Tips for Making Healthy Meals in the Slow Cooker

This post is sponsored by Once a Month Meals

Here a few tips to make the meals you cook in the Slow Cooker healthier.
In case you're wondering yes let's get it out of the way that I have an Instant Pot but the beauty of this machine  is it doubles (or triples etc.) as a Slow Cooker. I use it that way sometimes. Since we're headed into Slow Cooker season I thought it might be nice to share some ways to keep it healthy while using that hardest working appliance in the kitchen.

Why a Slow Cooker?

If you don't have a slow cooker let me just say that it's one of the best appliances you can have when you want to cook healthy meals without spending too much extra time. There are different types of slow cookers to choose from, from compact ones to larger varieties. I do recommend the Instant Pot because it can do so much more than just slow cook and just in case you somehow mess up and don't get things in order you can always pressure cook it.  So let's start with the tips.

Trim the Fat

Start by trimming the fat off of your meat. This will keep the lean meat as healthy as possible, and will also reduce the amount of oil that is sitting in the slow cooker. You do not want all that extra oil and fat and it looks gross in your dish. Your dish will still be tasty and seasoned with the meat itself, so let's just take a few minutes to trim the fat . Yaaaayyy you! Once a Month Meals has a tutorial post on browning your beef in the Crockpot (I've not attempted this yet).

Don't Touch that Lid!

It is soo tempting to open that lid on your slow cooker to see what's going on! I know. I'm guilty of it too, but it's only going to increase the cook time for your dish. Every time you open the lid it adds a few minutes to the overall cooking time.  So just don't do it. There's no need for extra stirring and the ingredients shouldn't stick together or anything. If you absolutely need to get a glass top. You can even get one for your Instant Pot.

Be Careful!

Don't fill your slow cooker to the top or it might overflow while you are away from home! Eeek! You want to come home to a delicious dinner not a complete mess! Try to keep your machine half full or 2/3 full at the most. Some of your ingredients might even increase in size while they are cooking (say what?!), so keep that in mind when deciding how much to stuff in the slow cooker. Filling it up too much also increases the overall cooking time.

And Finally Add Your Dairy Last

When filling up a slow cooker for your next meal, your dairy should be added to the appliance last. The dairy is going to break down in the slow cooker, so if you are adding yogurt, milk, or sour cream to your meal, do it near the end of the cooking process. They should be added in the last 15-20 minutes unless you are coking a cream-based meal, such as clam chowder.

Streamlining Your Back to School Slow Cooker Menus

Once A Month Meals I don't know how it is in your house but when we go back to homeschool things ramped and our schedule gets packed! We're pretty busy and try hard to have a few days a week where we don't go anywhere but even so it really helps to use my Instant Pot as Slow Cooker (or pressure cooker when I'm really pressed for time). I usually slack off my menu planning in the summer but when it's back to school I'm all in. It helps to have menus that taste good already prepped and ready for me to shop. My brain is already working on a lot of other things so it's nice to have someone taking on that chore for me. Once a Month Meals has a lot of options for busy homemakers. They do everything but cook it for you (darn!). You can try a FREE mini menu at  Once a Month Meals. This is where I learned how to freeze meals for the Instant Pot (oooh!).

Some Slow Cooker Recipes

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