Is an air fryer good for your health or is it just a big trick so that big corporate companies steal our money? In order to answer that question, it would be a good idea to look a bit more into this machine and see how it is supposed to work. This kitchen appliance has been gaining a huge amount of popularity in the last two years. Big electronic firms like Philips have come out with their own products and these have actually gained a lot of attention and received a lot of positive reviews. But what is the principle that this works through?
In basic terms, it is supposed to cook food by using hot air instead of the way that a traditional deep fryer fries food through the use of hot oil. Most of the time, vegetable oil is used during this process and I would definitely consider this to be extremely unhealthy. There is a reason that as soon as we see some fried chicken, we automatically try to avoid it even though we know it will taste amazing. This has become even more common in the last few years as a healthy diet and our self-awareness is increasing day by day. If you end up buying the best air fryer, you don’t need to every worry about using oil.
If you check how air fryers work in detail then you will see some promise because we are definitely eliminating or at the very least minimizing the use of unhealthy oil. Despite this, this kitchen appliance can act as an oil less fryer to make delicious and crispy French fries and other foods. Alongside this, the appliance also has the potential do carry out various other jobs. An example of this would be using it for baking, grilling and even roasting foods. Some products even heat and defrost pre-prepared meals.
As far as I know, all of these promises are actually fulfilled because this is what I have actually experienced. A few months back, I managed to get the Philips HD9220 air fryer and have loved it ever since. Along with the microwave, it is probably the only kitchen appliance that I have used since I got it. This is probably more due to the flexibility of this air cooker because I can literally cook anything on it without having to use an oven or a deep fat fryer. The fact that this can do literally any job has prevented me from even remembering that I got this to improve my diet and remove the unnecessary fats that I have been accustomed to eating from a young age. I have felt like the taste and the texture has been the major surprise because the food is always great and is not actually dripping of oil. Every time I used to make French fries or cook fried chicken, I saw myself using a paper towel to wipe off the excess oil. After buying the best air fryer, I have not had to touch this because I don’t see any oil anyway.
Of course you cannot guarantee that this will make healthy foods because it really depends on the food that you are cooking. If you buy frozen French fries from the supermarket then no these will not be healthy (but still a lot better than the ones you prepare in a deep fat fryer). I believe that the best way to use this appliance is by buying raw ingredients then preparing them at home. Buying potatoes, cutting them into sticks can be one way to do it and I would definitely consider this to be healthy. The same goes for fried chicken. To cook this, you will need to buy raw chicken breast pieces, marinate them and then cook them in the oil less fryer. This would be a much better (and healthier) alternative to frying foods. From my experience, I have noticed that the taste is great and the food is not actually dry, which is something that I was skeptical about. Air fryers have really gotten better over the last year and can cook amazing food with little to no oil.
I can definitely say that if you are thinking of buying this kitchen appliance then you should go for it. It will be much healthier than a normal deep fryer anyway but to maximize the potential you will need to prepare all the food yourself. The one problem that you might have is the fact that there are a lot of air cookers around the market. Most of them are quite good but you need to do some research before you end up buying one. There is a lot of information available online and this air fryer review might be useful for you. As I said before, I personally went for the Philips HD9220 and I could not be any happier.
Recent and not-so-recent news that portions of Whole Foods’ “organic” products are indeed a product of China has a lot of people reeling right now, disappointed in a favorite retailer with a typically sparkling image, at least compared to conventional markets and beef from feed lots, chicken from factory farms and produce laden with pesticides and other chemicals. But I’ve always had my reservations about Whole Foods, and not just because of its reputation as “Whole Paycheck.” Why? An organic apple is better than a conventional apple, if both come from, say, Wisconsin. But what if the organic apple comes from New Zealand? What if the organic grapes are from Chile? What about Mangoes from Haiti? Or, Peppers from Mexico? It’s a now-typical battle of organic versus local, and a lot of people — like me — feel like their healthy, responsible food choices are dwindling while the interior supermarket shelves are exploding with newfangled products, cookies with vitamins, bright colors and crisp aluminum packaging.
If it doesn’t bother you to know that your pears were shipped from Argentina because of the irony found smack dab in the middle of the organic argument — that it’s both good for you AND good for the environment, which arguably shipping food halfway across the world is not — it should at least bother you that, if you are buying organic zucchini from Australia, you may be paying more for the word “organic” than you are for the standards another country holds when producing that so-called responsibly farmed food. If your morals don’t get you in the gut, maybe your wallet will.
