A Dietitian’s Dream: Healthy Fried Food

Philips Viva Collection airfryer
Photo: Philips

Product reviewed: Philips Viva Collection Airfryer

Fried foods traditionally have been limited in healthy dietary patterns. But when you use small amounts of healthy unsaturated oils and the technology of an air fryer, fried foods can be back on the menu.

I tested the Philips Viva Collection Airfryer, equipped with “TurboStar” rapid-air technology that functions similar to a convection oven. The fryer’s air speed is what allows foods to cook quickly and crisply with minimal fat. A Dietitian’s Dream: Healthy Fried Food - The fryer is easy to use and comes with a basket and rack, which are both dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. However, the bottom of the fryer, where fat collects, requires cleaning by hand.

Additional accessories are available that can turn the fryer into an oven or a grill pan, and a free app provides a wealth of information including tips for use, shopping lists and recipes. I was struck by the large size of the product, weighing about 12.8 pounds and roughly the size of a coffee maker.

Testing the Fryer

I experimented with chicken wings, Southern-fried chicken tenders, bacon and vegetables, including fresh and frozen potatoes. No preheating was necessary — a simple spritz of oil on the rack and the food was all it took to get started with the fried foods. My best results were with the vegetables.

I quickly learned that the trick to achieving fried foods that are crunchy on the outside yet still tender on the inside is not overcrowding the basket. Philips claims the fryer can be used to prepare food for a family of four, but my best results came when I used amounts to feed one to two people. When the basket was overloaded, despite shaking and turning the food, it resulted in foods that either did not brown or were overcooked to achieved proper browning, and wet-battered foods tended to stick to the rack even when both the food and rack were sprayed with oil. An additional double-layer rack can be purchased to double the basket’s capacity.

Bottom Line

If counter or pantry storage space is not an issue, the Philips fryer is a fun investment. It’s a bonus that this product can multitask for those living without a full kitchen, such as college students. The sweet spot for me was enjoying guilt-free French fries. Although other vegetables were delicious, I’ve achieved similar results with minimal oil and oven-roasting at high temperatures.

Kathleen Zelman
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RDN, is the nutrition director of WebMD.