Looking for some Nigerian breakfast ideas for weight loss? then keep reading...
A quick word of caution:
If you are trying to lose weight, you might be thinking of skipping breakfast to save some calories, right? After all we know that you must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, but how can we fuel our bodies to provide enough energy for the busy day ahead and still be able to see the numbers on the scales go down?
You are in luck because we do not advocate any mumu mumu starvation diet.
So, I will give you a run through of common Nigerian breakfasts, with tips and tricks to help you lose weight whilst enjoying them. I will also point out which ones to avoid and why.
Let’s dive in…
Nigerian weight-loss breakfast ideas
Let's start from the most popular...
Bread, Egg and Tea
Simply saying “bread and tea” as breakfast will evoke a particular mental image in the average Nigerian.
That is a big loaf of soft white bread and a mug of milky tea, or a coco based hot beverage. Some may add an omelette on the side. This is a common breakfast in Nigeria.
With a few changes, you can still lose weight whilst eating this breakfast.
Firstly, bread is highly processed carbs. It will not keep you full for long and soon you will be hungry again, despite it being high in calories. So, reduce your portion size well well, and chose wholewheat brown bread if you must.
Adding eggs is brilliant because proteins and healthy fats will keep you fuller for longer. Other options include sardines, tin mackerel with tomatoes (commonly called Geisha), minced beef and so on.
Increase your portion by adding nutrient carbs like tomatoes, onions, spinach, and bell peppers (tatashe) to your omelette. Lastly, do not add sugar to your “tea”, seriously, you don’t need it.
Akamu (Ogi) and Akara
This is another common Nigerian breakfast. Akamu looks like custard, but it is white, and it is made from processed corn. Akara is also known as bean cake.
Black eye beans are soaked in water, the coat is peeled off and it is blended usually with scotch bonnet, onions, and seasonings. The mixture is then whisked to incorporate air and deep fried.
The outside is golden and oily, and the inside is white and doughy. This is a nutritious breakfast, you can add milk to the akamu to increase protein content.
You could also ditch the oily golden outside of the Akara, to limit fat / calorie intake (I know that this may not be a popular opinion), but it is worth considering
Moi-moi and Akamu (ogi)
Moi-moi is birth from the same ingredients as Akara however, the cooking process is very different. Whereas Akara is deep fried, Moi-moi is steamed.
Another difference is that Moi-moi can accommodate more healthy ingredients, like tatashe, egg, prawns, fish, and so on. Because it is steamed, it is naturally less oily.
Therefore, when trying to lose weight, I would go for Moi-moi any day over Akara. Moi-moi (with all its stuffed proteins) can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or with Ogi.
Eko and vegetable pepper soup
Eko is similar to Akamu, in that they are both made from corn flour, but they have different consistency. Eko is more jellylike and firm. This is a nutritious and filling breakfast.
Eko is traditionally eaten with Akara, which is OK. But, pairing it with a vegetable pepper soup will elevate it further.
Pepper soup is healthier as it will have less to no oil, and you will get a higher protein content from the meat, this will keep you fuller for longer.
Feel free to toss in some vegetables in your pepper soup, they are low in calories, nutritious and will help keep hunger away.
Oat meals (porridge):
I adore oats! I could eat them every single day because they are truly amazing.
Unlike boxed breakfast cereals, they slowly release sugar, this gives sustained energy throughout the morning.
And not a sugar high followed by a crash with serious hunger and cravings. They are high in fibre so, you will be fuller for longer and they reduce cholesterol levels too.
Make sure you buy plain varieties with no added sugar.
The trick with oats is making a small amount go a long way. Bulk your oat porridge by adding proteins like natural yoghurt or cottage cheese.
Introduce some sweetness to it by tossing in some diced fresh fruits, and don’t forget healthy fats such as a handful of groundnuts.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, because there is so much more that you can do with the humble oat.
Boiled/Roasted plantain and eggs
This is one yummy breakfast. I still get excited when this is being served. It is a hearty and filling breakfast.
They say that repetition is the mother of learning, so bear with me as we go over the key tricks again.
You want this meal to be packed full of proteins and low calorie nutrient rich carbs, so you will be fuller for longer and therefore eat less overall in the day resulting in weight loss.
Plantain are nutritious and contain moderate amount of calories. However, they they become dense in calories when fried in vegetable oil. This also makes them unhealthy and harmful.
So you're better off boiling or, better still, roasting them to reduce your fat and calorie intake.
Boiled/Roasted Yam and eggs
Yam and eggs are nutritious and very filling. So, they also make an excellent weight loss breakfast option.
Again, avoid frying your yam because frying makes them less healthy and calorie dense. Cook, roast, grill or air-fry your yam instead.
