How Many Calories are Present in Shawarma?

A single shawarma wrap has approximately 400 to 1200 calories in it. The calories in shawarma vary depending on the content used for preparation and the accompaniments used. Shawarma has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine for years. Largely popular across the world, shawarma mainly consists of chicken, hummus, pita bread or wrap, garlic mayo, sometimes vegetables, and french fries. It is not a surprise that the calorie intake is fairly high on a shawarma roll or shawarma plate. Let us take a detailed look at the calories in shawarma and their nutritional information here. 

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Shawarma and its Calories

Shawarma is a popular street food item that is also a staple at restaurants dishing out Middle Eastern cuisine. Chances are that you grab a shawarma every now and then, or even several times a week. Shawarma stalls are always surrounded by a throng of foodies. Have you ever wondered about the calories in shawarma? It's true that it uses lean grilled chicken - in fact, you can see the typical set-up for shawarma preparation very clearly at most shawarma joints. But what about the rest? If you are watching calories for health reasons, or because you want to get in shape to improve your appearance you might want to know about the calories in a shawarma roll. 

Are you ready for a bit of a shocker? Well, here goes: Although you see meat grilling on the rotating cone, the meat has already been slathered with oil or fat - something that gives it its amazing texture and taste. 

Then there’s the hummus, made from chickpeas, that is also very high in calories (say about 90 calories for the 25 grams worth of chickpeas that go into the hummus in your shawarma).

Then there’s the garlic mayo that comes alongside, or in the shawarma, that comes with about 100 calories, because mayonnaise is that high in calories.

Let us not overlook the fact that the shawarma meat comes loaded with sodium. And then there’s the wrap portion (it's not a roti, but pita bread) that packs in another 80 calories. As you can imagine, in a shawarma roll, or shawarma plate, calorie intake is going to be fairly high. 

How Many Calories Does Shawarma Have?

The average calories in a shawarma roll (that may also be the equivalent of calories in a shawarma plate or shawarma wrap) are fairly high. Estimates vary widely, but your calorie intake with a single shawarma wrap is between 400 to 1200 calories depending on where you eat it and how much oil and fat go into it. 

This means that calories in one shawarma (at the higher end of the spectrum) could cover your total calorie intake for the day. We use about 1800 calories a day even if we do absolutely nothing; we burn calories at that rate just to keep our bodies going. The average recommended calorie intake is about 2000 - 2500 calories. 

Calories in Common Food Items with Shawarma

You are likely to encounter shawarma either as a standalone street food snack or as an item in a restaurant serving Lebanese or Turkish cuisine for example. Shawarma might come as a roll or be served deconstructed with roasted kebab style meat,  with pita bread, hummus and a salad or stir-fried vegetables on the side. The calories are comparable for any version that has the trappings of shawarma. 

 

However, shawarma prepared at home with truly lean, grilled meat, minimal hummus that uses minimal oil and no mayonnaise can actually be a very healthy and low-calorie alternative to the street food version of this popular favourite. 

Health Benefits of Eating Shawarma

Shawarma packs in carbohydrates, fats, protein and fibre and can therefore provide a balanced meal when on the go. It is definitely a good idea for people who spend their day running about, or who lead an active lifestyle that can burn all the calories that it brings to the table. 

More than its calories, it is the sodium in street food or restaurant shawarma that is a matter of concern. Estimates place the sodium at 1800-2300 mg in a single shawarma serving. That’s about a whole day’s sodium in one meal. 

How Many Shawarmas Should You Consume Every Day?

This largely depends on how the shawarma is prepared and sodium control measures involved, your age, your lifestyle and your recommended calorie intake. Because of its sodium content, street food or restaurant shawarma is not really going to be good for anyone, especially not on a daily basis.  

Takeaway

Cutting out the high calorie and high sodium items from your diet can help preserve your health. However, that is only part of the measures you should take with regard to safeguarding your health. You should also be financially prepared to tackle any health issues that may arise either from unhealthy eating, or stress or genetics. You can control your eating, and that is half the battle won, but as for the rest, get health insurance to avoid financial stress in case of any eventualities. Browse and compare the best health insurance plans available at Bajaj MARKETS.

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FAQs on Shawarma

  • ✔️How can we make homemade shawarma more healthy?

    You can reduce the sodium that may be included in the recipe, use a small quantity of home-prepared hummus and grill the meat without oil and fat. This can substantially cut down on both the calories and the sodium that make shawarma unhealthy. 

  • ✔️Is veg or falafel shawarma more healthy?

    No, because it uses most of the other ingredients that make veg shawarma high in calories and sodium, and very often, the veggies are fried in oil. Falafels are deep fried and are, therefore already, not the healthiest.

  • ✔️What components of shawarma make it unhealthy?

    The oil that goes into the hummus, the butter or oil in the meat and its marinade, the pita bread itself, which is made of refined flour and the garlic mayo dip served alongside. 

  • ✔️Am I making a difference by avoiding the garlic mayo dip that comes with shawarma?

    Yes, you are at least cutting down on some of the calories, but there are also a tonne of calories in the hummus, the meat and the pita bread.

  • ✔️Is it alright for children to consume half a shawarma for snacks?

    Provided the child is active, not obese and able to burn the calories consumed, half a shawarma a day is not going to be harmful to him or her.