“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Food is very important to the survival and development of all humans which is why a healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition.

A healthy diet consists of the seven major classes of nutrients which are:

  • Carbohydrates.
  • Fats.
  • Dietary Fiber.
  • Minerals.
  • Proteins.
  • Vitamins.
  • Water.

A healthy recipe must therefore have a combination of the above classes of food.

We have food research institutes in Nigeria like The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) who provides professional support to Members and the Food Industry, advances and promotes Food Science and Technology in Nigeria to ensure food Sufficiency and Good Nutrition for the Masses. Activities of this Institute include; Consultancy, Symposia, Seminar, Training Workshops, Lecture Series and Career Talks organized either solely or in partnership with other Government Agencies, Research Institutes or Professional Bodies.

Cooking and eating healthy recipes is good for everyone's overall health.  Making smart food choices would help you manage your weight and lower your risk for certain diseases in the long run.

Below are some of the various reasons people cook or are learning how to start cook:

  • As a profession - to become a chef
  • Due to a particular health condition
  • The person is a vegetarian or a vegan
  • To try new recipes and be creative
  • To entertain or impress family members or friends
  • To win a cooking competition
  • Healthy eating
  • To enjoy a balanced diet
  • As a hobby
  • A form of relaxation
  • To satisfy cravings

As you continue reading, you will learn and understand the benefits of cooking healthy recipes and how it will affect your overall well being.

“Healthy does NOT mean starving yourself EVER. Healthy means eating the right food in the right amount”. – Karen  

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You Can Control Your Calorie Intake By Cooking

“If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.” – Errick McAdams

You have more control of the ingredients when you prepare your own meals. People who cook their own meals tend to consume fewer carbohydrates, sugar and fat than does who cook less or not at all. Controlling what you eat can make a whole lot of difference in your adherence to a calorie deficit, and hence weight loss or calorie surplus and hence weight gain.

Learning how to cook enables you to eat healthily according to your taste bud.

You can take cookery classes on Superprof from any state in Nigeria.

healthy Nigerian recipes
You can monitor your weight and waistline by controlling your calorie intake. Source: Freepik

Take a look at some ways you can cut down calories and still eat some of your favourite foods healthily:

  • Eat more vegetables with carbohydrates for e.g eat 80% of vegetables with 20% of rice or yam or the likes
  • Avoid sugary drinks and instead drink water. Low fat, unsweetened milk is also a good way to stay hydrated
  • Replace white flour with almond flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour,  quinoa flour
  • You can replace that unhealthy snack to begin to make your own healthy Nigerian snack recipe like Kuli Kuli, dankwa, roasted or boiled corn
  • Cook with more spices like curry, cumin, paprika, ginger, garlic coriander, thyme, parsley and fewer salts and MSG food additives.
  •  Steam your vegetables or cook them with fewer oils or without oil at all.
  • Form the habit of using measuring spoons while cooking your healthy Nigerian recipes or any recipe for that matter
  • Use less oil and cream while cooking a healthy dinner recipe
  • Cut down on saturated fat like sausages, butter, hard cheese, cream etc and replace it with unsaturated fats like vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.
  • Start using smaller plates to eat
  • Always have your healthy meals readily available in the fridge
  • Use whole grain flour for your healthy baking at home
  • Replace your chocolate cravings with 70% - 100% cocoa based dark chocolate
  • Do not store your house with junk foods instead bulk up with vegetables and fruits
  • Eat more fish, white meat and when you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.
  • Replace your normal sugar with honey, coconut sugar and stevia (stevia is the healthiest option as it contains 0% calories)

Knowing how to cook your healthy Nigerian recipes or intercontinental dishes is a nutritional bonus to your body without cutting down on any of your favourites. Your favourite recipes can be adapted easily to provide a healthier alternative.

Remember, Calories aren't bad for you. Our body needs calories for energy. However, eating too many calories and not adequately burning them off can lead to weight gain.

Cooking Can Help You To Know More About Food's Nutritional Value

People are daily becoming passionate about the food they eat and where it comes from. Knowing about the food you eat will go a long way to helping you form a healthy eating habit. Buying packaged and processed food means that you are buying a bunch of ‘extras’ that you may really not want to be consuming especially if you have a health condition, a fitness goal or simply want to live a healthy lifestyle.

There is a lot of research, studies and publications out there that will tell give you information about nutritious food from the bad ones.

