers, ginger and corn starch, in addition to the iconic pineapple and lemon. Learn how to make this perfect summer dinner here.

                        12. Beef and Barley Stew

                        Beef and barley stewd

                          Beef and barley stew is as healthy as it is delicious. Not to mention it’s incredibly easy to make. Besides the beef and barley, you’ll also need carrots, peppers, herbs and beef broth. The result will be a mouthwatering stew that you can serve alone or over white rice. Get the recipe here.

                          13. Meatball Soup

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                          Meatball soup

                            This soup is very delicious, easy to make and quite versatile. You will be able to swap ingredients and experiment to find your perfect combination. To make this meatball soup, you will need to combine meatballs with pasta sauce, chicken broth, carrots, beans, zucchini, and onion. You can view the recipe here.

                            14. Turkey Black Bean Chili

                            Turkey black bean chili

                              Everybody loves chili and for good reason — it’s very delicious, and it’s a perfect combination of different flavors that balance each other out. To make this chili, you’ll need ground turkey, tomato sauce, black beans, paprika, frozen corns, and a few other ingredients. You can get the full recipe here and have this delicious dish ready when you come back from work on those busy nights.

                              15. Ham and Pinto Bean Soup

                              Ham and pinto bean soup

                                What makes soups special is the fact they’re tasty, healthy and filling at the same time. This soup is no exception. The best quality of this ham and pinto bean soup, however, is its simplicity; it requires only five ingredients: ham, beans, ketchup, salt, and water. Learn how to make this soup here.

                                Conclusion

                                With a demanding work week and a busy schedule, it’s normal to have a low energy level by the time you get home. If you don’t feel like standing in the kitchen and cooking dinner due to this, you don’t have to resort to junk food. These freezer crockpot meals offer you the perfect solution for healthy meals that require minimal preparation. You can either combine each recipe’s ingredients in a freezer bag to be thawed and cooked in a few minutes, or you can cook your meal and freeze it to be used later, it’s up to you.

                                This article showed you 15 easy and simple recipes that you can make using your crockpot. All of these recipes contain anti-inflammatory foods whether it is in the form of vegetable, herbs or spices to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

                                Featured photo credit: Google via bettycrocker.com

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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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