On Being a Slow Cooker Queen - Kimberly Thompson


If cooking and baking are a hobby for you, and if you get true enjoyment out of spending time on your feet preparing food, three times a day or more — well, I am not talking to you today. You may skip reading this and go stir something. However, for a lot of us, preparing food every. single. day. is a necessary evil rather than a source of joy.  As a self-avowed slow cooker queen, I want to throw some things out there for you to think about that I hope will lighten the load.

1. Who says “hot” makes a more nutritious meal? One day long long ago I was sitting in the drive-through at McDonald’s on the way to gymnastics or soccer or something. Suddenly a light bulb went on. The only advantage a Happy Meal had over a homemade sandwich and chips or fruit was heat. I had a lot more control over the nutrition content of that sandwich. It actually would have been quicker to slap a homemade sandwich together than to sit in that line. Sometimes “better for you” actually equals “easier.” Win.

2. The slow cooker is indispensable. What could be better than dumping raw ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and, with no extra fuss, having the evening meal ready to go when needed? There are a lot of slow cooker cookbooks out there, as well as some great websites. Start out with beans and progress to large cuts of meat, soups, stews, sides, and even desserts. I personally am adjusting to only having one oven after years of double ovens, and last Thanksgiving found that many casserole recipes adapt well to the slow cooker.

3. Let your family help — but only if it is truly HELP and not interference. I suggest using a day when you have plenty of time to train your child in some ways she can help — setting and clearing the table, filling the glasses, loading and emptying the dishwasher, buttering bread — and then using her mad skills to lessen your own load when time is tight. Assuming you are not a single parent, then make sure the other adult (or adults) in your household pitches in too. Sometimes moms feel guilty about asking for help, but then resent not getting any. Instead, ask your spouse and any other adults that live with you to take at least one meal each on their days off.

4. Simplify. Pare down your meal plans to the bare bones except for special occasions. Kids often will eat raw vegetables with dip quicker than they will cooked vegetables, so why bother to cook them? Fruit and cheese constitute a simple and healthy dessert. Tuna salad is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which most of us don’t get enough of. Cold boiled eggs are nutritious and kid-friendly (and your kid could even help you “devil” the yolks). Move out of the mindset that these types of foods don’t “count” as cooking for your family! I guess this is just another way of saying that “heat” is not a vitamin.

5. Plan ahead. Actually preparing food and eating at home requires thought beforehand. A lot of the stress of meal prep comes from realizing at 5:00 p.m. that you haven’t thought about dinner yet. You need to have the ingredients on hand to whip up a quick and nutritious meal! However, once you’ve done the planning and stocked your kitchen with the necessary ingredients, you are MUCH MORE than halfway there. Planning ahead seriously reduces the trouble involved in food preparation and there’s no substitute for it.

As always, I hope that my musings make your life easier and better. I also hope that one day you learn to enjoy cooking … although it might only happen when you don’t have to do it so often and with such a tight budget.


     I am Dr. Kimberly Thompson, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Lubbock, Texas. I work with mothers and their children to help them heal, grow, and live their most vibrant lives. My particular expertise is pregnant and postpartum women, and moms of “littles.” My book, Perfect Mothers Get Depressed, is available on Amazon and from Praeclarus Press. If you live within driving distance of Lubbock, you can work with me face-to-face; if you live anywhere else in the state of Texas, you can work with me via online therapy. Send me a message if you need more information, or call my office at (806) 224-0200 if you’re ready to book an appointment.