When it comes to cooking, the ultimate truth is that we must one way or the other increase our calorie content. This is because the oils and other ingredients that we use especially in traditional Nigerian cooking actually increase the calories due to the presence of unsaturated fats in those oils and other ingredients. If you’re Nigerian or you do indeed live in Nigeria, you will find out that Nigerian cooking techniques most of the time require fats and oils which of course transfers the high-calorie content to the foods that are being prepared.
This method, of course, is a high-calorie cooking technique which isn’t best if you’re actually trying to lose weight. Low-calorie cooking techniques actually add value to your weight loss regimen. This is because the lower the calories with these specific cooking techniques you’ll employ, the better the total outcome as the goal here is to have as many nutrients and minerals as possible with the lowest of calories.
Therefore, let’s go into the techniques that produce the low calories that you need to be able to lose weight effectively in Nigeria:
1. Learn How to Cook without Oils.
Is cooking your favorite okro or ogbonno soup without oil possible? Many may disagree but yes it is!
These methods of cooking may not taste right to the palette of many due to the fact that we’ve always been used to how the palm oil must taste and if it does not taste right then we’re all in deep problems because of the palm oil taste that the soup must just have!
Adjusting to a non-oil diet is very possible not because you just only want to lose weight, but also it is very healthy for your heart as well.
2. Use Vegetables a bit more.
Yes, you may like meats which provide that rich scented flavor that we all love. However, those are the calories you want to to avoid!
In place of meats that are fatty in nature (some parts of cows and pork come to mind), use veggies. Overall, veggies allow for better health and greater immune response to disease! Remember when your mom always said to eat your veggies and you always refused? Now is the time to fall in love with them!!
3. Use Lean Meats.
Chicken and other forms of non–fatty white meats come to mind when considering using meats in low-calorie diets. Fish, of course, is an excellent alternative and still provide the required amino acids and such that are needed for the healthy functioning of the body. Also to remove the undesired unsaturated fats that may still exist within the meats just broil them! It also allows for the retention of the flavor!
4. Use a Non-Stick Pan.
Yes! Actually, non-stick pans are a very good way to cook low-calorie diets. This is because the spreading of oil on the non-stick pan actually has a lower calorie usage than those on even normal frying pans. To lower the calorie content of the oils even further, you could actually use low-calorie oils like soy oil, olive oil and palm olein instead of the normal groundnut oil or kuli-kuli oil which have much higher calorie contents. You could also try measuring the oils with a teaspoon or oil spray rather than with a cooking spoon as is the usual custom.
5. Instead of Deep Frying Try Roasting.
We all like our meats to be deep fried; especially during the “owambe” moments when we want to just enjoy life to the fullest.
Roasting meats also produce a similar if not better taste than deep frying and still allows the unsaturated fats to melts out of the meats as fats don’t do well at higher temperatures (they melt).
Roasting also allows you to be able to have another alternative way of preparing those foods that you just can’t do without (can you?) the stress of having higher calorie contents in our food. Note that in order to preserve the moisture, you can cover the meats with cooking foil or even use a little unsaturated fat oil (like soya or olive).
6. Control Portion Size.
One thing about cooking for low-calorie content is that portion size control of what you’re eating is one of the cardinal rules. If you can control the volume of what you eat, you can control the calories that you consume.
It couldn’t get any better. Portion size is one of the reasons that foodies often add weight. They cannot control what they eat. Control of portion size does help in the low-calorie diet and is a very effective low-calorie cooking techniques! Even with all the low calories that may exist in your dish, it still does not matter if you’re eating huge portions! Better get out those bowls and put some of that food in the freezer for another time.
7. Use Milk and Yogurt Alternatives.
Yes, milk, cheeses, and yogurts have high levels of unsaturated fats that we do not desire in our foods. Hence, the use of alternatives for milk and yogurts especially in baked foods and the other stuff that we really like but do not want to do without can indeed provide similar value in terms of taste without the calories that milk and yogurts possess.
For instance, you could try soya milk as a great healthy alternative without the calories of cow’s milk; or even low-fat yogurts when yogurt is needed in the recipes.
8. Do your Cooking in Bulk.
This always works for all kinds of cooking; even when cooking using low-calorie techniques. Cooking in bulk allows for the creation of savings and also for the maximization of resources as regards the expenses. Let’s admit it, cooking using low-calorie techniques can be expensive so it is better to just cook in bulk.
Besides, you’d save time on cooking for a longer period of time instead of cooking meals singly. The only thing, however, is to manage the portions of your meals rather than store in bulk so that you don’t overeat.
Low-calorie cooking techniques to provide a window of opportunity for those who genuinely want to lose weight to do so easily without the stress of putting themselves under undue pressure. Watching what you eat is as important as not eating some certain foods in the first place.
What about you? What other low calorie cooking techniques in Nigeria you employed?
Don’t hesitate to share them! When one of us succeeds in losing weight, we all succeed!!
Written by: Christopher Haruna Hamman is a strategist, Writer, and Entrepreneur. He also writes extensively for internet, publishing, film, and television.