Eating Healthy? Help!

Guys, I need your help. I’ve been having a hard time actually making dinner and breakfast for myself to eat here. Most of the reasons involve me getting home and being exhausted and I’m not really a breakfast person (more like chug a cup of coffee and go kind of person). Also, living alone means I have no one to hold me accountable for my actions so if I eat cold, 3-day old boiled potatoes for dinner there’s no one to judge me but me (and now you). The school provides lunch for the teachers, which means 3 days a week I eat rice and beans (and a lot of bread–we eat bread for snack in the morning, and with tea in the afternoon). The other two days I either eat fruit and whatever’s in the fridge (could be anything from soggy fries to potatoes) or I go to that coffee place in town and get a muffin (I know, I know, so not good for me!). So, complete honesty, that’s where I’m at. In terms of a healthy, balanced diet, not great.

15134804_1292782944094574_7295106572823463902_nFood here isn’t like in the US. It’s super fresh which means it’s delicious, but goes bad super fast and isn’t consistently available. This is horrible for my meal-planning skills which are basically non-existent, plus I haven’t found any Tupperware yet so no making food ahead of time for me. If you go to the grocery store they don’t have things like vanilla extract or baking soda, you have to go to Kigali (a 2 hour bus ride) for that. What I usually end up doing is sautéing whatever veggies I have in the fridge with onions and garlic (fast, easy, simple), which is great for a while but is slowly starting to get old.

Food they do have:

  • Canned beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Jam
  • Honey
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Giant carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Meat (Chicken, beef, goat)
  • Cookies
  • Fruit (bananas, tree tomatoes, pineapple, mangos, apples, oranges, lemons, watermelon)
  • Peanut butter

I will take any and all suggestions for eating a healthy, balanced diet with the limited options I have. Right now I’m looking into casseroles but I don’t have any oven dishes to cook with yet and my oven doesn’t have the temperatures labeled, just high, medium, and low so I’m leaning towards PB&J or banana and honey sandwiches. But a trip to Kigali is in the making so I will make a list of kitchen things to get while I’m there.

Main Questions:

  1. What are basic food staples I should have at home?
  2. What are basic kitchen supplies I should have at home?
  3. What are your go-to easy dinner recipes that I can make (or adapt) here?

Adulthood is hard. Glad I don’t have to go it alone!




  One thought on “Eating Healthy? Help!

  1. Auntie Beth
    June 6, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Erica – when I read over ur list – first thing I think of is chef salads – lettuce and pile everything on top – especially avocados and hard boiled eggs. It looks like u r eating lots of carbs . . . And less protein. I have started making alots of salads and they last about 36 hrs before looking a bit off – if I only add tomatoes when I am ready to eat.

    I will think more about ideas. Do u have freezers?
    Wondering if u have capability of any form of smoothies – or a means to make them. Maybe ur fam can bring u some protein powder . . .


  2. Lucy Shilton
    June 8, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Hi Erica! Yes! It can be so unmotivating to cook for one. Totally get it — Steph is working a lot of night shifts these days so I often end up eating alone, and tend to overlook how important it is to sit down and take the time to enjoy food. Maybe if you created some kind of dinner/breakfast ambiance? Put on music or the radio, set the table or wherever you can sit down to eat?

    As for cooking, sounds tricky with your list…very vegetarian, so maybe try these ideas to get the nutrients you need for breakfast and supper:

    – can you get oats and yogurt or milk? you could do muesli (nuts, fruit, oats, yogurt) for a more wholesome a.m. meal
    – french toast

    – combine rice and beans for a complete protein
    – use spices for flavour (depending on what spices are available in Kigali)
    – stir-fry some nuts with your veggies for extra protein (ex. cashews and carrots could be really tasty, expecially with a bit of curry)
    – check out Irish peasant foods like colcannon (potatoes, cabbage, and eggs could work)
    – combine fruit and meat – ex. mango chicken is pretty tasty!

    Hope that helps! xoxoxoxoxo


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