If you have read any air fryer review in the past then you will have known what this machine is all about. For me personally, this is one of the best appliances you can buy for your kitchen. If you already own quite a few machines and keep them on your kitchen counter then you will be pleased to know that the air fryer will be a welcome addition to your collection. What is more important is the fact that buying the best air fryer will probably end up replacing the rest of your appliances within a very short period of time. This is simply because this is multipurpose machine that is capable of conducting all kinds of cooking tasks and implementing all kinds of cooking styles.
The biggest advantage provided by a high quality or the best air fryer on the market is that it uses extremely small amounts of oil. This is particularly advantageous if you are frying food. In my experience, the result of the fried food has been quite impressive even though you use small amounts of oil. The taste is very similar to a normal fryer though the food can be a little bit dry on the inside. This will obviously depend on the total amount of time that you leave the air fryer running. If you leave it running for the right amount of time then the food will be balanced in terms of the taste and texture. This means that by compromising a little bit of taste, you will be improving your overall health quite considerably. So in simple terms, by using the air fryer, you will definitely be improving your lifestyle and this aspect alone makes this appliance a worthwhile purchase.
In addition to the lower use of oil, air fryers also have many other benefits that will convince you to buy one for your kitchen. First of all, it is a multipurpose appliance that will be able to cook all types of food. It uses hot air to cook food and this means that you will be able to grab all kinds of recipes and prepare them perfectly without worrying about how they may turn out. If you are planning on frying food then this will be easily possible as mentioned. However, you will also be able to grill meat or any other ingredients along with baking all kinds of things. The best air fryer will also allow you to roast food as well. The fact that all of these tasks can be conducted on a single appliance means that this will be an invaluable asset for the kitchen and for your home. It will give you a wide range of options when preparing a snack and when preparing dinner etc. This is a matter of convenience and it means that buying an air fryer is a must.
Buying this kitchen appliance also means that you can put away every other appliance and just keep your air fryer on the kitchen counter. This is simply because if you get this then there are high chances that you won’t be using anything else for quite some time.
Another good thing about this machine is that it carries out the job to completion and it does this in a relatively short period of time. When compared to the oven for example, the best air fryer will be a lot quicker, which of course, saves a lot of time and also money in electricity costs. Of course, there are some appliances that are quicker and the deep fryer is one of these. But again, the deep fryer leads to unhealthy food that will contribute towards the development of heart disease.
My husband outright complained yesterday that there was “nothing in the house to eat” (apparently grilled cheese, strawberries and frozen pizza don’t count), so I took out $60 in extra cash leftover from my childcare budget this month (I already know what I’ll have to pay the nanny for next week, so I left that in there) and we bought two loaves of Great Harvest bread and some cheese/Boar’s Head lunch meat for sandwiches during the week. We even “splurged” on a little baggie of potato chips and a Coke, which was actually such a refreshing treat. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but we’re both losing weight on this Mid Year’s Resolution, and I think it IS because a) we’re buying less junk because we aren’t spending as freely at the grocery store and b) we generally do just have less food around, even if it’s NOT junk (and most of it isn’t, I swear!). I don’t know how Lisa Leake did 100 Days straight of all Real Food on a Budget. I know they had a little leeway too, but probably not as much as we did this weekend! Two cheap dinners out plus that snack and a dessert last night were seriously uncharacteristic for us these days. But it felt good. Reminds me of how Carrie used to buy Vogue instead of dinner sometimes. Sometimes you just have to enjoy an ice-cold Coke instead of thinking about what else you could get with that dollar, whether healthier or more long lasting.
On another note, I tweeted about this last night, I was so grossed out by the canned salmon that I was going to use for our salmon cakes, which is why we ate out again. Given our coupon dinner was cheap again (only $11 for the three of us!), but we obviously couldn’t have done that had I not taken out that extra cash. My only concern is still that stupid graph that Mint keeps showing me, so I did write to them and should hear back pretty soon about whether or not they do “debit” your account twice for things you 1) charge to a credit card and then 2) pay that bill off later. If they’re counting that first charge as a spend, even though it’s put on a card instead of taken out of your checking account, that’s just plain stupid. I may just have to avert my eyes every day. But depending on what they say, I may not. We may have to keep buckling down even more, in which case this extra cash I used this weekend WOULD be cheating. It’s just really hard to look at this plan in the long term, because it’s such a change for us. It feels sacrificial, uncomfortable. Like the 10,000 diet and meal plans I’ve tried, I find myself wondering if we can really stick to this food budget for the long haul.
