Cooking Independence – 6 Reasons To Use An Air Fryer

29 Dec, 2023

One of the key steps towards independence is being able to cook for ourselves. But if your young person has additional needs, there are sometimes physical and sequencing challenges to overcome when learning the skills required to prepare an actual meal. My daughter found parts of cooking difficult; she found lifting heavy pans challenging and I always worried when she was taking hot dishes out of the oven. To overcome these challenges we looked for different ways of doing things.

Our children don’t need to be great chefs, they just need to have the ability to cook for themselves. An air fryer makes this easier and, from my own experience, as their confidence grows, they will start to cook more, and you may even find a meal made for you rather than by you.

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6 Reasons to use an Air Fryer

  1. Safer to use Air fryers are smaller, lighter, and easier to use than a traditional oven. The heat is confined to a basket that pulls out, getting rid of the need for oven gloves to take food out of a hot oven. This makes them safer to use, especially when upper body strength is an issue, as with my daughter who cannot easily lift hot dishes without a risk of burning herself.
  2. Easy to Use You can set the heat and decide on the exact cooking time in the same way as you do with a microwave. This allows you to teach them to cook certain foods with precise instructions. You simply tell them to cook something for X number of minutes on Y setting. No inconsistency. It’s always the same setting. The air fryer switches itself off when the food is done. This can be useful if your young person is prone to getting a little distracted in the kitchen. We put up a list of the setting and cooking times for a variety of foods for our daughter as she became more confident to do more without our support.
  3. Easy clean-up The removable basket can be put in the dishwasher. Any food spillages fall into the bottom of the basket rather than to the bottom of an oven. Then the basket can be put in the dishwasher after each use.
  4. Health by stealth Air fryers use less oil than traditional frying, which has a knock-on effect on the health of the food cooked. Generally, only a small amount of oil is needed and often none is needed. This is particularly useful for foods that would be traditionally deep-fried. All this adds up to enjoying the texture of crisp food but with a healthy twist.
  5. Fast results An air fryer blows hot air around the food to cook things super-fast. This is a big advantage if your young person is impatient when it comes to learning to cook and doesn’t want to wait around for things to cook. Plus an air fryer doesn’t usually need to be pre-heated in the usual way because the heat is almost instant.
  6. Flexibility An air fryer does much more than fry, it bakes, roasts, and crisps. This opens up lots of different food choices not just those traditionally seen as fried. My daughter loves sweet potato fries done on max crisp, but she also makes quiche on bake and salmon on air fry.

Who needs an oven?

When we moved house and decided to put in a new kitchen, all these advantages made us question whether we needed an oven in our kitchen. Wee wanted to design it with our daughter in mind. Yes, the kitchen designer and even some of our friends thought we had gone crazy by not having an oven, but to be honest I don’t think any of us have missed it. We can still cook all the things we did before in the oven, and it is definitely better in terms of cost.

We have a Ninja with 2 baskets. This allows us to cook two different things at different settings at the same time, and finish cooking 2 things at the same time. I wouldn’t go back to a traditional oven because of the simplicity, speed, health, and easy clean aspects of the air fryer, and I don’t mind the reduced running costs either. But really what I like most is the fact my daughter now has the confidence to make meals not only for herself but for the whole family. Her Salmon is our Monday staple.


Supporting our children with additional needs to build the skills they need to cook for themselves can be a challenge. Making it as easy as possible and helping them build their confidence is key and that’s where I believe introducing them to the air fryer can be part of the answer. With an air fryer, we can teach our children a repertoire of recipes that they can cook safely and that work every time. This is one of the many small ways we can give them more ability to be in control of their life, build their confidence in themselves, and allow them to do more for themselves.

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