Starting, or maintaining, a healthy lifestyle is a collection of complex steps, all of which are important in forming the perfect balance between time management, budgeting, and your overall health. The one thing that so many people often pay the least attention to is the way that they prepare their food. Or rather, it is the one thing that people rarely plan when switching to a new diet plan. The reason why this is so important is because the way you prepare your food determines what you actually get out of it. Minerals and nutrients are sensitive molecules, which are destroyed if untreated properly. If your once fresh vegetables are now overcooked, you won’t be getting much healthy use out of them.
Important Points for Healthy Food Preparation
Imagine if you deep fried everything, or boiled everything to death. Imagine trying to eat food straight from the freezer, or not paying attention to how long your food has been present in your house, or when its expiration date is. None of these ways are the right way to treat food, and with it, none of these ways are the right way to treat your own body. Food is alive, especially when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and herbs, which means that in order for you to treat it with respect and to get the most out of it, you need to prepare it in a way that will be the most similar to its original shape. What if you could make delicious food, all the time, without tempering with it too much, and keep all of the important vitamins and nutrients inside each ingredient? The best way to cook on a keto diet is with the help of an air fryer!
The Basics of An Air Fryer
An air fryer is an easy-to-use kitchen appliance, which cooks food by circulating hot air around it. Air fryers are powered by mechanical fans, which can increase temperatures to up to 200 degrees Celsius. Because the air fryer depends on hot air to cook the food, it allows for an even cook and a crispy finish. But more importantly, the air fryer requires only a few drops of oil, and often none at all! This is especially important because even though the keto diet does include a number of healthy oils on its menu, most healthy oils should not be used at high temperatures. Take olive oil for example, which is a delicious addition to any salad, but should certainly not be your first choice when cooking food at high temperatures because it loses all of its healthy properties in the process.
Air fryers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are very affordable for any household. When choosing an air fryer, the most important feature should be the cooking basket. Make sure to choose a basket that will be large enough to fit all of the ingredients that you usually need for yourself or your entire household, and also one that will be easy to clean in your home. An air fryer does not require a lot of maintenance, especially because it needs almost no oil at all to complete a cook, but it is still important to keep all appliances clean at all times.
The Ninja air fryer is the best (overall) for Keto
The air fryer can be easily personalized, and comes with adjustable settings so that every meal can be planned and prepared ahead of time. This is especially important for people who are busy and have a hard time introducing a healthy lifestyle into their lives. The air fryer is also very safe because it is only the inside of the appliance that heats up. And because they usually come with a setting to automatically switch it off, you do not need to worry about any fire related dangers in your home.
The Perfect Companion for the Keto Diet
Comfort food is often a weakness when people transfer to a new diet. Even when we know that a certain food is not healthy, we still find times when we crave it, especially on days when we feel low. The amazing thing about the air fryer is that it makes delicious, crispy food, without the unhealthy elements of frying. If you like your onions caramelized, the air fryer will give them a crispy outer coating, with the same, but much healthier, taste. Likewise, if your comfort food is crispy chicken, no problem there either. The air fryer has a special setting for proteins, allowing them all to be perfectly cooked with almost no oil. Your chicken wings will always be golden brown and crispy, without the guilt of high carbs or high calories.
The air fryer is also a great addition to the keto diet if you like ‘breading’ on your friend protein or vegetables. Instead of using high-carb bread options, finely chop your favourite nuts and seeds, and coat your ingredients in them. The air fryer will make the coating brown and crispy, allowing you to enjoy your comfort food without the addition of high carbs. Your favorite crisps can be swapped with kale leaves with just a touch of coconut oil to really enhance their crunchy texture.
Although delicious food is a great treat with the help of an air fryer, that really isn’t its main advantage as a kitchen appliance. Its most important features are the health benefits that come with this style of cooking.
The Health Benefits of Air Fryers on the keto diet
The fact that you can now create delicious meals at home, all the time, is an important addition to your daily health rituals. Because you make the food yourself, you know exactly what ingredients have gone into your meal. This means that you have the freedom to make all of your meals fresh and healthy at all times, and you have full control over the carb levels for each recipe.
Because the air fryer relies solely on hot air to cook the ingredients, not only is the cooking time short, but it is also constantly healthy and all of the delicious flavors stay inside the cooker, instead of simply evaporating out of a pan. When you have this kind of help in the kitchen, you are much less likely to seek unhealthy options when you’re hungry. Additionally, air fryers often come with a heating option too, so you can easily re-heat your dinner and have it ready on the table in no time.
Quick & Healthy Desserts
Believe it or not, the air fryer is a great way to prepare keto desserts with ease. Things like protein pancakes and flourless cake can all be made inside the air fryer with just a little prep time. You don’t have to give up all desserts just because you’re on the keto diet, and with the air fryer, you don’t have to. As long as you keep the amount of desserts you eat to a healthy level, there will be no negative side effects to an occasional keto treat.