In part, we may not need to — I just discovered some serious cash-saving techniques in the phone and TV department…but oh, that’s right, my washing machine just died, so that’s going to be on another one of those no-interest plans. Remind me why I’m reconsidering possibly having another child again? What am I, crazy? I just have to keep telling myself, Leap and the net will appear. We’ll move…or we’ll make more money…or I’ll stop dumping so much money into my 401k…or something. Right?
At least it finally cooled off here enough for us to go on a walk yesterday afternoon, and although we had some more major storms, the baby didn’t even wake during the night and luckily the roof has not leaked again. Oh yeah. Have to sell my husband’s car to get that fixed, too.
I need to start acting “As if” again. It is so true that when one bad thing happens, your day can totally spiral out of control. I remember saying not too long ago that I couldn’t even remember the last bad day I had. Well, Friday was one, and it rolled into yesterday, too. So I really need to shake it off. I’m getting it out there in the hopes that I’ve said it once, I don’t need to say it again, and therefore I can turn it around.
So we’ll see what good things we can do today! I have lots of ideas, but it’s hideous outside, so time to move on already. Have a blessed day.
So yesterday my child behaved and we were able to make a quick morning trip for some staples, which leaves us with $20 for takeout tomorrow night (it will probably come in under $15). At first I was thinking I should involve the hubs in what exactly we do with the leftover cash (“don’t spend it all in one place” comes to mind), but then I remembered…our week doesn’t end until Monday! Why do I always forget Saturday/Sunday? We are out of bread right now, and eggs would come in oh-so-handy, but we’ll have to see how much money is really left over after today and I’ll try my best to not break down and buy conventional eggs or white bread. I hate that they’re so much cheaper.
Here’s what I picked up for $14 yesterday:
Guava jam, sweetened only with fruit juice (holy MOLY it’s delicious — if any of you are from or have ever been to South Florida and have tasted Cuban pastries, this guava delicacy reminds me of the pastelitos from Publix!)
Rice vinegar, one of the only kinds without sulfites or artificial coloring
Three bananas, because my son spotted them by the maple syrup (which did not go on sale with the weekly transition of prices, boo)
Two tomatoes for our last salad of the week
Another container of blue cheese (somehow, with the addition of blue cheese, I actually look FORWARD to our salad at the end of the day instead of being bored by it!)
It always seems so little when I see what we spend on the blog rather than on the receipt…sigh. It’s like sticker shock. I wonder if I’ll ever get over that.
On the bright side, since the week is about to wrap up, I’m already looking forward to next week. What will be on sale? What will we get to eat?
I’ve been craving a steak since watching Hell’s Kitchen, but I’m so afraid to eat grass-fed beef again, even if it’s from Whole Foods. That experience with the skirt steak from the farmer’s market was so nasty. Maybe my palate would get used to it, but spending extra for something no one but the baby liked seems a little foolish right now, yet I refuse to buy regular meat from our local market. I guess we should expand, and try another butcher. So many shoulds, to-dos, have-tos…someone, please remind me that it’s Friday and I should be happy?
I was listening to an old Adam Carolla Podcast today and Adam went on one of his typical rants, this time mostly about food — trail mix and donuts, in particular.
To summarize, the conclusions of the mostly one-way conversation went something like this: Nobody likes trail mix, and people just end up picking the good stuff out of it (the chocolate candies are always the first to go), and actually, this surprised me, CAKE donuts are better than the crusty glazed kind! Who knew? Did you know? Apparently people really like to dunk them in coffee, or milk, or whatever. I hate to disagree, but I leave the cake donuts for my dad. The nasty artificial pink kind is my favorite, and — get this — even my HUSBAND knows that. I’ve been a strawberry-frosted kind of girl since I was 13.