But the thing is, organic has become — has been now, for a while — another health buzzword. First it was low-fat; then came low-carb; 100-calorie is pretty new and we also have “antioxidants,” “super foods” and “all natural.” That organic got lumped into this category doesn’t surprise me; we are a culture of trying to fit in, trying to look good without much effort. Buying the organic option at the market isn’t always about what’s healthier for the family; sometimes it’s just about fitting an image you and your peers hold as healthy, trendy, and smart. And we’re playing right into the hands of every organic factory farmer, just like they got us the first time around by putting pretty pictures of farms and animals on conventional factory-farmed meats, eggs and cheeses and typing the latest buzzword right on the front of the package, in bright yellow ovals and big red letters. Organic now means little more than more expensive, if you don’t do your research.
Which is why you can either flounder in the food store, like I sometimes feel I’m doing, trying to pick the best option for myself and my family, or you can rely on common sense — which would tell you not to buy a “California blend” of vegetables that actually comes from China. Michael Pollan would tell you, for example, not to eat something your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, but I’d also go so far as to say that she wouldn’t have had access to pineapple from New Mexico living in Chicago in March. And although it can be tempting to just eat “whatever” until the farmer’s market rolls around each year, you’re not safe there, either, unless you start talking to your local farmers and finding out how they treat their crops, with what natural or synthetic pesticides, and why they even have avocados shipped in from California.
Back to common sense — read labels, ask questions, start conversations with people. If you care even one iota about what goes into your body, or at least your child’s body, I like to rely on the idea that your values should drive what you eat. If you don’t like something about the food industry, don’t support it. And if you’re unsure about what to eat, aside from relying on common sense and, well, your gut to help you plan out meals and snacks, do some research. That box of crackers will be there when you come back to the market next week. There will always be organic chicken, conventional chicken, grass-fed beef and ricotta cheese from pastured cows. What will change is, perhaps, where the fish was shipped from this week, or who has the best raspberries at the farmer’s market and just what exactly you’re in the mood to eat tonight for dinner. It should be enjoyable, making that decision each day, not stressful or confusing. If you feel good about what you’re cooking, your body will feel good about what you’re feeding it.
I’ve chosen one recipe for each main category — breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and, if you’re entertaining at all, an appetizer recipe and an easy dessert to put together. If these go over well, I’d be happy to post more.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, because it gets your metabolism revved up and ready to go. Why skip it when you can have something this delicious, fast and good for you?
English Muffin Sammie
Whole-wheat English muffins are a much better choice than a bagel (read: less calories), and when you put this together it’s an infinitely healthier version of a McMuffin.
1 Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin
1 slice part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 slice tomato
1/4 ripe avocado, sliced
Pop the English muffin in the toaster. Crack the egg into a microwave-safe ramekin or small bowl, pierce the yolk with a fork and cover the dish with a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or until desired doneness. (If you have a little more time, you can also cook it on the stove with a little cooking spray — it fills out the muffin better that way.) While the egg is cooking/cooling, slice your tomato and avocado.
If you want your cheese a little more melted, stop cooking the egg at 30 seconds and, when the English muffin is toasted, plop the egg and cheese on it and nuke it in 15-second intervals, until the cheese is sufficiently gooey. Arrange the tomato and avocado atop your breakfast sammie, and you’re good to go — you’re getting a healthy dose of fiber, protein, carbs and good fat to set you on your way. Wrap in aluminum foil if transporting, to maintain deliciousness. If you want a fruit to go with it, grapes are great on the go. Enjoy!
Contrary to popular belief, snacking does not have to be bad for you — it’s all about portion control and what you choose. For something easy and on the go, try grabbing two Wasa Light Rye crackers and a string cheese. If you don’t have a fridge at work, check out Justin’s Classic Almond Butter Squeeze Packs — so perfect for transport, and almond butter has more fiber than peanut butter. Good deal!
One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is a salad — but one I can make at home, not some calorie bomb at the local all-you-can-eat. Chef’s salads can be surprisingly healthy and filling, as long as you choose the right ingredients.
3c bagged salad greens of your choice (romaine, arugula and spinach beat iceberg any day)
1.5oz low-fat ham (Oscar Mayer Shaved Honey Ham is a healthy pick; just grab a few slices if you don’t have a food scale), chopped
1.5oz sliced turkey breast (Hillshire Farms Deli Select Premium Hearty Slices Honey Roasted Turkey Breast is a winner), chopped
1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese, chopped
1/4c pre-chopped green peppers
1/4c pre-chopped onion
Oil and vinegar, salt and pepper for dressing
The only thing you need to chop for this recipe is the lunch meat and cheese, which you can always do ahead if you like the salad and want to eat it more than once a week. Put the lettuce at the bottom of a large to-go container (I like these). Top with meats, cheese, peppers and onions and, if you’re taking it to work for the day, store the dressing in a separate container.
