Fit Fast Food: Maoz Vegetarian

Try this local, better-for-you joint the next time you're pressed for time

Of course, I am a huge proponent of eating whole foods that have not been processed and always try to brown bag my lunch. That said, owning multiple gyms now, my life is just as hectic as anyone’s and there are times when I get caught in a food jam: I didn’t take the time to prepare food for the day or I am out of healthy snacks (yogurts, apples, etc.) and the clock is ticking past the 3-4 hours since my last meal. That is when the body’s metabolic systems shift into a catabolic mode and hunger starts. You know the feeling: Your hunger builds until you finally will eat just about anything and it won’t subside until you’ve finished a burger, fries, and your friend’s fries, too.

Not satisfying your hunger proactively is major issue I run into with our clients. They don’t eat, at least not regularly, because they don’t plan or prepare anything and then they run out to get fast food or hit up restaurants which are generally laden in extra fat calories and lacking the fiber and nutrients in colorful vegetables. Given the reality of our busy lives, I’ve scoured the streets of Philadelphia and beyond to find the healthiest quick fixes to get you out of a jam feeling like a million bucks.

My favorite fit fast-food fix is Maoz, the hip vegetarian falafel joint that came from Europe straight to Philadelphia. I realized that falafel is considered by some to be an exotic, ethnic food when I took my mother there this past Sunday for her first Maoz, but to me it is simply the healthiest and cheapest way to get filled up fast.

Maoz keeps it simple and focused on the beauty of vegetables with only two main options, falafel in a pita or falafel in a salad box (less carbs and calories). Falafel is a delicious, crunchy warm ball of mashed chick peas and spices. While it is fried and we shouldn’t generally eat fried food, the amount of colorful vegetables that you top your sandwich or salad with by far makes up for that additional fat. Talk about eating in technicolor, they have more purple veggies than I’ve ever seen in a salad bar and all veggies are marinated with different spices. If a basic salad doesn’t quite cut it for your meat-loving palate, Maoz’s falafel will be sure to please.

Maoz is located on Walnut St in Midtown Village and on South Street in Queen Village. If you look, you might find a falafel place near you, but make sure they have the veggie toppings.

Try Maoz and falafel and let me know what you think by commenting.

Gavin McKay

Gavin McKay is the owner and creator of Fusion Cross-training with locations in Center City, Philadelphia and Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. He’ll be sharing his fitness tips and advice weekly on Be Well Philly. Read more about Gavin here.