It has been said a million times that the Nigerian diet leans very heavily towards carbohydrates, even as the world moves away and eats less. While I am an advocate for not banning carbohydrates completely from our diets, I do have to agree that we need to #lesshandsmall and reduce the quantity we eat.
This post has a lot of Instagram pictures from several Nigerian Food Bloggers. Feel free to click the “Follow” button on any of the pictures below. You will find it on the top right hand side of the photo. Seriously, you need to follow for inspiration!
Best thing about vegetables, they are literally everywhere. If you live on the mainland, chances are that you’ve got these barrows coming through your street pretty frequently. On the Island, I find them parked at strategic street corners. While they don’t offer Ugu or ‘Green”, I find that they are quite loaded with veggies. You can make a pretty decent salad from most of the items on a barrow.
1. Be adventurous with the way you present food.
People eat with their eyes first, it is said. The presentation of food is as important as the taste. There is plenty inspiration on the web, like 9jafoodie’s Moi-Moi Roll Up. You get some vegetable with almost every bite and it is beautiful to behold.
2. Put it in pretty much everything you can get away with.
Growing up, my Auntie Julie would never cook a pot of tomato stew that didn’t have greens in it. None of your fancy green pepper and carrots for her, she by far preferred to have nchuanwu/effirin (scent leaves) in her stew. I think Ugu went in as well sometimes. Most importantly, she would never overcook her vegetables so that they not only retained flavor, but also held on to most of their nutrients. The less cooked your vegetables are, the more nutrients you get.
Funke Koleosho puts some spinach in her omelette.
A photo posted by Funke Koleosho (@tasteofnigeria) on
Oladunni of Dooney’s Kitchen actually came up with something called Ebbage which is part Spinach, small part Garri and part….you guessed it…cabbage! She has inspired many variations, though, with all sorts of vegetables used. #mindblown.
3. If you have a picky eater, involve him/her in the shopping and cooking process. Most importantly, be patient and don’t give up!
You can also pick up tips here.
4. Pair with your favorite proteins.
I posted my lunch a few months ago. I had a salad and a few boiled eggs for lunch. And yes, this was an actual meal for me. And quite satisfying.
What are you having for lunch today? This is a favorite eat-at-my-desk lunch for me. #naturalnigerian #healthyeating #salad #veggies #vegetables A photo posted by Natural Nigerian (@natural.nigerian) on
Another example of a workplace lunch is seen below. In this case, ocho_ng chose snails as his protein.
So, I had to take up @natural.nigerian’s challenge. #Archachatina_marginata #WestAfricanGiantSnails #NoEscargo #Wolata A photo posted by @ocho_ng on
Here is Dooney’s Kitchen again with this beautiful Moi-Moi Salad with egg.
Nothing stops you from making a ponmo or shaki (tripe) salad. Heck, get some Isiewu in there and put mix it in with a substantial serving of vegetables.
5. Blend it, baby!
Seriously, the number of vegetables that can be thrown in a blender with fruits is ridiculous. Green, a bit of Nchuanwu, Garden Egg, Garden egg leaves, Cabbage, Cucumber, Carrots, the list is much much longer.
Remember my Brveille Blendactive from this post? You can start with a smoothie maker that smaller or take it all the way to a Vitamix.
That’s it folks. Please share how you have been able to put more veggies in your meals and don’t forget to follow all these amazing bloggers.