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11 Best Air Fryer Recipes for Weight Loss

Whip out your air fryer, and add these tasty weight loss recipes to your meal rotation.

If you're looking for new ways to spruce up weight-loss-friendly meals at home, look no further than your handy-dandy air fryer. The air fryer hype is real, as this amazing kitchen appliance makes mealtime tastier, seamless, and much more fun. Eat This, Not That! rounded up some of our best air fryer recipes for weight loss to add to your weekly meal rotation. We also spoke with Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN—the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a New York City-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness, who shares the top benefits of using an air fryer when you're trying to lose weight.

"Air fryer recipes/foods require less oil for cooking compared to sautéing, pan frying, or deep frying, which helps control caloric intakes from fat," Shapiro explains. "The way that air fryer processes your ingredients also helps retain the beneficial nutrients originally present in the foods. Additionally, these recipes are typically easy, time-saving, and delicious, which means you are more likely to prepare your own meals and get to control the quality of your ingredients and portion sizes."

When you're cooking for weight loss, Shapiro stresses to keep these air fryer tips in mind:

  • No matter what method of cooking you opt for, Shapiro says ingredients "are the foundation of your dish." Selecting ingredients that offer plenty of nutrients rather than calories is key if you're looking to shed weight. When it comes to proteins, be sure to choose seafood, low-fat high-quality meats, or vegan-friendly/vegetarian soy products. Plant-based ingredients that contain a high amount of fiber will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Be mindful of the amount and type of oil you use to prep food before it enters the air fryer, as it will "impact the nutritional profile of the finished dish," Shapiro says. She suggests using plant-based oils rather than animal fat. This could be avocado oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.
  • Lastly, condiments can be a sneaky source of extra, unwanted calories. Many condiments you find on grocery store shelves are packed with added sugar, artificial additives, and sodium, Shapiro tells us. She suggests flavoring air fryer meals with spices and herbs to limit excess calories and unnecessary sodium intake. Plus, many spices and herbs offer antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight.

Now, without delay, let's get into some of our best air fryer recipes for weight loss.

Sweet and Sour Crispy Cauliflower Bites

sweet and sour crispy cauliflower bites
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

These cauliflower bites have all the delicious flavors of your favorite sweet and sour dish—but without the added frying oils. This way you'll save yourself some of the calories without having to sacrifice your favorite meal. Plus, science reveals just how beneficial adding cauliflower to your diet can be. According to research published in PLOS One, bumping up your intake of cruciferous veggies like cauliflower can help you lose weight.

Get our recipe for Cauliflower Bites.

The Perfect Air Fryer Falafel

air fryer falafel
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

This easy falafel recipe is completely vegan and full of protein from the chickpeas. You can dress these falafels however you like and can enjoy them in a wrap or rice bowl. And get excited, because research reveals that chickpeas (and hummus) can be incredibly beneficial in weight management.

Get our recipe for Air Fryer Falafel.

Ranch-Flavored Veggie Chips

ranch veggie air fryer chips
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Want a savory snack that won't pile on the calories and sodium? These veggie chips can be made from zucchini, sweet potatoes, or beets, and the ranch seasoning will keep you from reaching for that buttermilk ranch dip. Vegetables in general are a stellar addition to your weight loss meal plan, as they contain fiber, which is scientifically proven to be a key part of weight loss.

Get our recipe for Veggie Chips.

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

coconut shrimp 1
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Shrimp is a great source of lean protein, and research links lean protein consumption to increased weight loss. This coconut shrimp recipe is the perfect weight loss dinner because it's naturally sweet and delicious without any added sugar. The canned coconut milk and shredded coconut give these shrimp the crispy sweetness you desire with any typical order of fried coconut shrimp. Plus, you're cutting down on the added fat content by not working with any frying oil!

Get our recipe for Coconut Shrimp.

Air Fryer Hasselback Potato Bites

baby hasselback potatoes
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Sometimes simple is all you need. These Hasselback potato bites are just made with garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley, and the crispy texture they get from the air fryer makes for a comforting and cozy treat. You can also make your own garlic aioli to go on the side.

And if you always thought that potatoes would hinder your weight loss progress, think again. Research from Pennington Biomedical Research Center shows that potatoes can certainly be incorporated into a healthy diet. In fact, according to co-investigator of the study, Candida Rebello, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Pennington Biomedical, explained, "We demonstrated that contrary to common belief, potatoes do not negatively impact blood glucose levels. In fact, the individuals who participated in our study lost weight." So give these tasty potato bites a try!

Get our recipe for Potato Bites.

Breaded Air Fryer Pork Chops

air fryer breaded pork chop 1
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

These juicy, Panko-crusted pork chops are a great addition to any meal and go great with some fresh veggies or a crisp salad. Pork chops offer protein, which has been shown to promote weight loss when eaten in high amounts.

Get our recipe for Breaded Pork Chops.

Air Fryer Egg White Frittata

egg white frittata
James Stefiuk

Did you know you can even make eggs in the air fryer? This Egg White Frittata recipe is super simple to make and is a great way to pack some veggies and protein into your morning. Protein and veggies create a true powerhouse when it comes to shedding weight, and research confirms that enjoying an egg breakfast can boost your weight loss efforts.

Get our recipe for Egg White Frittata.

Air Fryer Chipotle Chickpea Tacos

chipotle chickpea tacos
James Stefiuk

We've already established chickpeas are great for weight loss, so give these tasty chickpea tacos a try for one of your next meals. You don't always need meat to make tacos, especially when you throw protein-heavy chickpeas into the fryer to make them extra crispy! You can make these tacos however you like them by adding things like cilantro, avocado, lime, or your other favorite toppings.

Get our recipe for Chickpea Tacos.

Air Fryer Meatballs

air fryer meatballs
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

These are some of the easiest meatballs to make and only require a few different types of seasonings. What makes these meatballs a healthier option for those who are looking to lose weight? Finely chopped white mushrooms are added to the meat blend to decrease the overall calorie count, along with fat.

Get our recipe for Air Fryer Meatballs.

Air Fryer Veggie Calzones

veggie pizza calzones
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

These adorable veggie calzones are easy to make for dinner and can also be a great meal to make ahead of time that you can grab and go when you're on your way out the door. You're getting plenty of filling fiber and protein from the veggies, which makes this option a well-rounded meal.

Get our recipe for Veggie Calzones.

Air Fryer White Chocolate Macadamia Bread Pudding

white chocolate bread pudding with caramel sauce
Courtesy of Chef Emeril Lagasse

This recipe may be a bit decadent for your weight loss goals, but it's always okay to indulge once in a while. As a matter of fact, research shows that individuals who follow a super-strict diet are more likely to experience food cravings, which can lead to overeating and unhealthy snacking. It's all about establishing a sustainable approach and knowing that it's perfectly okay to treat yourself every once in a while.

Keep in mind that this air fryer recipe does use a lot of heavy cream and whole milk, so you can swap that out for something lower in fat to make it a healthier dessert option.

Get our recipe for Bread Pudding.

A version of this story was originally published in December 2021. It has been updated to include new information and even more recipes.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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