Get In Touch
Our Nigerian foods can be tasty, or rather, really delicious! And along with that goodness comes the downside: getting fat.
If only we could eat our favorite foods without consequences, but the world doesn’t work like that, at least for most of us. (I’m talking about you hard-gainers, lucky.)
In this eye-opening post, we’ll take a look at some Nigerian foods that might be contributing to those unexpected extra pounds.
But don’t stress; you don’t have to cut the foods out entirely; just be mindful when eating them.
Depending on which side of the spectrum you are on, whether you struggle to lose weight or struggle to gain weight, you will get some value from this post, so stick with me.
Side note: If you struggle to gain weight, check out this post on Nigerian foods for weight gain
Before we jump into the list, you should know why these foods make you gain weight fast, aside from overeating, of course.
Foods high in carbohydrates tend to cause weight gain for multiple reasons.
They’re usually high in sugar (spikes up blood sugar levels), calories, or starch, and they also break down and digest quickly in your body, which makes you feel hungry quicker, leading to increased consumption of foods and, thus, weight gain.
Whenever we fry foods, those foods tend to soak up some of the oils, thus spiking their calorie value.
Contrary to what most people believe, not all fats are bad, just two: trans fats and saturated fats.
These fats solidify easily and can cause issues with your cholesterol levels.
We don’t want that. What we do want are fats from food items like avocados and olive oil, to name a few.
Knowing all this, you can now see and understand why these foods cause weight gain. You’re ready for the list.
I won’t be listing the obvious junk foods, but rather our everyday foods that you didn’t expect to be calorie-heavy.
While going through the list, compare these foods to your daily calorie intake.
Women should consume about 1700–2000 calories, while men should eat 2300–2600. This is the recommended calorie intake for the average person to maintain a healthy weight.
Let’s get into them.
Everyone loves a big plate of fried yam and egg in the morning or a hot plate of pounded yam with your favorite Nigerian soups in the evening.
But I’m sorry to say you should reconsider this option when watching your weight.
The average person will eat 400–800 g; if it’s fried yam, that’s a staggering 1000–2000 calories in just one meal!
You’d be better off having it boiled while still watching portion sizes.
While it might seem like a harmless addition to your plate, white spaghetti can contribute more calories than you might expect.
The average person eats 400–600 g, but if eaten in small amounts, it can still be eaten on a diet.
Tip: If you can, have about 200g (about 3 full forkloads) with a side of salad and minimal dressing.
Those golden, sweet slices of fried plantains are hard to resist. However, they are high in calories.
One whole medium plantain weighs about 250g; that’s an extra 630 calories for your meal. If you don’t know by now, that’s a lot!
Whether it’s succulent fried beef or crispy fried chicken, frying these high-protein foods can add up the calories swiftly.
But I’m not saying you should cut them off, as meats are very good and provide you with lots of nutrients on a diet; just change how you prepare them.
Tip: Prepare it in a way that it doesn’t soak up oil; prepare meats either grilled, roasted, or boiled in a soup.
Garri has been saving lives for generations. However, it comes with decent numbers of calories, so portion control is key.
Most people drink between 80 and 130 g, which on its own isn’t bad, but when filled with sugar, groundnut, and milk, the calories shoot up.
I was pretty sad when I discovered this one, but yes, just a single Akara can contain 55 calories. If you eat 10–15 of them, you can imagine how heavy that is.
Let’s call it like it is: Indomie is a quick and easy meal option, but the calories they deliver are a ridiculous amount.
Most of us can eat 3 small packets; that’s 1110 calories per meal!
Next time you’re looking for a sweet and crunchy snack, I kindly advise you to reconsider if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.
One packet of plantain chips can deliver 500–800 calories, depending on the size; that’s heavy for a snack. There are other low-calorie Nigerian snack alternatives you can add to your diet.
Even seemingly healthy salads can become high-calorie traps when doused in creamy dressings like salad cream. Ensure you use them in moderation.
Tip: When shopping for groceries, check the label; there are lower-calorie salad cream options.
From salted butter to peanut butter, these spreads are rich in calories.
While they can be part of a balanced diet, excessive consumption can contribute to weight gain. Go easy on the spreads!
Do you feel like choking me for ruining the image of your favorite foods? Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
These pastries in Nigeria are undeniably delicious but often laden with calories.
However, having a few once in a while won’t hurt your weight-loss efforts.
Did you know most of us can start losing weight by cutting out drinks alone? Well, here’s why.
Most of us drink about 5 drinks per week; that’s about an additional 1000 calories.
If you look at it this way, their effects become clearer.
This one isn’t a shocker anymore; it’s one of the first foods most people would tell you to cut out when going on a diet in Nigeria.
And they’d be right, kind of. You don’t have to cut them out entirely; you can lose weight on 2-3 slices.
Yes, even the swallows are not spared on this list. Most swallows are high-calorie foods, but semo in particular contains the most.
Semo is favored for its convenience and versatility with soups. While it’s a decent source of fiber, it’s also high in calories.
Tip: If you love swallow food so much, opt for either Eba, Amala, Fufu or Tuwo shinkafa, they are lower in calories.
Portrayed as a nutritious and convenient breakfast, but they are also packed with sugar and calories.
And not just that, most of them aren’t filing, which means you’re likely to eat again.
And there you have it—the high-calorie Nigerian foods that make you fat. From foods high in carbs to foods high in unhealthy fats, we’ve covered some foods you might want to steer clear of.
By reducing the intake of these foods, you set yourself up for the right and easy way to eat healthy and manage your weight.
Hopefully, this has been an eye-opening post, and remember, don’t feel pressured to cut them out entirely; just Portion Reduce!