5 Popular Nigerian Foods and How To Make Them Healthy

5 Popular Nigerian Foods and How To Make Them Healthy

These 5 Popular Nigerian Foods Can Now Be A Part Of Your Healthy Diet

It wouldn’t be fair of me to write a blog about healthy eating and weight loss and completely neglect Nigerian food. It’s a part of who I am and I know the majority of women who follow this blog are also from Nigeria. Food in Nigeria is more than just about fueling our bodies. The never-ending battle between Nigerians and Ghanaians about who cooks the best jollof is proof that food is a major part of our culture. I’m going to show you 5 popular Nigerian foods and how you can add them to your diet without killing your waist line.

1.RICE

Let’s get straight into the number one staple of every Nigerian’s diet. This is simply the national food of Nigeria eaten in different variations like fried rice and jollof rice. Nigerians love rice so much that it is a miracle it doesn’t naturally grow from our heads. However, rice being a grain should be fundamentally healthy but where we go wrong is the consumption of refined grains. What I mean by that is that the fibre and all its goodness has been stripped and what is left are “empty” calories. 

The solution to this is to slowly replace white rice with locally grown brown rice like ofada. Besides keeping you full for a very long period, brown rice contains every good nutrition you need such as manganese, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B3, B1, B6, and the highly important fiber. A one cup serving of cooked rice is all you need for one meal. Fill up with more protein like fish or chicken if you need to.

2. EGUSI SOUP

Made essentially from melon seeds, this is another delicious and healthy dish that ends up being prepared in a way that is harmful for our health . The basic ingredient which is the melon seed and some vegetables contain a lot of health benefits like potassium, magnesium etc.

These are some ways to enjoy all of the nutrients contained in this dish.

  • Reduce the oil! Your egusi soup should not be dripping from your elbows.
  • Add fresh fish, goat meat and crayfish.
  • Reduce the sodium content. Cut back on the amount of stock seasoning you use. 

3. STAPLES

A.k.a. solids. They are a great source of carbohydrate which is very essential but the problem here is that we eat the wrong types of solid and sometimes go overboard with them.  Excessive carbohydrate intake eventually leads to weight gain and other ailments. Highly processed sources like white grains are vitamin deficient and encourage excessive eating.

Substitute the popular solids like garri, pounded yam, fufu etc. with wheat fufu, millet and so on. These substitutes are rich in protein, fiber and phosphorus to list a few. They contain better nutrition giving you popular Nigerian foods that can now be a part of your healthy diet.

4. EFO RIRO

The basic composition of this is quite simple and essentially healthy (vegetables, meat, fish, pepper and some seasoning) but somehow we still find a way to prepare it badly and kill all its nutrients. Where preparing efo riro becomes a crime is the excessive use of oil and high amounts of saturated fat. Calories from meat protein are mostly healthy but excessive consumption of fat from the meat can lead to weight gain and other health risks. 

Here are some tricks to make it healthy for your consumption;

  • Use fresh vegetables (you can even use more than one type for greater health benefits)
  • Reduce the amount of oil you are using
  • Replace the fatty proteins such as cow foot and ponmo with goat meat, fish and chicken.

5. STEW

Stew is loved by everyone probably because it can be consumed in so many ways. However, the way it is prepared with excessive oil and fried meat makes problematic for our waistline, 

Enjoy the full health benefits of your stew by:

  • Reducing the amount of oil used to cook especially since meat already contains lots of natural oil.
  • Including leaner protein sources like fresh fish and chicken.
  • Replacing fried meat with some juicy and healthy grilled meat.

These 5 popular Nigerian foods can now be a part of your healthy diet without the unnecessary fat. Try some of these tips for a month and you will see the weight drop off without even trying.

Well I’m off to cook my dinner now x


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