Small Appliances For Healthy Eating

This may seem like an odd post to put on type2diabetes.com. I think it’s important to talk about how to make healthy meals when we are so busy in life. Here are a few of the small appliances I use to make sure we look after the family (and my diabetes) to make healthy affordable meals. Many recipes can be adapted easily for use in either of these.

Slow Cooker (aka: crock pot)

This little appliance is the best thing since sliced bread! I love it so much I have three for when we have big family or friend get togethers. Let’s talk!

There are a variety of sizes. There are mini ones that work for warming salsa or other dips. Other sizes will accommodate one or two people which is great if you believed you can’t cook ‘for one.’ Bigger ones are for family sized meals. Size is important depending on what you’d like to make and for how many. For a family of four, the largest size is probably the best.

I have had friends tell me that after a while all the recipes taste the same. Unless you are picking recipes that have the same ingredients than I say “No way!” If you check it out, there are many free online recipes for you to try. The slow cookers always come with a small recipe book as well. Some of my family’s favorites are from that book. You have to be careful about the nutritional value with any recipe. If the one you choose is too high in salt or fat, you can easily adapt them by using ingredients that contain less. You can adapt any recipe to make it more healthy but with the slow cooker be sure to watch the amount of liquid you use in your recipe. You may need to decrease the amount. Because the food cooks slowly, there is less moisture lost. The really amazing part about the slow cooker? You can use cheaper cuts of foods and they cook up beautifully!

There are also a variety of features. My favorite features are the simplest ones. They have a dial with only 3 settings: Low/High/Warm. If you are purchasing your very first one or replacing a worn out one, you may want to avoid some of the electronic styles. Most of them cannot be put on warm manually. If your slow cooker cooks your meal a bit faster than expected, you have no recourse other than to turn it off. It’s nice to be able to turn it to warm if the rest of the family isn’t home yet.

A couple of cautionary notes: if want to assemble your meal the night before, the veggies can be prepared ahead of time but the meat/chicken/pork shouldn’t be mixed until you are ready to turn the cooker on. If you live in an area where you frequently lose hydro, an electronic one may not be for you. Once the power is lost, they have no way to come back on! Your dinner cannot be eaten if it’s not properly cooked. The same can be said for the manual crocks if you don’t know how long it has been off too. If it’s only brief, the manual one will just resume cooking when the hydro returns. Remember the public health motto: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Slow cookers are often on sale at really good prices, both in stores and online!

Pressure Cooker

Another amazing product! Other than my husband’s BBQ, this is his favorite small appliance. In the event you’ve never heard of a pressure cooker, it is essentially a pot with a special vacuum sealed lid that when heated on the stove creates a high pressure environment inside that cooks the food…fast! Similar to the slow cooker, pressure cookers come in a variety of sizes. You just need to pick the one size that fits the size of your family.

Many people have expressed their concern and fear of pressure cookers having heard horror stories of them ‘blowing up.’ What is being referred to is the pressure piston in the lid being blown out the hole in the lid. In over 25+ yrs of using a pressure cooker, we have never had a problem. The biggest thing to remember is to not overfill it. If it is overfilled, the food can block the pressure piston and then it can be a problem. Read the instruction book that comes with your pressure cooker to know what they recommend in terms of how full it can safely be.

When used properly, this small appliance can be a great way to cook a healthy meal in a short period of time. Any recipe you have can be cooked in the pressure cooker. It’s even easier than the slow cooker. We use it a lot for Sunday dinner when we want to go do other things. We also use it during the week when we all get home late from work or school and want a healthy meal. My husband has informed me that no matter what other appliance I buy, he’s not giving up the pressure cooker. He makes yummy stew. He also makes a whole chicken (skin removed) with potatoes, carrots and other veggies. A little seasoning and water and dinner is cooked fairly quickly. The chicken comes out so moist! Here’s a couple of examples of the cooking/cooling times for the stew and chicken dinner once you turn on the stove:

Stew: 10 min for pressure to build up, 12 min to cook, 15 min for the pressure to come down. Voilà!
Chicken Dinner: 15 min for pressure to build up, 25 min to cook, 20 min for the pressure to come down. Voilà again!

