This post is was first published on this site a long time ago, but it is soooooo applicable this holiday season. Enjoy:
Aren’t we lucky, we Africans? We are genetically blessed with muscles and curves in the right proportions. Yet, everyone, and I mean everyone, reaches a stage in life when genetics isn’t enough, you have to start watching what you consume or your curves will turn into mountains.
Unfortunately, many of us struggle to live more health-consciously because we believe in the myth that African food is unhealthy. Undeniably some African diets can be unwholesome, but before you switch over to a Western diet, read the tips below. There are ways to stay lose weight without bidding adieu to delicious and traditional African dishes.
Cut your portions – It’s really quite logical, if you eat like a pig, you will not loose weight. Your stomach is about the size of your fist; bear that in mind when you serve yourself food. Stick to one scoop of fufu, not two. Two pieces of meat will suffice, not four. Eat your yams and stew from the same plate not in two separate bowls filled to the brim. These simple steps will help you shed pounds.
Oil makes you fat – Many Africans are obsessed with deep-frying. We deep-fry our meat, plantains, and yams. Even our vegetables go for a dip in the oil before we consume them. The fact of the matter is that you will not stay trim if you eat oily food every day. Stick to the boiled or grilled versions as often as possible.
Define your snacks – It is unfortunate that we have come to think of meat pies, croissants and scotch eggs as snacks. Here’s the truth: a snack should not exceed 100 calories. A scotch egg contains 400 calories. There are many healthier snack options; some examples of nutritious African snacks are boiled eggs, corncobs, grilled nuts and fresh fruit.
Define breakfast – Never skip breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day. It should not be the biggest meal of the day though. To start the day full of energy, skip the fried yam and stew and start your day healthily with plenty of fruit, yoghurt and cereals. However, check the content of your cereals, some are packed with sugar.
Going to bed on a full stomach causes nightmares – OK, this might be an old wives’ tale, although some researchers support the myth. Perhaps what these women knew is that sleeping on a full stomach can cause insomnia, heartburn and a potbelly. A physical nightmare in other words! Eat no later than three hours before bedtime to allow your food to digest.
Soft drinks are full of sugar – Soft drinks are on a steady up rise and particularly in African countries. This is unfortunate as they are not only bad for the teeth and skin, but also for the waistline. If you must drink soft drinks choose the ‘diet’ options. Better yet, drink fresh juice or water.
Know your African food – Far from all African food is unhealthy, in fact, people have unintentionally lost weight simply by switching from a Western diet to an African one. The secret is to know the difference between your popular dishes. For example, beans and grilled fish are good for you, fried yam with dodo and assorted meat isn’t. Leafy stews like Efo Riro are healthy, whilst oily stews aren’t. Ofada rice (brown rice) is healthier than fried rice. Know your options.
Use the right side of your brain – Be creative when preparing your meals. For example, to make a chicken salad more exciting, garnish with a handful of yam cubes. Or boil plantains and serve with a vegetable omelette and a spicy pepper sauce. Spice your Ogi with vanilla, or cinnamon, for another version of a traditional African breakfast. There are endless variations to our traditional meals, be adventurous in the kitchen.
Love yourself – You can ignore everything else I’ve said but the above. It’s the only piece of absolute 24-carat-advice that will work and show results.
This is not about loving your extra pounds, although there’s no denying that curvy people can’t look incredibly sexy. After all, how many men don’t have a secret crush on Jill Scott?
However, the fact remains, being overweight simply isn’t healthy. Love yourself enough to want to stay healthy.
Writer – Minna Salami
Photo credit – Biscuitbone Blog
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