After a long day at work during the winter, it can sometimes be hard to be motivated to cook a healthy dinner. Fortunately, you can provide delicious, healthy, nutritious meals without a big evening effort. By making meals ahead, you can place them in the oven that night, or use the slow cooker to cook them throughout the day. Here are a few delicious and nutritious recipes to take the stress out of weeknight meal prep.

Ragu alla Bolognese

Ragu alla Bolognese is a delicious Italian dish made from a hearty meat sauce that’s easy to prepare ahead of time. Chock full of onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes and nutmeg, this dish is perfect for warming up after a chilly day outside. To prepare this dish ahead of time, make the sauce in advance and reheat it when you’re ready for dinner.

Crockpot Moroccan Lentil Soup

Lentils have many health benefits: they help reduce cholesterol, promote good heart health, stabilize blood sugar, and support digestive health. This soup is made with cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes, onions and carrots, and can be prepared up to two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until dinner time.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Everyone loves a hearty bowl of chili on a cold winter day, but the traditional version can be packed with fat. Fortunately, there’s an alternative that features quinoa and sweet potato. Sweet potatoes offer 120 percent of our daily vitamin A intake, while quinoa contains twice as much dietary fiber as other grains. To make this dish, you’ll need a crock pot. Best of all, you can make it ahead of time, freeze it and then reheat it as a weeknight dinner.

Crockpot Vegetable Curry with Tofu

For a simple, make-ahead meal that is nutritious and delicious, reach for this curry. Filled with sweet potato, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, chickpeas, and protein-packed tofu, this vegetable curry can be made ahead of time or cooked for five hours in a slow cooker.

Crockpot Pot Roast

For a weeknight meal that is hearty enough to feed everyone but beautiful enough to wow guests, reach for this perfect slow-cooker pot roast. This dish combines a hearty beef roast with nutritious root vegetables, and cooks for six to eight hours in a slow cooker.

While weeknight cooking during the winter can be difficult, these five make-ahead meals ensure your evenings will be less stressful and everyone in your family will feast on a warm, nutritious meal.

Sources:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/bolognese_sauce.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297638.php

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/slow_cooker_lentil_soup.html

http://www.livescience.com/46016-sweet-potato-nutrition.html

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-quinoa

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tofu-chickpea-curry-50400000124275/

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/vegetarian-slow-cooker-recipes/tofu-and-chickpea-curry

http://www.food.com/recipe/perfect-pot-roast-slow-cooker-239829