You can add any number of things to this salad, or mix and match — a slice of bacon wouldn’t hurt, some chopped tomato, or a chopped hard-boiled egg in place of the turkey — just be sure you balance out any higher-calorie toppings with lots of dense, fibrous vegetables if you start to want to pile things on. Raw broccoli is also filling, crunchy and delicious in salads. And be sure you don’t go overboard on the dressing — you can’t get much healthier than oil and vinegar, but if you’re just starting out trying to watch your portion sizes, you’re better off measuring and learning as you go — for example, one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil mixed with one teaspoon of red wine vinegar. A few grinds of pepper and a shake of salt should do you just fine.
I’d round out this meal with an apple and a square of 70% dark chocolate. Yum!
Most of us tend to overeat at dinner time just because it’s commonly perceived as normal for it to be the biggest meal of the day. I like the “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper” philosophy, but I know it can be hard to get used to. This is a healthy dinner that should satisfy you without weighing you down.
Grilled Chicken with Asparagus
1 3-oz chicken breast, butterflied and pounded rather thin (alternatively, you could use something like Perdue Fit & Easy Thin Sliced Boneless Breasts)
No-MSG Greek seasoning
1c asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1t extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Heat a grill pan over medium-high to high heat, until it sizzles when the meat touches the surface. Season the chicken with the Greek seasoning and drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil. Season the veg with salt and pepper and put it in the grill pan with the chicken (I prefer chicken toward the top half, veg at the bottom).
Cook the chicken for three to five minutes on each side, turning with tongs as it browns. Move the asparagus around frequently to ensure that all the spears get cooked evenly. When finished cooking, dress the asparagus with the oil and seasoning, and serve together, hot, with the cooked chicken. (Jazz it up with a little hot sauce if you must.)
If you don’t have the time, space or inkling to cook on a grill pan, warehouse clubs like Costco and BJ’s often sell precooked chicken breasts (just check the portion size and trim them down as necessary). Steam the asparagus in a Ziplock Zip’n Steam bag (instructions are right there on the package!), season and you’re good to go.
This meal would be delicious served with a five-ounce glass of red wine (yea heart benefits!), a whole-wheat roll and some sliced strawberries for dessert. Voila!
Whether you’re the host or hostess or just helping somebody out, no one wants to worry about whipping up an appetizer at the last minute, while you’re simultaneously trying to find clean clothes, appropriate footwear and the car keys. My advice? Make an old standby.
Go to your local cheese shop or gourmet market and pick out an interesting assortment of different kinds of cheese — hard/sharp cheese (think Parmesan), soft creamy ones (goat) and blue cheese (Cambozola is fabulous). They’ll let you taste the cheese first if you’re worried about stink factor.
Arrange the cheeses on a platter or cutting-board type server with several small knives, and always cut a slice from each one first so that there are no “I don’t want to be the first one” jitters from party guests.
Garnish the plate with red and green grapes, cherries, figs — whatever’s in season — or perhaps some roasted nuts. That’s it!! Don’t worry about using full-fat cheeses — stick to eating one-ounce portions (about the size of your index finger) and you’ll be fine. With good cheese, a little goes a long way.
I thought we’d never get here! My favorite. Are you looking for the easiest healthy/yummy dessert ever? I’ve got you covered.
Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Sauce
1 store-bought angel food cake
Make the raspberry sauce by simply combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bringing them to a boil. Cool the sauce and strain out the seeds (recommended).
Slice the cake and drizzle the sauce over each portion with a spoon. (Garnish with whipped cream and mint, if desired — NOT “whipped topping,” which, believe it or not, has trans fats.) Angel food cake has only about 70 calories per serving, so you can feel good about this.
I hope you enjoy these ideas. Let me know how they work out!
I had to share my favorite breakfast of the moment because I am so excited about it.
Like any great breakfast, it involves oats and is prepared ahead of time to make life easier in the morning. It is a hybrid between overnight oats and a smoothie bowl. I stumbled upon the idea and recipe from a random blog that I cannot unfortunately remember the name of.
I made the strawberry banana version, and it came out great! I have also tried the plain Dough Boy recipe, which is a good base for any toppings you may want to add.
For my smoothie in a bowl, I added pure granola, slivered almonds, blueberries, and coconut butter. I didn’t realize until recently the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter. There is definitely a difference in both flavor and texture! The tip to heat up the coconut butter and then drizzle it over the smoothie bowl was definitely a good one. It made the most amazing shell that conjoined all the toppings into coconut goodness!