Tips for the Perfect Air-Fry
Find A Cosy Place for Your Air Fryer
This may sound like strange advice, but if you are going to make the most of an air fryer, it needs to always be close by for use. If you have to reach it from a cupboard or a shelf all the time, you are much less like to use it on a regular basis, which would completely defeat the purpose of an air fryer to begin with. Find a place in your kitchen where it will always be easy to access the air fryer, to the point where you simply need to open the cooking container and add all your ingredients.
Check that You Have the Right Temperature
Different recipes require different temperatures to ensure that the food is cooked properly. Although some meals may not particularly be affected by a cold start in the air fryer, others require for it to be pre-heated. Whatever the case is, follow the recipe as precisely as possible, to ensure that your food tastes delicious.
Don’t Shy Away from Aluminum Foil
The aluminum foil is resistant to very high heat levels, and is often used to add even more gradual control to the cooking process for the ingredients. In some cases, it is even used to help with the cleaning process later on. For example, if you add a bit of mustard to your recipe and it drips to the bottom, a little bit of aluminum foil that was previously placed underneath the ingredients will make things a lot easier to clean up.
Prepare Some Extra Accessories
Some fryers come with their own accessories while others don’t. In either case, it is always possible to add smaller pans inside the air fryer for smaller recipes or desserts. It is of course important to check whether the smaller pan is adaptable with the fryer, but you can easily do so by checking the instruction manual. In general, any pan that is oven safe is also safe for the air fryer.
Add a Dash of Water for Fatty Foods
You will notice a small drawer at the bottom of your air fryer. Thiss is where you can add a splash of water when you are cooking foods that are high in fat. If fat becomes too hot and drips to the bottom for too long, it can sometimes start to smoke. This doesn’t happen if there are vegetables in the fryer as well, because the vegetables will absorb the fat, but if it’s just the meat alone then it is a good idea to add water in order to prevent the unpleasant smoke from rising.
Don’t Add Too Many Ingredients in the Basket
In order to ensure that all foods cook evenly and develop that crispy top layer, it is important not to overcrowd the air fryer’s cooking basket. It’s often a good idea to make sure that the ingredients are all in one level, especially if you are preparing meat. Vegetables may not be such a problem because they are easier to cook evenly.
Flip Foods for Double the Crispyness
If you want both sides of your food to have a crispy coating, like you would with grilling, simply flip the food over half-way through the cooking time. This simple technique will add another layer of flavor to your food, and will emulate the feeling of BBQs.
Don’t Worry About Opening the Air Fryer Mid-Cook
Unlike most ovens, the air fryer doesn’t lose in heat intensity if you open it a number of times during its cooking process. Its design is so perfect that it will easily continue to cook the food and will quickly bring it up to the required temperature once again. Don’t go too crazy with opening it, but know that it won’t mess with the flavors or the overall end result of your recipe.
NOTE: When you open the air fryer mid-cook, keep your face away from the oncoming heat to protect your eyes.
Remove the Bottom Basket Before Removing the Food
We previously mentioned that there is a basket at the bottom of your air fryer which collects grease. It is a wonderful addition to the appliance, but unfortunately most people forget about it until they make a very specific mistake. If you take out both the cooking basket and the bottom basket at the same time and you tip them over, the grease from the bottom will be transferred onto your plate along with the food, defeating the purpose of collecting fat in the first place.
Clean the Air Fryer After Every Use
Hygiene is of the utmost importance for every meal, regardless of what diet you are on. Leftover food particles can turn into mould, develop bacteria and cause very unpleasant after effects if new food is cooked on top of it. Also, always clean the bottom drawer and never cook in the same oil twice. When any cooking oil is brought up to a high temperature a second time, it has cancerogenic properties which are awful for your health. Keep your appliances clean, and you will never have to worry about your health.
The Air Fryer Dries Itself
Once you are done with cleaning the air fryer, simply pop all its elements back into place and turn it on for about 3 to 5 minutes. The hot air will naturally dry the appliance, and will also act as its very own antiseptic.
Food Isn’t Cooking Like You Expect It To
Make sure to follow every recipe for air frying exactly as it is written. Check whether or not you have overcrowded the ingredients, which is why they may not be turning crisp or don’t have enough space to allow the hot air to cook them equally.
White smoke is usually the result of grease, so make sure that you have added some water to the bottom drawer to stop the grease from overheating.
Black smoke is usually due to burnt food. Have you cleaned the air fryer properly from its previous use? Clumsy cleaning can mean that some food ended up stuck to the air fryer’s heater, and is now burnt. Turn the machine off, let it cool down completely, and then check if there is any food left in the heater.
The Air Fryer Won’t Stop
Because the air fryer is operated by a high-speed fan, it will take some time for the fan to stop spinning even after you have turned off the electricity source for the appliance. Give it about a minute to stop spinning completely.
The air fryer is the perfect addition to a keto diet because it provides creativity, easy of use, and a budget-friendly collection of recipe while staying true to the real power of keto. It is safe and ease to use for the whole family, and will always be the healthiest way to prepare home cooked keto meals.