“Naija food is not ideal for healthy living.”

Source: Dobby’s Signature

I was having a conversation with a lady and we started talking about health and fitness (I wouldn’t be me if my conversations didn’t go that way lol). She talked about how she had put on some weight since she got back from The United States and then she said these words “Naija food is not ideal for healthy living.” I gasped! I must have left my mouth hanging open for a full minute, no joke. I’ve come to realize that quite a number of people agree with this line of thought. I often hear things like ‘healthy eating is expensive”, “you have to eat oyinbo food to be fit” etc.

People then go for complicated meals and diets with ingredients that are not Nigerian grown, thus making them expensive. They blame Carbs like Semo, Eba and even poor innocent Rice for the weight gain.

The problem isn’t Nigerian food; the problem is the way we cook the food. For instance, I am a die-hard member of the dodo (plantain) gang and I cannot do without my dodo. What I, however, do not do is deep fry my plantain in excess unhealthy oil that has been reused over and over again. I shallow fry my plantain in a tablespoon of olive oil or I air fry it. I’m always experimenting with plantain and coming up with fun, healthy recipes.

Air fried plantain stuffed with beef and stir-fried veggies

Here are my top tips on how to enjoy healthy naija food:

  1. Enough with the deep frying! Arrrrghhhhh: We deep fry food way too much; chicken, fish, plantain, yam, potatoes. Shallow frying is a much healthier option; a tad bit of olive oil is all you need.
  2. Oven bake more often: Even better than shallow frying is oven baking; cook your chicken, fish, potatoes, plantain in the oven.
  3. Invest in an air fryer: My air fryer makes cooking so much easier.
  4. Stews and soups do not need to swim in oil (yep, here we go again with the oil).
  5. Aim to have a well-balanced plate, making sure you mostly have more proteins and vegetables than carbs on your plate.


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