We tried it: The air fryer

by | Jan 14, 2022 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Author: Ben Abramowitz

Between shopping for quality ingredients and preparing meals, healthy eating can feel like a serious time investment. That’s why the Noom Weight program is stacked with practical tips and Psych Tricks, to make reaching your health goal a whole lot easier. But here, I want to share a shortcut to making healthy eating simple: get yourself an air fryer. 

First off, this is not sponsored content. I will not tell you what brand of air fryer to buy—there are tons of great options. But I will tell you that mine has dramatically changed my life, and I will also tell you how. 

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe. But I’m still in the honeymoon phase with my air fryer, and I want to share the love with you. 

I’m a Noom employee and a bona fide health and wellness nerd. Spending my workdays steeped in psychology, behavior change, and the discipline of healthy eating makes me feel insanely fortunate. And still, at the end of the day, it’s often so hard for me to wrangle the time and motivation to prepare meals that help me meet my health goals. Right now, I’m working to balance my plate—protein, carbs, and fat—with a focus on cutting back on fat (yes, red foods). I’m constantly experimenting with my routine to create a more sustainable one that I enjoy, which is one of the reasons I was excited to try the air fryer.

The air fryer is a compact, countertop appliance, essentially a smaller convection oven. It also mimics the effects of a deep fryer—think rich, crispy French fries and chicken fingers—without the deep fryer’s vat of oil. It has a high-powered fan that expels hot air that surrounds and cooks your food. Basically, you’re replacing oil with air, which helps you greatly cut down on calories and fat, even compared with baking or sautéing something, which requires some oil.

After several weeks of using an air fryer, I’ve identified three main reasons I love it. 

The first big reason I love my air fryer: My food is ready in half the time or less

Let’s go back to the whole time-wrangling thing. Once I’ve shopped for ingredients, planned my meal, and even committed to making it, there’s often one devastating final hurdle that trips me up: pre-heating. Pre-heating my oven may take only 15-ish minutes, but when I get home from work, and I’m a touch hangry, and I’m ready to cook my meal, but now I have to wait 15-ish minutes to really get started—I just think, “nope.” The mere prospect of waiting around while my oven creeps toward 350° can make me compulsively tap “Express Re-Order” on my takeout app while the expiration date on my refrigerated produce looms nearer. Pre-heating was my personal nightmare. But, amazing news: you don’t need to pre-heat an air fryer.

I’ve been taking one of my go-to baked chicken recipes and, instead of spraying a sheet with oil and cooking the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes, I just drop it in the air fryer for half the time. And midway through the frying time, I take the vegetables I’d normally dirty a spatula sauteing and toss them in right alongside the chicken for a one-“pot” meal. Not only is it convenient, but the taste is—personal opinion here—better. It heightens the flavor you’d get from baking, while adding a crunch that I can only describe as fun. The chicken develops a browned, crispy coating while maintaining a soft, juicy interior. The vegetables get soft, with an exquisite char. Check out some air fryer recipes here

The second big reason I love my air fryer: My food is more satisfying and healthier

For me, air frying is a way to make some filling, nutritious foods satisfy not just your stomach, but your mouth, too. The crisp texture of air-fried foods has an extraordinary mouthfeel. Have you heard of the concept of mouth hunger? When you’re mouth-hungry, you crave foods that are fun to feel in your mouth—like ones that are crunchy or sweet—but not necessarily filling.

If you’re a Noomer, it can help you cut back on red foods like oils. I’m eating way fewer red foods each day, but I feel way more satisfied—win-win. To be honest, I still cannot believe that it’s healthier for me.

The third big reason I love my air fryer: I feel more inspired to try new things

There are so many barriers to prepping food, that even when I find an appealing recipe I want to try, it’s hard to hold on to my motivation long enough to do everything I need to do to make the recipe come to life. But this new appliance has me excited. I’m always eager to see how what I put into the air fryer will come out of the air fryer. I’m finding myself wondering how foods I haven’t yet air-fried will air fry. This enjoyment gives me energy, which naturally lowers a lot of my usual barriers to cooking. 

Of course, you don’t need an air fryer to prepare fun, delicious meals that will help you on your weight loss journey. But, if you’re looking for a way to save time, try out something new, and enjoy delicious foods, it might just become your new favorite toy. As I mentioned, this isn’t a sponsored post, but I found a few air fryers Noomers might be interested in checking out. Here’s a relatively inexpensive one, here’s a bigger one if you’re cooking for more people, and here’s one that’s teal if aesthetics are equally important for you. 

For more ways to make healthy eating simple, check out the Noom Weight program. Noomers also have access to hundreds of nutritious and delicious recipes to try that can make meal prepping and—dare we say it—fun.