It’s the end of the day, and it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong has. On top of all the stress from work, the commute, and general family life, you can feel the warning signs of a chronic pain flare-up lurking in the shadows. The last thing you want to think about is what you’ll be making for dinner, and your family doesn’t need another meal from a bag or a box.
Watch the Video – 4 Ways Crockpots Help Chronic Pain Patients
On days like these, there is one life-saving kitchen appliance that every chronic pain patient should have: a crockpot. Let us count the ways in which a crockpot can be your very best friend.
1. Crockpots can soothe the savage (hungry) beast
With just five minutes in the morning, your dinner can be ready to go when you walk in the door. This is a lifesaver when it comes to hungry kids and partners. Less time in the kitchen cooking means more time to sit down and have a family meal. And on days when the pain gets to be too much, it’s easy to direct another cook in the kitchen.
2. Crockpots can help cut out snacks
Chances are good that if dinner is not ready quickly when you get home, hungry kids and partners may reach for snacks, eating whatever is at hand and ready to go. Many times this is pre-packaged food, filled with salt, sugar, and preservatives. Having something ready immediately means you can wash your hands and sit down to a homemade meal.
3. Crockpots can help you predict the future
When you suffer from chronic pain, you know that there will be days when you don’t feel like cooking. Freezer meals can help with that, but freezer crockpot meals take even less time and effort to prepare. Simply open a bag, add some broth, and turn on the crockpot. Healthy, nourishing food is good for your body and your soul. This is doubly important on days when pain flares up. Try these crockpot vegan freezer meals, or these healthy, carnivorous freezer meals. Prepare a variety and let family members take turns picking which one they want.
When planning freezer meals, stock up when things go on sale. Organic meats and vegetables can be expensive, but if you see a good sale or have a coupon, stock up and plan your menus accordingly.
4. Crockpots offer dietary options
If you are thinking about incorporating more vegetarian meals into your diet, crockpots are great for all kinds of vegetarian recipes. Pinterest has a wealth of ideas from soups to lasagna to antioxidant-rich blueberry butter. A Pinterest search for the superfood quinoa will have you pinning delicious ideas for days!
Finding the perfect crockpot for you
If you don’t already have one in a closet or on a shelf in your garage, here are a few tips on buying a crockpot:
- Decide on size: For one or two people, a two- or three-quart crockpot will be big enough to handle dinner. If you have a big family or are planning on cooking whole chickens, 6 ½-quart sizes might be best.
- Choose a material: Crockpots can be glass, stoneware, or metal. Stoneware seems to hold the most even heat, but it can chip. Metal crockpots are durable but can heat unevenly.
- Look for features: Your crockpot should have at least three settings – warm, low, and high. Some crockpots have timers or a setting for medium, but three settings are really all you need. The lid on the crockpot should also be made out of glass, not plastic, and it should be sturdy and substantially heavy.
- Select accessories: Things like an insulated carrying case or strap to keep the lid closed are helpful if you are transporting a hot meal. Plastic liners can make clean up simple, but plastic can leach chemicals, so it’s a trade-off.
Not all crockpot recipes are created equal. Some contain ingredients that can aggravate pain or are just not healthy for anyone. Others take more time and effort than they should. Here are things to watch out for in a recipe:
- Cream of _____ soup: Cream of ____ soup often contains exorbitant amounts of fat and sodium, and sometimes even sugar.
- Fussy steps: Sometimes a recipe will call for browning meat in another pan before adding it to the crockpot. While browning does enhance the flavor, this step may be too much to ask for on a busy morning. Look for recipes that don’t require extra steps in additional pans.
- Processed foods as ingredients: The majority of processed foods contain chemicals that can also aggravate chronic pain. They are also high in sodium and sugar. Avoid these recipes in favor of recipes that call for fresh, whole foods and ingredients.
- Stock or broth: Many recipes call for the addition of stock or broth. Keep an eye on the sodium in the stock you select, or opt to make your own stock in the crockpot after roasting a chicken.
A crockpot can be a lifesaver for a chronic pain patient. If you already use one, share your favorite recipes in the comments!
Image by Janine via Flickr