They were all the rage in the ’70s, when women in America began working outside the home and needed a smart way to prepare family meals without slaving over a stove all day. As it turns out, things are not very different today. For the time-starved and health conscious, slow cookers or crock-pots are a minimum effort, cheap, economical, time and money-saving, calorie-reducing method of cooking.

A win-win all round, here’s why you need to start using one:

  • More Nutrition From Veggies: Perhaps the biggest perk of using a slow cooker is you increase the bio-availability of nutrients in plant foods such as vegetables, lentils and legumes.
  • Safer Meat Consumption: Cooking meat in liquid at low heat in a crock-pot means you help reduce the release of cell-damaging compounds known as AGEs (advanced glycation end products). Typically found in charred and grilled meats, AGEs have been linked with inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Slow cooking cuts their release by half, as compared to when you broil or grill meat. That’s why it’s said to be the safest way to cook.
  • Less Processed Foods: Using a slow cooker, you are able to reduce your consumption of processed foods, which will then decrease your intake of sodium, fat and calories. Meals that you may have purchased from the boxed or frozen section of the store can be made at home with your slow cooker.
  • No Loss Of Nutrients: Since slow cookers are fully covered containers, nutrients that are released from the food during stir-frying or grilling would be contained in the slow cooker in the liquids or residues, such as the stew, or soup liquid.
  • More Spare Time: You still need to do some basic tasks before throwing everything in the crock-pot, such as browning the meat on the stove top, and washing and chopping the veggies. But once everything is in the cooker and the timer and temperature are set, the slow cooker does the rest. Now you’re free to go to work, hike, nap, whatever. A couple of hours later, you will return home to a wholesome cooked meal.

Here are some slow-cooker recipes you can enjoy:

Read More:
Hot From The Crock Pot: 5 Stews To Drive Away The Chills
Fuel Your Metabolism With These 6 Superfoods

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.