Are you thinking of becoming a vegetarian? Have you taken on a vegan challenge like Beyonce? If you’re someone trying to eat healthier then you are not alone. Millions of people across North America have decided to attempt trying to practice a healthier diet. Whether you are becoming a vegetarian or going vegan there is no doubt that there are many obstacles to face both while transitioning and to remain consistent. Like any change in lifestyle, the proper strategies and tools are necessary to be successful. Here are three reasons why a crockpot is an essential tool for those struggling to transition and maintain a healthier diet.
1. A Crockpot Is Very Practical
To begin with, the nature of the crockpot itself makes it very practical for someone trying to be more conscious of their diet. Also known as a slow-cooker, the construction or design is very simple. It is a small electrical home cooking appliance that can function independent of other cooking appliances. It consists of an outer metallic housing fitted with heat controls. Inside this housing is a low-heat element as its heating source. Placed inside of this housing is a bowl that will receive the heat from the heating element and cook the food slowly for a number of hours. This bowl is usually made of either a porcelain or ceramic type material and newer models are both microwave and dishwasher safe. This whole unit is fitted with a lid and can be attached to an electrical source with the power cord. This design has the following advantages:
You Can Take It Anywhere
The smallest crockpots have a capacity of 1.5 Quarts and weigh only 5 lbs. This makes crockpots incredibly easy to transport anywhere you want. Whether you are a student, a busy mom or dad, or want to participate in making food with friends, this thing is ready to go and can work anywhere there is power. Some require that you place the crockpot on a surface that is resistant to heat, but this is primarily to avoid damaging personal property. Because of the low-heat nature of the crockpot there is little risk of fire.
It's Helps With Nutrition
When making the transition to becoming either vegetarian, vegan or just watching what you eat, one essential thing we are all trying to do is maintain as many natural flavors and vitamins in our food. Because of the heating nature that the element provides to the porcelain bowl, you will always maintain the most flavour and nutrients in your food. Nothing gets evaporated off as is the case with traditional stovetop dishes. Once you add your ingredients, because the preparation takes hours, there is no burning of your food and there is much less risk of overcooking it. Typically when people think about a healthier diet, they envision foods with little to no flavor. With a crockpot, you can eliminate this fear by ensuring that the foods that you prepare retain the most nutrition while being super tasty.
It's Low Maintenance
With any type of cooking, let’s face it – things can get complicated real fast. With oils, spices, meats, veggies and grains cooked separately then combined at the precise time all while trying not to spoil dinner. The nature of the crockpot as being a controlled slow cooking machine is that you can add all of your ingredients in at once, set the timer, present button or heat control and walk away for hours. Even more beneficial is that when all is said and done, the contents of the crockpot can be stored in the crockpot even after the cooking is done. Let’s say you are making large amounts and have a lot of leftovers, once you empty out the contents of the crockpot, you will rarely get any burning or sticking of your food to the porcelain bowl. The bowl itself is easy to clean and many are dishwasher safe for your convenience.
While there are safety hazards to any cooking appliance involving any kind of heating element, the slow cooker is definitely one of the safest. Because it never heats up too quickly, nor does it ever attain a high heat, there is never a significant risk of fire or burning oneself if used correctly. The whole premise of the crockpot is that you can add your ingredients and walk away. And it’s true! You add what you need, set the heat and can leave the crockpot unattended for man hours at a time with no worry or stress.
2. Crockpots Are Cheap
If you’re going to eat healthy, why not make it cheap to do so? A crockpot is not only an affordable upfront investment, but because of the nature of the things that a crockpot can cook, it is great for cooking low-cost meals.
The initial investment of any cooking appliance can be expensive but fortunately, in the case of a crockpot this is just not the case. The smallest crockpots usually have a volume capacity 1.5 Quarts and cost as little as $11.99 at either Target or Walmart or online on Ebay or Amazon. With that, you can assure yourself that you won’t need to break your budget to get started. If you are looking for larger crockpots for a family or for making large dishes, then you can find many in the 6 to 8 quart range for under $50.00. All things considered, this is a relatively inexpensive all-in-one cooking appliance.
Cooking On A Budget
Although crockpots can cook just about anything, they are best used to cook grains and vegetables. This is great news for people seeking a healthier lifestyle. At the grocery store, it is typically the meats that will cost you the most along with other processed ready-to-go packaged foods. Grains and vegetables on the other hand are very inexpensive and can often be bought in bulk. In particular, beans are rice are very inexpensive and also incredibly filling. This is great news for a student looking to save nickels and dimes or a parent managing a household budget.
3. It's A Planning Tool
One of the hardest parts of changing your diet is getting into new habits by planning what you will eat. There is a lot to be said about the psychology of making an investment into any lifestyle change. The crockpot in particular forces you to think about recipes and simple food preparation. It also allows for others (family, friends) to see that you now do meals differently. This in turn helps to create a culture around you of healthy eating and reduces some of the stress and temptation during your transition into your new diet.