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Food Inflation: Five Tips for Eating Healthy – Development Diaries

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Eating and maintaining a balanced diet in Nigeria today has become a growing challenge due to the rising cost of food items and dwindling household income.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently released data showing that the average cost of a healthy diet (CoHD) increased by 4.7 percent from the previous month to N982 per adult per day in March 2024.

But you can still maintain a balanced diet, which can be achieved with proper meal planning and discipline. Here are five tips.

1. Prioritise leafy greens

Leafy greens (e.g., ugu, spinach) are often cheaper when in season and can be used in a variety of healthy dishes. These are more affordable and healthy options than the likes of broccoli, bell peppers, and asparagus.

2. Buy in bulk and store properly

Purchasing staple foods, like rice, beans, garri, in bulk can save money in the long run. Also, use airtight containers to keep pests away and preserve the quality of these staples, because proper storage is key to preventing spoilage.

3. Incorporate affordable protein sources

We all know that the prices of chicken, turkey, beef, and goat meat have continued to soar. You can opt for more affordable protein sources such as beans, lentils, eggs, and fish. Fish types like hake fish, locally known as ‘panla‘, come in handy for me a lot when sourcing an affordable protein option. It also brings great taste to my meals.

4. Cook at home more often

If you are not preparing your meals at home during this period, do have a rethink. Preparing meals at home allows for better control over ingredients and portion sizes, making it easier to eat healthily. Also, batch cooking and meal prepping can save time and ensure that you have healthy meals ready throughout the week. I do this a lot and it is a great way to have my healthy meals.

5. Grow your vegetables

I know this might sound weird to some people, but if you have space, consider starting a small garden. Growing your vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers, and greens, can significantly reduce grocery bills and provide a fresh, constant supply of nutritious food. Even small container gardening can make a difference.

I hope I have been helpful today! By implementing these tips, you can manage to eat healthily despite the economic challenges, ensuring that your diet remains nutritious and balanced without breaking the bank.

Photo source: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

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