I also wanted to talk about my favorite workout of the moment, and that is Les Mills’ Body Pump! If you have never heard of Body Pump or Les Mills, you’re missing out. They are a great fitness organization and create awesome programs, of which Body Pump is one of their most popular.
It is a one-hour class that works your entire body and burns major calories. You use a weighted bar throughout the class to sculpt and tone the major muscle groups. Each song focuses on a muscle, and the instructor guides you through the reps to the beat of the song. According to Les Mills’ website, 70-100 repetitions are performed on each muscle group!
I first took a body pump class at my local gym in high school and I loved it from the start! It was so challenging but invigorating at the same time. I have done different workout programs since then, but I recently took a body pump class again and remembered how much I absolutely love it! You feel so accomplished after the class and the soreness the next day is only a reminder of how hard you worked.
So to recap: Go make the Smoothie in a Bowl for tomorrow’s breakfast and sign up for a Body Pump class near you! You will get excellent results if you continue this strategy for a couple of months.
If you want to eat healthy, you can try to make tomatoes stuffed with eggs and vegetables. Ingredients for this meal are medium-sized round tomatoes, seasonal greens, one or two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, 2.5 ounces of ham, 2 tablespoons of grated cheese, eggs, pepper, canned tomatoes, one tablespoon of olive oil and salt.
Wash the tomato and dry it with paper towel. Using a knife, cut off the tops and remove inside with spoon. Add salt, and chop green vegetables. Fry breadcrumbs on the stove without any oil. Chop the ham and mix it with all ingredients – breadcrumbs, ham, grated cheese and eggs. Add pepper, salt and fill tomatoes with this mixture. Finely, chop the caps of tomatoes in the pan, mix it with canned tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and bake for four minutes on highest power.
Special note – Do not overdo it with breadcrumbs.
And now something different; Pork chops in sour cream. Yummy. Cut steaks on thin strips and add pepper, salt and roll it in flour. Arrange meat in shallow dish. Add water to sour cream and pour over the meat until is completely covered. If you want, put thin slices of cheese. Bake in the microwave for fifteen or twenty minutes. It is easy as that, but very tasty.
Vegetables are another type of food you can make in a microwave. Studies show that vegetables cooked in a microwave oven preserve more nutritious ingredients. Place the vegetables in a bowl with a small amount of water and cover with foil. Make sure this type of foil is safe for use in microwave ovens.
Leave a minor part open so that air can circulate and turn to high temperature. Cooking time varies – leafy vegetables need 1-2 tablespoons of water per 500 grams. Cooking time is about five minutes. Green vegetables require about four tablespoons of water and eight minutes cooking. Vegetables of high density such as carrots and sliced potatoes require about 6 tablespoons of water and ten minutes cooking.
You have a microwave and it stands in your kitchen, but you are out of ideas on what to prepare? The microwave is a powerful tool for many new ideas and nifty tips, so just follow our advice and enjoy. We present just some of the ways to use your microwave oven differently.
First, you can prepare tasty fish. For this, the microwave is literally perfect. Simply garnish the fish with seasoning, wrap with foil, which can be used in microwave oven and cook for about 2 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave in the strongest level. Be careful not to overcook.
You can make chips. Maybe you do not believe that it is possible to make crispy chips in the microwave, but it’s certainly possible. Not only is it easier, it is also healthier because you don’t have to use too much oil.
Prepare healthy vegetables – Cooking vegetables at a higher temperature will lead to the loss of nutrients, especially vitamin C and vitamin B. When you cook vegetables in the microwave, this loss will be at a minimum.
Next tip – soften brown sugar! If your brown sugar is hard as a rock, put it in your microwave. Moisten the paper towels and fold them over the brown sugar. It takes about 30 seconds to soften.
The microwave is ideal for the rapid growth of dough. You just have to put a cup of water until the vapor appears, and then insert the dough, close the door and the microwave will do the rest.
In the microwave, you can melt butter and chocolate if you need to make cakes and cookies. This requires only a few seconds at high temperature.
You can make tea or heat water for tea, and dry spices. For this, you need two to three minutes of drying them out, then leave spices for a half hour at room temperature, and at the end, just pack spices into containers.
And always remember – the cooking dish should be round or oval and shallow, not narrow and high. Cooking time in the microwave oven is much shorter than the standard cooking time but always set the time a little shorter than you think you need.
Never heat the food that is sealed because it may lead to excessive creation of vapor inside the sealed package. Beware of using too much oil, as heated oil will spray all over the microwave. Foods that have previously been at room temperature will cook faster than those that were in the fridge.