Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria
Food & Drink Lifestyle

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Nigeria is a blessed county and also a land flowing with lots of milk and honey. It is impossible to be tired of the different types of food Nigeria has to offer. Putting into consideration that there are over 350 traditional tribes in Nigeria, and each tribe has its native food – which may be over one delicacy. So when you put this into consideration, it is safe to say that there is plenty of food in Nigeria and it varies.

Even amid these plenteous types of food, some food items are important or a must-have in every Nigerian home which is considered as the staple food. Staple food is generally a type of food that is eaten majorly in large amounts that it, therefore, makes up a major portion of the regular food diet of a given set of people, and this type of food also attributes to their intake of nutrients. The major classes of food cuts across Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats & Oils, and each has a particular nutrient they supply to the body. Looking at the average Nigerian man, one can say that he or she is built up, and has a lot of energy which is given by Carbohydrates essentially. Also, the Nigerian food table is filled with lots of starchy foods, and on today’s list, we will be listing the top ten staple foods in every Nigerian home, regardless of social class.

1. Rice

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Coming first on this list is Rice which is gotten from the millet crop that gives carbohydrates to the body. Rice is a common food eaten by millions of Nigerians each day because of its versatile nature. There is no one way to cook rice, as it can be cooked into anything anyway and still come out as food. Rice is also found in every restaurant or food canteen across the country because it is a staple. Some forms in which rice can be cooked into include: Jollof rice, Fried rice, White rice, coconut rice, concoction rice, and more. It is mostly grown in the Northern part of Nigeria because of climatic factors, and it used to be imported into Nigeria before the importation of rice was stopped to encourage localization of goods. Rice is also very easy to cook and fast to cook without using a lot of ingredients, so it is affordable and accessible to all social classes.

2. Garri

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Whether it is being soaked or it is being used as a swallow, Garri remains an important food in the Nigerian home. Garri is made from Cassava and most people love it because it is heavy and it fills up the stomach easily, while others love it for its versatility too and its cheapness, making it very affordable for everyone to easily access. As a swallow, it is easy to prepare and only needs an appropriate soup to go down with it, and even as a snack it is easy to prepare depending on taste. Garri is of different types but the two popular types are white garri, which is better soaked as a snack and yellow garri which is better used a swallow. Garri is part of the carbohydrate family and it gives energy to the body.

3. Yam

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Also part of the Carbohydrate family is another staple food in Nigeria. It is also filling and very versatile. Yam is enjoyed in a lot of Nigerian homes and can be found in different sizes depending on one’s budget. Yam as a food is found in many Nigerian restaurants, and yam can be used to even make pounded yam which is a popular swallow in Nigeria. Yam can be boiled – which can be eaten with stew, palm oil, or any type of sauce, porridge yam, yamaritta, and it can also be used to cook soup, the popular Ofe Nsala is not complete without the use of yam. Yam is so important in Nigeria that it has a whole festival in its name- The New Yam Festival.

4. Bread

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Bread is made from flour and baked to produce. Whether it is the popular Agege bread or it is sliced bread or even whole bread, bread is appreciated however. Some people say bread can go with anything, which makes it one of the most versatile foods in Nigeria. Bread is not a Nigerian meal only, but with its popularity in Nigeria it can as well be indoctrinated into the Nigerian circle. The popular Agege bread is mostly enjoyed by Lagosians because of how filling it is. A loaf of bread in Nigeria is priced at #250 which is affordable for the average Nigerian. 

5. Beans

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

This food is highly proteinous, which helps to supply nutrients that build the body. Beans is also a versatile and very affordable food. It is also very easy to cook, and does not need a lot of ingredients to cook it. Apart from cooking beans just as it is, beans can be turned to MoinMoin or Akara, which are completely different from cooking beans normally. A well known combination of Bean in Nigeria, is Beans & Bread (Enjoyed mostly by students in tertiary institution) and Beans & Plantain. In addition, there are also different variants of Beans, however the 3 major ones are; White Brown, Brown Beans and Sweet Beans (popularly called Ewa Agoyin). 

6. Noodles

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Surprisingly, a lot of Nigerian households have this as a staple in their homes, but the reason is because almost every Nigerian household has a child who is hooked on Noodles. They are various brands of Noodles in Nigeria, and the prices of Noodles vary. The good thing about Noodles is that it is easily accessible by any social class because it is affordable and it is extremely easy to prepare and its ingredients are packed in it, except you are looking to add some more ingredients. Noodles give carbohydrates to the body because of its starch content and this in turn gives energy to the body. But can one get filled up on Noodles?

7. Plantain

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

This food is sometimes referred to as ‘cooking bananas’ because of its similarity to the banana fruit. But it is not as sweet as bananas, and it contains more starch. It is very rich in fiber, Vitamin A. This food is a staple in Nigerian homes because of it is quite versatile and it is always found being hawked by the roadside, and therefore accessible to all.

8. Sweet Potato

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

A member of the root vegetable family and also a member of the yam family, this food is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and also carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes come in different sizes and colors ranging from purple to white to orange. It is also a versatile Nigerian food as there is not just one way to enjoy this meal. The most common form of sweet potatoes in Nigeria is fried, and this is often sold on the roadside along with yam, plantain, and a special type of pepper sauce.

9. Irish Potato

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

Another type of potato on this list is the Irish potato, which is a healthier version of the sweet potato. Irish potato is smaller and healthier and packed with a lot of nutrients including fiber, starch, vitamins, and minerals. Irish potatoes are not very versatile, as they are mostly used for frying chips in Nigeria or boiled wholly and eaten sauce. One notable combination of Irish potato is with Chicken, which is loved by many Nigerians.

10. Cassava

Top 10 Staple Foods in Nigeria

This food is a member of the tuber family, and is easily grown and accessible all around Nigeria. Cassava majorly gives carbohydrates to the body which comes off as a starchy food and can be dangerous to the body. Cassava is a staple because it is used to make a lot of Nigerian swallows ranging from Fufu, Local starch, Abacha, Cassava bread, and other delicacies. Photo by Eka Sariwati on Unsplash

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