baked falafel & 10 not-so-healthy "healthy" foods

Happy Friday! 😀

Yesterday’s trivia answer: Madagascar. Madagascar produces 2/3rd of the world’s vanilla. Thank you, Madagascar! And I am seriously impressed with everyone’s food trivia knowledge!!

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The only thing that would’ve made last night’s dinner better would’ve been someone to enjoy it with! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe of Karla’s for quite a number of weeks now…and I knew that I’d have to do so when Mr. Prevention wasn’t around. He hears “garbanzo beans” and he loses interest. His loss. Seriously.

Baked Falafel adapted Foodologie and Epicurious

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp flour (I used all-purpose flour)

Directions:

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.

The next day, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next, add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours.

After the  mixture is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 375° F.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 25 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to a 500° F broil. Broil falafel for 3-5 minutes (or longer) until the tops are golden brown. Serve with pita, cucumbers, tomato, and either hummus or a tahini yogurt sauce. Yield: Serves 5 (five falafel per serving).

Nutrition Information (per 5 falafel): 135 calories (27 calories per falafel); 1.6 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 567 mg. sodium; 27.4 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 7 g. protein

Result: Soooo good! There are so many falafel lovers among my family and friends…I can’t wait to spoil them with this healthy falafel rendition. These really did FAR exceed my expectations, and I do consider myself somewhat of a falafel connoisseur after working in a Middle Eastern restaurant during high school. And as for the nutrition? A++!! Low calorie, low-fat, high-fiber! 😀 A much leaner choice compared to the deep-fried traditional preparation.

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10 Not-so-Healthy “Healthy” Foods from Cooking Light

1. Multi-grain and wheat breads. Ideally, breads are from whole grain and 100% whole grain sources, not enriched, bleached, or from a refined source.

2. Prepared salads. Tuna, egg, and chicken salad are loaded with calorie-dense mayonnaise. Even tossed salads which have lots of yummy, tantalizing ingredients atop a pile of greens can yield one very high calorie meal. Be careful not to assume salads are always the healthiest choice on a menu.

3. Reduced-fat peanut butter. Peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated fat. When fat is removed from products, like peanut butter (and salad dressings), sugar is substituted in. Furthermore, there is no calorie difference between regular and reduced-fat peanut butter.

4. Energy bars. Many energy bars are packed with calories, high fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. There are much healthier (and cheaper) alternatives for pre and post-workout fuels.

5. Bran muffins. Bottom line: portions of such baked goodies are way, way too big. I agree with Cooking Light, make your own muffins at home! Cut calories and cost for your breakfasts on-the-go! Need muffin recipe ideas? There’s tons on my recipes page under “Breakfast”!

6. Smoothies. Many chains add sugar, sherbet, or ice cream to smoothies to get that oh-so-wonderful taste leading you back for more time after time. Smoothies are simple to make in the home with fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, and/or 100% juice or calorie-free beverage.

7. Packaged turkey. While packaged turkey offers and easy, low-cal meal option it is loaded with sodium.

8. Foods labeled “fat-free”. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Always read labels to get the whole scoop on a product.

9. Restaurant baked potatoes. The potato isn’t the problem, but the heaping scoops of butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese sure are! Ask for toppings on the side and watch the portions.

10. Sports drinks. These drinks are designed for intense exercise and training, not your weekend stroll or casual jog. Using them inappropriately simply packs on the calories (and cost) unnecessarily.

I really enjoyed this article. While I think a few of them were obvious, the information was factual and valuable.

Question: What are you up to this weekend?

More chili is in our future…entry #3, bring it! And I’m cutting Mr. P off from his buffalo chicken dip…but not completely! I have a new buffalo chicken appetizer I want to swoon him with!! Stay tuned! Have a super weekend! 😀

TGIF,

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30 Comments

  1. September 17, 2010 / 7:27 am

    Great list! I used to be a big fan of some of these “healthy” foods, but now they rarely show up in my diet!

    Yummy falafels, girl!

  2. September 17, 2010 / 7:47 am

    There are so many other foods that can go on this list too. It really pays for us to understand what it is we are eating.

    BTW, I think the baked falafel sounds great!

  3. September 17, 2010 / 7:51 am

    I agree–a lot on that list is a no-brainer, but when I was in high school and college I remember being fooled by some, namely the reduced-fat peanut butter. It made so much sense at the time, but now I can’t even imagine eating such sugary stuff. Also, while I don’t really fall into the smoothie trap (I’m not a huge smoothie fan) I know so many people who don’t blink at a 400-calorie one because it’s “healthy.”

  4. September 17, 2010 / 8:06 am

    DUH-LISH!!!! Going to be making this this weekend…sssssshhhhh don’t tell Mr. Wede that it’s garbanzo beans. Going to try and convince him it’s lamb or something meat induced for my carnivorous half. On that note…do you think these would be good with ground lamb…hmmmm….possibilities!

  5. September 17, 2010 / 8:20 am

    I spent 10 days in Israel a few years ago and never tried falafel!! Probably because I was having some serious stomach issues that trip, but I’d love to try this recipe!

