When it comes to Nigerian dishes,
there are a lot of great options to pick from!
Certain food might be more popular in particular regions, but most meals can be enjoyed in any part of the country, and make excellent dinner options.
However, this can easily become a problem; deciding what to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, especially if you’re trying to eat light or healthy.
When it comes to dinner, Nutritionists advise that it be kept light (fewer carbohydrates and sugar, more protein) and eaten as early as possible (between 5-6 pm), as this aids better sleep, quicker digestion, and boosts your metabolism.
So, what are the lightest Nigerian meal options?
5 Light Nigerian Food Ideas for Dinner
Here is Qilo’s list of 5 light (and easy to prepare) Nigerian food that is perfect for dinner!
1. Bulgur Rice
Bulgur rice might not be as popular as other kinds of rice in Nigeria, but it’s one of the healthiest. Made from wheat grain that has been parboiled, dried, and ground, Bulgur rice is rich in protein, has fewer calories, and can be used in making everyone’s favourite — Jollof rice! — and contains more fiber than regular rice. This light meal is also beneficial to the digestive system and helps in controlling blood sugar levels. Bulgur rice can be eaten with vegetable stew and makes a light, nutritious, and incredibly tasty dish.
2. Unripe Plantain
Plantain is a delicious meal any day, and in different ways; you can boil, roast, or fry it! But, if you’re trying to keep your dinner light and nutritious, unripe plantain makes a great choice. Unripe plantain is packed with vitamins and other nutrients, it’s high in antioxidants, it improves your digestive health and it’s great for weight loss. Unripe plantain can be made as porridge with vegetables and fish to make it even richer, and it’s going to leave you feeling very filled too.
Ofada rice is a popular food in Nigeria, especially in the Western part of the country. It is made from what is known as ‘local rice’ or unpolished rice, and it’s low in calories, aids digestion (because it’s high in fiber), and is healthier compared to white rice (containing over three times more vitamins than regular white rice!). If you’re looking for a dinner option that’s filling, you can enjoy a portion of Ofada rice and some ofada sauce made with locust beans — which is also a good source of fiber!
If you thought Pap was only for Saturday mornings, you thought wrong! Making this delicious food part of your dinner list is far from a bad idea if you’re trying to eat light. Also known as Akamu, Ogi, Koko, or Eko, Pap is a fermented cereal pudding made from maize, and it’s quite popular across Nigeria. Pap isn’t just light and easy for your system to digest; it’s also rich in nutrients (proteins, vitamins, and minerals) that are needed by the body and can even help you sleep better! While you can eat Pap with some Akara (bean cake) or Moi-Moi, you can also enjoy this food alone!
Not a big fan of regular salad? Might be time to try some African salad! Known by its native name Abacha, this delicacy is quite popular in Eastern Nigeria. Abacha is high in protein, fiber, and iron amongst other nutrients, smells (and tastes!) delicious, and it’s quite easy to prepare too. Abacha also helps the digestive system and can reduce the risk of obesity. As it’s also a good source of fiber, you can be sure that it’s a filling dinner option too!
For most people, the hardest part about eating light and healthy meals for dinner are figuring out their best options. For others, it’s finding a balance between eating light and actually feeling satisfied after dinner time.
After a long day, most Nigerians simply want to come home to enjoy what is often their first meal of the day, and the ‘heavier’ it is, the better — or so they think.
But remember, you can eat light healthy meals and still feel full after your meal. More importantly, this approach is much better for your body system, and would leave a positive benefit on your overall wellness over time!