Healthy Meal Ideas South Africa

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Healthy meal ideas South Africa is something you should consider if you are an individual who is struggling to accomplish the goal of eating healthy. By healthy, we mean that the meals you consume are not made with processed foods or meats and have fresh vegetables added to them.

This way, you get to feel the positive effects of a food that has been proven by scientists to be good for your wellbeing as opposed to a food high in fat and oil that is not very healthy for you in the long run.

Healthy Meal Ideas South Africa. Did you know that eating out is one of the worst things you can do for your health? What’s even worse is trying to find healthy meal ideas in restaurants. I gave up on it years ago and I’m never going back. If you’re like me, then there’s really no other option but to learn to cook healthy meals at home.

The South Africa Guide to Lunch Meal Preparation

The easiest way to create a balanced and healthy meal plan when you have a busy daily life as a student is to be prepared, and plan your weekly meals in advance.

This helps you to be organised and save yourself time and money while eating healthier!

One of the main reasons we order takeaways and fast food is because the thought of buying, cooking and combining ingredients at the end of a very hectic day is a daunting prospect.

To get away from this headache, it’s a far better idea to plan everything out a few days or weeks in advance and reduce your stress around food preparation and planning especially when those inevitable test and assignment deadlines roll around.

groceries next to pen and paper

How To Stock Your Student Pantry

Before getting started with planning your weekly meals, have a look at some of the shopping list essentials for any student planning to cook for themselves during university.

Use some of these ideas to stock your fridge and food cupboard, and think about how you might go about pairing some of these ingredients with other proteins, starches, and vegetables to create a mouthwatering meal.

Consider the types of foods you like and dislike as well as the cost, and availability of different items.

Shopping list basics:

1. Dairy + Meat:

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Cream
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt

2. Legumes:

  • Baked beans(high in fibre and antioxidants)
  • Chickpeas
  • Red kidney beans
  • White beans

3. Cupboard Essentials:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Peanut Butter
  • Oats
  • Canned goods (tuna, beans, soup, onions, tomatoes, sauces, etc)
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Cereal
  • Honey
  • Bread
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, spices, sriracha (a sumptuous extra)
  • Sugar
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vegetables
  • Popcorn
  • Vinegar

4. Cooking Oil

  • Olive oil or
  • Sunflower oil or
  • Vegetable oil or
  • Coconut oil

5. Vegetables:

  • Avocados (careful expensive)
  • Carrots
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Frozen chopped vegetables
  • Kale
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions/spring onions
  • Spinach
  • Sweetcorn
  • Tomatoes

Planning Weekly Meals

Planning your meals out on a weekly basis, or monthly basis – if you’re incredibly diligent and motivated about creating the perfect meal plan – will make your life a lot easier and free up a surprising amount of time and money.

Having a schedule that details your weekly meals gives you the opportunity to buy in bulk and create a healthy diet that contains diversity and a variety of ingredients to excite your taste buds – instead of feeling bored by the same quick, go-to meal that you would resort to at the end of a long day.

Master Your Menu

Plan out the main meals for your week, and the main ingredients you’ll need such as meats, starches and veggies. This can be adjusted if you have any specific dietary requirements such as gluten free, lactose intolerant, or if you are a vegan or vegetarian.

protein sources meat, fish, cheese, nuts

It’s up to you, what you choose and would prefer, but the most important thing is to plan at least 3-4 meal ideas a week and cook enough for 2-4 portions. That way, you’re prepared for enough days during the week when you’re busy, plus you’ll have leftovers for lunch and an extra night or two. On the weekends you can then enjoy drinks and meals out with friends. Planning out your meals in advance can actually make life a lot easier on the whole, without wondering how and when you’re going to make your next meal.

Types Of Meat Or Meat Alternatives

When it comes to meat, you have a variety of options – red meat, poultry, pork and seafood.

Red meats include beef, lamb, mutton, veal, venison, and goat. Of which the best and most affordable option would be beef, in the form of steaks, patties, strips, mince, and other cheaper cuts such as stewing beef. More expensive cuts include fillet, t-bone, and tenderloin.

Poultry includes chicken, turkey and ostrich, and while they contain roughly the same amount of protein per cut, chicken and ostrich are definitely cheaper options and more versatile choices for student meals.

Ostrich might not be your first choice, however, it’s high in protein and iron while maintaining less fat, calories and cholesterol than chicken or turkey. It is also a great substitute for red meat.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it can be a good idea to choose meat free alternative staples such as Fry’s and Quorn meat alternative products, or legumes and more substantial vegetables such as aubergine and mushrooms as alternatives.

Types Of Vegetables

In terms of vegetables, you could choose salads, cooked vegetables, or roast vegetables. Salads are less time consuming to whip up, but have to be made fresh on the day, whereas roast veg might take some extra time, but – if you cook in bulk – you will have enough for days to come. At the end of a long day, it’s really all about your personal preference and what you feel like eating.

