10 best Nigerian foods for weight loss -1

Are you in Nigeria and want to lose weight? Are you tired of hearing the names of food you can’t find?

Well, your search is over. The foods listed below are foods people have used successfully for sustained weight loss and good health. They are cheap, natural and easily accessed. Go through the list and add them to your weekend shopping list. Start enjoying them for safe and sustained weight loss, heart health and over all good health.

Legumes

They are high in protein and fiber and do not contain fat, good or bad.  The fiber gets you satiated fast and gets you filled for a longer time. This decreases your appetite. The fiber also gets your bowel movement in order. This could help you get a flatter stomach. The protein is another plus. It helps you get a more toned body. There are lots of legumes out there, so you can choose any of them and use to prepare what you want.

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moi-moi with vegetable stir fry

You can use Bambara to prepare Okpa and black eyed beans to prepare moi moi. The black beans can be eaten with vegetables and fish of your choice. If beans make you gassy soak it in water overnight or 4 -8 hours. Rinse it out and use.  You can also remove the unwanted particles in the beans and put inside boiling water for 30 seconds. Sieve and cook the way you want

Fish

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Fish with vegetables and oil bean seed
Fish and other sea food like crayfish and sardine contain Omega 3 oils, protein and iodine. The protein and healthy oil makes it one of the handy foods for weight loss and good nutrition. Eat your fish with slightly steamed and seasoned vegetable. It can also be grilled and eaten with yogurt or green tea.

Potato

Sweet potato is very weight loss friendly, if you can observe portion control when eating it. It is sweet. When you eat sweet potato, the first thing you will notice is that it makes you drink a lot of water. This is because of the high fiber content. This makes it very filling. It sits in the stomach for a longer time and stops craving. The fiber is also good for constipation. Regular stooling makes for a flatter abs. Potato also contains potassium that helps in regulating your blood pressure

Pumpkin

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Every part of the pumpkin is good for weight loss. Pumpkin seed and pumpkin leaf are all beneficial for good health and weight loss. Pumpkin seed not only contains fiber and antioxidants which we all need, they are also very good for men’s prostate health.

Pumpkin seed can be roasted and stored in jars to be used as snacks or they can be ground and sprinkled on your food. Fiber in pumpkin keeps your digestive system moving freely, herein eliminating belly bloat and fat

Eggs

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A medium size egg contains 6 -8 grams of protein

Eggs are rich in protein. One hard-boiled egg has 6-8 grams of protein. This is very good if you are watching your weight. The protein content helps you feel satiated and helps in retaining and muscle growth to give you a toned look. It also contains healthy fat.

Eating egg in the morning will help you feel full. You can also keep one in your bag as snack. Have an egg and tomato sauce with boiled sweet potato for breakfast instead of bread and tea.

Crucciferous vegetable like broccoli and cabbage

Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are rich in fiber. They can keep you satiated for a long time. When you are satiated you do not keep eating.It prevents constipation and bloating which helps you on your way to a flatter tummy.

Add cabbage to half of your plate when eating rice.

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Rice with vegetable stirfry and cabbage

It will reduce the quantity of rice  and calorie in your food. If cabbage makes you gassy or gives you a bad breath, then cut it and pour hot water on eat, let stand for 30 seconds. Sieve and allow it to cool before eating. Broccoli is also a cancer fighting food.

Oats

¼ cup of oats has about 17% of fiber. Again, for weight loss great news. It fills you up fast and makes bowel movement regular. This is good for flatter tummy because it eliminates constipation and bloating. It also forms a gel in the stomach that binds to fat and helps in expelling them from your body. Oats contain a type of fiber known as beta glucan. They are especially good in preventing and controlling high cholesterol. Oats is also good for the heart.

Avocado pear

This fruit have been pushed aside by people who believe that it contains cholesterol. Avocado pear contains fat but it is the type that your body needs. It contains monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which is very good and protective of your heart health. You can eat Avocado alone as a snack or you use it in your salad. Some people mash their pear and use it as a bread spread. For it to still aid in weight loss, you have to take into consideration the type of bread you are eating and the quantity. If it is white bread with loads of sugar, you are adding unwanted calories to an otherwise healthy food. If it is cracker biscuits with loads of salt, that might not be good for your heart. Find something healthy and use it as a spread.

Fruits

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Watermelon,apple and pineapple

Try to eat fruits in season as much as possible. Fruits in season do not need to be sprayed with preservative and it is cheap. When Mango is in season eat it. Most Nigerian homes have one fruit tree or the other growing in their garden. If it is not garden eggs, it is orange. Plant your favorite fruit in your home. I have Avocado pear, paw – paw and oranges in my home. Do not just beautify your home with flowers, invest in fruits. It beautifies your home and supplies your body with vitamin, water and fiber.  It is good for weight loss and digestion. There are some fruits that are high on the glycemic index like pineapple, oranges, water melon and Banana. Eat them sparingly if you want to lose weight. Apples contain leptin that makes you feel full for a longer time. Do not juice your fruit, instead make a fruit smoothie to get the fiber.

Yogurt with live active bacteria

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Yogurt with banana and weetabix

All yogurts are not created equal. Some so called yogurts contain corn starch, sour cream and sugar. Look at the container and read the labels, make sure it says live active culture. If it has live active culture it means it has probiotic which will not only help you maintain good stomach flora, it will help your digestion and replenish your body with good bacteria. In Nigeria, look for Farm Fresh yogurt. Personally, I go for the vanilla flavor.

