Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 26 Weigh-in: Balanced Diet on a Budget

There are instances of economic recession all over the world right now, and Nigeria is not an exemption and if I am allowed to say this, we seemed to be at the core of it right now. I am writing as it relates to my environment and what I practice.

I noticed that healthy foods can be expensive in this side of the world except you are truly determined to do what is right. I will highlight food sources and what you can consume to get the daily requirements of such classes of food. I will dwell more on protein, fruits and complex carbs because that is where we have most challenges when it comes to being balanced around here.

Protein
Beans: Right now beans seem to elude the present recession as the price of beans is stable at N1200.00 ($3.00) for a paint rubber measure. It's a staple seed that can be diversified. You make your beans porridge, pudding and cakes out of this and you still have your fill from little. (3/4 cup cooked beans = 1 serving)



Eggs: A crate of eggs (30) range between N750.00 and N900.00 (less than $2) depending on the size and you can make do with a crate for a month using my food schedule as a study. I love big sized eggs because I am good with one at a time. Omelettes, fried, scrambled, poached whatever way you desire it, eggs are a great source of protein and affordable. (2 eggs = 1 serving)

 Fish: A kilogram measure of Sardine family costs around N700.00 (less than $2) and fresh water family of fish costs a bit higher since it is preferred because of the presumed low fat. These fishes are so nice compliments with our heavy carbs here, they are great additions to veggies and soups. One could get the needed allotment of protein in a day. (75g of fish = 1 serving)


Nuts: Here I am talking of peanuts, 1 litre sized glass bottle filled with peanuts could go for N450.00 ($1) and that is a healthy snack that is nice for the health. (1/4 cup = 1 serving).

Dairy
Cheese: Either the cow milk cheese (like cottage cheese) or the soy beans cheese (Tofu), they are available everywhere and could be as cheep as a N50.00 per piece. Moreover, tofu can be home made (I will share the recipe sometimes soon). (150g of tofu = 1 serving)

Milk: The price is growing higher but still affordable. I recently took to small sachets which is just a serving size as recommended by the manufacturers. They could come in powdery or liquid forms and like N50.00 per sachet. 

Beef, Chicken can really be on the high side and may not be available always but an occasional use is recommended to battle boredom. I get 15 medium cuts for N1,000.00 from a "customer", lol. I prefer live chickens and a big broiler chicken will sell for N1,800.00 (when there is no festival). Goat meat is also a healthy lean meat that is affordable for N800.00 for a part of the leg.



Fruits:
Watermelon: I am starting with this because I love it. Know a healthy watermelon (you can know this when the weight is more than the size, so you will need to carry and not point when buying from the farmer) . Best for smoothies, I mean nothing better than eating your water.

Oranges: Oranges that are lightweight signifies dryness; oranges that are too smooth and shiny may not be a sweet specie (we love them sweet here), oranges with discoloration by the side could signify rottenness inside. If you are in Nigeria, buy from an hausa man, they seem to always have good ones. I eat my oranges first thing before meals in the morning and I love the feeling through the day.

Pineapples: Except for a few species (those from Badagry), make sure pineapple is not greenish or else your teeth may be on edge after a bite. Good for smoothies and salads

Apples: "1 apple a day keeps the doctor away". One small goes for N50.00 and a big one goes for N100.00, I am stating the price because this fruit is imported. You don't get it at the farmer's market, you get them in stores.

Others: Bananas, Papaya (pawpaw), Guava, Mango
I am not posting prices because both fruits and vegetables are determined their season.


Vegetables:
I will mention, jute leaves (ewedu), Spinach, Carrots, Cabbage, Lettuce, Peas, Okra and so on

You can be on a budget with fruits and vegetables by taking advantage of the particular freggie in season. Freggies are always at the cheapest at some times of the year and you can make a variety of dishes from them at their peak, ranging from smoothies, salads, pies etc check 9jafoodie  and  allrecipes 


Complex Carbs:
Brown Rice (Ofada and other local rice), I need to be frank here that though they may not be as neat but they taste better and have more nutrients than the white washed imported rice. I still use foreign rice for my jollof and other continental dishes but when I am eating rice in all its glory of whiteness, then it is local rice all the way. (1/2 cup = 1 serving)

Grains: Grains are so affordable still (maize, millet, sorghum) in the market now and you can make porridge from it depending on your taste. I love my millet with lots of ginger and peppercorn. (3/4 cup = 1 serving)

Bread: Whole Wheat bread (N300.00) and could last for the whole week. Bread is my bane so bread eating for me only comes at the weekend with proper portioning. (1 slice of bread = 1 serving

Fats
Palm Oil is one of the healthiest around here for less, a 5 litre keg goes for N1900.00 now and that could sustain for a long time as you combine with a less-cholesterol oil like Canola, Coconut, Olive, Almond oils etc. Use fats and oil sparingly (no matter how healthy the label says). Check for recipes that uses less oil in cooking.


Water
Water is free but clean, clear water is not very free. No matter how costly this could be you will need at least 2 litres of water daily = 4 sachets of water in Nigeria (that is easier to calculate I think?).

Be determined to be healthy and you will find yourself doing it without stress. 

"...Why do you spend you money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest..." Is. 55:2

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I weighed in at 166.2lbs this week. That is some good news from 169lbs of the past week. TOM has a great way of messing with my weight loss goals. But I believe I will overcome someday soon.

Look out for me!

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