Benefits of cooking healthy Nigerian meals
Onions not only improves the taste of your cooking but contains vitamins, antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels. Source: Unsplash

Smart nutrition and food choices can help prevent disease and help you cope more with an ongoing illness. Paying attention to what you eat can help you maintain or improve your overall health.

Miracle Food For Your Healthy Nigerian And Intercontinental Recipes

  • Spinach: They are a good source of vitamins A, C and K-as well as some fibre, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. It can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of diabetes, keep your brain young and help fight off cancer.
  • Garlic:  It contains vitamins B and C, manganese, selenium, iron, copper and potassium. lIt helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol,  has an anti-inflammatory effect, reduces the risk of cancer, and boosts a stronger immune system.
  • Nuts: Like almonds, walnuts, groundnuts - they are a good source of animal proteins that contain monosaturated fats which help to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
  • Yoghurt: A good source of calcium and protein which that contains live cultures called probiotics. The good bacteria used in the cultures can protect your body from harmful bacterias. It can be added to your smoothies, used to marinate your chicken, turkey etc.
  • Tomatoes: A very good source of vitamin c and lycopene which aids good skin and also helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Bell peppers: They come in several colours like red, yellow, orange and green. They are a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C and A. It also contains a healthy dose of fibre, folate, and iron.
  • Shrimp: It is low in fat and calories but high in protein and contains other nutrients like selenium and vitamin B12. It improves bone and brain health and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Oats: It is a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. They help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Ginger: It is loaded with antioxidants to help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs. It is widely used as a spice and very good for nausea especially morning sickness.
  • Other miracle foods like Fish, eggs, cheese etc can be read up here.

The list of healthy food can go on and on. Cooking with these foods and consciously adding them to your recipes will help you eat healthily.

Adding these foods and knowing how to pair them to your recipe can allow you to impress your family members, friends, clients and even the opposite sex (especially when preparing a healthy dinner recipe)

Cooking Helps You To Avoid Bad Food Habits

We all know that bad food habits can be attributed to eating junk foods and eating foods that more oily, fatty and carbohydrates food in an unbalanced way. Constantly eating junk food is one of the leading cause of obesity everywhere in the world.

cook and bake healthy Nigerian receipes
Eating junk food regularly leads to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Source: Freepix

Here are a few facts you need to know about junk foods

  • Junk foods are low in nutrients and high in bad cholesterol, calories and sugars
  • They contain synthetic substances which are harmful to the body
  • They are highly processed and by being processed they lose the natural nutrients which are essential in food
  • They contain preservatives to increase their shelf life which is bad for you
  • They are usually very high in calories

National Complementary and Alternative Medical Association (NACAMA) believes that food is the best preventive medicine. It is said that junk foods are harming the health of many Nigerians. This is the reason healthy meal choices and recipes should be replaced with junk foods that are always readily available.

A burger is usually classified as junk food but you can make yours healthy by choosing healthier alternatives as your ingredients. Superprof  NG Writer - Oyin

Cooking As A Hobby

Cooking by yourself is an opportunity to experiment, relax and spoil yourself. Cooking is a great way to explore other cultures. Many Nigerian recipes fall under different cultures. There are 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria and each one has different foods peculiar to them. Cooking can help you experiment with different ethnic recipes in your own healthy version.

Learn how to cook in Lagos, Abuja, Nigeria
You can organize a little get together with your family and friends to showcase your love for cooking. Source: Unsplash

''Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything. – Julia Child''

Food brings people together. Cooking can lead to more opportunities to entertain if you enjoy entertaining people.

Cooking is also so versatile that you can listen, dance, and relax to your favourite music while you prepare that healthy dinner.

Learning the basis of cooking has become a relaxing and fun activity that both men and women now cook after work and even children look forward to trying some new recipes they learnt or saw online after coming back from school.

A lot of people have transited from cooking for fun to now cooking to earn a living. You can check Instagram to see so many Nigerians who are daily cashing out from their food businesses. Some people are so into cooking that they go to school locally and international to become a professional chef. As they say, choose a career path you love and passionate about.

If you're wondering how to learn and cook healthy Nigerian recipes, there are many videos online where you can learn for free.

Click the below to read up more on cooking:

Cooking The Perfect Recipe For Date Night

How Learning To Cook Can Help You Save Money

Discover The Benefits Of Home-Cooked Meal

 

 

 

 

 

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Oyin