Nuts

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Walnut, almonds and groundnuts
 All nuts are good for you. They contain Monounsaturated fat, fiber, protein and other nutrients. You can add them to your yogurt or eat as snack.

Unripe plantain

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Unripe plantain

Unripe plantain is good for weight loss. It can be boiled and eaten or roasted and used as snacks. You can boil and mash or grind and use in place of wheat. It is light and satisfying. Make unripe plantain flour and use in place of wheat. To make unripe plantain flour, remove the back, cut them into pieces and dry. Grind and store in a container. You can make the porridge with roasted fish or meat.

Unripe plantain is lower in carbs than its ripe sister. It also contains fiber, vitamins and mineral.

Oil bean seed (Ukpaka)

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Oil bean seed with garden eggs, onion and veggies

It contains calcium, protein and amino acids etc. These are very beneficial for weight loss. People who exercise need calcium to maintain bone health. Protein is good for repairing, maintaining and muscle growth. This makes it one of the go to foods for weight loss in Nigeria. It can be eaten with vegetable and fish, with yam porridge or added to tomato sauce for potato and yam.

Garden eggs

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White and green garden eggs

Garden eggs or Anara is not only low in calorie, it is rich in fiber. If your goal is to lose weight, this is good news. Garden egg is not seasonal, it is available throughout the year and you can pick whichever you want from. From the very bitter small ones, to the green and big light green with the watery taste. Whichever one you use, you get the same benefit. It makes your bowel movement regular because of the fiber and helps you feel satiated faster and for a longer time. You can eat alone as snacks or with peanut butter. You can keep them in your bag and use as snack in the office.

Cucumber

Cucumber is still cool for weight loss. It is more than 90% water. This helps keep you hydrated. It is very low in calorie and contains fiber. Add cucumber to your salad or you can eat it alone as snack. Make it more nutritious and satisfying by taking with mixed nut butter or groundnut to add protein and good fat.

Okra

Okra has a lot of health benefits and contains important nutrients. Okra contains Vitamin c, fiber, potassium, calcium, Vitamin B etc. The fiber in Okra helps you fell full for a longer time and helps the body in expelling fat. You can use Okra in your vegetable soup. In Eastern Nigeria, it is commonly used in Ogbono soup (African mango) with lots of vegetable, fish and meat. This is a mega dose of health and weight loss in a plate. You can eat it alone at night or with wheat, garri or plantain flour in the afternoon.

Ogbono (African mango)

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Ogbono

Ogbono also known as African Mango contains protein, healthy carbs, protein,calcium, iron and healthy fatty acids. They are good when eaten as part of your soup. It is slimy when added to water and aids in digestion. It is used for vegetable soup as it helps in binding the leaves together.

If you have heard of the African mango made popular by Oprah Winfrey, then you must know it is Ogbono. If you do not know you may be confused and buy the packaged supplement.

Date palm

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Dried date palm

In Nigeria we see date palms wrapped in individual plastics and sold from a barrow by mostly northerners. It is an energy dense food that is low in fat but contains natural sugar and fiber. It can be ground and used as a sugar substitute. You can chew it as snacks or use it in unsweetened yogurt, oats or pap. It offers lots of nutrients and has no cholesterol. It contains fiber which fills up your tummy fast and helps in weight loss. The sweetness satisfies your sweet tooth without the unwanted negative side effects. Now you know the benefits next time you see them grab 5 packs for your use and make sure to wash thoroughly before you eat. Wash and dry it in your oven or in the sun and store in a glass jar.  You will fight with the kids for this.

Nut and seed butter

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Apple with almond and groundnut butter
Nut and seed butter is a combination of one nut butter like groundnut or a mixture of different nuts and seeds. You can use pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds with cashew or groundnut etc. The nuts and seeds are available in the market and some shops.  You can buy and mix them to your taste. Put them inside a food processor or grinder. Process till you get a smooth and creamy mixture. You can lick it as you battle hunger. It is highly nutritious. It contains monounsaturated fat, protein and fiber which makes it smooth and delicious for weight loss. Nut butter can be added to your fruit smoothie, you can spread on wheat bread or use for your apple or cucumber. They are delicious with apple.

Different combinations include

Roasted walnut + roasted ground nut and 20 pieces of roasted almonds.

Pumpkin seed + Almond+ cashew nut

Flax seed+ walnut+groundnut

Mix together in a food processor or grinder and store in a mason jar or any empty washed bottle. Do not use a plastic container because the oil might absorb chemical from the plastic container. Use for your bread, apple or cucumber

You can mix and match other nuts till you get the desired taste. Do not add sugar.  I add a pinch of salt or 2 to my nut butter.

Always keep in mind that all these foods aid in weight loss. They do not have magical powers alone to aid in weight loss. For you to lose weight you must substitute your unhealthy meals with these foods listed above. Then you must exercise. They will help you lose weight when properly combined into breakfast, lunch and dinner and snack meals in addition to exercising.

All you need for weight loss is around you, in the nearest market. There is something all these foods have in common

  • They aid in weight loss
  • They are good for your heart health
  • They are good for your general health

Start eating them today and enjoy weight loss and good health naturally.

Author: Nkeoma DND Agu

Nkeoma DND Agu is a certified personal, group, and corporate fitness trainer. She is also a certified fitness and nutrition coach. She has been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years. She holds certification with one of the highest certifying bodies in fitness and wellness in USA, National Exercise and Strength Training Association (NESTA) She is the Director of Bellisima Fitness And Health Studio Ltd. She helps individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria and all over the world to achieve personal and company fitness and health goals.

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