5 Easy Ways to Make your Favorite Crisps Healthier
Studies have now shown that many of the fats we previously considered to be unhealthy are harmless – let’s look at 5 easy ways to make your favorite crisps healthier!
One of the key things to remember when you’re looking to improve your diet is ‘everything in moderation’. So, while it’s probably not a great idea to have deep fried food every day, it’s certainly something that you can explore once or twice a week.
As with all cooking, there are also ways to ensure that you minimize the bad points and maximize the benefits of your food. As long as you remember a few key points, there’s no reason why you can’t still enjoy deep fried food from time to time.
Only Use Healthy Ingredients.
This might seem obvious, but you can deep fry more than potato and onion. I personally don’t think that you’ve lived until you’ve tried deep fried Brussel sprouts, and tempura vegetables are absolutely amazing.
To offset the potentially high calorie content of the oil that you’re cooking in, try to keep the substance of your meal low calorie – in other words, veggies are in, meat products are out, I’m afraid.
This is honestly one of the most important parts of keeping your diet healthy – if you cook your food yourself, you know exactly what’s going into it. Try to avoid heading straight for the nearest fast food place if you feel like a treat, and instead, get out your pots, pans and utensils and make your own.
Make sure that you read all labels on your food, and try to avoid unhealthy processed food if you’re going to be deep frying.
Make Sure that you’re cooking at the Correct Temperature
Again, this might seem obvious but it’s important not to guess the temperature of your oil, and if you’re not going to be cooking using a deep fryer with a thermostatic device already fitted, I would suggest that you need to invest in a good thermometer.
When you drop something into hot oil which is at the correct temperature, it seals the food. This means that it doesn’t soak into what you’re cooking – apart from being really bad for you in terms of health, I’m sure you know what I mean when I say it’s also revolting. There really isn’t many things worse than soggy, oily, deep fried food.
Conversely, if the oil is too hot, apart from the risk of burning your lovely fresh ingredients, it can affect the chemical composition of your oil and fill your food with things that you don’t want.
Use Quality Oil
This is really important – try to find an oil that is stable at high temperatures such as avocado, peanut, palm and sesame oil.
This is because, as I touched on in point three, oils that are stable at higher temperatures are less likely to break down when heated up and will be less likely to deposit unwanted chemicals into your food.
However, besides stability, you should also look for oils which are high in monounsaturated fats and saturated fats – although these used to be demonized as being bad for you, we now know that isn’t actually the case. It’s actually polyunsaturated that you need to avoid, and if the oil that you are considering cooking with is high in them, you should probably reconsider.
Fresh is Best.
Finally, always use fresh oil. The more that oil is heated, the more it breaks down and as I’ve already mentioned, this is going to release chemicals into your food. As I’m sure you’ll agree, food fried in fresh oil also tastes much better – we’ve all been to a takeaway that has tried to save money by pushing reuse of its oil to the limit, and the result is usually pretty gross.
Although it does mean that you’ll end up spending a little more on your oil, it’s worthwhile – and the cost might also help you ensure that deep fried food is an occasional treat rather than an everyday trend.
In summary, if you’re trying to improve your diet and still enjoy deep fried food, you just need to think about what you’re eating – and make sure that you cook it yourself rather than hitting your local fast food joint every time you feel like a treat! Apart from the obvious health benefits, you’ll also find that cooking your own ‘fast food’ is cheaper and more enjoyable once you get the hang of it.
Opt for healthier ingredients, good quality oil and make sure you read the recipe – get yourself a good quality digital thermometer and use it every time you fry. It will improve the quality of your food, as well as stop chemical being released into whatever you’re cooking. You will also be able to use it for other purposes round the kitchen, and I wouldn’t be without mine when cooking roast meats.
Try to use fresh oil wherever possible – again, this isn’t just for health reasons, it’s because food cooked in oil that is past its best is a) gross and b) probably unhygienic. If you really must re-use it, try to keep it to a minimum. I would say that three uses is probably as far as you want to push it. Although this will push the cost of your cooking up a little, it will also help to reduce the amount of deep fried food that you eat – although there’s no reason not to indulge every once in a while, it’s not something that you should eat every day.
Try to experiment – the obvious deep frying candidates are always potato and onion, but there are a multitude of other delicacies that you can try. Deep fried cauliflower tastes great and is really easy – use one of the thousands of recipe websites available to see if there are any options for deep frying your own favorite vegetables.