Slow Cookers Can Boost Blood Sugar And Weight Management
Eating meals prepared with fresh, whole ingredients is one of the best ways to manage our weight, and blood sugar.
Recently, some Seattle researchers working on an obesity study interviewed people in detail about what they ate the previous week. It was found that people who prepared more home-cooked meals ate a much healthier diet. They consumed less fat, sugar, and calories—and did not have higher monthly food expenses.
Slow Cooking For Busy Lives
The problem for many individuals and families is time. Cooking at home may not be a daily option for every household. However, with a bit of planning, and using tools of convenience, most of us can squeeze one to three more home-cooked meals into our week.
Tools of convenience include slow cookers, a kitchen aid designed with gourmet chefs, busy parents, and I-hate-cooking types in mind.
In slow cookers, about five to twelve ingredients (more or less) get dumped together, simmer all day, fill the house with an inviting aroma, and generally end up tasting great. Add a couple more tools - a good vegetable chopping device, and a garlic press - and many slow cooker recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
Slow Cooking Conveniences
Beside the ease of one-pot preparation, slow cookers are good for busy families and reluctant cooks in several more ways:
- Leaving a slow cooker on while people are away from home is considered safe. It’s comparable to leaving a light bulb on while we’re gone.
- Once all the ingredients are mixed in the pot a cook’s work is usually done. Even stirring is rarely required as it’s best to keep the slow cooker’s lid on during the entire cooking process. Every time the lid is lifted cooking time goes up 15 to 20 minutes.
- For people liking things simple, and non-digital, many slow cookers still come with two temp settings, low and high, plus a warming option. However, those who work long hours might want a cooker with a digital readout that allows them to start or stop the cooker at chosen times.
- Less expensive, tougher cuts of meat do well in slow cookers. Chuck roasts, pork shoulders, briskets, short ribs, and stewing beef typically become tender in the moist, low heat of a slow cooker. Also, some grocery stores now sell “ugly” produce (e.g., misshapen, aging, slightly damaged) for less. Once these veggies are cut up and slow cooked, no one will be the wiser.
- Sauteing veggies, and browning meat can enhance the end-product’s flavor, but these preparation steps can usually be skipped if time is scarce.
- Cleaning a slow cooker is generally a breeze. Because slow cookers hold moisture in during the cooking process, there is rarely any scorching. A quick soak is typically all that’s required to get it clean.
Keep in mind that ideally, a slow cooker should be one-half to two-thirds full. Some cooks keep a small and a large slow cooker on hand to accommodate different sized recipes.
Better Diet at a Good Price
“By cooking more often at home, you have a better diet at no significant cost increase, while if you go out more, you have a less healthy diet at a higher cost,” said researcher Adam Drewnowski, University of Washington Center of Public health Nutrition.
Even if only used once during the week, or just on weekends, using a slow cooker can help individuals and families cook economically, and take advantage of the nutrition benefits of cooking from scratch.