Cooking is fast becoming one of the most popular hobbies with people of all ages enjoying making home-cooked food.
The activity saw a rise in popularity during 2020 as people were forced to stay home as restaurants closed, and new cooks started to experiment more and try different recipes.
As more people started to try different tastes and types of meals, they also purchased more kitchen gadgets.
A person new to cooking needs to know how to choose the best kitchen equipment, and many guides online will recommend air fryers.
Kitchen equipment has had something of a revolution in recent years with many new devices helping home cooks to try out different ways to make food.
The Instant Pot became a huge success and now the Air Fryer is finding a place in many homes.
The question though is if you are using one of these cooking devices, is it healthy, or should you be cooking another way?
What is an air fryer?
Air fryers are a relatively new kitchen device that allows the user to replicate the appearance, texture, and taste of fried food without actually deep frying.
Despite the name, air fryers don’t actually fry food. The cooking process is done through hot air and high temperatures.
The air fryer produces a convection effect and once the temperature goes over 320 degrees Fahrenheit, the food in the cooker will crisp and turn brown.
While the fryer isn’t actually frying, it does still need a little oil normally.
The amount you would use would be a few sprays from an oil mister or perhaps a tablespoon at most.
Air fryers are also convenient as they are small enough to fit on a countertop and thus take up little space in the kitchen.
Many air fryers have multiple functions these days and can do more than just replicate frying.
The Power XL air fryer for instance can toast, grill, bake, dehydrate, and cook like a rotisserie for chicken.
Is an air fryer a healthy way to cook?
Most people would agree that fried food tastes very good, but the problem eating a lot of this type of food is generally bad for your health.
Eating food that is high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol which in turn increases the chances of heart disease and stroke.
Diabetes, obesity, and cancer can all be linked to eating a high amount of fried food. Deep or shallow frying can also be responsible for producing harmful Acrylamide which can be found in starchy fried food such as french fries.
Acrylamide is linked to several types of cancer including kidney and ovarian cancers.
Cooking with an air fryer typically cuts out around 70-80% of the calories associated with frying and there is a much lower chance of Acrylamide formation happening.
This means that you can enjoy the taste and crunch of fried food without some of the health risks.
Can an air fryer be used as part of a healthy cooking regime?
It is easy to assume that an air fryer is just used for producing fried style food but it has other uses. Air fryers are good for cooking both meat and vegetables.
They can manage squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, and pretty much any vegetable you can think of.
A balanced diet means eating a varied amount of different foods and taking in the required level of nutrients.
An air fryer can happily play a part in a balanced diet and the food doesn’t have to be coated or breaded to cook well in the device.
This means that when you want to know how to be healthy in the kitchen you can consider using an air fryer to assist you.
When it comes to using an air fryer as part of a healthy cooking regime, it is important to lose the word ‘fry’ and don’t only connect the cooker with breaded meats and snacks.
An air fryer is good for cooking lean meats and fish too. Only a small spray of oil is needed for most dishes and there is no need to bread or coat everything that goes in.
Some seasoning or low calories coatings such as paprika, chilli, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper, will go a long way to livening up vegetables, fish, and lean cuts of meat.
By searching out healthy recipes on the internet, experimenting a little yourself, and making a few herb and spice additions to the larder, you can have an exciting healthy diet with the air fryer very much a part of it.
Is an air fryer good for the environment?
While you are considering your own health, it is also important to think of the planet too. Many traditional cooking methods are not ideal for the environment but air fryers differ here.
Air fryers use little in the way of electricity which is good for your pocket and the planet. They also use little in the way of oil.
According to Research Gate, 10 million tonnes of waste cooking oil is produced in the states alone each year.
China and the USA account for 80% of all the world’s total waste cooking oil, with England adding another 9%. Reducing the amount of oil used or recycling it can help the environment so air fryers are a good cooking choice.
While eating any type of fried food all the time would be bad for you, using an air fryer in conjunction with other methods such as steaming will help you to maintain an interesting but healthy balanced diet.
Lean meats and fish cook well in the device, as do vegetables, and there is no need for calorie laden breaded coatings.
One of the main benefits of cooking with an air fryer is that you will use less oil which means you will consume fewer calories and you will have much less waste to dispose of.
This means an air fryer can be a healthy way to cook and is also better for the environment than some other cooking methods.