Laura Clifton believes in moderation as opposed to depravation: No need to give up all the foods you love, just moderate them.

The registered dietitian and nutritionist said cooks can easily adjust their fat and sodium content when using the slow cooker. Even simple steps, such as omitting extra salt, can do wonders for making a recipe a bit more on healthful.

Recipe ingredients often have enough salt on their own and when extra is added, that’s more than necessary, she said.

“When we use soups, you can get away with sodium-reduced products or low-fat. Then, use herbs as enhancers,” she said.

While cooks trying to cut back on fat and calories often gravitate to boneless, skinless chicken, the skin-on, bone-in chicken can still be used for a healthful dish, Clifton said. Just remove the skin once cooked.

Chicken with bone is typically more moist, especially valued in the slow-cooking process.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at