So anyways, I was inspired to write by this idea that certain foods are just good. Throw out all the stuff about organic, humanely raised, artisanally crafted, whatever. Just for a minute. EAT with your fork instead of voting with it, for right now only if you must. (Which is not to say that Whole Foods doesn’t have deliciously tempting foods, too; their hot-food counter always smells way too good to be good for you. But play along with me here for the sake of normalcy.)What’s good? I’d venture to argue that a big fat bagel (toasted) from an authentic Jewish deli is good, with a healthy serving of their own cream cheese, together all melted on the top, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. I can say this because I had one last week.
I’m also seriously convinced that Rachel Zoe’s salami is as lip-smackingly good as they say (don’t bother, I Googled it, and there is no recipe), so I’m going to try making it, maybe tonight. I think it’s just a short, fat salami cut into slices but not all the way through, slathered with orange marmalade and baked in the oven until a little black and crispy on top. Sounds gross and looks even more disgusting to prepare, but they called it crack. Any cured meat that is referred to as an illegal substance you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to try, and it will be good.
What else is good? I’ll go out on another limb here to say that pudding is good. Any kind of pudding, whatever you fancy. I know some of you don’t like the banana kind, which I’m sort of jonesing for, but how about some good old-fashioned pudding and Nilla wafers for dessert tonight? Quick, easy, and my son has never had pudding before. This will be epic.
Good, good, what else is good…Okay, so as not to be totally prejudiced, some good-for-you things are good, too. Broccoli slathered with garlic butter at this pub in my neighborhood that even my one-year-old will scarf down. Homemade soup and a good root vegetable puree. Cold, crisp, crunchy baby carrots with something delicious to dip them in. Crunch, crunch away, my friend. (Just don’t do it around people like me who hate people who chew really loudly, unless you’re eating at the same time and the TV is on. Really loud.)I may just be writing all of this because I’m really, really hungry right now, but the frankness of Carolla’s discourse convinced me whole-heartedly that sometimes there is no arguing whether something is tasty and delicious, no matter where it came from, how much it cost, who handed it to you or what it’s wrapped in. And yes, I know, not everyone likes cake donuts, or chocolate candies, or smoked almonds. But come on. Tacos are good. Shoestring French fries, even right out of your very own oven, are really freaking good with a little ketchup to dip in.
If you’re anything like me, you can’t avoid the occasional snack. In fact, I have trouble getting through the afternoon without two snacks. At one point I even joined a sort of 30-day bootcamp to cure myself of this “horrible” habit. The issue bothered me so much that, during Oprah Winfrey’s Best Life week this past January, I decided to sit down and fill out one of her weight-loss workbooks to help me on my journey.
My realizations are part of a long life story (one worth telling if anyone out there has the same problem — let me know), but working through the issue helped me realize that I don’t need to consider my snacking as a horrible habit because, for the most part, I choose healthy things like yogurt, fruit and cheese. Two healthy snacks for me may be the lesser of two evils — the angel on my shoulder — and the devil would probably be dressed like a White Castle. So, because snacking plays such a big role in my daily routine, I decided to write this post about improved snack choices. If you’re always craving something salty or you just can’t seem to keep your hands out of the cookie jar, read on! Once you start figuring out what works best for you, the possibilities are endless.
Better option: Glenny’s Soy Crisps — you’ll save on calories and fill up on low-fat soy protein. Crunchy, salty and flavorful, you’ll never miss the grease from the bottom of the bag of Lay’s.
Chips and salsa.
Better option: Keep the salsa, but swap out the chips for medium-sized strips of sliced bell pepper. You still get the heat from the salsa and the crunch from the fresh veggies, but you’ll fill up faster from the healthy fiber in the peppers, and you’ll get a huge dose of vitamin C — more than you would from eating an orange!
Better option: Baked sweet potato spears. Peel 3 medium sweet potatoes and heat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment, cut the potatoes into wedges and drizzle with olive oil and seasoning of your choice. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until browning around the edges. If you want something salty-sweet, drizzle with a bit of honey (serves 4). If you’re at a fast food restaurant and you can’t avoid an order of fries, at least get the small size. It will squash your craving. Resist the temptation to supersize!
