Losing weight can be frustrating after bursting yourself working out and not seeing the desired results. Often times, nutrition is the main culprit. A lot of foods we consume are not ideal for our weight loss progress. Moreover it can be especially difficult to find healthier options when it comes to the Nigerian diet or stick to programs that require you to count calories.
Below are some alternatives and ways to switch it all up:
Replace white rice with brown rice. White rice is a simple carbohydrate and these are refined sugars with little nutritional value for the body. They are also very easily digested and so you crave food quicker. Brown rice on the other hand takes a little longer to digest and does not raise sugar levels in the blood as quickly as simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrate act as fuel for the body and contribute significantly to energy production.
Try Brown rice Jollof or fried rice.
Other rice alternatives include Ofada rice (the original ofada not the polished one) or Abakaliki rice.
Eat whole wheat or multigrain bread instead of white bread.
Whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta.
Other pasta alternatives include brown rice pasta, whole grain pasta
Try the following flour bases for making your solids instead of the usual pounded yam, fufu and others
Oat flour: oats are high in fiber and thus help you feel fuller longer and lower cholesterol
Quinoa flour – this helps to lower your cholesterol levels.
Milled brown rice.
Chia seeds ground with quinoa.
Please note that you can actually make your own flour base.For example, buy different types of quinoa and blend them into flour. You can then cook it in the same way, as you would make standard solids. It has a similar outcome to semovita. Another example would be to blend the quinoa with chia seeds, which comes out like Amala.
• Bake or boil them rather than fry them
• Try sweet potatoes
Make them yourself.
Minimize or choose salad dressings wisely. Oil-based vinigarettes are the best.
You can also make your own dressing.
Here’s how to do it.
o Mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar
o Mix lemon, black pepper, salt with olive oil
Load up on vegetables and add some protein (baked or grilled)
Avoid adding palm oil.Minimize your use of groundnut/vegetable oil. Extra virgin oil is a healthier option but always in moderation.
Use lean meat, fish, turkey, chicken breast and avoid red meat. Avoid frying your proteins, bake or roast them instead. Cut excess fat from meat or remove the skin from chicken
Avoid excessive oil.
Limit all extra meaty stuff.
Eat more vegetable based soups like Efo, Ewedu & Okra
Avoid palm oil as much as possible.
Steam your vegetables.
Make your efo like spinach. Do not add palm oil, just prepare with a little oil
Avoid frying eggs regularly; boil or poach them.
Use oil spray to fry your eggs.
Eat more of egg whites.
• Use as little palm oil as possible – if you must use it at all.
Points to Note
Start your day off with meals like oatmeal, egg whites instead of cereals. Breakfast foods high in sugar and fat make you feel full for a brief period and then you are hungry again.
The addition of fresh or dried fruits to breakfast meals can still make them sweet but healthy. For example, cooking oatmeal with a ripe banana and only a tiny amount of honey, if at all.
Breakfast is the most important meal and sets the pace for your whole day. Do not skip it or make wrong choices.
Download “myfitnesspal” app on your smart phones or laptop etc. This helps you track calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and all what you consume. They have Nigerian meals there too. You may just need to make some changes here and there but it provides an estimate to start with.
A key to weight loss is portion control. Uou may eat all the right things, but without portion control, this could be ineffective.
Eat multiple small meals rather than fewer large meals.
Avoid crash diets which work for a while but are not a lifestyle thus unsustainable.
Eats fruits and drink plenty of water
Try to pack lunch to work or school instead of having to eat out daily. Snack on nuts (preferably not salted), vegetables (carrots, cucumber etc) or fruits during the day.
Some healthy meals and snacks could be:
*Vegetables with a piece of chicken/ fish
*Brown rice with mixed vegetables and chicken/ fish
*Turkey or chicken Sandwich
*Boiled plantain and vegetables
I wish you success in your healthy living journey!
Lolah Soyombo- Akingbade is a fitness blogger and owner of Christsoldiergirl fitness blog (www.christsoldiergirlfitness.