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Weight Loss

Fried Food Love? Recipes You Need to Try


If you haven’t tried an air fryer yet … what are you waiting for? Unlike other TV gadgets that say they slice and dice but don’t, the air fryer is the real deal: Using superheated air instead of oil, the countertop wonder turns out cripsy fried chicken, crunchy potato chips and other fried food favorites with fewer calories and fewer ingredients than store-bought or other homemade options. Meals like these Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks use just three ingredients.

So get your hands on an air fryer and start making your favorite fried food for less the calories. Need a place to start? We’ve got you covered with PLENTY of delicious “fried” recipes right here on The Leaf.

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Try these 9 no-sweat recipes (with zero guilt!) that are inspired by fried food favorites:

1. Air Fryer Crab Wontons >

Crab wontons

Calories per serving: 60

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 2 Extras

Wonton treats like these are a fried food takeout favorite, and they seem like they’d be impossible to replicate at home. But there’s a secret in your grocery freezer: Premade, pre-cut wonton wrappers. Fill them with a tasty combination of cream cheese, green onions, lump crab meat and a few spices, and you’ve got a pile of poppable snacks or a smart-portioned side dish that pair perfectly with other Flex Meals like the Asian Edamame Power Bowl. And at just 60 calories for two crab wontons, you can enjoy these creamy, crunchy favorites while staying on plan.

2. Air Fryer Baked Eggs >

baked eggs

Calories per serving: 81

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 PowerFuel

Omelets and other egg scrambles can be frustrating on a busy morning: There’s the pan to clean up, and the risk that in your morning rush, you might not cook the dish just right. This air fryer recipe solves both problems: The machine cooks the breakfast to perfection at the push of a button in just five to eight minutes, and you’ll eat it in the same ramekin you cook it in—so there’s nothing to clean up. It’s a tasty, flavorful breakfast to power you up for the day and keep you filled with protein and vegetable protein long into the morning.

3. Air Fryer Chili Potato Skins >

chili potato skins

Calories per serving: 151

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1/2 SmartCarb, 1/2 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

Just because you’re losing weight doesn’t mean watching the game is accompanied just by carrot sticks. While it’s great to get your veggies in while cheering on your favorite team or binging your favorite new show—and The Leaf has recipes for amazing dips (try this popular Skinny Spinach Dip >) to accompany those vegetables—you can still enjoy indulgent favorites while staying on plan. Case in point: These chili-filled potato skins are just as delicious as calorie-filled fried food. Thanks to the air fryer, each skin—loaded with chili, cheese and sour cream—is just 151 calories.

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4. Air Fryer BBQ Potato Skins >

BBQ potato skins

Calories per serving: 143

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

Not a chili fan? These skins swap out the red for pulled pork and barbecue sauce and keep the cheese and dollop of sour cream. They’re simple to make: Just crisp the potato in the air fryer for five minutes while mixing the other ingredients—including store-bought pulled pork and sauce—in a bowl. Fill each skin once it’s cooked and top with sour cream for an appetizer experience that would be welcome fare in any sports bar … but at 143 calories, these are more than welcome in your weight loss plan.

5. Air Fryer Southwestern Egg Rolls >

Southwestern egg rolls

Calories per serving: 165

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

Many “diet” versions of your favorite fried food offer a teeny, tiny portion. Not so with these easy-to-make egg rolls: Each 165-calorie serving is six rolls, filled with chicken, cheese, vegetables and avocado. And with ready-to-use egg roll wrappers from the grocery store freezer, all that deliciousness couldn’t be easier to make. Just a few steps on the stove and 16 minutes in the air fryer, and you’re in crunchy, chewy appetizer heaven.

6. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls >

pizza rolls

Calories per serving: 67

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 2 Extras

There’s bad news about the pizza rolls you remember microwaving as a youth: They weren’t good. Try those same rolls as an adult, and you’re sure to be disappointed—and you’ll still burn your mouth on the boiling sauce inside. But these air fryer rolls have fewer calories and more flavor: Thanks to using real ingredients like actual mozzarella cheese, your favorite low-sodium pizza sauce, and turkey pepperoni, they’ve got the real flavor of pizza swaddled in each ready-made wonton wrapper. And thanks to the magic of the air fryer’s superheated air, they’re lower in calories, too. Just watch your mouth: You can still burn yourself on these healthier, tastier rolls!

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7. Air Fried Eggplant Parm Poppers >

parm poppers

Calories per serving: 221

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Three of these poppable “fried” snacks is just 221 calories, but they’ve got a whole day’s worth of flavor. Salty from Parmesan cheese, savory from eggplant cubes at the base, spiced up with Italian seasoning, and given a smooth finish from a dip in marinara sauce, each ball offers the full range of eggplant parmigiana flavors in a single bite. Prepare them before your next big gathering or hoard them all for yourself. The recipe makes three servings, so you can enjoy these snackable favorites tonight and then as a side with other meals tomorrow.

8. Air Fryer Mexican Pizza >

Mexican pizza

Calories per serving: 325

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 1 Extra

Get the gooey cheesiness you love from a Mexican pizza without worrying about burning it: The air fryer makes it easy. After browning some ground turkey with cilantro, green onion and spices, you’ll add it into the air fryer on top of a tortilla with spinach and cheese. In less than 10 minutes, your pizza is ready to be topped with salsa and avocado for a perfect Flex Meal you’ll love—and love to share. The recipe makes 4 servings, so cut it up and make this Nutrisystem-friendly meal something the whole family can enjoy together.

9. Air Fryer Orange Tofu >

fried food

Calories per serving: 103

On Nutrisystem, counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

If you don’t love tofu, get ready to change your mind: These air fried tofu cubes are crunchy and breaded from a panko breadcrumb and cornstarch coating and bursting with the flavors of orange, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. They’re a surprising appetizer that your family or guests will love—and ask you to make again for your next get-together. Best of all, they fit right in with your healthy lifestyle: Each serving of orange tofu is just 103 calories, leaving plenty of room in your Flex plan for more of your favorite foods … or another serving of these tofu bites!

No time for cooking this week? Check out our menu filled with ready-to-go versions of your all-time favorite foods >


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