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.
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.