Boiled/Roasted potatoes and eggs
Irish and sweet potatoes are delicious alternatives to yam and plantain. They are also super filling and nutrient-dense.
Remember not to fry your potatoes. Cook, roast, grill or air-fry them and you're good to go.
Banana and eggs
This is a quick breakfast, and perfect if you do not have a lot of time in the morning. Banana will provide energy and minerals. Eggs are a powerhouse of proteins and healthy fats.
They are also very versatile, you could consume as boil or as an omelette with your banana. The beauty of this breakfast is that it naturally helps in portion control, as there is not a lot to it, yet you still get a nutritious meal.
Avocado on toast
This breakfast is loved by the world. With a few know howyou can enjoy this quick and yummy breakfast and still lose weight. Avocado needs no introduction, it is packed full of healthy fat and vitamins.
You should control your portion of avocado, but a little goes a long way. We have already covered the issues of regular store-bought bread, so choose wholewheat variety, or make yours.
Lastly add proteins (such as egg, sardines, or chicken pieces) and nutrient vegetables like fresh tomatoes. Ube (African pear) is a great substitute for Avocado.
Making pancakes and eating them hot off the stove is one exciting breakfast experience both for adult and kids. But in this game, you want to get the most bang from your calories.
You want to make your foods work in your favour, not against you. Pancake batter is traditionally made from plain flour, egg, milk and fried in vegetable oil. It is then typically topped with a sugary syrup.
If you have been following what I am saying, you will see that this is high in calories and it won’t fill you up either, so you will be hungry soon and consume more overall.
Instead, consume this breakfast occasionally, may be as a treat. Limit the number of pancakes you are eating and add extra proteins on the side or top with fresh fruits instead of syrup.
You can also make pancakes using more filling ingredients for the batter such as beans (to make an Akara type pancake), almond flour or banana.
The options when it comes to smoothies as breakfast are endless. You can make a fruity or a creamy smoothie. Creamy smoothie will have a thick base like milk, yoghurt, or cream.
This will be more filling. You can add any fruit you like.
Other options to increase satiety are oats, chai seeds and flaxseeds. If consuming a fruit-based smoothie, I would recommend that you have some proteins too like egg or chicken.
Salads are very versatile and will make a great addition to your breakfast repertoire. You can even prepare it the night before if needed.
Be mindful of salad dressing as they can be very calorie dense, and work against your goals. You can add things like cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber to your salad.
Top your salad with proteins of choice like egg, chicken, beef strips and so on.
Because animal protein is so flavourful, I find that depending on how you prepare them, you may not need any salad dressing as the flavour will be transferred to the salad. Better still you can make your own salad dressing.
Vegetable egg cups
These are fun, nutritious, and visually pleasing. They are made by baking eggs with bell peppers (tatashe).
You can either chop up the bell peppers and mix it with the egg and bake in muffin tins. Or cut the bell peppers in half and remove the seeds.
Then crack an egg inside it and sprinkle with seasonings of choice and bake till the egg is cooked.
I am sure you will agree that losing weight does not start and end with just a healthy breakfast.
You will need a full overhaul, including healthy lunch, dinner, and snacks. Besides, some foods taste better the next day. So, feel free to enjoy your leftovers as a quick and nutritious breakfast.
Breakfast to be avoided
Here some of the popular breakfast you should try to avoid, if you're trying to lose weight or be more healthy...
Instant noodles are very popular in Nigeria. They are collectively called Indomie, after a popular brand.
They can be consumed as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I can see their appeal given the ease to prepare them. But they are not filling, despite being high in calories and therefore not weight loss friendly.
A packet of Indomie has 320 calories and the average adult will eat 2 packs to feel “full”. So, this is a breakfast that I would avoid, or limit its consumption significantly. If you must eat them, stick to one pack, or even half.
Instead, bulk the meal up with low calorie but high-volume nutrient carbohydrates like peas, green beans, carrots and so on. Don’t forget to add generous amount of protein too like egg, seafood, chicken, or meat.
Boxed breakfast cereals
OK, I won’t beat around the bush here, you should avoid boxed breakfast cereals such as cornflakes, sugar pops and so on, if you are seriously trying to lose weight.
They are highly processed, low in fibre, not filling, high in sugar, and relatively costly in Nigeria.
I may not have mentioned every possible Nigerian breakfast, but I hope you understood how to make any breakfast fit with your weight loss goals.
In summary, avoid processed foods, instead stick to natural whole foods. Add lots of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Don’t forget nutrient carbs, because they fill you up despite being low in calorie compared to their amount (aka volume eating).
Finally, be mindful of oils, especially unhealthy ones, however, a moderate amount of healthy fat is essential.