Who doesn’t enjoy a good meal after a long day?
For most Nigerians, dinner-time is when there’s a tendency to recharge with some ‘heavy’ food (large in quantity and calorie-packed), but fueling your body with a high-carb meal, especially for dinner, is never a good idea.
The reason is pretty simple — because evenings are when our body begins to slow down and we carry out less activities compared to the day time, it’s hard to burn off all those calories before bedtime, or give your system enough time for digestion to take place, and this has its consequences – immediate and long-term — some of which includes poor digestion, an unhealthy weight gain and the increased risk of obesity, as well as poor sleep.
Carbohydrates is a huge part of the Nigerian diet, and while it is not advisable to completely cut out carbs from your diet, moderating your intake is advised (and possible).
If you’re wondering what food substitutes are available, Qilo has put together some delicious, low-in-carbs meal options that are readily available in Nigeria!
What is a Low-Carb Diet?
This sort of diet limits your intake of carbohydrates, which can be found in grains, in starchy vegetables, and in some fruits too, while focusing on food groups that are high in protein and other nutrients.
Low-Carb meals vary, and these restrictions can be on the type of carbohydrates that you consume or on the amount.
A low carb diet can be quite rewarding, as it helps with weight loss, with the reduction of appetite, in the control of blood sugar levels, and generally boosts your overall well-being.
Low-Carb Nigerian Meals for Dinner
- Okpa with Vegetables: Okpa, also known as Bambara Nut Pudding, is made from grounded dry Bambara nuts/beans, with palm oil, crayfish, some vegetables (if you like) and other seasonings. If you’re one who enjoys a filling meal, this is a great option that does not overload your system with calories. This Eastern Nigerian delicacy is also suitable for one who’s on a diet and trying to lose or maintain weight.
- Fish Peppersoup: For a dish that’s low in calories, pepper-soup is known for still being delicious, nutritious and quite spicy too. Made with protein broth, vegetables and rich spices, there are many ways to prepare this dish, and fish as a preferred form of protein is a great choice. If you’re thinking of adding some carbs to this meal, a few chunks of chopped boiled plantain can be included.
- Keto Native Jollof Rice: For people on Keto diets or looking to try a low-carb version of West African Jollof rice, this dish (known as local jollof, palm oil rice, or concoction rice) is made using cauliflower instead of regular rice, and it’s such a delicious delicacy! Just as regular Jollof is made, some vegetables (pepper, tomatoes etc), palm oil/olive oil, and spices are some of the other ingredients used, and in no time, you’d have a rich Jollof rice alternative that’s low in calories!
- Oatmeal Fufu Swallow and Okra: Carbs swallow is a big part of the food options for most Nigerians, but a wrap of your favourite swallow — Semovita, Amala, Pounded yam etc— for dinner can be detrimental to your overall health in the long run. Thankfully, there are healthy alternatives and Oatmeal Fufu Flour is at the top of that list! Easy to cook and higher in protein than any other grain, this swallow is packed with nutrients, and can be enjoyed with a low-calorie soup like Okra.
- Almond Moimoi: While most people might be unaware, beans contain a high amount of carbohydrates. If you’re looking to find an alternative to the traditional beans meal known as Moimoi, Almond flour makes a great substitute that’s low in carbs and keto-compliance. Simply blend and cook with the rest of your ingredients and you’d get something similar to the classic moimoi, and great-tasting too!
While it’s important to note that the body needs carbohydrates to function optimally — as this is the food group that provides energy — some forms of carbohydrates are known to require a longer time to digest, so cutting down on carb-dense meals will do you a lot of good.
Experts acknowledge the benefits of low-carb diets, so for the last meal of the day, it’s advisable to stick to light meal plans.
Knowing your options if you’re looking to reduce your carbs intake is the first place to begin, so choose wisely, and enjoy!