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10 High-Calorie Nigerian Foods To Avoid & 10 Low-Calorie Alternatives

High-calorie Nigerian foods
| August 29, 2022

When it comes to food, you would find the most delicious dishes in Nigeria! 

But don’t dig in just yet – statistics from the Nigerian Protein Deficiency Report in 2020 show that Carbohydrates, the food group with the most calories per gram, are also the most consumed across Nigeria by about 91%! 

This isn’t surprising—most Nigerian meal options are high in carbohydrates/calories, but it’s still important to eat less high-calorie foods. 

That’s why Qilo has put together this list; 

If you’re on a weight-loss journey or simply keen on eating healthy, here are 10 high-calorie Nigerian foods to avoid/eat less frequently, and 10 low-calorie Nigerian foods as alternatives! 

10 High-Calorie Nigerian Foods 

1. White rice

As one of the most popular staple foods in Nigeria, most people have a hard time cutting out white rice from their diet, but it’s definitely a high-calorie food. A cup of ofada rice has over 500 calories, and this is excluding the sauce/stew that usually accompanies this food! 

2. White bread

Known to be highly refined and often containing a lot of added sugar (which spikes blood sugar levels), white bread is high in carbohydrates and calories (two slices of white bread contain an average of 300 calories!), making this food a major contributor to weight gain.

3. Yam

Yam is known to have a significant amount of carbohydrates in it — and the same goes for most people’s favorite; pounded yam. A tin cup of yam flour for example has about 400 calories – definitely a lot!

4. Semovita

Semovita and egusi soup

This swallow option is quite popular, but high in calories: 100g of Semovita contains about 360 calories, making this an incredibly heavy meal that should not be considered for dinner (which is a norm for most Nigerians). 

5. Instant Noodles

Noodles are a high-calorie meal with very few nutrients to offer. While they make a cheap and fast meal option, one ‘super pack’ of Noodles has well over 500 calories!

6. Starch

Fufu as a swallow option is quite popular across Nigeria, but it’s not the healthiest meal option if you’re watching what you consume. Fufu is heavy in carbohydrates and a 240g serving contains almost 400 calories. 

7. Garri

Whether eaten as Eba, or in its raw form with some groundnut, sugar, and milk, garri is definitely one high-in-calorie food to cut back on, as one cup can contain over 850 calories!

8. Potato Fries

Fries are definitely a no-no if you’re trying to cut out high-calorie food, as they’re starchy and packed with carbohydrates, with 117g of fries containing a minimum of 300 calories.

9. Beans

Whether as boiled beans, moimoi, or as Akara, beans might not be the highest source of calories on this list, but you still want to be careful with consumption, as a serving of about 300g of moimoi can contain over 400 calories.

10. Abacha

This food is most popular in Eastern Nigeria and can be quite filling and nutritious (a great source of fiber) but, it’s high in calories too, as a plate of Abacha can contain as many as 400 calories it!


10 Low-Calorie Nigerian Foods 

1. Ogi


Made from fermented Maize and a popular breakfast choice in most Nigerian homes, a cup of cooked Ogi contains about 125 calories, making it a healthy (and filling) food choice. 

2. Oatmeal

A cooked cup of Oatmeal has between 70 to a little over 100 calories, and this meal option isn’t just light and low in calories, it’s a great source of nutrients too!

3. Grilled/Baked fish

This food option is delicious, provides around 100 calories, makes a filling meal, and is definitely a healthy option to include in a low-carb diet.

4. Turkey breast

In 100g of roasted turkey breast, there are only about 135 calories – which is great! This is also a low-fat (and lean meat) food option that’s incredibly rich in protein.

5. Peppersoup

Peppersoup is one meal that’s great for weight loss, and it’s quite low in calories too (an average of about 150 calories in a plate). It’s also packed with natural herbs and spices which makes it incredibly rich in nutrients!

6. Okpa

When prepared correctly, Okpa can be a meal option that supports weight loss, and Bambara seeds used to prepare this Igbo delicacy are loaded with nutrients. A cup of Okpa contains about 200 calories in it.

7. Okra

Big fan of soups? Here’s one you can enjoy with no guilt! 100g of Okra contains only 30 calories, and it’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and plenty of nutrients!

8. Vegetable Omelette

This makes a delicious breakfast option that’s healthy, filling, and low in calories. A plate of one omelet egg cooked with vegetables contains a little over 100 calories (mostly from the egg). 

9. Cabbage swallow

With as low as 6g of carbohydrates per 100g of this swallow, this is a great swallow option to enjoy alongside a low-calorie soup, and as this swallow is made from a vegetable, it’s incredibly rich in nutrients!

10. Ofe Nsala soup

Ofe nsala

This delicacy is peculiar to the people of Eastern Nigeria, but can be enjoyed by all. It’s a low-calorie dish (about 100 calories) that’s also known as white soup, and is rich in protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids!

There’s no denying it — our body requires Carbohydrates as an energy-giving food, but as it’s also high-calorie, they should not be consumed in excess.

So, if finding low-calorie options has always been a struggle, you now have alternatives to consider! 

Making the right food choices definitely starts with knowledge as well as determination, and will end up impacting your health (and waistline!) positively in the long run.

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