We all love fried food: French fries, onion rings, fried chicken, or even fried butter on a stick. The foods we love all seem to come fried, but when fried foods increase our risk of weight gain, increased cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and death from cardiovascular disease, is it worth the cost? Some people seem to think air frying is the answer, but is that much safer than traditionally fried food?
“Air frying is definitely a healthier alternative to deep-frying,” said registered dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist, Gale Pearson of TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News and Williamsburg. Air fryers work like convection ovens and mimic the effects of deep-frying with hot air instead of oil. A fan inside of the machine circulates the hot air around the cooking compartment at high speeds, which mimics the effects of oil on the food, making it just as crispy as its deep-frying counterpart. Air fryers can give you the same flavor as fried food but without the added fat.
While air fryers can make your meals healthier, you still have to keep in mind what you’re planning on frying. Air fryers won’t alter the content of the food. You still need a well-rounded, nutritional diet in order to truly benefit from using an air fryer as opposed to deep frying. Remember to make healthy food choices like a balanced plate with a variety of foods in the proper portions. Also, try air frying lean protein like fish or chicken breast. Avoid battered foods or foods already high in fat.
It’s also important to realize that air fryers aren’t the only way to cook healthy. Baking, grilling and broiling are also healthy cooking methods. Convection ovens are useful in preparing foods without adding fat.
Air fryers can be safer to handle than deep fryers. There are no risks for spilling hot oil or overheating your deep-frying pot, which could lead to fire and injury. Air fryers are relatively easy to use and clean which makes them even more desirable in the eyes of many Americans. Nearly 10 million air fryers were sold in the U.S. between May 2017 and March 2019, according to market research and those numbers are still rising.
Air fryers are just one of many tools available to help make cooking healthier when used properly. Like any form of technology, it isn’t foolproof. Cooking chicken nuggets in an air fryer as opposed to a deep fryer won’t provide much nutritional difference which is why it is important to make healthy nutritional choices. To learn more ways to eat healthier, visit a TPMG Dietician today.
About Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES
Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 25 years of experience working with patients on dietary and nutrition wellness planning. Gale received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and her Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Howard University.
With extensive experience in nutrition counseling, Gale works with her patients to develop strategies to improve their eating habits and lifestyles, in turn helping them to manage their weight and medical conditions. She credits witnessing her patients’ symptoms and overall health improvement as a result of the lifestyle changes as one of the most gratifying and rewarding aspects of her career.
At TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News and Williamsburg, Gale provides one-on-one consultations, nutrition and weight management counseling, and diabetes education.