Eating well is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Recent efforts by the United Kingdom Government have focused on raising awareness of diet-related risks among West African families through their Change4Life campaign. If you enjoy West African cuisine, here are some tips to help you cook nutritious traditional foods for your family.
Traditional West African meals usually have a large helping of carbohydrate such as yam, rice or plantain. Starchy carbohydrate foods are generally good for you; however, how you cook them can make them less healthy. If you cook the rice in lots of palm oil, it becomes higher in unhealthy saturated fats, and if you fry the plantain, then its calorie count rises. Soup or stew which often accompanies the starchy food may also be high in fat, and it is the saturated fat from palm oil that needs particular attention.
Does this mean that you should stop eating these foods? I suggest not. But do make an effort to understand how unhealthy ingredients make their way into your cooked dishes, and be aware of how much you eat. That way, you can enjoy the same traditional foods with a clearer conscience.
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