Ever get that craving for chips straight from the fryer or amazing crispy, salty coating on foods that make your mouth start to water? Though we know this food isn’t the best for us we still love to indulge every now and then to get that deep fried hit! What if there was healthier way to still achieve a similar result? Would you, do it? Air Fryers are hot on the market right now and claiming they are the healthy version of deep frying. Is this true? Let’s check it out!
Air Fryers: Are They Healthy?
Studies have shown that air fryers are healthier than traditional deep frying by 70-80% due to the reduction in oil and calories. From crispy chicken to zucchini chips, the range of foods you can make in the air fryer is limitless. There are groups on social media dedicated to ‘Air fryer life’ and the amazing creative ways to use it. The common theme that keeps arising is healthier options are as healthy as what you choose to cook in it. So, choose wisely if health is your goal.
I have one, we have one at our weekender and my son has just got himself an air fryer to take on site at work (He is a builder). He uses it to heat up his leftovers, sausage rolls, pies & more, basically he has become his own lunch truck. Now he doesn’t always pick the healthiest packaged foods to go in it, but it has encouraged him to use it to reheat his leftovers to ensure he is eating healthier meals. We use it to cook up plant-based burger patties, make chips and cook anything that we used to use the oven for! They are fast and just give food that extra flavor.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
Air fryers circulate the hot air and oil droplets to crisp up the food, locking in the flavor and making it delicious with a crispy fried/grilled/baked texture. Using convection air movement, they remove the need for a large quantity of oil to make your food crispy and give it that fried food feel, texture, and taste. It does take a bit of getting used to with trial and error, but they are very simple to use. Using minimal oil and spray oil helps it to fry up foods and get that crispy, crunchy texture. I find they are more like a fast oven rather than a traditional deep fryer, the finished texture is crispy and brown, more like the oven, it does depend on what you are cooking though.
Most Air Fryers have a temperature dial or display so you can select you preferred cooking temperature and then a timer for how long you want to fry for. It is very easy. Pre heat to get that basket hot and then add in your favorite foods to cook and crisp up.
Benefits And Risks
Air fryers are fantastic for reheating leftovers without the need to microwave. They are faster than the oven and perfect for creating tasty snacks like sweet potato chips. The basket allows for excess oils to drain away from the food.
Watching Your Waistline?
An Air Fryer might just be able to help. The reduced need for oil will help lower your calorie intake and have other health benefits such as avoiding trans fats to help with heart health, lower cholesterol and overall contribute to a healthier diet. Now you still need to make good choices to what your put in your air fryer to obtain health benefits. Healthy air frying habits are important. If you are cooking up processed foods that are already high in trans fats, salt, and other additives you will only be reducing the calories from the oil intake.
The risk with an air fryer is falling into the trap of making unhealthy foods on a regular basis. It can get easy to grab a packet of frozen pies or potatoes gems and cook them up for a quick seeming delicious meal or snack. Cooked at home in the air fryer they must be healthy yeah? Sadly no, you still need to make good choices to keep your health in check.
Is An Air Fryer Worth It?
I say yes! It’s and easy way to cook healthier versions of your favorite foods, roast potatoes and make zucchini chips. They come in a range of sizes to fit your needs and space and are an affordable appliance for the kitchen. They don’t take up much space and we keep our in the pantry until needed.
Place a layer of kitchen foil in the bottom of the tray under the basket. This will catch any oil, juices and crumbs that drain from your food. It makes it so much easier to clean as you can remove and discard the foil when required. Always keep the tray and basket clean as old oil and food can go rancid and add terrible flavors or aromas to your food.
Recipe Tip: The Perfect Roasted Potatoes
Instead of roasting potatoes in oil or the pan drippings in the oven try this healthier version.
Boil up cut potatoes until just soft, toss in a little olive oil (1tsp) with salt, garlic & onion powder. Add to prewarmed fry basket and cook until golden and crunchy. Fast and easier than the oven. You can do this with sweet potatoes as well.
The air fryer promises to be a healthy alternative to the deep fryer but it’s what you do with it that counts. We still need to choose wisely what and how we cook. It can help to reduce the amount of oil used in meals thus reducing the calorie intake. It also makes the cooking process an easy task to create flavorful, healthier foods.
The trick is to use it for making healthier versions of food rather than using overly processed packaged foods. Make your own chips from fresh potatoes rather than buying frozen ones. Cook marinated or crispy coated fish or chicken instead of deep fried or processed packaged options. The options are limitless and this appliance will grow with you as your skills using it do.
An air fryer would be a welcome addition to any kitchen. The price and healthy cooking benefits make it a worthwhile appliance to have in the home. Let’s get cooking!