Spice your salads up with fruit and peppers for a bit of an added sweet spark to excite your taste buds. Try different methods of cooking your vegetables such as roasting, frying, and steaming and don’t forget to add some spices to liven them up!

fruit and pepper salad

Vegetables can be used as more than just a side by creating stuffed vegetable combinations. Use a base of pepper, mushroom, aubergine, gem squash, or zucchini and fill with cheese, meat, grains (couscous/rice), and more vegetables as well as a variety of other toppings to suit vegetarian or carnivorous diets. You can also stuff sweet potatoes with plenty of delicious toppings, fill with curry, or fill with plenty of other sauces and ingredients such as avocado, humus and chickpea to create an enticing meal.

stuffed sweet peppers

Buying In Bulk

Buying in bulk is the key part of the process that can save you money and time, if you find the right stores and keep your ingredients from going off. This is a great tip for store cupboard (or non-perishable) foods that have long expiry. You can also buy perishables in bulk if you have a freezer, friends to share with, or plan your meals cleverly.

To buy in bulk effectively, you need to have some recipe ideas in mind and triple each ingredient’s quantity and base your lunch and dinner time meals around just one or two meat options.

First of all, you want to visit larger stores and grocery retailers where you know you can get a discount, while still receiving quality produce.

woman pushing full trolley at grocery store

Next, you want to make a list of all the main ingredients you’ll need for your meals throughout the week and tally up what you’ll need in terms of quantity. It’s also good to keep in mind which ingredients to buy that won’t perish quickly, and can be used to create a variety of meals.

Buying Bulk Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are a great item to keep stored in the freezer. This allows you to always have veggies on hand without worrying about them perishing quickly.

frozen vegetables in the freezer

These veggies are highly nutritious and versatile as ingredients in a variety of carnivorous based and vegetarian based diets.

Buying Bulk Starches

Dried pasta is also an incredibly cheap ingredient which can last up to two years after purchase. Pasta is also incredibly useful in a variety of dishes and can be paired with a range of meat or vegetarian sides as well as sauces.

dried twisted pasta opt

Buying Bulk Cupboard Ingredients

Coconut oil is an incredibly useful item to have around the home. It can be used in a variety of cooking applications, whether it’s just as a lubricant or an essential ingredient to creating creamy sauces, for example.

It takes a period of years to expire if stored under the correct conditions and it’s relatively inexpensive when bought in bulk, and used sparingly for a long period of time.

coconut oil alongside actual coconut

Peanut butter is a great item to buy in bulk, if you’re a fan of the tasty spread, which is also high in protein and other healthy ingredients.

Peanut butter can also be used and adapted to create a variety of different, delicious snacks to enjoy! Some of these include classics like peanut butter on toast (with some honey if you’re feeling like a sweet surprise), peanut butter balls and smoothies.

Speaking of smoothies, you can also combine healthy supplements that store well, to add extra substance to your healthy morning smoothie.

Green powders are nutritional supplements made from crushed dried, pulverized greens like kale, spinach and wheatgrass. They can be combined with yoghurts, smoothies and other recipes for extra nutritional benefit, extra energy and healthy supplements that can help boost your immune system a bit and help stave off illnesses throughout the semester.

healthy smoothie with kale green supplement

Organize Your Prepared Meals

Having a variety of plastic containers that you can place in the freezer once filled with your favourite dishes or prepared ingredients, is a great idea. It means you can easily store ingredients and leftovers for future meals conveniently and save money within your monthly food budget.

You can get these from sites such as Takealot, or Makro, Game and Mambos Plastic Warehouse and they’re worth every penny.

We’ve spoken a lot about planning out your weekly meals, so it’s time to provide you with some ideas of what your meal plan could look like on a day-to-day basis.

Student Meal Ideas For Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner And Snacks

Here are some ideas for breakfast lunch and dinner and other healthy snack ideas for when you’re running around during the day on campus. Get some healthy ideas to keep in mind for when you’re feeling starved.

Breakfast Recipe Ideas:

Making breakfast in the morning can be time consuming and you need a way to get a good start to your morning without wondering how you’re going to create the perfect breakfast while you’re still waking up and wiping the sleep out of your eye.

A good breakfast doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be crafted in a matter of minutes!

1. Muesli And Yoghurt:

Meshing granola, fruit and yoghurt is a good breakfast option which is full of vitamins, iron, and magnesium and high in fibre.

It’s a tasty and easy breakfast option if you’re in a hurry, and it can be enhanced with a bit of organic honey and fruits such as berries – even nuts would be a good addition to this breakfast meal.

