Diabetes-Friendly Slow Cooker Stew Recipes

A bowl of vegetarian chili.
A bowl of vegetarian chili. Phillip Jones/Getty Images

Slow cookers retain fluid so well, they require less fat than is required to prevent sticking in stove-top or oven cooking.

  • The time that would have been spent tending a stovetop dish can be reallocated to a healthy activity—like taking a walk or planning healthy meals for the next few days.
  • Having a hearty, satisfying meal waiting for you at the end of a long day can deter unhealthy pre-dinner snacking and/or resorting to quick, heavily-processed, and less diabetes-friendly meal options.

Here are five great slow-cooker recipes that are worth checking out. I've included beef, chicken, pork, vegetarian, and fish recipes just to cover all the bases.

Things to Consider When Cooking in a Slow Cooker

  • For proper cooking, fill the slow cooker only 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  • Remove skin from poultry, and trim excess fat from meats. Fatty foods will cook too quickly.
  • You can thicken the juices and concentrate flavors by removing the lid and cooking on HIGH for the last half hour of cooking time.
  • Use cheaper cuts of meat. Not only are they less expensive, but they have less fat and are perfectly suited to moist, long cooking times.
  • Vegetables do not cook as quickly as meat, so they should be placed in the bottom of the appliance where food cooks faster.
  • Don't lift the lid to stir, because heat will escape and prolong the cooking time. Instead of living the lid, spin it until the condensation falls off, making it easier to see inside.

More Slow Cooker Tips

  • Meats and poultry should be browned in a skillet to add color and flavor before adding to the slow cooker, but it's not strictly necessary.
  • Add seafood during the last hour of total cooking time or it will overcook and become rubbery.
  • "Hot" spices become bitter if cooked for long periods of time. Add to the end of the cooking time. In fact, it's a good idea to stir in all spices for the last hour of cooking otherwise they will lose flavor during the lengthy cook time.
  • Tender vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini should be added during the last 45 minutes of cooking time so they don't become mushy.
  • Unless the recipe states otherwise, dairy products should be added during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Liquids do not boil away in a slow cooker, so if you are making a recipe that wasn't specifically developed for a slow cooker, reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 unless you are cooking rice or making soup.
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