Q: What does one eat in order to keep fit?
A: In Africa, most of our foods are starchy. How does one find good, healthy and cheap foods that can help one keep eating healthy? Is rice and beans a good combination? What of beans and corn? How do I eat healthy without breaking the bank?
Try complementary vegetable proteins. Complementary proteins are proteins that lack one or more essential amino acids (building blocks of proteins) required to keep the body functioning properly. This includes most proteins of plant origin except soya beans. When these are paired together, they produce complete proteins.
Here are complementary protein groups with examples:
• Seeds – pumpkin (Egusi) seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
• Grains – oats, wheat, rice (brown/local), barley, corn (bread, pasta like whole wheat macaroni/spaghetti, dumplings, biscuits)
• Nuts – walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios
• Legumes – soy products, beans, peas, peanuts
What are the best combinations?
• Grains and legumes e.g. Rice and beans, corn and beans, peanut butter (groundnut paste) on wheat bread/biscuits, oats with some peanuts thrown in (I like that!). These are great combinations.
• Legumes and seeds e.g. peanuts and pumpkin seeds as a snack is another great combination
• Grains and seeds e.g. wheat meal/oatmeal paste with Egusi soup is a good combination.
Other protein sources are:
• Dairy: Low fat (eg Greek) yoghurt, low fat or skimmed milk, cheese. Some dairy and vegetable protein sources also make complete proteins. E.g. dairy and grains (cheese on wheat bread/biscuit is a great combination)
• Eggs: Make sure the egg is properly boiled to prevent Salmonella infection
• Canned tuna
More specifically, a lot of people have challenges figuring out what to have for breakfast. Eating healthy for breakfast does not have to break the bank.Most people think bread once they think breakfast. There are other ideas that help you switch things up and keep breakfast interesting.
• You can have fruits cut up into your cereal. Keep your cereal healthy and go for oats and muesli. Try to avoid all those sugar-coated or honey-filled cereals.
• A small wrap of moi-moi with some yoghurt (unsweetened). I know pap is a great accompaniment but the combination may very well send you to sleep when you’re trying to stay all sharp at work 😀 If you must, please go for a teensy weensy portion. And use skimmed milk.
• A boiled egg or poached egg with a slice of whole wheat bread is also a good idea.
• Fish sauce with a small/half finger (depending on size) of unripe plantain. Tiny portions only as it’s quite easy to have big portions with this
• You can also make a toast sandwich with leftovers from today. Put a slice of whole wheat bread on the sandwich toaster. If you have some left-over cooked chicken, or fish, chop them up and add some sliced tomatoes. Place in the sandwich toaster…and toast 😀 It’s juicily tasty!
• You can also have overnight oats. See recipe below:
Put some oats in a bowl, add some milk and unsweetened yoghurt. If you don’t have yoghurt, milk will do.
Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add some fruit slices (I like apple and banana slices), add a sprinkle of cinnamon and if you want a little bit more ‘sugar’, add a couple of raisins/currants/dried fruit. Remember that even the calories in fruits also count, so be sure to go easy on all ingredients.
Mix it all up…tastes fabulous!
• Or you can just add the oats directly to a bowl and add your milk etc…just like you would any bowl of corn flakes.
Eat a lot of beans (any and every type), non starchy veggies (garlic, onions, leeks, chives, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers etc) and fruits like apples, berries, peaches and pears.
Eat a lot of grains in their natural state like natural granola, brown or local rice and muesli cereal
Reduce your intake of concentrated sweets like fruit juices (no more than half a cup daily…if you must) and other sugar loaded or sweetened drinks.
Load up on healthy proteins like fish, skinless chicken and beans
Reduce your intake of refined grain products like white bread and polished rice.
Reduce your intake of bad fats by avoiding fast foods and limiting your intake of animal products. Focus on healthy oils like Olive oil and nuts like almonds etc. However, even these should be taken in moderation as even healthy oils are full of calories! 😀 It appears as if you just can’t win!
Be sure to take your breakfast and eat 3 meals with a snack or 2 (healthy options, of course)
Finally, remember to eat slowly to give enough time for your stomach tell your brain that you’re full…and then stop!
Have a great day 😀
Happy Easter 😀