By: Moboluwarin Ogunleye
The time we have been dreading or waiting for is finally here. The rising fuel and everything else cost has finally caught up with food prices.
After a brief period of scarcity, food sellers in cafeterias increased the price of a serving of rice from 100 naira to 150 naira and even 200 naira in some places.
As said before, this is to be expected, as the rising fuel prices coupled with the occasional scarcity lead to an increase in the cost of transportation of the foodstuffs into and across the country.
For these sellers to continue to make a sizable profit, an increase in the price of the foodstuff became necessary and, in turn, increased the cost of these foods in the cafeterias.
But all hope is not lost. Despite this increase, you can still maintain the same amount of your allowance budgeted for food; the only thing is that you’ll have to make some alterations to your diet. Here are a few ways to do that without compromising the nutritional value of your meals.
In primary school Home Economics, we learned about a balanced diet. A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients required to function correctly. To receive enough nourishment, the majority of your daily calories should come from:
- Fruits that are in season
- Fresh vegetables
- Complete grains
- Nuts: for example, your tiger nut or peanuts
- Proteins that are low in fat
The quantity of calories in a food refers to the amount of energy that food contains. Your body uses calories from meals for walking, thinking, breathing, and other vital tasks. The average individual needs roughly 2,000 calories daily to maintain weight, although the amount will vary depending on age, gender, and physical activity.
“Empty calories” are foods high in calories but low in nutrients. Cakes, cookies, doughnuts, processed meats, energy drinks and sodas, fruit drinks with added sugar, ice cream, chips and fries, pizza, and sodas are all empty calories.
To eat efficiently and be healthy, it is advised that you generally reduce your intake of such foods as they do not necessarily do anything good to your body as they supply you with calories.
An Assessment Of Meal Options On Campus
A healthy diet should include the following foods:
- Fruits, vegetables, legumes (such as beans), nuts, and whole grains (such as unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, and brown rice).
- At least 400 g (five servings) of fruit and vegetables per day.
It is crucial to highlight that the precise composition of a diverse, balanced, and healthy diet will differ based on individual characteristics (e.g., age, gender, lifestyle, and level of physical activity), cultural context, locally accessible foods, and dietary habits.
There are several fruits widely available on campus for sale, fruits which are not only filling but quite nutritional and beneficial as well. Examples include;
Bananas: These are readily found across the campus. Examples include the Zenith Bank ATM stand in front of Kuti Hall. There’s also a seller at the Mellanby Hall gate. The bananas usually go for about 250 naira a bunch. Bananas are believed to reduce edema, prevent Type 2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, enhance the nervous system, and assist in the creation of white blood cells.
They may also improve heart health, blood pressure management, and a person’s mood. They also improve digestion, and despite their high carb content, they do not cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and are regarded as a weight-loss-friendly food.
Oranges: A person can get these at several places, including Mellanby Hall Gate, Ajibode, and Agbowo. They usually go for about 200 naira for three oranges. One orange contains 66 calories; they are an essential source of Vitamin C, which is known to stimulate immune function and assist the role of the system antibodies and immune cells that need to detect and quickly destroy invading pathogens. They are also a good source of fiber and are known to protect the eyes and improve vision, prevent constipation, and promote dental health, among many other benefits.
Legumes are a plant family that produces a pod with seeds. “legume” refers to the plants and sources inside the pods. Legumes include beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts.
Beans: Beans are a staple readily found in almost all cafeterias on campus. It is a joint discourse, however, that you can find the best beans on the campus in the cafes of the Independence Hall.
A serving of beans sells for 100 naira. For increased benefits, you can pair it with bread, plantain, or garri for increased satiety. They are a substantial source of fiber, protein, iron, and vitamins. They are rich in polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidants.
Antioxidants have several body functions. These include preventing oxidative stress (linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory infections, Parkinson’s disease, and other inflammatory or ischemic conditions). They also support immune functions. Other health benefits of beans include weight control and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Bread and Beans: Beans can be paired with bread for increased satiety and added benefits. Bread is not a legume; it is made from flour, usually grain, and whether or not it is whole grain depends on the type of flour used to make it.
Bread is very nutritious and cheap. A loaf of bread can cost as little as 150 naira and as much as 850 naira, depending on what your budget is, and is readily available everywhere across the campus. Aside from pairing it with beans, it can be eaten alone, with fried eggs, boiled eggs, or spreads like butter, Nutella, peanut butter, or mayonnaise. It is a staple in many families and has various nutritious benefits, some of which include:
- Carbohydrate-rich bread is a good source of carbs that offer body energy.
- Fiber: Whole grain bread is abundant in dietary fiber, improving digestion and keeping you full.
- Bread is a good source of critical minerals, including many B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
- Bread is often low in fat and can be included in a reduced-fat diet.
An excellent example of this is your sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are considered a starchy vegetable but also a great source of nutrition. They are not readily available in cafeterias, but they can be gotten at food stands in school; examples include the Bole food shop in Zik Hall and a designated shelf in front of Tedder Hall. Sweet potatoes are sweet and starchy and come in different sizes and colors, and they can be prepared in a seemingly endless number of ways: baked, fried, or boiled. Some of its health benefits include:
- Health Benefits: Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that promotes eye health. They are also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps with immunological function3. Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, satisfying, and delicious.
- Promote Gut Health: The fiber and antioxidants included in sweet potatoes can help with gut health. Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Your body is unable to absorb either type. As a result, fiber remains in your digestive tract and delivers several gut-related health benefits.
- Sweet potatoes are nutritious, containing many vitamins A, C, and manganese per serving. They also have anticancer qualities and may boost immunological function and provide other health advantages.
While there are several alternatives to your usual rice and spaghetti options, a prevalent, cheap one is your “Swallow” examples, which include eba, amala, fufu, and pounded yam. All of these are very filling, except pounded yam, which sells for a hundred naira per serving. These foods are rich in starch and can easily be included in a balanced diet when traditional soups like Egusi, Ewedu, Plain stew with oil, Abula, etc. are added.
The health benefits of starch include:
- Starch provides energy, which is broken down into glucose, the body’s primary energy source. All cells in the body, including the brain and muscles, use glucose.
- Improves blood sugar control: Resistant starch may also regulate blood sugar. This is because it inhibits the digestion of other carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar spikes after eating.
- Weight reduction: Resistant starch may also aid with weight loss. This is because it improves satiety, or the sense of fullness after eating. Furthermore, resistant starch may aid in fat loss.
- Nutrient-dense: Many starchy meals are also high in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
To conclude, it’s essential to do everything in moderation; while these foods may be healthy, excess consumption may not be. Following these tips, you can eat healthy during inflation without breaking the bank.