Local and international cuisines; nutritionists' advice on healthy eating – The New Times

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Welcome to Rwanda, when you first visit the country, it’s easy to be lost in its beauty, cleanliness and warm reception. It’s however advisable to find time and try out our diverse local foods. Rwanda is blessed with a variety of local food delicacies, and has with time adapted other dishes from East Africa. Food is ingrained in the Rwandan culture. 
Most restaurants serve buffet during lunch time and it consists of mainly carbohydrates such as potatoes, bananas, beans, rice, cassava, with ground nut paste, meat, or chicken with sauce. At times, the meal is accompanied with greens, fruits, salads and snacks. If you’re lucky, you may taste ‘Isombe’ as well. 
Isombe is made from mashed cassava leaves, mixed with some ground nut paste, and served with meat or fish. 
It’s rare not to find chips (also called French fries) on the menu, because Rwandans love it. On a cool evening as you chill with friends, ‘ibirayi’ (fried irish potatoes) is a must taste, with brochette. This Irish is either peeled or not, as locals sometimes enjoy it more with the peels, but it’s washed clean though. It is boiled first, then deep fried until it turns brown. Usually it’s cut into two pieces. Some people prefer it with beer, but it can go with soda, or tea as well.

Local food prepared at Early Childhood Development Center rich in nutrients. Experts advise including proteins, grains, or carbohydrates and vegetables  to balance one’s diet regardless of their dietary needs  Photos by Sam Ngendahimana
Brochette or barbecued beef in Rwanda tastes yummy, the meat is skewered and grilled and this offers it a nice aroma and taste. It is usually served with French fries, boiled potatoes or roasted bananas.
You many hear people order “Akabenzi”, which means fried or roasted pork. The name derives from a Mercedes Benz, as its shape is known to resemble that of a pig. 
‘Agatogo’ can mean a mixture of bananas, with ground nut paste, meat, or with other cooking ingredients. When it’s left on minimum heat to form some thick gravy, it tastes yummy and can be accompanied with rice or chapati.
‘Mizuzu’ (deep fried plantains) is another meal we enjoy here. Preparing it is easy, it’s peeled and sliced, then dipped in heated oil. You know it’s ready when it changes the color to golden brown.
‘Ubugali’, made from cassava flour, is also an easy meal to prepare especially if you’re hungry and want something so quick to go down your throat. You need to boil water and once it’s ready, use a wooden spoon to quickly start mixing the flour and water. Add a handful of flour and continue to mix the water and flour until it forms a consistent paste.
It can be accompanied with greens such as ‘sukuma wiki’, or fish curry, veggie egg sauce, peanut stew, meat stew and so forth. 
All the above mentioned food can be available in most of the restaurants. 
For the drinks, in most bars, you will find about five different types beers, such as Turbo King, Primus, Mützig, Amstel and Skol, in both large and small size. For soda, there is Coca-Cola, Fanta orange, Fanta Citron, Fanta fiesta, Sprite, and Krest tonic.
Milk, both warm and cold is what some locals opt for. They can take it with cassava, sweet potatoes, or snacks like chapatis, and mandanzi. 
International cuisine
We have a number of international restaurants with tasty food, some of these are Indian restaurants like Khana Khazana. They prepare the best chicken tikka masala, tandoori chicken, biryan rice, fish tikka, and much more. It’s located in Nyarutarama. 
Zaaffran Restaurant also serves original home-style Indian cooking with well-balanced flavours and contemporary presentation. The restaurant presents meat and seafood dishes, additionally, it offers vegan, gluten-free and halal options. Apart from tasty and spicy good, the customer care and atmosphere are the best. 
Other best Indian eateries to checkout are; DineDivine Resto, New Lahori Pakistani Restaurant (for both Indian and Asian cuisines),Ki Asili Resto Bar & Fast Food( good for both Indian and African food), Delhi Darbar Kigali ( Indian and Chinese) and many more. 
For terrific Nigerian food for example, jollof rice chicken, chicken yassa, assorted meat, and much more, JollofKigali is the best place to go to. 
Best delectable Chinese restraunts are; Bamboo Rooftop Restaurant, Century Park Chinese Restaurant, Pan China, Zuri Hotels & Resorts Ltd, and many more. Two things they have in common, mouth-watering food and great ambiance. 
Eating healthy 
Although there is a variety of food to choose from, it’s necessary to still keep healthy. According to Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist and dietician at Amazon Nutrition Cabine-Gasabo, your plate of food should be partitioned in proteins, grains, or carbohydrates and vegetables as this enables to balance one’s diet regardless of their dietary needs, by just feeding on locally available food.
Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant says that although you may have a craving for different kinds of food and drinks, or no appetite to eat, he warns against the habits of eating too much or too little, noting that can affect the nutrient intake, for energy, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fibre and fluid.
Kamanzi stresses that eating a balanced diet is key every single day and it should include; fresh fruits like apples, pineapples, oranges and others, fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cabbages, and dodo, whole grains like millet, oatmeal, brown rice, legumes like beans and peas, lean proteins like fish, beans, eggs, milk, and beef, carbohydrates such as irish potatoes, bananas.
When it comes to junk food, he says that it must be avoided on many occasions because it lacks micro nutrients, antioxidants and can cause cancer, and high blood pressure in the long run. 
Ntamanga states that fruits should be part one’s meal plan, ‘you can take fruits 30 minutes before or after eating and drinking  water at least 30 minutes after eating is healthy.’
Kamanzi urges eating salads, such as tomatoes, onions and cucumber everyday daily after meals. For those who enjoy mayonnaise in food or salad often, he advises eating a lemon afterwards.
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