The Nigerian diet while delicious has a lot of high-carbohydrate foods. These meals are nutritious but have the potential to cause weight gain and other related ailments when eaten in excess.
This has led to a situation whereby many Nigerians are eating less high-carbohydrate foods. The low-carb diet has been around for years and is used mainly to minimize weight gain and encourage weight loss.
Apart from its use as a weight loss diet, eating a low- carb diet is used to treat other ailments such as diabetes and to reduce the occurrence of epileptic seizures.
Here, we will explain the benefits of a low- carbohydrate diet. We will assess the difficulty of eating a low-carb diet in Nigeria. Lastly, we will provide you with low- carb meal suggestions and substitutions.
Challenges of eating a low- carb diet in Nigeria
Eating a low-carb diet in Nigeria can be challenging for the following reasons:
We make basic Nigerian meals with high-carb foods
Some common foods eaten in Nigeria are rice, garri, yam, beans, noodles, and bread. These foods are usually incorporated into breakfast, lunch or dinner and most individuals end up eating at least 2 high-carb meals every day.
Even the snacks we purchase are usually made with flour and sugar, both of which are high-carb foods.
Poor meal planning
With the challenges of working or raising a family, many Nigerians may not have the time or energy to engage in proper meal planning. Without proper planning, after a hard day at work, many people eat the fastest thing they can cook. In other cases, tired workers resort to buying snacks or ready-made meals which may also be carbohydrate heavy .
Misunderstanding high-carb foods
There are some foods that are wrongly identified as being low-carb. Hence, individuals who do not know that they are high-carb foods eat them in huge portions. Some of these foods are beans, oatmeal, bananas, honey, brown rice, and mangoes.
Benefits of eating a low-carb diet
- By adopting the low-carbohydrate diet, we reduce our energy intake, and this forces the body to use its natural reserves: accumulated fats. It is this process that leads to weight loss.
- A low-carb diet helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL), and to increase good cholesterol levels (HDL).
- Another advantage of eating low carb foods is that your protein and fiber intake will increase. Protein and fiber will help you to feel full faster and this reduces the possibility of overeating. Digesting protein also takes longer, this lengthens how long you stay satiated and reduces cravings.
- The low-carb diet is an effective non-invasive way to treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
There are many other benefits that you can gain from eating a low-carb diet in Nigeria.
Tips for eating a low-carb diet in Nigeria
Do some research
The first step to successfully going on a low-carb diet Is to know what foods are actually low-carb foods. Do some research and write down a list of all the low carb foods you can easily acquire in Nigeria.
Create a meal plan
Make a plan of what meals you can prepare while on a low-carb diet. All the meals you list should be things you enjoy eating. The meals should be affordable and should include things that you can acquire easily.
Cook for the week
If you are busy and will not be able to cook multiple low-carb meals every day, cook 2 or different meals in large quantities. Portion out these meals into containers and freeze them. By doing this, you can avoid buying fast meals or snacks that are high in carbohydrates. Take a meal out of the freezer, place it on the counter before you go to work and when you get back, all you have to do is warm the meal.
If you enjoy high-carb foods, make substitutions that are not as unhealthy. It is important to note that the substitutions will not taste like the high-carb food you crave but may reduce your cravings. An example is using riced cauliflower instead of rice and almond milk instead of regular milk.
What are some low-Nigerian foods?
Vegetables, chicken, beef and fish, egg, eba, and fufu made with coconut flour, nuts, seafood, okro, pepper soup, watermelon, avocados, and soups. You can make your soups low carb by adjusting the ingredients you use.
Are all carbs bad?
No! If you would like to continue eating carbs, we recommend that you read about good carbs and eat these in moderation.
In conclusion, if you are about to start a low-carb diet, start slowly, do not go to extremes and consult your physician before you begin.