When it comes to teens, we need to put food in the picture and an air fryer may prove handy for the older teens.
Some teens are delicate and choosy with food. On the other hand, some will continuously be eating anything making you wonder if you have enough food in the house.
It is not a surprise that lots of teens adore eating fried foods which are not necessarily good for them. Fried foods do consist of more flavors due to the fact that they have been submerged in oil.
Since we cannot stop such cravings, we as responsible adults can make an attempt to provide them with healthier choices.
Do you often wonder in what ways you can help them out? There is a way which can help bring down the amount of oil use considerably which leads to less fat and calories.
Air fryer is an appliance which can make a difference in your teenager’s oil consumption and improve their cooking ability. Some may argue that there are other ways that this can be done. Like encouraging them to grow their own food.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the air fryer way.
An air fryer is basically an electrical countertop cooking appliance that uses circulating hot air and in some cases a small amount of oil to cook food.
It is considered as a healthier alternative in regard to deep or pan frying since it uses lesser amount of oil.
At this point I must add that cutting down on fat is great and should go hand in hand with a balance diet to achieve the healthy effect. An air fryer is also effective with vegetables, cooking them quite remarkably.
This appliance can be a tool to engage the sense of cooking in your teen and also work as an alternative to lower your teen’s fat consumption.
How does it work?
It has basic steps which can be brought to perfection with practice.
- Place your food in the basket.
- Set the time and temperature.
- Let the food cook.
Of course, you will need to prepare the food accordingly, like it should be done before cooking.
As more cooking is done, your teen will become accustom with the preparation of their food and the best timing and temperature for each food. Remember, we are also aiming to develop a skill here and equally providing a gift of need.
What types of air fryers are there?
Tall fryers/basket air fryers
e.g. Philips and Ninja. The main unit has heating elements and fans. They have a perfectly fitted slide-out basket. The food needs to be coated with oil before putting in the basket. The oil drains away through holes in the basket. You need to occasionally pause cooking to rearrange food around for even cooking (2-3x). They usually have smaller cooking area than oven-style fryers.
Mini oven type fryers/convection oven air fryers
e.g. Sage and Tower. They use convection or fan technology to cook food on flat, slide-in trays or racks. They circulate air around the food for more crisping. They are as large as an average-sized microwave.
Paddle-type air fryers
e.g. T-fal model and Delonghi. They have an interior paddle. Their main elements are hot air and self-stirring. They stir food around in a tray. Cooking oil is added to the pan. The oil stays in the pan rather than draining away as in the basket models. Even cooking is ensured therefore there is no need to pull food out and stir.
How to choose one?
Each teen is different. You have to understand the particular need of your teen in question. It is advisable to think about what you wish an air fryer to bring in your teen’s life. May it be to:
- Instill cooking responsibility.
- Minimizing overall fat consumption.
- Providing them with a way to cook faster, easier and yet delicious healthy food.
- Lessen mess in the kitchen and ease up on cleaning. (An easy to use, clean and store appliance will work fine for any teenager.)
You also need to consider your budget in regard to their priority.
- Manual or digital air fryer
Choose between a manual or digital one. The simplest ones have manual knobs.
- Preset programs
Some have several preset programs while some you have to choose your own temperature and time for cooking
Average 17-30minutes to cook chips only. Some needs preheating.
- Transparent lid
Usually found on more expensive ones. Whereas cheaper ones, you have to open the basket to check on your food causing the appliance to stop.
Air fryers have various capacities. Big ones are favorable for large families or big meals. A bigger one doesn’t necessarily make it a better one though. Bearing in mind the purpose of our purchase, we should go for a small one. (Cooking in small portions will be most effective for teens.)
Expensive ones stir on their own. The cheaper ones require manual manipulation. Consider if the food will be left on its own to cook. Then again, we should never leave cooking food unattended.
Air fryers varies in price. You need to choose value for your money. However, bear in mind that cheaper fryers do prepare excellent food as well.
Why gift an air fryer?
- Convenient for an older teen
It is a simple and hassle free appliance which also encourages healthier eating with less fat. This may help to curb their eating instincts. Rather than buying or ordering greasy food, or just eating microwaved food they can be consciously preparing their own food. They will also have the opportunity to make use of a versatile appliance.
- Time and money saver
It speeds up baking, roasting and frying process. It is also so much easier to wipe off an appliance afterwards than an entire cooking area.
- More economical
It will reduce on overall cost especially oil-wise and energy use.
- For fun
It is a fun way for them to experience cooking.
Let’s take a look of some good examples below.
VonShef 1.5 air fryer
- Cost: Leans towards the cheaper side.
- Non-stick basket.
- Has knobs.
- Small capacity.
- Main course for one or fries for two.
- Light so can easily be carried around and store.
- Have illustrations of recommended time and temperature of certain food.
- Timer is up to 30 minutes only.
- Need to be preheated.
- Have to continuously be shifting the food.
- Markings are small and not illuminated making it harder to read.
- Has no presets, touch controls or pause function.
- Easy to use and efficient.
- Easy to clean small basket.
This is perfect for teens who are away from home studying for e.g. for those in dorm.
Wilko 4ltr air fryer
- Cost: Leans towards the cheaper side.
- Has removable basket.
- Has two control knobs (for time and temperature)
- Has two LED lights (for power and for heating to indicate the correct temperature)
- Has capacity, power and looks of model twice its price.
- Straightforward and simple.
- Heat is evenly distributed.
- Timer ticks-countdown for cooking time.
- Bell sounds once cooking is done. (Both sounds are tolerable.)
- Has loud fan.
- It gets hot to touch.
- Has low cooking time (30mins max).
- Unable to see inside while cooking.
- Easy to use.
- Good price.
- Space saving due to small footprint.
- It makes great tasting food.
It is best for testing waters especially with teens. Hassle free. So that they can actually cook for themselves
Ninja air fryer AF100UK
- Cost: Mid range price.
- Has vented non-stick basket in the base.
- Has a dishwasher-safe drawer.
- 4 settings that can be toggled by time (digital timer) and temperature.
- Has dehydrate function.
- Great performance-multi purpose.
- Can dehydrate herbs and fruits.
- Powerful and quiet.
- Need shaking for even cooking.
- Does not pause automatically
- Longer cooking time because it needs preheating 3 minutes before cooking.
- It has a large worktop footprint.
- It does not have tongs.
- It has multiple functions.
- It has precise controls.
- It is dishwasher safe.
- Very easy to clean.
- A powerful appliance.
This is considered as one of the best air fryers and it will look real good on your teen’s countertop.
Do follow manufacturer’s instructions. For e.g. Do not be tempted to use excessive oil for the appliance may catch fire or get damage quickly.
Compared to other cooking methods, it uses less energy and it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Nonetheless, the appliance is hot when and after cooking so it should be handled with care.
Most air fryers are noisy.
They appear to have a short life-span.
Most will give you crispy chips which are less greasy.
My final say
All in all, in this day and age, I think that an air fryer is a good choice for older teenagers (15yrs above). This will motivate them to prepare their own food more often. It will also help in the fat consumption department.
It is important though to remind teens on healthy food choices. In encouraging their ability and even confidence in the cooking department they also need reminding of their overall health.
Cooking appetizing and healthier food should be fun especially for teens. An appropriate air fryer for your teen is the way to accomplish that. Here you can also find ways in identifying gifts for your teen.
Thank you for reading.
Kindly leave your comments below.