Pregnancy Articles

Call On Your Crockpot for Comfort and Convenience

No-Fuss Meals that are Healthy & Nutritious

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It's been a long day, and you're walking in the door tired, frazzled, hungry. You don't feel up to cooking, and you find yourself tempted once again to make a fast-food run. Don't do it!

Instead consider the benefits of the venerable crockpot, which can, with a little planning and an adventurous spirit, yield no-fuss, home-cooked healthy meals, ready for you and baby when you walk in the door.

Cooking with a crockpot can be easy, fun, and healthy. This handy gadget allows you to prepare and cook food ahead of time without any attention. Instead of worrying all day about what to make for dinner, you'll have a hot meal ready when you get home. What's more, the crockpot is convenient for batch cooking healthy meals that can last 4-5 days.

A crockpot's also especially helpful for preparing wholesome, nutritious meals that are veggie-rich, packed with complex carbs, and low in fat and calories. Long cooking on low heat tenderizes meat, so it's an excellent way to cook those cuts of meat with less fat-- cuts that are less tender, but also healthier and less expensive. For quick and easy meals, follow these guidelines:

Adapting recipes
  • Always fill the crockpot at least half full.
  • Brown and drain the fat from high-fat meats (such as ground beef), before adding them to the crockpot. (Leaner meats such as stew beef, poultry, or pork chops can be added uncooked.)
  • When possible, use whole herbs and spices, which work better than crushed. If you use crushed, add them near the end of your cooking time.
  • Use canned soups, broths, wine, vegetable juice, or water as the liquid in your crockpot.
  • Reduce the liquid in your recipe to about one cup or less, since slow cooking saves all the food's natural juices and the juices don't cook off.
  • Vegetables take longer to cook than most types of meat, so put them on the bottom of the crockpot.
  • Add dairy products only during the final 30 minutes of cooking.
Cooking Time
  • Dried beans should be cooked and softened before adding to the pot. Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of unsalted water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer 1 hours or until the beans are tender. (Discard the cooking water after boiling because it contains some indigestible sugars.) You can now add the beans to your crockpot recipe.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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