Are Empanadas Healthy? [Everything You Need to Know]

Are Empanadas Healthy
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These rough puff pastries with rich, sweet, or savory fillings are doubtlessly delicious. You can make them a thousand different ways and always get a new flavor. The possibilities are endless. Just use your imagination, and you’ll get luscious combinations you could eat daily. But are empanadas healthy?

Empanadas are not healthy. They are high in saturated fats as well as carbs. Coupled with protein insufficiency, they make a low-nutrition meal. Furthermore, empanadas have hardly any fibers, vitamins, or minerals.

This doesn’t imply you have to give up mouthwatering blitz pastries forever. They aren’t the most nourishing meal in the world but try to prepare them with some modifications. Suppose you want some insights into their nutritional values and a few tricks to eat them while on a diet; read on. 

How Many Calories Are in an Empanada?

The empanada dough itself has 130 calories. [1] That’s 40 grams of the dough needed for one piece of the empanada. Having that in mind, you can make a filling that fits your needs.

There are numerous varieties of empanada filling. Let’s compare nutritional values among four popular kinds of an empanada. For instance: beef, chicken, vegetable, and apple empanada.

  • One classic beef empanada has about 295 calories. [2] If you add cheese to the filling, calories will jack up by over 300. That’s a lot for one serving of food. About half the value of calories comes from fat. 
  • Chicken meat has less fat than beef. So, that means less fat in the overall nutritional table. More than half the calories in chicken empanada come from carbs. However, there are fewer calories, 170 calories per piece. [3]


Calzone vs. Empanada: Differences & Which Is Better?

  • Vegetable empanadas have similar nutritional value to chicken ones. A serving has 180 calories. Yes, that’s a bit more than chicken empanada, but it contains significantly less cholesterol. And a little more vitamins and minerals. [4]
  • Sweet empanadas have less sodium than savory ones. But they do have added sugar and minimum proteins whatsoever. One caramel apple empanada has 280 calories. [5] It’s tasty but keep in mind that it’s a dessert. 

Are Empanadas High in Fat?

Empanadas are immensely high in fat. Firstly, making the dough requires loads of shortening, mostly butter. Their signature flaky taste comes from that butter in question.

Also, empanadas are either deep-fried or baked. Every region has its twist for making empanadas. If deep fried, they have even more fat. 

One serving (approximately 90 grams) of restaurant-made empanada contains 147,1 calories from fat. [6] That’s almost half of its nutritional value. 

What’s more, 4,6 grams, of 16,3 grams total, are saturated fats. AHA recommends limiting the consumption of saturated fats to 5% or 6% of all calories a day. If you take about 2,000 calories in one day, 120 calories are the maximum from saturated fats. [7]

Summed up, that’s around 13 grams of saturated fat per day. One empanada has almost half of your daily needs for saturated fats. It’s a lot for one serving of food. 

Sources of saturated fat are the main ingredients of empanadas. [8] The top three are cheese, butter, and beef. But keep in mind that saturated fat is not always the same. Saturated fat from organically bred animals is better than highly processed meat.  

Whether you’re in the ability to hand-pick products, choose regular farms and small businesses. Saturated fats from healthy animals are desirable (in fixed amounts). Plus, beef is high in iron, so it’s a good thing to add to your diet. [9]

Are Empanadas High in Protein?

Empanadas aren’t high in protein. Protein in empanadas comes only from the filling. It depends on whether you’ll add high-protein meat or more carbs.

To illustrate, a beef empanada has about 10 grams of protein, and a vegetable empanada has 4 grams of protein. You can always enrich your meal by adding high-protein sides, such as skyr or yogurt. 

Are Empanadas Healthy

Are Empanadas Good for Diet?

Classically made empanadas aren’t good for diet at all. They are full of saturated fats, plus the dough consists of all-purpose white flour, which has a high glycemic index. [10]

White flour will skyrocket your blood sugar levels. It will significantly affect your health when matched with saturated fats and deep fried. This combination encourages weight gain.

You can cut most of these calories and still enjoy flaky pastries. Just be aware of the nutritional value and amount of your ingredients. You can always change a few things and adapt them to your preference. 

How to Make Empanadas Healthier?

When preparing empanadas, don’t deep fry them. Instead, bake them on baking paper or in an air fryer without using any additional oil. 

In place of using all-purpose white flour, choose whole wheat. It has more nutrients and fiber. Fiber will lower your blood cholesterol and improve your bowel movements.

Fill your empanada with vegetables instead of meat. As you won’t get any proteins from vegetables, serve empanadas with Greek yogurt. If you dice little garlic in yogurt, you’ll get a superb sauce that will help reduce your cholesterol levels. [11]

When making meat empanadas, add loads of vegetables too. It will make them more nutritious, as you’ll add vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pick out leafy greens as they have lots of benefits but few calories.

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