Kidney Diet Tips

Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker Quick Meals

Dialysis can be tough on family dinnertime, especially when you want quick meals. Treatment schedules may make achieving a sit down family meal hard. When family members eat at different times and places, it’s easy to stray away from home cooked meals. You may be tempted to turn towards processed foods or fast foods that can be high in phosphorus and sodium.

Instead of popping prepared meals in the microwave or resorting to fast food, try using a slow cooker or a pressure cooker for convenient, minimal hands-on cooking. These cooking methods can help make it easier to get a healthier, more balanced hot meal on the table. Bringing balance back to the mealtimes you have together is worth the effort. Plus, eating delicious, nutritious quick meals together is great for the whole family.

Slow cooking or pressure cooking?

A slow cooker cooks food very slowly, usually around 8 to 10 hours on low setting for most recipes. If you have more time and energy in the morning to put together ingredients for a meal, this is the way to go. There’s nothing better than coming home at the end of a long or busy day to a ready-to-serve dinner that has your whole kitchen filled with seasonal aromas.

A pressure cooker cooks food quickly to save time when preparing meals. The pressure cooker traps steam created by heating the water or other liquid added to the food. As a result the internal pressure and temperature of the food goes up very quickly. There’s very little liquid loss when you pressure cook. Once you master this type of cooking you may find it is the best way to prepare your favorite quick meals.

Choosing the right recipe  

When choosing recipes remember both pressure cookers and slow cookers work using the moist-heat cooking method. This method uses water, liquid or steam to transfer heat to food. The best recipes are often those that contain some liquid. When adapting a recipe for pressure cooking, follow your pressure cooker’s instructions to adapt the cook time correctly.

Soups and stews are easy to adapt to pressure cooking. For example, for the recipe Cream of Chicken Wild Rice Asparagus Soup , you can cook the rice separately, prepare the veggies and chicken and assemble in a slow cooker, then cook on low until you are ready to eat.

For food safety reasons it is not recommend to reheat food or leftovers in a slow cooker 1. Also, thaw frozen meat before placing in a slow cooker. Otherwise the meat may stay in the “danger zone” for too long and bacteria may grow before it reaches a safe cooking temperature.


For starters, try Crockpot® Chicken and White Bean Chili, a seasonal slow cooker recipe from the “Today’s Kidney Diet Fall Comfort Foods” cookbook.

Here are some additional recipes to try in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

References: ; accessed 10-24-18. ; accessed 11-1-2018.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Heidi Bennett RD, CBE

Heidi Bennett RD, CBE

Heidi Bennett is a busy mother of two who believes eating well is possible with limited time . She has worked as a clinical dietitian in Wisconsin and now California for over twelve years. Through her experience in a variety of settings , she has found her true calling as a renal dietitian for DaVita. In her free time Heidi loves traveling with her husband and growing fresh ingredients for cooking and preserving.