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5 Healthy Reasons to Dig Out Your Slow Cooker

If you're trying to eat healthy, your slow cooker may be one of the most useful—and underused—appliances you own.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
Episode #345

Reason #4:  A healthy meal is waiting for you when you walk in the door.

Few of us walk in the door at the end of a long day and think: “Oh goodie, now I get to cook!” Even if you’ve stocked the fridge with healthy ingredients, take out suddenly seems infinitely more appealing. 

But with a slow cooker, you can take advantage of The Power of Planning. Just assemble a recipe before you go to bed and place it in the fridge overnight. Just remember to take it out and turn the cooker on before you leave for work and you’ll return home to a delicious, home-cooked meal that requires exactly zero effort in your work-weary state. A lot of people use their slow cookers to prepare breakfast so that they wake up to a hot meal. It’s one of the easiest ways to prepare steel-cut oats, for example.

See also: Are Steel Cut Oats Healthier?

Reason #5:  This is not your grandmother’s crockpot cooking.

Back when it first got going, slow cookery seemed to center around gooey casseroles made with canned soup, heavy pot roasts topped with dumplings, taco pie, and other dishes things that didn’t seem terribly nutritious. When I flipped through the recipes that came with my slow cooker, I just didn’t see anything that appealed to me, which is probably why it largely sat on the shelf for a decade. But it’s a whole new world out there!

Slow cookers have evolved, for one thing. You can buy them in a variety of sizes and shapes, with built in timers and temperature probes and all kinds of bells and whistles. More importantly. the recipes have evolved as well, with cookbooks and websites offering more modern, nutritious, and adventurous fare, from Amaranth Apple Porridge to Poached Salmon with Herbs to Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Olives, and much more.

Although using a slow cooker is very simple, I strongly urge you to follow recipes that are designed specifically for slow cookers, at least at first. Even if you’re comfortable improvising in the kitchen, cooking with a slow cooker is quite different than any other method and you’ll want to get familiar with the specific techniques involved before going off road. Below, I’ve included links to some trusted websites and cookbooks to get you started. And if you have a favorite can’t miss slow cooker recipe that you’d like to share, we would all love to try it. Just use the comments section below to post it.

Slow Cooking Resources

Websites:

Epicurious.com – Slow Cooker Recipes

Real Simple – Slow Cooker Recipes

New York Times  Slow Cooker Recipes

Yummly.com – Slow Cooker Recipes

Books:

The Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss

The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook by Rachel Rappaport

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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