Did you know that it’s physically impossible to resist ordering fries when they’re on the menu?
Okay, maybe it’s not impossible, but it’s damn hard—especially if fried foods are your kryptonite. But I get it: I’m a doctor who specializes in weight management and many of my clients talk about how their weakness is fried, greasy things (and who can blame them?).
Enter, the air fryer. It’s a relatively new appliance, so you might not be aware of its culinary magic, but, basically, it uses super-hot air to “fry” food—with little or no oil required. Like I said: magic.
I love the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven ($198.99, Amazon). It’s great because, unlike a lot of air fryers, this one does multiple things, in addition to air-frying—baking, broiling, toasting, you name it. You can make an entire meal in it (an entire chicken will fit, if you so choose). And also, it looks good, so you’ll want to keep it out on your counter and use it all the time.
One of my favorite ways to use it is to “fry” cauliflower. I got the inspiration from a dish from one of my go-to restaurants. They make cauliflower so crispy that it can withstand any sauce that’s drizzled on it. Before my air fryer, I tried time and again to perfect the recipe—but now, I get it right every single time. (I can’t possibly tell you how many times a week I eat cauliflower now.)
I like to make broccoli in it, too (are you sensing a “fried” veggie pattern?). Loading up your plate with nonstarchy veggies like this adds a lot of fiber that fills you up. But let’s be honest, steaming broccoli gets really boring, really quick.
Even better: The broccoli is frozen at first, so no cutting or washing is required. I dump an entire bag of frozen broccoli into a bowl and mix it with one tablespoon of oil and garlic. Then, I air-fry it for five minutes—that’s literally all it takes.
But enough about veggies, let’s get to the important stuff: fries. All you need to do is spray your sweet potato strips (or regular potato strips) with oil, sprinkle on salt, and air-fry for 15 to 20 minutes. The best part? Fries made in an air-fryer have less than 150 calories per serving (that’s about 10 to 12 thick-cut fries)—about half that of a small fry at a fast-food joint.
While, yes, the ability to prepare veggies—and other foods too—in a healthy way is definitely clutch, the ability to just make food on your own is a huge pull, too.
I often urge my patients to cook at home more in order to control what goes into their food—you can control the oil, salt, and even portion size (and, in turn, calorie count) when you’re putting in the work in your own kitchen.
But I do understand when people don’t like to cook (I’m one of those people). That’s why I gravitate toward the air fryer so much: It provides you with the opportunity to make quick, good quality food that’s also tasty.
Basically, this air fryer makes eating healthy foods something you’ll actually want to do. Cauliflower may be trendy right now, but who knew you could actually look forward to eating it? Get ready to fall in love with veggies—for real.
Caroline Cederquist, M.D., founder of Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, Florida. She is the author of The MD Factor Diet.
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