Slow cookers are honestly the best thing since sliced bread. No kitchen pun intended! Also known as crockpots a slow cooker is an absolute must have for any bustling family kitchen. I do a slow cooker at least once a week if not more (what ever the season) as they are honestly a live saver!
Here are few reasons why:
1. Maximum nutrients – Most slow cooker recipes will always include meat and vegetables which of course contain all the protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals you need in a meal! In addition, as the food is cooked at a very low temperature it helps to maximise nutrient retention.
2. Family friendly – Not only do slow cookers enable a meal in one to suit the whole family but you can cook a large amount and there is normally extra left over which you can easily freeze or take for lunch the next day. This leads me to:
3. Fast homemade baby food – for babies and toddlers who may struggle to eat meat as the vegetables are cooked in with the meat they absorb all this goodness (especially iron and vitamin B 12). Plus slow cooker meat and vegetables are nice and soft so it’s one blender step away from a nice puree.
4. Super simple – I am all about pure and simple meals and with a slow cooker you can basically toss everything in, turn it on and hey presto at 5pm you have warm, healthy meal ready at your fingertips.
5. $$$ Saving – You can cook cheap cuts of meat (such as chicken drumsticks and chuck beef) easily in a slow cooker which makes meals really cost-effective.
6. One pot clean up – the after dinner clean up is greatly reduced with just one pot to clean!
7. Ready when you walk in the door – there is something really inviting about walking in the door knowing dinner is cooked, warm and waiting, even better when the delicious smell fills the house.
8. Different meal times – sometimes when juggling children with different eating schedules it can be necessary to feed them at different times. Slow cookers hold their heat for a long time which can help with this!
A note on slow cooker pre-mixes: A lot of these will have high amounts of sugar. Ideally I recommend only using herbs and spices to flavour your food but if you do use these check the label and only use ones with a sugar content less than 10g/100g. This also applies to recipes on the internet watch for ones that have added sugar – you want to avoid these!!
So if you don’t have a slow cooker in the house – do keep an eye for when they go on special (winter is the best time for such specials) and often Briscoes has some great deals – I promise you it will be a much loved kitchen device!
For some healthy easy ideas for slow cooker meal check out my Crockpot Chicken and Kumara Curry, Simple Spiced Chicken Slow Cooker and I have two slow cooker meals in my new cook book Healthy Easy Dinners for Busy Mums!
Here’s to slow cookers!
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale