Low Carb Diet In Nigeria With A Sample Meal Plan

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Usually, when people are encouraged to lose weight, the counsel is to reduce their food intake, reduce how many carbohydrates they are eating, eat fruits and vegetables. It goes on and on but what exactly does it mean to start a low-carb diet in Nigeria?

Have you ever wondered what is left to eat when people tear all your favorite foods to shreds?

They say you can’t eat rice, bread, pasta, yam, cassava, plantain, noodles, cereals, etc on a weight loss journey.

Pray tell, what then is left to eat?

Well, let me be the first to tell you that you don’t necessarily have to be on a low-carb diet to lose weight. As long as you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight.

Even when you’re on a low-carb diet and you are not in a calorie deficit, you will not lose weight.

Related: How to be in a calorie deficit on a weight loss journey

But this post is all about the low-carb diet in Nigeria and without further ado, let’s dive in.

What Is A Low Carb Diet

A low-carb diet is a way of eating that limits your intake of Carbs to lose weight or for health reasons.

There is no strict definition for a low-carb diet. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. 

So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should be from carbohydrates. That translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

However, the number of carbs you should eat per day should be based on the type of diet you are following, your age, gender, and your level of physical activity.

Eating less than 150g of carbs in a day is considered a low-carb diet.

150g of carbohydrate is considerably lower than the amount of carbohydrate in a western diet.

For instance, one cup of cooked white rice alone contains 42g of carbohydrates. 

Now imagine the number of carbs in one cup of raw white rice which is typically what most Nigerians eat in one serving.

While on the low carb diet, you reduce your intake of both the bad carbs (simple carbohydrates) such as sugar, white bread, pastries, etc, and the good carbs(complex carbohydrates) found in vegetables, fruits, oats, beans, brown rice, etc.

In the place of carbohydrates, the low carb diet allows a higher intake of protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, etc, and healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc.

A low-carb diet is not synonymous with the ketogenic diet.

To be in ketosis, you need less than 50g of carbs in your diet daily.

However, you can achieve great results on a low-carb diet as long as you stay away from processed foods.

There are numerous low-carb diets effective for weight loss and better health out there.

Popular ones include the Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, Paleo diet, and ketogenic diet.

Benefits Of A Low Carb Diet

A low-carb diet help in the management of diseases such as heart problems, Type 2 Diabetes, and Obesity.

It reduces blood sugar by lowering the Insulin level.

Insulin is the hormone responsible for helping the body utilize the nutrients in food.

It also helps the body store excess nutrients as fat.

On a low-carb diet, the body utilizes stored fat or fat from your diet as energy leading to weight loss.

Additionally, it helps you feel full for longer, hence curbing your appetite and cravings.

What You Can Eat On A Low Carb Diet In Nigeria

Fruits: Apples, pineapple, golden melon, coconut, watermelon, oranges, pears, grapes, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries.

Vegetables: All leafy green vegetables, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, garden eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Meat: Beef, chicken, turkey, goat meat, snail, pork, lamb, etc. 

Seafood: Mackerel, Tilapia, Catfish, Herring, Salmon, Tuna, Prawn, Crayfish, Crab, etc.

Eggs: Egg is one of the cheapest super food available today.

Nuts and seeds: Cashew, almond, walnuts, chia seed, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, etc.

Dairy: Yogurt, milk, cheese, heavy cream

Fats and oils: Avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, fish oil, butter, lard.

Whole grains: Brown rice, beans, lentils, oats, bulgur, quinoa, couscous.

If you’re on a weight loss journey, you need to be mindful of how much nuts, cheese, and oils you’re eating because they are relatively high in calories.

Additionally, you should limit your intake of whole grains to one serving per day and your intake of fruits to one piece per day on a low-carb diet.

This is a general guideline for what to eat on a low-carb diet in Nigeria.

Some foods mentioned above might not be applicable if you’re following a very low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet.

FOODS TO AVOID

The following food groups should be avoided on a low-carb diet in Nigeria.

Sugar: Carbonated drinks, fruit juices, white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, agave, honey, ice cream, pastries, sauces, etc.

Processed foods: The wise saying “if it is made from plant, eat it, if it is made in a plant, avoid it is very applicable here. You want to avoid processed foods such as noodles, sausage, cheese, etc.

Refined carbs: Bread, white rice, pasta, cereals, barley, and rye.

You can however eat a little bit as long as you are pairing it loads of vegetables and the rest of your meals for the day is very low in carbs such as fish pepper soup or vegetable salad.

Trans fats: Usually disguised as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils on food products.

You must learn how to read food labels to lose weight sustainably.

A lot of packaged foods labeled as diet, low fat, and healthy foods contain added sugar.

The onus lies on you to be able to interpret food labels properly if you are trying to lose weight or if you are just kickstarting your healthy lifestyle journey.

Carbohydrate is usually listed on a food label as total carbs which entails starches, fiber, sugar alcohol, and added sugar. Occasionally fiber can be separated from total carbs.

What can you drink 

• Water

• Fruit infused water

• Sparkling water

• Herbal teas such as moringa, oolong, chamomile, ginger, etc.

• Coffee

A Sample Low Carb Diet In Nigeria Menu for One Week

If you are new to a low-carb diet, this menu is a good one to start with.

