Your physical health depends mainly on the quality of foods you ingest day in day out. This is why you must be sure always to eat only quality foods that offer the best of nutrients and vitamins to the body as you go about your daily activity. One of the most crucial meals that will help you achieve your daily tasks is your lunch. This fun article shows you some healthy Nigerian lunch ideas and recipes. But before we dive into that, what makes a lunch healthy?
What makes a Lunch Healthy?
It is very important to start the day with a nutritious breakfast, but it is equally important continue the day with a healthy lunch. A healthy lunch should be balanced nutritionally and tasty. A balanced lunch should include foods from at least 3 different classes of food. It is also vital to maintain portion control while eating your lunch.
However, do you find it difficult to come up with a comprehensive list of foods to eat for your lunch? Lets find out the healthy Nigerian lunch ideas.
Healthy Nigerian Lunch Ideas
In this list, you will find some of the healthy Nigerian lunch ideas to add to your diet plan. Let’s get started:
1. Rice and stew
Rice and stew are among the most common Nigerian food combos. The popular cereal crop contains essential nutrients, including Protein, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, making it an ideal food for lunch.
Rice, especially the brown variety, isn’t just delicious food but also a highly beneficial meal. To start with, multiple studies reveal that the carbohydrate content in rice can help fuel the body for increased energy, improve the metabolic activity of all the organs, and promote adequate functioning of the brain.
In addition to the above, rice contains a very low amount of sodium, which means that it won’t cause your veins and arteries to constrict nor put excess stress and strain on your cardiovascular system. When you eat low-sodium foods like rice, your chances of developing heart problems [such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, etc.] are very slim.
Aside from the aforementioned, some other top health benefits of rice include – Reduced inflammation, Lowered risk of cancer, low levels of the glycemic index, Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea, Reduced ‘bad’ HDL cholesterol levels. It may also be used for: Cooling off inflamed skin surfaces, Soothing of irritation and redness, to mention but a few.
2. Beans and Dodo
Beans and Dodo are packed with a lot of key nutrients that can help improve your overall wellbeing without clogging your body with excess calories and saturated fat.
Part of the vital nutrients found in Beans includes folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, fiber, among others. If your body is deficient of folate, you may begin to experience weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations, reduced appetite, irritability, etc. and it may even result in neural tube defects in a fetus during pregnancy. That’s why you need to consume folate-rich foods [such as beans] so as to help reduce your risk of developing the aforementioned health conditions.
Below are some other properties found in beans and their major benefits:
Antioxidants; combats free radicals that may trigger physical aging, cancer, and inflammation
Potassium; promotes fluid balance, improves heart health and prevents cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke
Fiber; lowers the level of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, regulates blood glucose, promotes weight loss, and aids digestion.
Iron; prevents anemia, reduces iron deficiency, boosts muscle activity, and improves brain function.
That being said, it is equally important to let you know that plantain too has a lot of benefits it offers the body as it contains important properties, including magnesium, potassium, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Plantain health benefits include but not limited to –increased libido, improved body weight, lowered number of free radicals, improved blood flow, lowered risk of artery diseases and stroke, lowered cholesterol levels, stronger muscles, and teeth, reduced risk of ulcer, among the host of others.
3. Jollof rice and chicken
Jollof Rice and chicken is a household food in Nigeria and other countries of the world, and the fortunate thing is that you can add this super delicious food to your meal plan. It contains a good amount of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and some other healthful nutrients.
Jollof rice is rich in carbohydrates, meaning that it may help boost your energy levels. It also has some potent properties that can help improve your mood and give your mental health a huge boost. Again, the onions, pepper, and tomatoes used in cooking this rice variety are associated with the improved immune system, reduced inflammation, as well as lowered risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chicken, on the other hand, contains essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins [A, B12, B6, E, K, niacin, and others], iron, potassium, etc. Some of the health benefits of chicken are summarized as follows – improved energy levels, increased bone strength, boosted the immune system, reduced risk of anemia, excellent brain function, lowered Blood Pressure, lowered risk of cholesterol, and subsequent heart disease development.
That being said, it is worthy to note that some studies revealed that excessive consumption of chicken or fish might trigger heart disease and some other critical health conditions, therefore be sure to consume both foods moderately.
4. Boiled potato and tomato egg stew
First off, potatoes contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates and protein with low amount of fats. It is linked with the following health benefits – Improved digestion, Increased energy levels, Reduced risk of internal disorders like constipation, healthier heart, reduced skin and face acne, improved body weight, reduced inflammation, lowered blood pressure, and improved cognitive activity. You can learn more about the health benefits of Irish potatoes.
Additionally, the properties in tomato and egg are found to be effective for – Combating prostate cancers, preventing lung cancer and heart disease, regulating cholesterol levels. You can read more about the health benefits of eating fresh tomatoes.
5. Amala & Ewedu
Ewedu and amala is a perfect combo which can be consumed for lunch. It is extremely tasty, and is also a light food with moderate calories.
Amala is very delicious, especially when combined with local stews like melon soup, and vegetable, okra, and the likes. It contains essential nutrients and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and dietary fibre.
6. Pounded yam with Egusi soup
Egusi and pounded yam is another healthy Nigerian lunch you can choose to eat. It should be eaten light and you should make sure you practice portion control.
On the plus side, pounded yam is a food you can easily prepare at the comfort of your zone. All you need do is to boil a moderate quantity of yam in a pot for a few minutes, pound it using mortar and pestle, and serve with your delicious Egusi stew!
7. Eba with Okra soup and meat/chicken
Eba is prepared by mixing garri with evenly-heated water. This swallow is very delicious, especially when combined with okra soup, gbegiri, or vegetable alongside meat, fish, or chicken.
Some of the health benefits of Eba include but not limited to – Improved satiety, reduced body weight, excellent digestive health, reduced risk of cancer, improved eyesight, lowered risk of birth defects, stronger immune system, etc.
OTHER HEALTHY NIGERIAN LUNCH IDEAS:
- Boiled macaroni with sauce
- Plantain with scrambled eggs, fruit or vegetable
- Semovita with Ugwu/Okro soup
- Beans and roasted plantain
- Boiled yam and Beans pottage.