2. Eggs On Toast:

Eggs on toast is a good classic breakfast which can help you kickstart your morning with doses of vitamin D, selenium, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

You can keep things interesting by adding sides to your eggs on toast ensemble, and try different ways of cooking your eggs such as poaching, scrambling, frying and boiling your eggs. Don’t forget to salt and pepper!

Healthy  South Africa Meals To Try Out For Lunch

South African food has so many different influences: African, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian; no wonder it’s the rainbow cuisine! Many of these influences are in this list of top 10 foods in South Africa.

The combination of the indigenous African population and centuries of immigration – traders, pioneers, and their slaves – has given South Africa one of the world’s most exciting and varied cuisines. Here is some of the top South African cuisine you have in store, with recipes to make them at home for lunch

1. Biltong

All over South Africa you can find strips of what looks like dark old leather that locals eat as a snack; this is the famous biltong. Biltong is a thinly sliced, tough and salty air-dried meat, most often beef or game like springbok, rather like beef jerky. You will also find droewors, air-dried sausages. Indigenous African peoples use to preserve meat by curing it with salt and drying in the air; European settlers added vinegar, saltpetre and spices to the mix and today’s biltong evolved meat preservation processes of 19th-century pioneers in the days before refrigeration.

2. Bobotie

Bobotie may very well be the national dish of South Africa. The dish originates from enslaved Indonesian people brought to South Africa by the Dutch East India company in the 17th century. Bobotie is made from spiced minced meat and dried fruit with an egg and milk topping. All of this goes in the oven until ready – a bit like Greek moussaka. Eat bobotie with yellow rice, some fruit chutney, sliced banana, and a sprinkling of coconut.

South African recipes: bobotie

3. Bunny chow

This is South African fast food – and it has nothing to do with rabbits. It’s a quarter or a half a loaf of white bread, hollowed out and filled with a hot and spicy meat or vegetable curry (or anything else that takes your fancy). Bunny chow originated in the city of Durban, some say when migrant Indian labourers working in sugar cane plantations had to take their food into the fields. You can grab bunny chow as a takeaway all over South Africa. The very best, though, is in Durban – eat it with your hands!

4. Cape Malay curry

When the Dutch and French settlers came to Cape Town in the 17th century they enslaved people from Indonesia to work on their lands. These enslaved people used their own spices and traditional cooking techniques with local African ingredients to create aromatic curries and stews – spicy but not fiery, and sweet – now known as Cape Malay curry. There are a great many variations.

Cape Malay curry

5. Koeksisters

Another South African specialty from the Western Cape, is koeksister, syrupy doughnut. The name comes from the Dutch koekje – say it out loud and you’ll hear what it means: ‘cookie’. Adept bakers twist or braid the koeksisters into one of two types. The Cape Malay is spicier and comes with dried coconut; the Afrikaner is crispier and has more syrup. Both are crunchy and sticky on the outside, and moist and syrupy on the inside.

6. Melktert

This delicious baked egg custard tart is a pastry case with a fluffy mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar. It’s an Afrikaan recipe with Dutch influences. Enjoy your melktert with a dusting of cinnamon after a meal as a dessert or as a treat with a cup of coffee.

South African recipes: melktert

7. Mala mogodu

Mala mogodu is a traditional African dish. It’s hearty stewed tripe ­– animal intestines (mala) and stomach lining (mogodu) – and it’s a true South African delicacy. It’s often eaten lightly curried and accompanied by new potatoes and fried onions. Other South African culinary delights you might not have tried are protein-packed, dried or fried mopane worms in tomato sauce and cooked chicken feet and heads called ‘walkie-talkies’.

8. Malva pudding

This is South African comfort food at its sweet and sticky best: malva pudding. Malva pudding came from the Cape Dutch settlers and is a spongy cake-type pudding made with sugar, eggs, flour, butter, and apricot jam. As soon as it’s out of the oven, a hot sweet and creamy sauce goes over the top of the pudding. Malva pudding is often served up after Sunday lunch in South Africa and can be enjoyed with custard, ice cream, whipped cream, brandy butter, crème anglaise or whatever your choice.

Melva pudding

9. Potjiekos

Potjiekos or ‘little pot food’ is an Afrikaan term to describe food cooked in layers in a traditional three-legged cast iron pot (a potjie) but essentially it’s a slow cooked meat and vegetable stew. The potjiekos go well with pap (maize porridge), umngqusho (samp and beans), morogo (wild spinach), amadombolo (dumplings) and pot-baked bread (potbrood) or steamed bread (ujeqe).

10. Shisa nyama

Shisa nyama means ‘burn the meat’ in Zulu and means meat – steak, chicken, kebabs and boerewors (spicy ‘farmer’s sausage’ which is coiled up like a snake) ­ – cooked over the fiercely hot wood fires of a braai (barbeque). Eat with chakalaka (a spicy tomato and bean relish) and pap (a white corn maize porridge rather like the US grits).

South African recipes: shisa nyama

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