  6. September 17, 2010 / 8:34 am

    It’s unbelieveable how many bottles of gatorade I see at my weekly beach volleyball games. There are 6 of us on the court at a time… we’re not moving all that much.

  7. September 17, 2010 / 8:59 am

    Its crazy how many “health foods” are really not great for you at all!! And those falafals look amazing 🙂

  8. September 17, 2010 / 9:17 am

    I so want to try this baked falafel!

    And I really appreciate that list. While many of those may have been no-brainers for those of us in the healthy living community, I think the majority of the population is still fooled by energy bars (that are really candy bars!) fat-free stuff, and wheat bread that isn’t 100% wholegrain. Everyone should have to read that list!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. September 17, 2010 / 10:31 am

    I love falafel. My stepdad’s mom makes the best…she is from the middle east. Great list of not so healthy foods. the one that gets me every time are smoothies and people’s love for these. You can exceed your calorie needs for the day in just one smoothie. I always encourage (when weight is a concern) not to drink calories, even if it seems healthy.

  10. September 17, 2010 / 11:44 am

    I love love love baked falafel! And now thats what I want for lunch… And sweet potato fries. Yum!

  11. September 17, 2010 / 11:59 am

    I love baked falafel and I’m hoping to make some soon.

    I plan to have an active weekend and spend most of my time outside.

    Enjoy your weekend too.

  12. September 17, 2010 / 1:09 pm

    Oh my goodness! Im so glad you posted this recipe. Now I know exactly what Im making for dinner tonight. YUM!!

    I am so glad sports drinks are on that list. They are one of the biggest arguments between me and the boyfriend. He insists on drinking them all the time because he “works out hard”. I always tell him he doesnt work out THAT hard, and if he’s going to throw away his money on something so useless, he can just give it straight to me. 🙂

  13. September 17, 2010 / 2:13 pm

    First off, I’m planning on checking out a Great Harvest today! Besides that I’m hoping to do something fun with my boyfriend this weekend 🙂

  14. September 17, 2010 / 2:26 pm

    You know I have never had falafel. This dish looks amazing. I don’t know why I have never had it but I will be adding it to my list of foods to try asap.
    I get so many patients that drink sports drinks thinking it is a good choice (when they are not all that active).
    Have a great weekend, Nicole!

  15. September 17, 2010 / 2:38 pm

    I would not have thought about sports drinks and energy bars–good point.

  16. September 17, 2010 / 2:43 pm

    ur right about the bran muffins, most people think they’ll be the healthier choice.. even the low fat ones are incredibly fooling. anytime u make it urself u can ensure they’ll be healthy with the portions of ingredients and amounts of sugars and fats. plus 99% of the time if something is sugar-free it has a bunch of fat added in to replace the flavor, and similarly, when the fat is removed, sugar goes in to replace it.

    wonderful tips and it was exciting to go through the list and see habits that i previously had without realizing were actually unhealthy! definitely was a smoothie lover until i saw the grams of sugar in a regular sized serving!!!

    xoxo

  17. September 17, 2010 / 7:44 pm

    I love falafels!! I am going to have to try out baking them like you did. Yummmmmm!! 🙂

  18. September 17, 2010 / 8:06 pm

    Yummy! Kepa and I bought some chickpeas the other day so we will use this recipe for falafel goodness. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  19. September 19, 2010 / 12:55 am

    Baking falafel is such a great idea, would love to try out this healthy snack wrapped around the pita bread

  20. September 19, 2010 / 9:32 am

    Love the list of not-so-healthy foods–it’s always a good thing to check the stats of energy bars..some aren’t any better than candy bars surprisingly!! 🙁

  21. May 19, 2011 / 11:48 am

    Yay for baked falafels! I can’t wait to go home where I have a food processor so I can make them again!

  22. Jill
    September 12, 2012 / 6:36 pm

    Phenomenal and easy! Much better texture than other low fat falafels I’ve made. Is it because of the soaked chickpeas as opposed to canned? Either way such an amazing dinner!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      September 12, 2012 / 9:52 pm

      Jill, I have to agree…this is a wonderful recipe. That’s why it’s going in my cookbook 😉 I do think the soaked beans is what makes these falafel have the texture that they do. Just a hunch, though 🙂 So glad you loved them!

  23. Julia
    October 30, 2012 / 5:06 pm

    Mmmm looks DELICIOUS!! I love falafel but havent had it in forever!!! I will SERIOUSLY have to try this! On another note, your story is so inspiring! I applaud you, that is such a sweet and amazing story! I am so happy for you, and its so nice for you to use your expiriences to help other people! 🙂

  24. kristen
    April 12, 2013 / 11:59 am

    Hello! I love all your recipes. I found this recipe just in time for a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Indian potluck I am attending. I was wondering if the garbanzo beans have to be cooked after soaking?

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 12, 2013 / 7:32 pm

      Nope! After soaking, you just continue with the recipe in the food processor 🙂

  25. Jamie
    March 18, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    Falafels should be on your list of not so healthy healthy foods! They are high in sodium and high blood pressure is the number one preventable cause of death in the world!

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