Here are five ways to eat healthy in Nigeria and lose weight too with Nigerian food.
Eat less Carbohydrate- The typical Nigeria Diet is heavy on Carbohydrate, a sample daily food consumption might include: Yam for breakfast, Eba/garri for lunch and Rice for supper. Most food guides recommend 6-7 servings of grain products (Carbohydrate based) for adult female and 8 servings for adults male. To put things in perspective, daily carbohydrate requirement for the average adult, based on a 2000Calories diet will be 300g/day. In food Lingo, 300g of carbohydrate will consist of: 2 slices of bread for breakfast (70g), 2 cups of garri (156g) for lunch and 11/2 cups of rice for supper (68g).
Consume less palm oil- Palm oil and palm kernel oil are high in calories and saturated fat. Due to the high fat and calories content in palm oil, avoid using Palm Oil when you don’t have to, and if you must, use only a small amount. Also look at ingredient list when purchasing pre cooked items (e.g plantain chips), most chip companies fry their sweet chips in palm oil, avoid these as much as possible.
Watch the salt (magi)- When we cook with packaged seasoning mixes, we introduce lots of salt into our diet. The typical seasoning like Maggi, Knorr, Adobo e.t.c contains high amount of salt in them, adding extra table salt to dishes that already contain these seasonings means salt overload. Salt in itself has little to no calories, but Over-consumption of salt leads to temporary weight gain as it causes the body to retain water. Conversely, low consumption of salt will result in temporary weight loss as it causes the body to expel water. It is important to note that salt has no direct interaction with fat gain or fat loss, however excess water retention will make a person appear bigger than they actually are.
Watch What You Drink- We consume loads of excess calories from drinks, as we are more likely to pay more attention to what we eat than what we drink. Drinks are equally as important when it comes to weight loss. Pop (Soda/minerals) should be avoided all together. Some drinks that are perceived as Healthy drinks can also contribute to excess weight gain, a typical 300ml of malt drink for example contains 48g of Carbohydrate, this is the same as 1 cup of white rice. The point isn’t that you shouldn’t consume health drinks (malts and juices), but do not neglect the calories in these drinks when it comes to your daily diet.
Choose Meat Wisely- It is extremely difficult for Nigerians to ignore red meat; it is a staple in most soups and sauces. If you must eat red meat, make sure to trim off as much excess fat as possible. The recommended red meat option for dieter is goat meat; goat meat is comparable to beef in protein but contains 50% less calories and significantly less fat.