If you think of a slow cooker, Crockpot is probably the name you know best. Modern devices like the Instapot offer several functions in one. With an Instapot or similar, you can sauté meats and vegetables first and switch to slow cooking once the lid is in place.
A slow cooker is an easy way to help your parents have nutritious meals every night. January is National Slow Cooking Month. Stop and think about how slow cookers help your parents eat well even if they struggle with meal preparation.
Go Over Meals They Love
Come up with a lengthy list of meals they love. As you discuss their favorite meals, figure out if they will work in a slow cooker. If your dad loves chicken cacciatore, you could do that in a slow cooker. You may have to blanch the vegetables like mushrooms and red peppers first to keep them from going mushy when they cook.
As you get a list of favorite meals, figure out how to adapt them for the slow cooker and make them healthier. Your mom loves lasagna but doesn’t want to do the layering. You could do a version that has the noodles mixed into the other ingredients for a one-dish casserole and add leafy greens, zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms for extra vegetables.
Prep and Free Ingredients for Them
Invest in some freezer bags or containers, a freezer-proof pen, and labels. Prep all of the ingredients needed for some healthy meals and place ingredients into bags or containers. Add a label with the name of the meal and a date.
Print out a list of meals and give instructions on how long it needs to cook. Secure that to the refrigerator with magnets. You could also install a whiteboard and change the menu weekly.
In the morning, your parents need to pour the contents of the bag into the slow cooker and add any water if needed. All that’s left is to set the time it takes to cook it and push start.
Arrange Meal Preparation Services
The other way you can make the most of slow-cooked meals is by arranging morning home care services. The caregiver can get dinner started before helping with housework and laundry. After leaving, the meal is already cooking. When you stop in or return home after work, you can serve your parents and don’t have to spend time in the kitchen.
Talk to a home care agency about meal preparation services. Ask about other helpful ways to make sure your parents eat well, such as assistance with grocery shopping.