Are Falafels Healthy?

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Lauren Zembron
Lauren Zembronhttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I am a 34 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, energetic daughter, sweet son, and playful dog. I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings. I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“. I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.
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Falafel is one of the famous foods among vegans and vegetarians, which mainly originated in the Middle East. It’s a combination of several nutritious foods like dough, onion, spices, herbs, and chickpeas. But a question arises- are falafels healthy?

Falafels are pretty healthy if you can cook them properly. A 100 gram of falafel can contain necessary nutrients like protein, calories, fiber, fat, carbs, and vitamin B6. 

It also has minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, thiamine, etc. These nutrients help with the diet, maintain blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of various diseases like colon cancer, heart diseases, etc.

You can also customize the add-on ingredient to your falafel recipe. However, it’s best to eat baked falafel rather than deep-fried ones.

What’s Falafel?

Falafel is a very satisfying meal produced by mixing various ingredients in different combinations. It looks like deep-fried patties. These falafel patties contain fava beans (broad beans), chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lemon juice, and various spices with onions.

This Middle Eastern dish can be your main course or a side dish. The deep-fried falafel is mainly served with flatbread or pita bread. 

You can make your own falafel by adding healthy ingredients to a food processor. At first, the combination becomes a paste, and typically, it’s shaped like balls. Then, the falafel balls are traditionally deep-fried and served with bread. You can also eat falafel as your fresh crunchy veggies.

Falafel Nutrients Facts

Knowing falafel calories is crucial before adding them to your regular course meals. As falafels promote healthy digestion, you need to look at the falafel’s nutritional profile stacks.

A typical falafel pita that weighs 100 grams or six small pitas contains the following nutrition:

  • Protein: 13.3 grams
  • Calories: 333
  • Fiber: 4.9 grams
  • Fat: 17.8 grams
  • Carbs: 31.8 grams
  • Vitamin B6: 94% (DV)
  • Potassium: 12% (DV)
  • Magnesium: 20% (DV)
  • Copper: 29% (DV)
  • Iron: 19% (DV)
  • Folate: 26% (DV)
  • Manganese: 30% (DV)
  • Zinc: 14% (DV)
  • Thiamine: 12% (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 13% (DV)

According to this chart, eating falafel is perfectly fine for your health. There’s no such thing as bad or good food. 

You just need to find the proper way and ingredients to eat it. Falafel calories per ball are enough to consider as a side course on the menu.

Is Falafel Good For Weight Loss?

Well, it’s probably not the best option to add to your diet chart. Is falafel high in protein? Yes, but it’s not much healthy as you think. 

The falafel is a deeply fried food, and it contains rich oil and fat. That doesn’t make falafel healthy. If you regularly eat deep-fried falafel, you might face adverse health effects like obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc. 

The local restaurants use low-quality oils to fry the falafel balls. Even if you use high-quality oil to fry the frozen falafel, it won’t change the harmful effects.

However, you can consume baked falafels because you won’t need to use any cheap oils or canola oil for cooking them.

Is Falafel A Junk Food?

Well, you can’t consider falafel as junk food. However, it’s pretty rich in calories and proteins. 5 falafel balls’ calories can rise to 600 if they are deep-fried. In that case, the amount of fat increases up to 26 grams.

So, to put it simply, a deep-fried falafel ball can be considered junk food. But as it contains other beneficial nutrients like whopping fiber and protein, it can be good food for your menu. However, it won’t be wise to consume falafel balls regularly as long as you prefer to eat them fried.

So, if you want to enjoy falafel every day, you need to come up with a notorious recipe for falafel that can be baked in the oven.  

Other Health Falafel Nutrients Facts

There are some other health benefits of consuming falafel. For example, falafel is made of plant-based items that can give you enough nutrients without animal meat. It would help if you consumed a more plant-based diet.

Falafel also helps prevent excess sugar cravings that easily control blood sugar levels. If you are suffering from constipation due to a lack of fiber, falafel can help you. The fiber on falafel doesn’t digest and helps with regular bowel movements.

It can also make you feel full for longer than any other food. The fiber from falafel contains acetate that basically works as an anti-appetite molecule. It affects the bloodstream, brain, and color. The fiber slows down the production of hunger hormones.

Are Falafels Bad For You?

It depends on your appetite system. Typically, falafel contains a rich amount of micronutrients, disease-fighting antioxidants, fiber, and protein. These nutrients help with blood sugar, diabetes, and various chronic diseases. 

The falafel can also curb your appetite and can easily be a nourishing replacement for other rich foods. So, in a sense, falafels are pretty healthy to consume daily as a side dish with any meal or as a main dish.

However, the condition is that it has to be a healthy recipe, and the falafels should not be deep-fried. Regular consumption of deep-fried falafels will be harmful to your health.

How to Make Healthier Falafel?

To make falafel healthier, you need to maintain a proper recipe. Here’s what you need to do:

At first, preheat the oven to 200-degree Celsius. Then ready the mixture of chickpeas, onion, parsley, garlic, olive oil, baking powder, cumin, flour, lemon juice, pepper, coriander, and salt. 

Make small patties or balls from the blended chickpeas and place them over the baking sheet. Mix them properly. Don’t use any poor ingredients in the mixture.

Wait for 12 minutes, and then flip the pieces. Again, wait for 12 minutes until the crispy falafels are ready. Serve them with whole wheat pita bread. Don’t use extra oil for finishing because they already have enough oil inside.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s healthier: falafel protein vs. chicken?

The calorie intake of a chicken with pita bread is more petite than pita bread with falafel. Though it’s an ideal substitution for red meat that contains fresh herbs, it’s rich in protein and calories. 

However, it’s healthier compared to chicken because of a plant-based diet.

Are falafels vegan?

Yes, falafels are vegan because of plant-based protein and other ingredients. However, it’s no longer bound for vegans and vegetarians. People are starting to add to their regular meals because of falafel health benefits.  

Are hummus and falafels the same?

Though there are some similarities in ingredients, they are not the same. The hummus is a paste of chickpeas combined with olive oil and spices. In contrast, the falafels are deep-fried balls served with hot sauce.

Are baked falafels healthy?

Yes, baked falafels are healthy. The baked falafel calories are low and are even much more beneficial and healthy diet than the traditional deep-fried ones. It already contains saturated fat to make them crisp during baking. So, no need to add oils to imbalance the cholesterol levels.

Final Words

Falafel is a pretty famous food, especially among vegetarians. This Middle Eastern dish is made of various ingredients, including chickpeas. However, people get concerned about health effects because of such varieties of nutrients.Hopefully, the discussion on-“are falafels healthy?” has provided enough clearance to you. So, the next time you ought to eat falafel, you don’t need to hesitate. But avoid deep-fried falafels. Follow the instruction to make your healthy falafel. Best of luck to you!

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