Better option: Buy your own raw, unsalted almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried unsweetened cranberries or any other natural ingredients you like, leaving out the candy-coated chocolate. Mix them up at home and create individual portions in small, portable plastic containers (I like GladWare minis best). You’re doing something good for both your body AND the environment by packing reusable containers rather than plastic baggies or one-time to-go packaging.
Better option:Quaker Oatmeal To Go. Although these yummy breakfast bars have 220 calories, if you’re craving something soft and sweet, just one of these will fill you up with 5 grams of fiber per square. You won’t be tempted to eat the whole box, as you might with a pack of Oreo cookies. Score!
Better option: Dark chocolate, preferably with 70% cocoa content or more. It’s loaded with antioxidants, and lots of varieties come in clearly marked portions so that you can break off a hunk and savor it slowly as a special treat. My fave: Vosges Creole Bar. You’ll want to hide this from everyone else in the house it’s so good!
Better option: Prunes. Don’t laugh! Have you ever actually tried one? The individually wrapped Sunsweet Ones are so good, I crave them like I do dessert. If you’re into anything sweet and gummy or chewy, try these — they’re all natural and will provide you with a healthy burst of energy from the complex carbohydrates. Can’t say that about gummy bears or licorice now can you!
Anything from the bakery case at Starbucks.
Better option: Hostess 100 Calorie Packs Cinnamon Streusal Muffins. Keep a pack in your purse, and any time you get that craving for something sweet and cake-like, you can indulge. No one has ever gotten fat by eating 100 calories of anything.
Bagel chips (my weapon of choice).
Better option: Baby carrots dipped in hummus. They’re so crunchy, these little geniuses satisfy big moments of stress when all you want to do is chomp down and chew furiously!
Processed sandwich crackers.
Better option: Slice your own choice of low-fat cheese (about one ounce) and make a cheese and cracker platter on a salad-sized plate. Bonus points if you use whole wheat crackers and garnish with a few grapes!
Better option: Almost any whole grain cereal will give you more bang for your calorie buck than granola. Even tasty, all-natural granolas are high in calories, so if you’re trying to watch your waistline, granola unfortunately is not your friend. Try Kashi Go-Lean Crunch! or MultiGrain Cheerios — I’m sure they’ll fit the bill.
Nuts, pretzels or whatever’s on the bar in front of you.
Better option: Order something off the appetizer menu and share it with your buds. Lettuce wraps will offer a nice crunch, as will lots of Mediterranean tapas plates, such as crunchy pita chips and vegetable giardenara. You’ll feel more satisfied if you’re eating “real food,” and any protein or vegetables you eat will offset the sugar in your cocktail.
Better option: Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over air-popped popcorn. You get a whole-grain snack and cheesy flavor, without the empty calories of a potato chip.
Better option: Whole wheat Toufayan pitettes (small-sized pitas) topped with sliced tomato and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Pop it in a toaster oven, sprinkle with a little oregano, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and you’ll be hooked! Mix up the toppings until you find your favorite, and this could even end up as a dinner option on busy weeknights.
Better option: You can still have the nachos, just make them yourself (never order them in a restaurant unless you’re sharing with about eight people). Use baked tortilla chips and low-fat shredded cheese, and pile on the beans, veggies and salsa. Dollop on a little guacamole or reduced-fat sour cream if you must, but be sure to fill up on the star of the show, the beans and veggies, not on the nutritionally devoid condiments.
Better option: Spanakopita, an authentic Greek appetizer with spinach, cheese and onions. If that’s not on the menu when you’re eating out, you could also try an appetizer-portion salad with Parmesan, blue or feta cheese. Although they’re full-fat cheeses (you can guarantee the mozzarella is too), they have more flavor so you’ll need less to satisfy your craving.
A tub of Moose Tracks.
Better option: Low-fat frozen yogurt. Believe it or not, Ben & Jerry’s can be your friend. If you switch from the regular ice cream to the fro-yo, you’re saving almost 100 calories a serving in some instances! In just one week, that alone is a significant reduction in calories, and you’ll quickly see a slimmer you.
Bagel with cream cheese.
Better option: Whole wheat toast or a whole grain English muffin with a smear of peanut butter. You still get that hot, toasty, creamy goodness, but without the 500-calorie deli-size bagel, which is often made with enriched flour, not whole grains. If you really want the bagel, split it. Surprise a coworker — you’ll make someone’s day!
