Are you saddled with thoughts on how to achieve a healthy, balanced weekly meal plan in Nigeria?
I understand that the physical and mental challenges of living in our present world, especially in Nigeria, can take away a lot of energy and strength from us, hence subjecting us to poor diet.
It can be cumbersome quite alright to fix a healthy balanced weekly meal in Nigeria but one key thing you must understand is that planning your meals can be easy if you use the food group system and that is, to include one food from each of the food groups per meal.
Conflicting messages abound here and there about eating healthy balanced meals in today’s world, but by the time you are done reading this post, you will be able to quickly put together balanced and healthy meals within short intervals.
Therefore, in this article , we will look at the following;
- What is a healthy, balanced meal?
- A healthy plate and the composition of a healthy plate
- A healthy, balanced weekly meal plan in Nigeria
- The benefits of eating a healthy, balanced meal
Sounds interesting? Relax and read on.
What is a healthy, balanced meal?
A healthy balanced meal, apart from being devoid of additives and preservatives, supplies essential nutrients to the body. Simply put, a healthy balanced meal contains different foods from different food groups in certain quantities and proportions and consists of carbs, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
A healthy plate and its composition
The Harvard School of Public Health created a dietary plan called Healthy Eating Plate that recommends daily serving sizes for each food group.
Fruits and vegetables make up half of your plate.
A healthy and balanced diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, but diversity is just as crucial as quantity because you cannot obtain all the nutrients you need for good health from just one fruit or vegetable.
Vegetables can be divided into two primary categories: starchy and non-starchy. Potatoes, cassava, corn, and beans are examples of starchy types, whereas peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and cucumber are examples of non-starchy types. The main difference between the two is how much starch, a type of carbohydrate, is present in each.
A meal high in fruits and vegetables has several health benefits like lowering blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases and stroke, protects against eye and digestive issues, lessen the risk of some types of cancer, and have a beneficial impact on blood sugar, which can help control appetite.
Whole grains—1/4 of your plate
All around the world, and indeed in Nigeria, households eat grains as a staple diet. Whole grains comprise three parts:
The bran: This is the nutrient-rich outer layer.
The germ: This is the nutrient-rich embryo of the seed.
The endosperm: This is the germ’s main source of starchy carbohydrates.
They often contain high levels of dietary fiber, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron. Eating whole grains has been associated with several health benefits like aiding digestion, lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, helping in weight control, regulating blood sugar, etc.
Healthy proteins—1/4 of your plate
Every cell in our body depends on healthy proteins for development and upkeep. It strengthens our bodies and feeds our cells, hence should be consumed on a daily basis. Proteins are grouped under macronutrients because our body needs them in large amounts to support life and gain muscle mass.
Although it can also be found in other sources like seafood, nuts and legumes, it is more frequently found in animal products.
It could be overwhelming when choosing the correct oil for regular cooking given the fact that there are so many options to choose from in our grocery stores. But however confusing it may seem, the best anyone can go for is plant-based oils.
Choose healthy natural oils like olive, canola, sunflower, avocado, sesame, peanut, cottonseed, coconut, etc., and avoid partially hydrogenated oils. Consume in moderation.
Most likely, you’ve heard that you should consume eight glasses of water each day. That is an achievable objective that is also simple to remember.
The majority of healthy individuals can maintain hydration by regularly consuming water and other liquids. Less than eight glasses per day may be sufficient for certain folks. Others, though, could require more.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the four to six-cup rule is for persons who are generally healthy. However, If you have certain medical conditions or if you’re taking medications that cause you to retain water and some antidepressants, you could consume too much water. Taking sufficient water is associated with several health benefits.
One of the most crucial things you can do for your health is to exercise regularly. Physical activity can strengthen your bones and muscles, help you maintain a healthy weight, increase your ability to carry out daily tasks, and improve your cognitive health.
The Healthy Eating Plate’s major takeaway is to emphasize diet quality which supplies vital nutrients for a healthy, balanced, and active life.
A healthy balanced weekly meal plan in Nigeria
Most people in Nigeria are constrained with time because they are faced with tight schedules, resulting in a lack of proper planning for meals. This makes it almost impossible for them to plan their meals, let alone a healthy, balanced one.
A healthy, balanced meal is achievable with Nigerian foods once you incorporate each class of food into the meal/menu. Below is a sample to serve as a guide:
Breakfast: A cup of fresh orange juice + a plate of boiled yam with garden egg sauce
Lunch: Plantain flour swallow with dryfish/stockfish cooked vegetable soup
Dinner: Almond nuts with a glass of fresh orange juice
Breakfast: Olive oil fried akara with pap
Lunch: A plate of porridge yam prepared with scent leaves, pumpkin leaves and dry fish
Dinner: A cup of fresh pineapple juice with peanuts
Breakfast: Boiled sweet potatoes with saute fresh tomatoes sauce
Lunch: Olive oil cooked jollof rice with cod fish + a cup of fresh orange juice
Dinner: A bowl of fruit salad
Breakfast: A plate of vegetable salad + a cup of fresh pineapple juice
Lunch: Amala with cod fish cooked bitterleaf soup(thickened with cocoyam)
Dinner: Garden egg with peanut butter
Breakfast: unripe plantain with vegetable sauce
Lunch: Palm oil-cooked porridge beans and yam
Dinner: A plate of cod fish peppersoup
Breakfast: Oat meal with any plant-based milk of choice + olive oil fried plantain
Lunch: A plate of boiled local rice with chicken cooked efo riro sauce
Dinner: A bowl of Fruit salad
Breakfast: Whole wheat bread with pure cocoa drink sweetened with pure honey
Lunch: a plate of rice and beans with an olive oil-cooked stew
Dinner: scented leaf and spinach-cooked yam porridge
Read also: Healthy Nigerian Meal Plan
The benefits of eating a healthy balanced meal
You are what you consume, as you are well aware. Thus, whatever you ingest into your body will definitely reflect in your wellness. Eating a healthy balanced diet cannot be over-emphasized because it shows in your health when you eat a poor diet and thrives when you eat healthy balanced meals. Some of the benefits of choosing natural foods over humanly modified foods are:
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight
- It boosts a robust immune system
- It reduces the chances of developing chronic diseases
- It provides energy to do work
- Ageing effects can be reduced
- It promotes longevity
- It reduces medical costs.
- Enhances your well-being and mental health
- It promotes proper functioning of the digestive system
- It makes the bones and muscles strong
In conclusion, trans fats, added salt, and sugar-containing meals, otherwise known as processed foods should be swapped out for more healthy nutrient-dense alternatives from all of the major food groups as part of healthy eating practices.
Some of the healthy eating practices include substituting water or herbal tea for fizzy beverages/drink. Ensuring that each meal includes some fresh produce, and selecting whole grains over refined carbohydrates. Eating entire fruits as opposed to juice. Reducing consumption of processed and red meats, which are heavy in salt and may raise the risk of heart diseases. Adding lean protein to one’s diet, which can be found in foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Was this article helpful? Please leave a comment for us in the comment section below.