Blog Archive: Healthy Living

5 Healthy Alternatives to White Rice

Healthy Alternatives to White Rice

White rice, White rice, White rice! I love me some white rice! My rice of choice is currently Jasmine rice. I can eat Jasmine rice and stew all day every day for a month! I know there are many of you like me out there. This post is for us! lol! The issue with white rice is that it is predominantly carbohydrate, and unless you are trying to bulk up, it is not the best thing to have as the main component of your meal.

Something interesting to keep in mind though if you would like to quit eating white rice but still struggling; because white rice is a refined grain, manufacturers nowadays enrich white rice with vitamins and minerals. Be careful to read the instructions on the bag/box of rice you buy. You might notice that it says fortified with vitamins and to not wash the rice before cooking. For most Nigerians, I know this might be hard to do since we were brought up ensuring that we wash rice before cooking. A viewer rightly noticed on our Jollof Rice video that the rice was not washed, and I pointed out that it was intentional for the aforementioned reason.

Below, we discuss 5 healthy alternatives to white rice.

Brown Rice

This is probably the most obvious choice. Brown rice is really just white rice that has the bran and germ layers intact. Again, be careful, just because the packaging says it’s brown rice, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Check the packaging! White rice and brown rice have about the same amount of calories and carbs. The difference is that brown rice has a lot more nutrients, and is therefore, a more balanced meal. If you live in the United States, it is mandatory for manufacturers to put the nutrition facts on the box, and this is true for a lot of other countries as well. I discuss how to read nutrition labels here. Ensure that the fiber content is at least 8%. You will notice a lot of brands that have 4% fiber which is the same as most white rice brands.

Now, I can’t eat brown rice and stew. As I mentioned I’ve tried, and failed, lol. The best way I have found to eat brown rice, is in fried rice. Check out this recipe.

Brown Rice Fried Rice in Wok

Brown Rice Fried Rice in Wok

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Nigerian Foods for Diabetics – A personal story

My mum, grandma and I

As I mentioned in the about page, my grandma was very influential in my learning to cook, and as we both got older, I prepared a lot of her meals. As I grew older (older being still under 12), I learnt that she was diabetic. I don’t know that I completely understood what being diabetic meant in those early years, but I knew it meant that ‘mama’ ate differently from us. I learnt that she was to avoid sugar, and purely starchy foods. Really, a lot of things were forbidden for her. White rice, which is such a common staple in Nigerian homes was a no no. Eba/Garri was also forbidden. However, I know there are times she got tired of her regular diet and ate some of the ‘forbidden meals’ when she really really wanted some. I was often party to helping fulfill these cravings. 🙂 For example, my parents would come home to find that we had made chin chin during the day, which is just pure white flour and sugar and butter; all the things she should be avoiding! :O

I am no healthcare professional of course, and I advise consulting a doctor and a dietitian if diagnosed. Below, I discuss some of the meals which are considered good for diabetics which she ate. This list is by no means all encompassing.

Mama regularly had this for dinner. We usually bought the plantain flour amala which is healthier than the yam flour version. The year after high school where I was home, before I went to university, I made amala almost every day. I became so professional at it. I remember the first time we made it together, several years earlier, one of those days where it was just the two of us at home. I made such a mish mash of it, it was super lumpy and not at all well made, but she ate it all the same. 🙂

Ewedu is common to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is known in English as Jute leaves. It is prepared by cooking the leaves with potash and then, traditionally, “bashing” it with a specially reserved broom.

Amala & Ewedu

Amala & Ewedu
Photo Credit:

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Selecting and storing fresh vegetables & fruits

It might seem very logical that food tastes best when it is freshly cooked. What is not always logical, is the best way to ensure that the ingredients which go into making that delicious meal are fresh.

The rotting squishy tomatoes…the bell pepper that has lost its crunch…the squishy cucumber…these are never good signs. Read More

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!
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My experience with the GM Diet

Me? Diet? Never. In my head, dieting means depriving myself of certain foods or limiting your food or changing what you eat for extended periods of time. I could never be convinced to try any type of diet. I eat what I want and I do play a lot of soccer which invariably helps me maintain my weight.

Unfortunately for me, I also like a challenge. Late 2014, my co-worker challenged me to the GM diet which she has been on a couple of times. She has seen me eat, knows how much I love my food and was convinced that I couldn’t do the diet. Fortunately though, you see, unlike most diets, this only lasts for a week. So, I put on my ‘troll’ challenge accepted face! Read More

Get the guide to Calories in the Top 10 Nigerian Foods