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Wow, wow, wow. This past week (and Eskom) has thrown a serious curveball at some of my patients… Healthy eating in the dark? Is it possible?

While candlelight and silence may be the makings of a romantic dinner during a power outage, a bowl of cereal is an instant mood killer. There’s no need to order a pizza delivery, or google ‘restaurants open during load shedding.’ Here are some of my top tips to cook off the grid, shed some weight (if that is your goal) and still manage to eat nutritious meals.

Whilst we may be short of electricity, one thing South Africans are definitely not short of are our braais! They allow for some seriously versatile and creative dishes to be put together. Meat, chicken, fish, mielies and baked potatoes to name a few. Fresh ingredients can make for the most satisfying side dish to your braai meat. Apples, avocados, citrus fruits, carrots, green beans, peppers, snap peas and tomatoes are fresh foods that can be eaten raw and can be kept fresh for days unrefrigerated, so consider stocking up on some of these. For some more braai tips, check out this article: Tips for a LEKKER Braai day!.

Peanut butter sandwiches get old after a while. So, it’s time to come up with some interesting and healthy ways to combine the foods you’ve stocked up on… no cooking required of course. Here are some ideas:

  1. Planned outage in the morning? Don’t know what to do for breakfast before school and work? My first suggestion (and one you’ve all heard of before), overnight oats! Here’s my recipe in case you haven’t seen it before: OATS OH SO EASY!.

  2. Feeling peckish? Snack on some nuts for a good dose of healthy unsaturated fats!

  3. No power during lunch? A good old fashioned salad (from the ingredients I’ve already mentioned) will do the trick. Add in a protein like tinned tuna or tinned chickpeas (remember to drain the salt water). Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you’re all set to go.

  4. Veggie noodles have the wonderful ability to transform your favourite pasta dish into a low carb meal, and they do not require boiling water. Carrots, cucumber and beets can be spiralized into noodles or cut into ribbons with a veggie peeler. Toss with some seasoning like oil, vinegar, ginger and herbs for a no cook pasta dish.

In dark times like these, it is necessary to understand food safety and take the necessary precautions. Avoid buying a lot of food that needs to be frozen or refrigerated. Keep the refrigerator door closed to help prevent the food inside from spoiling. Your food will remain fresh and safe in your refrigerator for about two hours. A full freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours if the door is kept shut. Foods that have partly defrosted but remain 5 degrees or less can be refrozen, otherwise should be discarded.

Have your candles ready and your torches nearby. Turning on your stove is not a requirement for a delicious healthy meal at home. So, while Eskom might not always supply you with electricity, I hope I’ve supplied you with some inspiration to make some delicious nourishing electricity free meals.



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