by: Shannon Dobbs

Note: Affiliate links are used in this article.  If a linked product is purchased On Common Ground [EIN 81-1626577] may earn a small commission which will not increase the cost of the product. All proceeds earned will be used to support nonprofit food resilience efforts in line with our Charitable Mission.  Learn more by visiting our Disclosure Page.  

Are you trying to eat healthy, but there just isn’t much healthy food available in your neighborhood and you’re stuck riding the bus?  Do you eat out a lot because cooking at home is too hard, whether from age and disability, or time constraints, or the lack of a functional kitchen?  You are not alone.  Millions of Americans are struggling with the same challenges, and these are driving a huge portion of the cascading health problems in communities all over the country. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with food insecurity is HARD, especially in US Food Deserts.  Eating healthy without a functional kitchen, as so many living in renovated motels, dorms on closed campuses and many other situations, is even more difficult.  And navigating all those barriers during a pandemic can be an absolute nightmare. 

Fortunately, there are ways for us to work around environmental barriers that can not only help us to eat healthier, but also save lots of money in the process.  One amazing new tool that is starting to get recognition is the plug-in all-in-one pressure cooker.  These devices are a game changer in so many ways: creating healthy meals with inexpensive resources, cooking food in large batches to meal plan and save time, and the convenience of cooking in a single device to reduce cleanup. 

Perhaps the single biggest problem that I solved with the device I own, a CrockPot plug-in Multi-use XL pressure cooker, has been cooking dry beans.  Beans are an amazing source of protein and necessary nutrients and should be a staple of every household.  I put them on nearly everything from tortillas to salads (and guacamole IS a salad!  Change my mind).  Once cooked beans can be refrigerated for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to six months. 

Canned beans come pre-cooked but are heavy and hard to transport, especially without a vehicle as so many people living in Food Deserts know all too well.  Canned beans are also far more expensive than the same amount of dry beans, as you are paying for processing, handling, and packaging markup as well as the food itself.   Until recently however, canned has been the only option for long term storage of cooked beans, and cooking them at home is messy, time-consuming, and for those lacking a cook-top virtually impossible. 

This is no longer the case.  Now I can buy a giant bag of dry beans that can feed my family for months for a few bucks, and just toss the bag into a plastic bin or small trash can in the corner of my home.  With my CrockPot plug-in Multi-use XL pressure cooker I can run a HUGE batch of beans from dry to fully cooked in just 20 minutes (don’t forget to soak them first!).  I don’t have to cook them very often since I can freeze them, so I like to divide them into usable portions and pull some out the day before I run through the previous batch. 

Beans are only one of the many healthy cooking options for use with a plug-in multi-cooker.  There are lots of great brands and models available to choose from, including ones even larger than mine.  There are also cookers with additional functions such as Air Frying, which is another great way to eat healthy if you like your food crunchy without the added grease from traditional frying.  Personally, I recommend getting one big enough to not have to cook too often.  

Invest in your health; get yours today!