I’m not and have never been big on healthy eating. In fact I will always go for the most unhealthy (and usually more delicious) option if I have to choose. Being born and raised in Africa doesn’t help either. Our diets by nature contain a lot of meat, fat and carbohydrates. For example, a usual breakfast here at the University is a portion of liver stew and a type of local flat bread called Phaphatha. During my internship this past holiday most of the people in the office would indulge on fat cakes on a daily basis for breakfast, sometimes with a side of oily chips/fries. The western culture of fast food is also creeping in on our eating habits with many of the working class opting to buy Chicken Licken, KFC or Wimpy meals for lunch.
However, we do have an abundance of cheap vegetables and fruits. Since most are produced on our continent, eating somewhat healthy from time to time is not a stretch financially. The one healthy eating habit my parents have sneakily managed to impart to me is the habit of eating fruits daily. Sounds simple enough but not many people do it. Instead of having a sugary fatty dessert, it’s easy to just have an apple, orange or whatever fruit takes your fancy.
So here’s your summer challenge: to have at least 2 fruits a day. I personally favour apples and oranges so I alternate between the two. Sometimes when I crave variety I will buy a couple avocados, pears, a pineapple or some grapes. However the cheapest fruits are apples and oranges. Nowadays instead of buying chocolates and sweets when I crave something sweet, I try to substitute it with fruits instead. And frankly if I am given a choice between grapes and a chocolate bar, I will go for the grapes! I love grapes!
The benefits of fruits are endless! They provide tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre. They also prevent illnesses like cancer, heart disease and help with weight loss and the controlling of cholesterol levels. It is recommended that you have 4-5 servings of fruit a day. However, if eating a plain fruit is too boring for you try mix it up by making/buying fruit based smoothies, including it in your cereal at breakfast, drinking 100% fruit juice regularly or incorporating it in your desserts. The key word is substitution. So drop the sodas and replace with fruit smoothies or fruit juice, have strawberries instead of sweets, a fruit salad instead of a slice of cheesecake, a piece of cake and an orange instead of 2 slices of cake etc.
Remember garbage in=garbage out. As much as eating fatty sugary foods can be a treat, try and balance it with the good healthy stuff or you will eventually pay health wise!