The air fryer is one of the latest kitchen gadgets of the last 10 years and has transformed cooking for people all around the world. The appliance allows you to cook food ‘fried’ but containing up to 80% less fat than when deep frying the traditional way. If you’ve just bought an air fryer or you’re thinking about purchasing one (or gifting one as a Christmas present!) take a look at some of the ways you can embrace healthy recipes below.
It may be strange to equate ‘healthy’ and ‘fryer’ together in the same phrase but honestly, weight watching doesn’t have to be boring, especially if you’re cooking with an air fryer. Cook your favourite foods guilt-free and keep healthy and slim at the same time.
Air fryers send hot air all around the cooking space and allow you to cook foods using as only a very small amount of oil. What you will end up with is an even crisp all around the food’s surfaces and a moist texture when you bite into the centre.
So now that you know what an air fryer is and how it works, you can get inspired by some of the recipes we’ve hand selected for you to try.
Cauliflower has seen a big resurgence recently because of its presence in the ever-popular keto diet. This recipe if filling and nutritious and make a great snack, low-carb side dish and alternative to chicken wings. Cauliflower is high in fibre and contains vital minerals and vitamins. The recipe itself only requires 5 ingredients and the cauliflower is fried in avocado oil, a healthy choice that lifts the flavour in a subtle but noticeably tasty way.
Top tip – Try a dip of sweet chilli sauce to pack even more flavour into every bite.
Zucchini (AKA the courgette) and Cajun spice are a match made in flavour combination heaven. Cook these chips up as a tapas dish to accompany other small plates, pop them in your lunch pack for work or simply have some in the fridge at home as a healthy snack. Be aware that the zucchini does reduce quite significantly in size once cooked, so you may want to double or even triple the recipe. If you have a garden, zucchini is a great vegetable to grow at home, being both versatile and full of nutritional benefits.
Top tip – zucchini chips compliment tomatoes very well, so why not scatter them on top of a lasagne or chorizo stew to give an added twist?
Your air fryer’s talents do not stop at crisping up food to give a fried texture and taste. Did you know your air fryer can also mimic the texture of baking a potato? This bring us to our next recipe, the sweet baked potato, air fryer style. This recipe involves no oil and can be made as copious or light as you like. Have it on its own with some simple salt and pepper seasoning, or use a topping such as beans, light cheese or flavoured spice to give it a kick.
Top tip – this is such a versatile recipe and can re-invent itself over and over each time you try it with different toppings. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
After a few savoury recipes, it must be time for a sweet! The combination of cinnamon with doughnut and sweet, fried goods in general has long been a known winner. But what if you could enjoy this mouth watering snack/dessert without the guilt of it being bad for you? With an air fryer, you can! When you deep fry a doughnut the conventional way, you end up with unnecessary fat and oil. Frying them in the air fryer reduces the amount of oil used but there’s not compromise on getting that crisp outer crust that doughnuts are famous for. Check out the recipe here.
Top tip – instead of rolling your doughnuts in sugar after they come out of the air fryer, why not try a drizzle of honey or a small amount of brown sugar instead of white sugar?
Chicken tenders are famous for being straight-up no-nonsense comfort food and with the colder months coming up, comfort food it what we need! If you’re eating chicken tenders a little more during these months when you need a bit of a pick-me-up, cooking them in the air fryer will give you the excuse to enjoy them. This heathy recipe gives the tenders that fried crust texture and a moist and flavoursome middle. Try cooking them for your friends and watch their amazed expressions when they find out they’ve not been fried!
Top tip – try to choose a healthy dip to enjoy your tenders with, as this can add a huge amount of calories to your meal and negate the fact that you’ve prepared them healthily in the air fryer!
If you’re taking part in a Weight Watchers programme, there are places you can find recipes in various point categories depending on how many points you’re looking to eat each day.
It’s not secret that oil = fat. However, as demonstrated by our pick of recipes above, air frying uses very little oil. If you’re looking for the healthiest types of oil to use, oils with a high smoke point are a good choice, as they do not risk overheating and transforming into unhealthy chemical compounds that can be bad for your health and nutrition.
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on recipe ideas to keep you healthy, you can spend the winter months cosy in the kitchen coming up with recipe innovations of your own! Just remember to keep the calories down by avoiding sauces that are high in calories, fat and sugar such as mayo and BBQ sauce.