Monday, January 16, 2012

A Falafel Makeover

Not to sound like a broken record, but I again have to send a boatload of thanks to Trader Joes for tasty, high quality, mostly nutritious vegan convenience food. One of my favorites is their frozen falafel. It's better than some that I've had in restaurants. And it's ready in one minute in the microwave.

I'd been enjoying falafel sandwiches (on either whole wheat pita or wraps) with chopped raw veggies and tahini sauce, while also trying to drop this stubborn baby weight (which, since I've hit 40, is doubly hard to shed), and I realized I'm not going to get very far if I continue: for only three balls of falafel, I'm getting 320 calories and 19 grams of fat. And sometimes I eat 4! Add a large pita (about 200 calories) and a couple tablespoons tahini sauce (another 100 or so calories), and (we won't count the veggie calories) that equals over 600 calories. For lunch! And I'd often have a piece of fruit an hour after.

But I don't want to give up my beloved falafel, which is delicious and not terribly unhealthy (a bit oily, true, but it's not an everyday indulgence). But I sure can give up the bread, and I can use less tahini.

My new take on a falafel lunch is pictured here: a huge bowl of chopped raw veggies, three balls of falafel (quartered), and watered-down tahini sauce. New calorie count: 400 (plus veggies, again, which we won't count). This is better not only for the calorie savings but because I now incorporate more raw veggies, which means more antioxidants and fiber, and I really do feel full until dinner. Plus who needs more wheat?

A vegan diet is a great way to control weight. But if you're like me, sometimes delicious prepared/convenience foods can sabotage our best efforts. And it's up to us to find ways to balance portions, satiety, flavor, and nutrition. It's a continuous learning process, even for the pros!

No comments: