Slow cookers also known as crockpots can improve the quality of your cooking. Slow cooker cooking produces healthy cooked meals, similarly they make healthy cooking a breeze. In this article we are going to look at healthy cooking with slow cookers and how it can make preparing certain dishes or following certain diet programs a lot easier.
Cooking Healthy with Slow Cookers
One appeal to cooking with a crockpot is that you can put your dinner into it in the morning and it’s ready when you get home from a long day at work. But, do foods lose nutrients during the long cooking process?
It’s a question that many are concerned with when cooking foods over a long period of time. Studies indicate that since slow cookers are fully covered, the percentage of nutrients isn’t lost during the prolonged cooking time.
Cooking with a crockpot is much better than frying or boiling foods and has the added advantage of offering a nutritious meal at the end of the day rather than a fast food drive-by option.
You can definitely cook healthy meals in your crockpot without fear of losing all of the nutrients. All methods of heating foods, such as blanching, boiling, simmering, baking, steaming and broiling cause some loss of nutrients, but the low heat used in crockpot cooking causes far less damage.
Wholesome, all-inclusive meals made with a crockpot can simplify your life and give your family the nutrition they need. They can also help you save on your grocery bill by utilizing leftover veggies and other foods in delicious soups and stews.
Don’t just use a crockpot for dinner. Warm cereal, such as steel cut oats, can be prepared in the crockpot – cooked slowly and flavored with honey, cinnamon and butter to bring out even more flavor for a delicious breakfast.
Cooking for weight loss is much easier with a crockpot, too. Vegan and vegetarian recipes abound for slow cookers and you can even make low-calorie desserts that the entire family will love.
Almost any vegetable, legume or lean meat becomes highly palatable and appealing when cooked slowly with spices and other flavorings. The sky’s the limit when using a crockpot to plan meals for yourself, your family or a group.
Various sizes and types of crockpots are now available. If you’re a single person, it’s sometimes difficult to cook for only one – especially with the large crockpots of yesterday.
Now, there are mini versions that work perfectly for small families or singles. They come in round or oval shapes and in a plethora of colors to match any kitchen décor you might desire. They’re pretty enough to serve from the pot, so you don’t have to use more serving dishes.
Vibrant greens, permeated with various spices, become a main dish when prepared creatively in a crockpot. You can let your imagination soar and eat much healthier when planning your meals around crockpot recipes.
Why Buy A Crock Pot
There are many reason to buy a crock pot and make it an essential appliance in your kitchen. Here are a few reasons to consider buying a slow cooker if you do not have one already or how to use it effectively if you have one already.
Using Your Slow Cooker Year Around
Once you start digging out your slow cooker and using it to cook delicious homemade meals, you quickly become a fan. Many of us start to think about soups, stews, chilies, and all sorts of other delicious fare that lends itself to slow cooking (pot roast anyone?) when fall and cooler temperature come around.
We love our slow cookers during the cooler months of the year, but come spring, this amazing little kitchen appliance goes back in the cabinet. If you ask me, that’s a mistake. Slow cookers are wonderful appliances year around. Yes, they are perfect for those hearty winter dishes that we used to cook at the back of the stove in the darker months. But believe me, that pot of beef stew tastes just as delicious in the spring or summer.
The main reason many of stews and roasts are winter dishes is because they had to cook and bake for a long time. In the hot summer months, we don’t want to heat up the house any more than necessary. And running the stove or oven for several hours before dinner will certainly do that.
But guess what doesn’t heat up the house? Your slow cooker. It puts up a lot less heat and it’s portable. That means that on a really hot day when your air conditioner is barely keeping up, you can go plug in the slow cooker on the porch and have dinner cooking while you hang out in the backyard with the kids.
Your slow cooker also comes in handy anytime you’re grilling in the back yard. No more slaving away in the kitchen fixing side dishes while everyone else gets to hang out in the yard and watch your husband grill burgers.
Instead, you do a little prep work in the morning, start a side dish in the slow cooker (scalloped potatoes are always a favorite around here) and you can grab a beer and join the fun in the yard.
Of course those same dishes will also come in handy at the annual company barbecue, or the extended family 4th of July cookout. When you’re asked to bring a side dish, cook it in the slow cooker and bring everything along. Just plug it in and those baked beans, or the squash casserole you made will still be piping hot when it’s time to eat.
You’ll find the slow cooker is also handy at potlucks throughout the year and let’s not forget about the holidays. There’s always a lot of cooking going on and you have to do a whole lot of planning to make sure you have room on the stove and in the oven to get it all cooked in time.
How much easier would your holiday cooking be if you could have a couple of things simmering away in your slow cookers? You can start them in the morning and don’t need to worry about anything until it is time to eat.
I tell you, there’s no reason to pack away that slow cooker. Use it year around. Take it with you on vacation to cook simple meals your kids will love right in the beach house or motel room. Adjust the flavors and seasonings and the types of dishes you cook depending on the season. Take advantage of this cooking appliance throughout the year.