5 Reasons We’re Obsessed With Food DehydratorsArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
You wouldn’t think making food dry would help you with weight loss, but a countertop dehydrator is a secret weapon of leaning out: The combination of low heat and airflow doesn’t just dry food out, it makes it sweeter—natural sugars stand out in the foods you dry because they’re less diluted by water content. So you can satisfy your sweet tooth without reaching for highly processed snacks. And that’s just one of the reasons we’re obsessed with food dehydrators.
Here are five more reasons we’re totally obsessed with food dehydrators:
1. Those sweet snacks don’t have added sugars.
You might think of store-bought banana chips as “healthy,” so you might be surprised to look at the label: It’s not just a bag of dried bananas. The chips are cooked using oil and then have sugar added, which piles on the sugar and the calorie counts. When you make your own fruit chips with food dehydrators, you can control how many added sugars and calories you pile on. We think you’ll find that most fruits are sweet enough once dried and therefore don’t require any added ingredients like oil or sugar. If you stick with a quarter cup serving, you’ll only be eating between 80 and 120 calories (count that as one SmartCarb on the Nutrisystem program!).
2. You can dry more fruit than just bananas—stuff you’d never expect.
Food dehydrators are not just $50 banana- and apple-chip makers. You can pop other fruits inside for new, sweet experiences that might surprise you: You can make your own dried strawberries to top oatmeal or other cereal without the added sugar or preservatives in boxed “with berries” options. Dried berries can add sweetness to salads and trail mixes. But the most unexpected of all: Watermelon. Cutting it into half-inch strips can make Watermelon Jerky—a dried version of this fruit that’s so sweet you’ll think it’s candy. We absolutely love dried mango and pineapple, too. They seriously taste like candy!
3. Not just sweet stuff! Make savory snacks where you control the sodium.
The average American eats 3,400 mg of sodium per day—about one-third more than the maximum recommended by the American Heart Association. Three-quarters of that sodium doesn’t come from the shaker, but from processed foods—stuff like chips, jerky and other snacks.
Fortunately, food dehydrators are good for more than just making sweet stuff. You can use it to make savory snacks like Turkey Jerky with less sodium, surprising, crunchy snacks like cucumber chips, and new flavors that feel like a splurge without the salt. These crunchy Balsamic Eggplant Chips are a perfect example. With just 54 calories per serving, they’re a fun, fantastic alternative to other “healthy” vegetable chips, and there’s just a quarter teaspoon of salt in each serving.
4. It makes grown-up versions of your favorite kid snacks.
Snack time should be a fun break—from work, chores, errands or anything else making your day stressful and hectic. But when you’re losing weight, it can seem like all of the “fun” options are off-limits—no candy bars, chocolate or fruity favorites.
That’s why people love Nutrisystem: Cakes, cookies and other snacks you love are included in the program. And a dehydrator can give you even more options: With some blended fruit and a little honey, the machine can make you homemade, super-sweet fruit leather—just like the boxed kind you loved as a kid. And with recipes like this Strawberry-Kiwi Fruit Leather, it even packs a bonus nutritional punch: There’s spinach inside. The flavor of the greens is masked by the fruit, but you still get the nutrients and fiber from the veggies to help you stay full and fueled. This Tropical Chili Fruit Leather is also a great option since it’s loaded with vitamin C thanks to the inclusion of mango and pineapple.
5. Make pizza toppings that make microwave pizza feel like gourmet.
Another thing members love about Nutrisystem: Pizza. The Thick Crust Pizza is a favorite of Nutrisystem’s biggest success stories and celebrity endorsers like Melissa Joan Hart. They top it with fresh veggies, pop it in the microwave and enjoy.
But a dehydrator can help you step up your topping game: Fresh tomatoes become “sun-dried” tomatoes for a chewy, gourmet texture. Mushrooms—which don’t always soften up enough in the microwave—become delicious dried varieties to add savory flavor to your pie. Even dried pineapple with low-sodium ham can make a new take on Hawaiian pizza—turning a microwave meal into gourmet fare! And last but certainly not least, turkey bacon becomes Turkey Jerky to make a crispy and savory topping for the ultimate meat-lovers pizza.