A lot of the time, people who express interest in eating well or people who have to eat well for various health reasons feel that all they need is a menu. That is what to eat at what time daily; detailing meals by name and perhaps quantities.
Most people will be fine with such an information. But the thing is that, telling someone to eat say rice, stew and vegetables is not informative enough to make a difference in their health and well-being.
You definitely have to choose the rice well, that is the type of rice should be right in the first place. Unpolished rice is a healthier choice over polished rice any day. So choose right. Also the way you cook the rice really matters. Some people find cooking of rice with oil a normal practice. For most of such people, that is actually not a healthy method to use. Adding oil to the rice only increases the energy value at the end of the day. Boiling without oil will present a lower calorie version of the same meal. The point is that beyond just listing a meal by name on a menu, you have to cook that food well.
Cooking of the stew is another issue. When they say rice and stew, there is no clue as to the type of stew. Vegetable stews are a healthier choice and so this has to be specified. Though this could be indicated on a menu list, there is more to it than what meets the eye. How is your stew prepared? Knowing how to prepare healthy stews is what will make the much needed difference in your health.
So if you want to eat waakye, you may see it as a nice and wonderful meal. But for your well-being and safety, analyze and see whether the cooking methods employed by the vendor will serve your best interest. I bet you will choose to cook the waakye yourself after you go through the necessary checks. After all that is the kind of advice dieticians like us give all the time; “Eat what you cook” and not the lifestyle of depending on vendored food. But the fact remains that most people can only buy food. What needs to be done to help the masses in my opinion is the training and sensitization of street food vendors on health and safety, this is well known to many. I am not only referring to the hygienic handling of food and the food environment, but they also have to be taught how to prepare meals that will not propagate chronic non-communicable diseases.
This is the case with all foods. How they are prepared really matters. I am not against the need to have a menu, not at all. In fact, getting a menu is among the initial things that if done, can ensure a successful implementation of a healthy eating plan. Once you plan a menu, you can now shop for the right ingredients. The simplest, most effective system for meal planning is broken down into three key steps: selecting recipes, shopping for ingredients, and preparing your meals. Shop for the right ingredients and you are set to prepare the healthy meals you need and vice versa. It also helps to have food available all the time; this supports a regular eating regime which is a key action in the prevention and management of many diseases.
I believe that the next time you talk to a dietician about a diet plan, it will not only be a request for a menu. You will be interested in knowing the best way to get those meals onto the menu.