Here’s a small secret: the time spent waiting for the pressure to come down can be reduced by placing the cooker in a sink of cold water. It helps to reduce the wait time by about half which is nice when you have people who are ‘starving’!

The Next Generation?

There is now another small appliance that combines both the slow cooker and pressure cooker plus rice steamer, yogurt maker, etc. It’s called an insta-pot. I just bought one on sale! I’ll let you know how I like it. Or better yet, let us know how you like yours!

*No matter what small appliance you use, always remember the principles of good food safety. Here are a couple of reference articles in case you want to read more about food safety:*

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (10)
  • Riddler
    7 months ago

    We got this George Foreman outdoor/indoor grill. Love it. Always use outside. Coooks way we like and leaves nice sear marks also. Have cooked steak, sausages, hotdogs, thick bacon on it. Told her I want to cook some porkchops and also some wings on it sometime. Also told her I want to try and grill some vegetables on it and see how they come out. There’s all kinds of recipes for cooking on it. We used to have a charcoal grill but she always got worried about fires because never failed but what we’d grill and winds would come up. THen got a gas grill and she got worried about the heat we have and it maybe bother the tank so she gave it away and we ordered the George Foreman grill. Both of us love it. Can grill in any kind of weather now and not worry about it.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    6 months ago

    I will give it a try again!

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    7 months ago

    I have one and don’t use it very much…I think I’ll pull it out and try again!

  • Riddler
    6 months ago

    We like it. There’s all kinds of recipes for it online. Plus I think their site has some also. Does steaks, hotdogs, Brats and other sausages very well. We’ve also grilled bacon on it too, the real thick slices. Give it another shot and see what you think. As I said good for any weather.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    7 months ago

    Omg-osh! That is so funny. I’d have a hard time not laughing too if I’d been told that story. The pressure cooker I have is a manual one (or should I say, the one my husband refuses to give up, LOL). My parents also used one when I was a kid to make beef stroganoff. I think my kids will use them when they have kids. I love watching tv too to see the new products out there and what you can make with them. I’m not the greatest cook ‘from scratch’ in the world but I can throw together almost anything with these small appliances!

  • Riddler
    7 months ago

    There’s this cook that keeps doing informercials and going on QVC. First time I saw him he was doing the Copper Chef pans etc. First name is Eric. Forget the last. But he does pressure cookers, air friers and much more. I just love watching the stuff he cooks and then him and this woman sampling what he’s cooked. Some very good products. And of course the food being cooked.

    I had tears coming down from the eyes, I was laughing so hard as she kept telling me what had happened to her. Took her a long while to get over the fear of using it again. I’ve seen the manual ones and also how mama and grandma would tell us about the dangers of them at same time. If I was to use one it would have to be the electrical ones. Wife wouldn’t trust me with something else for some reason. 😉

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    7 months ago

    Lol. Sounds like you’ve got a plan! Love it!

  • Riddler
    7 months ago

    Are you using the manual or the electric pressure cooker? Your remark about people worried about lid blowing off made me chuckle. I remember this one woman where I used to work at talking about the very first time she used one. She was cooking some beans. Lid blows off, scared her she dives under the table and when all is said and done she crawls out from under the table and looks at the beans stuck on the ceiling. Poor girl. I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t help it as she told me about it. Said it had happened years ago but she still remembers that.

    I can remember the one mama had when I was growing up. Was a manual one with this little thing in the lid that moved when steam was coming out.

    There are so many products on the market now for helping with the healthy cooking. I love watching the infomercials on them. Wife don’t. Say she can’t watch cooking because it makes her hungry. Dosen’t phase me, I love watching them cook the food with various products they’re selling.

  • Riddler
    7 months ago

    Thanks. Hope so. It’s gotten thought where we don’t do much cooking like we used to. I’ll grill at times but we don’t do that much since just two of us.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    7 months ago

    My husband would grill every night if I let him! In our house, one young adult launched and one away at school most of the year (almost launched). I think my husband will bbq in all weather till he’s 90!

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