Stephanie D. Murillo
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Is Shawarma Healthy To Eat?

Middle Eastern cuisine has become gradually dominant in the Western cultures of the 21st century because of its wide assortment of healthy dishes. Shawarma is one of the most popular Middle Eastern cuisines that are making the Western World crazy for more. It is a wrap or sandwich in which beef or lamb meat is placed in pita bread and layered with tahini sauce or hummus. Chicken is not also exceptional for this street food; it is often a healthier choice.

Chicken Shawarma is a delicious dish marinated with chicken cut into small slices that is usually served with pita bread, tabbouleh salad, lavash bread, fattoush salad and taboon bread. Endless variations are available for this comfort food according to a country’s culinary style. You can also serve it with the rice on a serving plate. However, the most common fillings are hummus, tahini, pickled turnips and tomato grilled, etc.

Image credit by ungree
Image credit by ungree

Is Shawarma, Doner Kebab, and Gyro Meat the Similar?

At first glance, Shawarma, Turkish doner kebab, and Greek gyros look the similar dishes. The meat for each one is shaved from a large cone which has been roasting for many hours. The main difference among all of them is the meat which makes them tastier and satisfying. Shawarma is the most popular staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine that people love to eat daily in the United States. The Shawarma meat is typically prepared from the Halal meat, such as lamb, beef, and chicken. It also differs from the doner kebab and gyro in that it marinates all day long in a variety of seasonings and spices, like cinnamon, vinegar, cardamom, bay leaves, dried lime and allspice. This street food also comes with a huge variety of toppings such as tahini, hummus, and tabbouleh.

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On the other hand, the gyro meat is usually a combination of beef and lamb, layered with feta and halloumi cheese, topped with tomatoes, onion, and tzatziki sauce, and served with Greek pita. However, doner kebab meat is typically placed in a flatbread like a pita or a lavash and topped with salads or vegetables including cabbage, pickled cucumber, chili or onion with sumac rather than sauces.

Image credit by depu
Image credit by depu

Now the question is;

Is Shawarma Good to Eat?

Undoubtedly, it is an easy snack or dinner, but several studies have shown that this meal is far from healthy dishes. The marinated lamb or beef slices that are shaved off from the rotating meat cone which comprises several layers of fat. Moreover, the meat is heavily seasoned with spices which are high in sodium content. Traditionally, it is served with hummus and garlic sauce that are both rich in calories.

However, chicken shawarma is healthy and safe to eat. It contains no fat because it is fat-based eat. According to recent statistics, when you eat one lamb shawarma, it provides 500 calories and 20g fat which is equal to 31% of an adult’s daily need of calories. Whereas, a chicken shawarma offers 15g of fat and 400 calories that are 24% of a person’s daily intake of calories.

Street food lovers never leave to eat shawarma. Therefore, it is recommended that if you want to eat this delicious wrap, you should use nutritive alternatives rather than typical unhealthy ingredients. Nowadays, there are several healthiest versions of this street food available in the market.

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image credit by 2gis
image credit by 2gis

How can you make shawarma healthy?

One of the best ways to make a nutritional shawarma is that you make it at home by using healthier ingredients. Follow some tips to make this comfort food yummiest and healthiest:

  • Make a wrap with marinated chicken. Chicken breast not only gives you a divine taste but also contains less fat as compared to the darker leg meat.
  • Marinate the chicken in yogurt before roasting and then cook it under the grill quickly. It will reduce the fats of your wrap meat.
  • Prefer to make sauce from low-fat yogurt and avoid using salty and spicy ingredients.
  • Serve it with whole wheat pita bread and fresh vegetable salad.

Click here to see an easy-to-make shawarma recipe, which not only has a heavenly taste but also offers some nutritional value.

Image credit by timedomat
Image credit by timedomat

What are the nutritional facts of chicken shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is a great source of vitamin A, proteins, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Apart from this, it also packs with certain amounts of fats, cholesterol, sugar and dietary fiber. However, if you compare the calorie count of chicken one with beef and turkey shawarmas, you’ll surely find that chicken wrap contains fewer calories than others. According to a study, a serving of chicken wrap packs with 403 calories, while each ounce of beef flavour contains almost 70 calories and 4 ounces of turkey may include up to 180 calories.

Here is a table that shows how much of each nutrient do you get into yourself when you indulge in a chicken shawarma.

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Nutrient Amount Per Serving
Calcium 106 mg
Cholesterol 64 mg
Dietary Fiber 3 mg
Iron 4 mg
Proteins 35 g
Sodium 800 mg
Fats 10 g
Carbohydrates 40 g

After reading these statistics, you’ll never hesitate to eat this scrumptious street food. However, it is always recommended that you should not eat this meal from local shops because they include unhealthy ingredients. Always prefer to consume homemade shawarma or order it from an authentic restaurant.

Image credit by pinterest
Image credit by pinterest

Where do you get the best shawarma in Dubai?

If you are looking for the best spots from where you can order this comfort food, there are several restaurants offering a wide range of delicious and healthy shawarma. These restaurants not only satisfy your appetite but also give you a wonderful delivery or dine out experience. Have a look at some of the best restaurants which are serving their guests with a delectable variety of shawarma in Dubai!

Image credit by cheatsheet
Image credit by cheatsheet

Which type of shawarma do you like? Share it with us.

Stephaine D. Murillo is a Dubai-based American professional nutritionist who tells the secrets of a healthy and longer life. She is ambitious to find the significant benefits of a nutritional and balanced diet. She guides food lovers about the health benefits and drawbacks of vegetables, fruits and other types of food. She loves to share information about food & health through Papaorder Blog. So, subscribe Papaorder blog to get her health & food tips.

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Papaorder Blog explores the food culture of various nations while the main focus is on Arabic culinary style and culture.

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