The menu contains less than 100 grams of total carbs per day. However, if your goal is to eat lesser carbs, you can replace lunch with low-carb vegetables.

Please note that this is a low-carb meal plan and not a ketogenic diet meal plan.

If you will like to purchase a ketogenic meal plan, please send me a mail at adebusola@thrivebeyondpills.com.

Monday

Breakfast: Blueberry-cucumber smoothie. (One cup of blueberry, one cup of diced cucumber, and one inch of ginger all blended).

Lunch: 1 Cup of cooked plain beans with vegetables.

Dinner: Fish pepper soup.

Tuesday

Breakfast: Omelet made with 2 eggs, mixed veggies, and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Lunch: Chicken salad dressed with two tablespoons of lemon and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Dinner: A bowl of vegetable soup cooked with one tablespoon of palm oil.

Wednesday

Breakfast: Green smoothie made with one apple, one cup of diced cucumber, one handful of any leafy green vegetable.

Lunch: One cup of cooked rice with vegetable soup and one piece of chicken.

Dinner: Seafood okra cooked with 1 tablespoon of palm oil

Thursday

Breakfast: One cup of greek or plain yogurt topped with one tablespoon of coconut flakes and one banana.

Lunch: One fist-size oat flour or cabbage flour swallow with okra soup and one piece of fish.

Dinner: Skinless chicken and veggies stir–fry.

Friday

Breakfast: Blueberry-cucumber smoothie. (One cup of blueberry, one cup of diced cucumber, and one inch of ginger all blended).

Lunch: 1 Cup of cooked plain beans with vegetables.

Dinner: Fish pepper soup.

Saturday

Breakfast: Omelet made with 2 eggs, mixed veggies, and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Lunch: Chicken salad dressed with two tablespoons of lemon and one teaspoon of olive oil.

Dinner: A bowl of vegetable soup cooked with one tablespoon of palm oil.

Sunday

Breakfast: Green smoothie made with one apple, one cup of diced cucumber, one handful of any leafy green vegetable.

Lunch: One cup of cooked rice with vegetable soup and one piece of chicken.

Dinner: Seafood okra cooked with 1 tablespoon of palm oil

If you are cooking your okra or vegetable soup in bulk, you can use 1 serving spoon of palm oil.

Use non-stick pans for your omelet and stir fry so it doesn’t get burned.

You can replace the animal protein with any animal protein of choice.

Healthy Snacks To Incorporate

You can get hungry between meals because of the reduced portion of food.

You can snack on any of the following:

• One hard-boiled egg

• One cup of yogurt

• A piece of fruit such as cucumber baby carrots,  garden egg, apple, or pear.

• Leftovers from dinner.

Grocery List

Before going shopping, please clear your pantry of unhealthy foods that will tempt you during your diet.

Remove foods that are high in carbohydrates and added sugar.

Additionally, check the expiry date of the packaged foods in your pantry so you can add food that will expire soon into your meals for the week.

When you get to the mall, start shopping around the walls of the mall so you can pick up whole foods and fruits before picking up packaged food products along the isles.

Protein can be pricey. Please pick an option that fits into your price range.

• Fruits (apples, pears, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, cucumber, garden eggs, pawpaw)

• Fresh vegetables (leafy green vegetables of choice, tomatoes, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, onions, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cabbage)

• Frozen vegetables (carrots, green peas, broccoli, mixed veggies)

• Seafood (any fish of choice, shrimp, prawn)

• Meat (chicken, turkey, goat meat, beef, bacon, lamb, pork) 

• Eggs

• Yogurt(Greek or Plain. It should also be full fat and unsweetened)

• Olive oil

• Palm oil

Nuts (Almond, Cashew)

• Grains (brown rice, oats, beans, lentils)

• Herbs and Spices(salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, basil, rosemary, thyme, mustard, etc.)

What are your options when you have to eat out

It can be a bit difficult to eat out while you are on a low-carb diet in Nigeria because your options are limited.

Your best option is going to a low-carb restaurant such as So fresh or Nellies.

However for a regular restaurant, here are a few low-carb-friendly options to explore.

• Salad without dressing and a piece of grilled fish or chicken

• Moimoi or plain beans with a piece of grilled fish or chicken

• Soup with swallow but you will simply eat the soup and leave the swallow behind.

• Order plain water instead of carbonated drinks, fruit juice, or wine.

Downside Of A Low Carb Diet

If you have type 2 diabetes, please consult your doctor before embarking on a low-carb diet because this diet can drastically reduce your blood sugar.

Additionally, if you are new to a low-carb diet, your body might require some time to adjust.

This is popularly known as low-carb flu where you experience headache, weakness, fatigue for a few days.

This occurs because a low insulin level causes your kidneys to shed sodium. When you shed sodium, you lose more water from your body. 

This is the basis for losing water weight that accounts for the drastic weight loss in your first week of being on a low-carb diet.

If you experience low-carb flu, try taking a cup of bone broth daily to mitigate the excess sodium loss.

Bottom Line

A low-carb diet is a way of eating that limits your intake of Carbs to lose weight or for health reasons.

Eating 50g – 150g of carbs in a day is considered a low-carb diet.

You can achieve great results on a low-carb diet as long as you stay away from processed foods.

Reading from my blog visitors is usually the highlight of my day. Do let me know the part of this article that resonates with you in the comment section below.

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