Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 18, 2017

Put Them in and Leave It! 7 Slow Cookers For Busy People To Cook Healthy Meals At Home

Put Them in and Leave It! 7 Slow Cookers For Busy People To Cook Healthy Meals At Home

You’ve had a long, hard day at work, and a tiring and unpleasant commute home.

When you finally get back to your place, you have your heart set on eating a healthy, substantial meal – but you can’t find the strength or motivation to begin cooking. Instead, you take the easy way out, and pick up your phone and order a takeout.

I’m sure you can relate to the above scenario as it’s very common nowadays. Preparing and cooking a decent meal usually takes at least an hour. So, if you’ve arrived home from work, and it’s already late (and you’re exhausted), then cooking a meal is probably the last thing you’d like to do.

The problem is, eating out and ordering takeout is expensive, and in most cases an unhealthy choice.

Luckily, there is a way out of this dilemma, in the shape and form of a slow cooker. Also known as crock pots, slow cookers have become popular in recent years with people who are too busy to spend time cooking – but still want to enjoy healthy, homemade meals.

7 Slow Cookers That Can Transform Your Diet and Life

Slow cookers offer you the chance to enjoy a delicious, wholesome meal when you arrive home from work. They do this by slowly cooking your food for a long period of time at a low temperature.

This ‘slow cooking’ approach brings out the flavours in most foods, including: casseroles, pot meals, soups and stews.

Most slow cookers have Low, Medium and High settings. The Low setting will cook food about 6 to 10 hours. The High setting will cook food in 4 to 6 hours. One hour in a conventional oven at 350 F is equivalent to about 4 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low.

Advertising

If you prepare your meal the evening before, or in the morning, all you need to do is switch on the cooker (at Low setting) before you head out for work. However, all the cookers we list below also have digital timers, and these will allow you to precisely choose when your cooker comes on, at what temperature setting, and for how long.

Hopefully, I’ve given you just enough information on slow cookers to whet your appetite

1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

    This slow cooker features a digital countdown control that allows you to program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It also shifts to Warm setting automatically once your specified cook time has completed.

    The Crock-Pot keeps food safe on the go with robust carrying handles and hinged locking lids.

    Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, $49.50

    2. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker

      Stylish and easy-to-use, this slow cooker is equipped with protection against brief power outages, so when you come home your digital clocks might have lost their time – but your meal will still be hot and ready to eat.

      Advertising

      It’s perfect for cooking large cuts of meat. You just need to set the desired meat temperature, and the cooker automatically shifts to keep warm when the temperature is reached.

      Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, $49

      3. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

        If you want more features than slow cooking, then Instant Pot could be a good choice for you.

        This top-selling multi-cooker combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1. These are: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer.

        There are also 14 Smart Programs to choose from. These programs allow you to easily make, heat or treat the following: soup, meat/stew, bean/chilli, poultry, rice, multigrains, porridge, yogurt, etc.

        Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, $129.99

        4. Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker

        Advertising

          This slow cooker features Cuisinart’s brushed stainless steel housing and a 6-quart nonstick cooking pot that lets you brown or sauté directly in the unit.

          Three fully programmable cooking functions let you sauté vegetables, brown meats and slow cook your favorite comfort foods right in the unit.

          Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker, $140.76

          5. Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

            This programmable slow cooker offers a removable round-shaped ceramic cooking pot, brushed stainless-steel housing, glass lid with stainless-steel rim, and cool-touch chrome-plated handles. The 24-hour programmable digital timer has Simmer, Low and High modes – all which feature an auto keep-warm function. it also comes with a cooking rack and recipe book.

            Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, $46.43

            6. KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Quart. Slow Cooker

              This slow cooker features an easy-to-read digital display, that ensures comfortable viewing of the remaining cook time and temperature while the cooker is in use.

              Advertising

              The generous 6-quart capacity is perfect for small and large recipes from soups to roasts.

              KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Quart. Slow Cooker, $99

              7. BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker

                To finish on, how about something a little different. The exterior of this slow cooker is a chalkboard, which makes it perfect for drawing on and for writing down recipes or allergy concerns. This neat feature is also great for getting the kids involved in the kitchen! With its inbuilt digital time, you can simply choose the time and heat, and let the slow cooker do the rest. (The cooker automatically switches into Warm mode when cooking is complete.)

                And in case you’re wondering, the box includes two chalk sticks, so you can start writing on the cooker from day one.

                BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker, $49.99

                On a final note, you may be surprised to learn that slow cookers use less electricity than conventional ovens. So, now you have no excuses for not having tasty and nutritious food waiting for you each evening when you come home.

                More by this author

                Jolie Choi

                Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

                11 Health Benefits of Cucumber Water (+3 Refreshing Drink Recipes) Put Down Your Pizza and Find Your Healthy Diet Challenge Buddy By Using “Foodstand” Ditch Your Banana and Kale! Use “The Blender Girl” To Find Your Fun and Tasty Smoothie Recipes If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

                Trending in Physical Strength

                115 of the Best Fruits for Weight Loss and How to Enjoy Them Daily 217 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life 322 Tips to Help You Lead the Healthy Lifestyle Your Body Deserves 421 Healthy Dinner Recipes to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle Strength 513 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising

                How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                1. The Inner Critic

                This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                2. The Worrier

                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                Advertising

                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                4. The Sleep Depriver

                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                His motivation can be:

                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                How can you control these squatters?

                How to Master Your Mind

                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                For the Inner Critic

                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                Advertising

                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                • He riles up the Worrier.
                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                For the Worrier

                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                • Muscles tense

                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                Advertising

                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                For example:

                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                • Muscles tension

                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                Breathe in through your nose:

                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                • Focus on your belly rising.

                Breathe out through your nose:

                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                • Focus on your belly falling.
                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                Advertising

                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                For the Sleep Depriver

                (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                • Shut down your thinking.
                • Calm your feelings.
                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                Read Next