Blog

So, the packaging says it’s healthy right?

Healthy packaging

So, as a typical Naija guy, I tend to eat what I want, when I want and how I like it and nobody should tell me otherwise. This was me tillll…enter Mrs Naija Chef.

This is not a health blog of course and I love sweet things too much to be the one dispensing healthy eating habits. However, we’ve all heard the saying…

You are what you eat!

Now, my approach is to at least be aware of what I am consuming so that I can consciously cut out the things that are terrible and reduce the things that I know are not so good. I also play soccer two to three times a week so that helps me stay in shape.

Nutrition facts

If you’ve never looked at the nutrition facts on the package before buying anything in the grocery store before, change that habit right NOW! Seriously, we all assume that companies will get sued for false advertising if they say the wrong thing on the packages right? Wrong. There’s a very fine line as to what counts as false advertising. That nutrition facts label is the only place food companies have to really tell you the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

The label below is the standard for products sold in the US. Pay close attention to the serving size; for example, the serving size in the label below is one cup (see the section below “Nutrition Facts”), which means that you get the nutrients in the label from one cup. Let’s say you go cook this whole pack of Mac and Cheese, and you add some bacon in there and make it taste real good! You’ve just consumes 36% of your recommended daily fat intake, plus whatever extra you got from those little delicious bits of bacon!

Image: Courtesy Wikipedia

Ingredients

The other thing I need you to pay close attention to, are the ingredients. Manufacturers are required to list the ingredients by the percentage, which means, the first item on that ingredient list is the main ingredient in the food you’re buying. This is especially useful for buying things like juices. You will see some products that have a bright orange on the label

Fats

Fats are in my “reduce it” category. Mrs Naija Chef is always telling me that once the fat molecules are in my body, they never leave, the size of each molecule just increases or decreases. That one is for her pocket! 🙂 I just make sure to maintain an active lifestyle to keep my weight in check. No, that does not mean I go to the gym every day.

Although the FDA requires companies to list the amount of trans fats in their products, they are allowed/required to list the trans fats content as 0g if the quantity per serving is 0.5g or less. So, if you see a product that has trans fats as 0g, it still likely contains some amounts of trans fats.

Trans fats definitely fall into my “terrible” category, especially manufactured trans fats!. I definitely try to avoid trans fats at all costs. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that are terrible because they both lower good cholesterol (HDL) and increase bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Trans fats taste good, and it’s present as partially hydrogenated oil in oils that are used in frying commercially. Hello McDonalds! 😉

Cholesterol

I’ve already mentioned that there are both good, and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol is mostly produced naturally in your body through exercise. The bad, is in all the delicious food, lol.
I see people avoiding cholesterol like it’s poison, but your body actually needs healthy levels of both HDL and LDL for vital body functions. Consider doing a yearly physical, which is fully covered under decent medical insurance plans, so you know what those numbers are!

Fiber

A lot of people have tried to switch to brown rice as it is generally healthier, but, be sure to look at the label. A lot of brown rice brands still only have 4% fiber which is the same fiber content in parboiled white rice. Be sure to buy brown rice that has a fiber content of at least 10% per serving. If you don’t like brown rice, try using it in fried rice. Check out my brown rice fried rice recipe.

I try to put mixed vegetables in a lot of my food (Fried Rice, Jollof Rice, Pasta, etc). It’s one of the easiest ways for me to get fiber. I’m on the struggle bus with fruits. It’s my whole thing about prepping being stress. I love grapes, because, I just cut a branch, rinse and I’m good to go. It’s about the only fruit I’m consistent with. Also, as a ritual, I eat a big bowl of cereal every Saturday morning. I mean, BIG! :D.
Most people recognize that fiber is good for digestion, but not many people know that fiber also helps regulate the amount of sugar and cholesterol in the body.
There are 2 types of fiber: Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol in the digestive system and removes it from the body helping to protect the blood vessels and heart from cholesterol. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your diet and ensures smooth movement of food through the digestive system.
Increase your fiber intake gradually, and be sure to drink lots of water.

Vitamins

If you are an adult, by now, you know that you NEED vitamins. I take multivitamin supplements every now and then, especially when I’m playing a lot of soccer, or going to the gym often, and during winter, if I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather . If you’re trying to choose between two products, or two foods, the product with more vitamins wins. Easy Peasy!

And now for the clincher! There’s a lot of debate about how we destroy all vitamins in food once we cook it. No doubt, fresh uncooked food is best in most cases, but as far as Vitamins go, heat doesn’t destroy them all, and there are other things that “destroy” Vitamins.

If you didn’t bother to read the whole post, at least see this gem of a website!

Comment with Facebook

One Comment

  1. Avatar cheap fifa 17 points 1 year ago

    I appreciate the content on your website. thnx!.

Leave a Reply

x
Get the guide to Calories in the Top 10 Nigerian Foods + new recipes every Wednesday!