LOWRI TURNER reveals she is giving up on air fryer after just a month
Sorry air fryer evangelists: Nutritionist LOWRI TURNER reveals why she is giving up on gadgets after a month
- Air fryers cook faster and use less energy than ovens, potentially saving on fuel
- But Lowri Turner says the gadget has drained all colour from her family’s diet
- Three-litre air fryer is not big enough to cook a balanced family meal in one go
- READ MORE: ‘Healthy eating’ chef reveals low cal versions of ‘unhealthy’ food
Surely we all know an air fryer evangelist? That friend who swears they cook every meal in the latest cult gadget, and every dish comes out deliciously moist yet crispy — and nonetheless gloriously healthy.
Air fryers cook faster and use less energy than a conventional oven, potentially saving on fuel bills. And because you need to add very little fat to most foods, they’re supposed to be good for your waistline, too. At least that’s the promise that won me, and countless others, over.
I’d seen the Instagram photos of air fryer spinach, red pepper and goats cheese omelette or baked salmon. I couldn’t wait to have one of my own so I, too, could go ‘ta dah!’ as I unveiled an entire air fryer dinner.
Even as a nutritionist, I didn’t foresee the pitfalls. Yet a month in, the air fryer has drained all colour from my family’s diet. That glossy black box takes up valuable space on my kitchen counter and disgorges a steady stream of meals that are entirely beige.
Even as a nutritionist, I didn’t foresee the pitfalls. Yet a month in, the air fryer has drained all colour from my family’s diet
There are chips and chicken nuggets and chips and hash browns and, yes, more chips.
Yes, they’re cooked with a bit less fat than usual and come out crisp, but I am still gripped by the shame of this dire new diet.
You see, the truth about this new-fangled machine is that the kind of food it cooks really well is every nutritionists’ bugbear, ultra-processed food.
In short, anything battered or breadcrumbed — stuffed full of salt, additives and fat. So you may not be adding fat as you cook it, but you are likely all the same consuming a heck of a lot of fat.
We used to eat chips once a month. Now it’s every other day. We have even stooped to flavoured chips — BBQ fries anyone?
I have also developed an unhealthy taste for posh supermarket fish cakes — cod and chorizo, smoked haddock with a melting middle. There are any number of options and I have eaten them all.
Well, they’re fish, I told myself. Add some salad and they’re fine. But I stepped on the scales this week and I’m 5 lbs up. Those fishcakes have to go.
In the past year, sales of air fryers have increased by 3,000 per cent. In the run-up to Christmas, Argos was selling 1.6 every minute and John Lewis crowned the gadget its product of the year. Amanda Holden even posed in a mock fur coat and heels to promote the high-priced Ninja version.
There are chips and chicken nuggets and chips and hash browns and, yes, more chips (stock image)
Celebrities, influencers and thousands of others who’ve gone ga-ga for the gadget rhapsodise about them online.
Forget chicken and chips — as if — here’s how to make sourdough in an air fryer. One TikTok user showed how to dehydrate lemon slices for the ultimate G&T.
So far, so gourmet. But of the first five air fryer recipes on BBC Food, one is for bacon, another is for roast potatoes and another is for pasta… made into chips.
As for cooking a whole roast chicken, in reality you need an air fryer the size of a fridge.
My three-litre air fryer is quite capacious, but it is not big enough to cook a balanced family meal in one go. The result is a sort of air fryer relay, with everyone cooking their own. A conventional oven costs 21p to use for an hour versus 13p for an air fryer.
But if that little air fryer drawer is performing a culinary hokey-cokey, is it any cheaper than just cooking one meal for everyone in an oven?
Perhaps I need not get too wound up for, whisper it, we may have passed peak air fryer in our house.
My children have resumed ‘proper’ cooking. I held my breath as one made himself a chicken burrito this week (including vegetables!) and yesterday I felt faint with relief when I discovered another rustling up bacon, tomato and avocado on toast.
I’ll give it another month before I decide whether to shift the air fryer to the back of the cupboard completely, but it looks like I won’t be finding out how to make pasta into chips after all.
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