If you’re following the Weight Watchers guidelines and committed to not only counting points but seeking lasting, meaningful diet changes, this post is for you! Incorporating whole, real foods into your everyday diet is paramount and will help you maintain a healthy weight for life. And what’s easily the best way to start the shift toward whole foods? Homemade bone broth!
What’s so Wonderful about Bone Broth?
Also called stock, this “liquid gold” is something our grandmas could probably teach us a thing or two about. Satisfying and delicious, bone broth makes savory dishes like soups and stews robust, hearty, and filling.
Health wise, the benefits are far-reaching, not only for weight maintenance but overall health of virtually all body systems. As elaborated by the highly influential Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell:
“Today we are witnessing an epidemic of chronic disease that threatens to unhinge our modern world—cancer, arthritis, allergies, digestive problems, mental disorders, and even new types of life-threatening infectious illness. Bone broth, rich in the elements of cartilage, collagen, and healing amino acids, can provide protection from these ailments, can serve as an important element in recovery, and can nourish and enrich our lives in many ways.”
Additionally, here’s a deeper understanding of bone broth and its many facets of health.
Where Do I Buy Bones?
There are several options in ingredients when making broth, including meaty bones, a whole uncooked chicken, or a chicken carcass.
Whole chickens can be purchased through CSAs (community supported agriculture), from local farmers directly, at farmers’ markets, and at many grocery stores, including Costco. Chicken feet are especially high in gelatin and are often given away by farmers after processing day!
Beef bones can be found at butcher shops, through local processors and ranchers, and even at your local grocery store! Ask for “pet bones” or “soup bones.”
How to Make Bone Broth… the Easy Slow Cooker Way
Just about every cook has a subtly different method in making broth. That’s alright! Two of the most significant things to remember are quality of bones, and length of simmer.
Here is my tried-and-true take on easy slow cooker broth:
- Start with beef bones, a whole uncooked chicken, or a chicken carcass, preferably grass-fed, organic, and/or pastured. Place in slow cooker.
- Add in one roughly chopped onion for a great-tasting broth.
- Optional: add in roughly chopped carrots and celery.
- Fill the slow cooker with filtered water to an inch below the rim of the crock.
- Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
- Turn slow cooker on High to get it simmering, then turn to Low. Cook for 12-24 hours if chicken, 24-48 hours if beef.
- Turn off slow cooker. Ladle liquid through a sieve into a large jar. You can keep any meat and discard bones and leftover veggies. After a little while of settling, the light yellow fat will rise to the top; ladle off in a separate small jar for a healthy fat for the next time you saute meat or vegetables.
How to Use Bone Broth in Everyday Recipes
Now that you’ve made bone broth, now what? Luckily, this is an extremely versatile food, and once you begin incorporating it into recipes, you’ll soon wonder what you ever did without it.
When making soups, stews, chili, and beans, simply add all your ingredients to your pot or slow cooker and fill to this level with homemade broth. Simmer just as you would with water.
If branching out into fish stock, miso soup can be made by heating broth on the stove and adding naturally fermented miso, naturally fermented soy sauce, scallion greens, and shredded cabbage or wakame seaweed.
You can also choose to drink bone broth plain and hot in a mug with a pinch of salt for an extraordinary way to start your morning. Or add a thermos of broth to your lunch-on-the-go to feel more satisfied throughout the day.
You can also “stock up” so to speak, and freeze broth in glass jars or gallon bags for convenience and easy access in times of illness. If using plastic bags, be sure to ladle in while cool to prevent chemicals leaching into the broth.
Bone broth with an egg, either hard boiled or cracked directly into the broth as it simmers, is a wonderfully healing food when recovering from illness, surgery, or childbirth.
If you’re currently on Weight Watchers, a beautiful thing about broth is that it is both 0 Smartpoints and a Simply Filling food, meaning you can use it liberally in all your cooking!
I encourage you to throw a few bones or a chicken into the slow cooker this weekend and enjoy the ultimate in healthy food: homemade broth!