With a hot and crispy exterior and a fluffy, flavoursome middle, Falafel has gained popularity in recent years as a fast food staple for Vegetarians.

Usually a fried delicacy, here at GourmetFuel (like always) we have put a healthy twist on this Middle Eastern favourite by baking it instead. Not just for the Veggies, Falafel is a versatile food, which boasts numerous nutrition and health benefits, whilst being super tasty.

My main inspiration for this post is that here at GourmetFuel, we have recently re-launched one of my favourites, our Falafel Salad Wrap with Taco Sauce, and as I am always harping on to my friends and family about the benefits of Falafel, I thought it was a perfect time to write about just how beneficial it can be to a healthy balanced diet.
  • The main ingredient is Chickpeas (although can be made using Fava beans), which pack a powerful plant protein punch. 100grams of tinned Chickpeas contains a sizeable 7.2 grams of protein, which could rival some of the typical sources. Although Chickpeas do not contain all of the essential amino acids, they can be complemented by eating alongside cereals or wholegrains such as a wholegrain wrap.  Interestingly, protein quality in legumes such as Chickpeas is maximised when heated, so if you are munching down on one of our Falafel Salad wraps, why not try it warm?

  • Almost 80% of people in Ireland don’t eat enough fibre, which is concerning seeing as fibre can help prevent against Bowel cancer, aid gut health, and is related to lowering your chances of developing chronic diseases such as Type Two Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease. We should be eating between 24g-35g of fibre each day, and with chickpeas providing around 10grams per ½ tin, this is an easy way to up your fibre levels.

  • It is a powerhouse of minerals and vitamins, once again, due to the chickpeas. It was found in 2016 that people who regularly eat chickpeas (or hummus) have higher levels of fibre, polyunsaturated fat, Vitamin E, A and C, Magnesium, Folate and Iron, compared to those who avoid chickpeas*.  100grams of Chickpeas provide us with 1.5mg of Non-Haem Iron, which may seem insignificant compared to sources like red meat but is substantial for a plant based source. A perfectly valid fact to justify my Falafel addiction!

However, do keep in mind that most fast food Falafel will be fried and not baked, which will increase the calories and fat, so limit fried falafel and keep your eye out for the baked version, like our wrap or salad!

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Katie Kavanagh

Katie Kavanagh

Katie is a registered Associate Nutritionist with the UKVRN through the Association for Nutrition. Katie completed her Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and Health in Glasgow Caledonian University and her Bachelors Degree in UCD in Health and Performance Science. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked in a kitchen catering company, and for Our Lady’s Hospice Harolds Cross and is heavily involved with UCD Boxing Club. Her areas of interest are Vegetarian diets, disease prevention and Sports Nutrition.

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