Coffee with cream, or a cappuccino.
Better option: Try tea with hot milk (sans water). Heat a coffee mug filled with milk for two minutes, add sweetener if you wish and steep a bag of decaf black tea according to the package instructions. It’s delicious, calming and creamy/foamy — if you’ve never tried it, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Better option: Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and sliced strawberries. Now, I know that yogurt is not a “bad” snack, especially if you’re trading up from something more fatty and high in calories. But mixed-fruit yogurts are often packed with sugar. Greek yogurt, if you’ve never tried it, is deliciously rich and creamy, and if you play around enough with the healthy toppings, this may even become a nice breakfast option for you.
Better option: If you want the coffee, order a skinny iced mocha. If all you really want is something cold and creamy, try making your own smoothie with fruit, milk, ice, plain low-fat yogurt and a squeeze of honey. In that case, your list of options is as long as the kinds of fruit available at the supermarket.
Better option: Ask for a nice glass of white wine. Unlike reds, whites are served at cooler temperatures. If you’re at an outdoor restaurant on a warm spring evening, a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc is a thousand times better for you than an 800-calorie alcohol binge. If it’s the tequila you’re after, try a Skinnygirl margarita — they’re becoming wildly popular at bars across the country, and they taste great.
Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonald’s McFlurry.
Better option: Just opt for a twist cone or frozen yogurt in a cup with nuts and strawberries as your topping (as long as the berries aren’t doused in that gelatinous red syrup). If what you really want in the ice cream are the candy bits, walk right out of the ice cream shop and get yourself a dark chocolate bar!
Creamsicle, Dreamsicle, etc.
Better option: There are lots of “healthy” popsicle options out there these days, so if that’s what you’re in the mood for, try a sugar-free fudgesicle or Edy’s Fruit Bars, which have real fruit and vitamin C. You can also try rolling damp grapes in a bit of sugar or Splenda and freezing them for a cool, refreshing treat. Hot
Better option: Skinny sugar-free cinnamon latte. You don’t have to avoid the coffee run OR fall prey to the heavy, calorie-laden sugar bombs. Many coffee shops these days offer sugar-free syrup options, and some even use 2% milk as the standard rather than whole milk. (I’d go for skim, but reduced-fat is at least better than full-fat if you’re trying to wean yourself off slowly.)
Better option: Progresso Reduced Sodium Italian-Style Wedding soup. It’s warm, comforting, will fill you up and the mini meatballs and pasta inside are as close to chili as you’ll get without going way over your calorie budget, if you’re looking for something quick and easy to heat up. Broth-based soups are great snack options, but remember to say away from anything cream-based.
Hot pretzel at the mall or baseball park.
Better option: At the mall, stop by the Asian stand in the food court and ask for an order of steamed vegetables with brown rice. It will stay with you 10 times longer than hot dough and mustard. At a ball game, opt for the peanuts — they’ll take you longer to eat out of the shell, and they’re a great source of protein.
Mac & cheese.
Better option: You can eat pasta, but please get rid of the blue box. Boil whole wheat macaroni, spaghetti or the noodle of your choice, and top with good quality olive oil, salt, fresh cracked pepper and a small amount of cheese. To bump up the fiber content even more, steam and toss in broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus tips. You’ll be so much more pleased with yourself after eating something healthy than you will as you’re scraping fake orange powder off of the bottom of a pot.
Now that you have a bunch of different ideas to get you going, once the snack attack hits you can also start to work on being present in the moment, identifying what it is you want and consistently making better choices. Are you even hungry, or are you just stressed out, anxious or bored? Once you’ve made peace with whatever is on your mind, run through your options and weigh the pros and cons. If you really want and need food, try out a healthy alternative. Or, if you’re confident you’re tuned into your true hunger signals and you don’t think you can go without the real thing this time, fine. Have a few bites of what you’re really craving: A slice of thin-crust pizza chock full of veggies or a taste of rich, decadent chocolate cake. Taste it, savor it, don’t feel guilty about it and move on. The idea is to recognize your hunger and honor it with something good for you, no matter what you crave.