A slow cooker is a very versatile kitchen appliance which should be an essential item in everyone’s kitchen. There are several reasons why I believe every home cook would benefit from having this safe, affordable and adaptable cooking device. Since this method of cooking allows you to add the ingredients in the morning and let the recipe safely cook through-out the day, this is an ideal way to cook healthy meals which adhere to PiYo nutrition recommendations. PiYo stands for Pilates Yoga and it is a popular exercise methodology which allows people to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
Slow cookers, also commonly referred to as crock-pots, can be used to slowly cook cheaper cuts of beef, making them soft and tender due to the slow and long cooking process which breaks the meat down and gets the juices inside flowing. Since the juices in the meat flow out into the pot, you can use less meat because the other ingredients absorb the meat’s flavor. Using other common cooking methods, the fat from the meat usually drains away. Since this is a pot the fat does not drain away and it is therefore recommended that you trim the majority of the fat from your meat you can keep some fat on the meat to enhance the flavor if you wish. Typically, however, to make a meal as healthy as possible it is a good idea to trim as much fat off of the meat as you can. This obvioulsy reduced the amount of animal fat in your meal and the total calories that you consume, which is great for losing weight.
Our Favourite Slow Cooker: Hamilton Beach Set & Forget
Another major advantaged of cooking healthy meals using a slow cooker (crock-pot) is that you can use a lot less oil, and many times you can get away with using no oil at all. The contents of the slow cooker/crock-pot will not stick to the bottom or the sides due to the slow cooking process which gradually heats and cooks the ingredients. This reduces the number of calories and fat in the recipe, which obviously makes it a healthy way to prepare meals compared to a deep fryer or frying pan.
You can also make large batches of meals and freeze them in your freezer for later consumption. Some popular recipes which can be frozen and reheated at a later point in time (within a few months of the cooking date) are meatballs and spaghetti with tomato sauce, ginger peach chicken, and vegetable beef stew.
Making healthy meals in your slow cooker does not require a lot of preparation – usually, you just need to chop up the vegetables, throw the rice/quinoa/beans in along with your liquids, stock, meat (if any), and any other ingredients you may decide to add. It is usually a good idea to brown meat in frying pan before adding the meat to the slow cooker, however.
There are many resources available online which provide handy tips on how to cook with a slow cooker. The ease of finding new, healthy recipes to cook in your slow cooking unit, combined with the low cost of ingredients and the ability to leave your slow cooker to do its job while you are at work makes this method of cooking healthy and tasty meals a no-brainer.
Two popular healthy meals which you can cook in slow cookers are Crockpot Quinoa & Vegetables and Slow Cooker Veggie Omelette.
Crockpot Quinoa and Vegetables is perfect for vegans and vegetarians because it does not contain any meat or animal products (such as cheese or egg). If you are looking to slim down and improve your nutritional intake this dish is an easy and cheap meal to make in a slow cooker. Don’t worry meat lovers, you can certainly add some meat to this dish if you wish. Should you desire some meat in your crockpot, I recommend adding chicken or beef.
Slow Cooker Veggie Omelette is a simple omelet recipe which involves throwing your preferred vegetables into a slow cooker with a couple of whisked eggs, some cheese (optional) and some milk (or you may use water instead of milk). You can simply leave the ingredients to cook in the slow cooker and go about your day.