How convenient can you be?  Lights out! 

Load shedding is back in South Africa and oh no!  You want to eat and there is no electricity what do you do is the question? 

We tend to be load shed for about 3 hours at a time depending on which area you live in, which is enough time to keep the fridge cold [that’s not the big worry]. Unless it’s those extended hours that happen in some places. Let’s just focus on that inconvenience; say you get home at 17:30pm and it hits you by 18:00pm. Chances are very slim that one can wait until 21:00pm or 22:00pm to then start cooking dinner after a long work day.  Then most people resort to take-away foods or order in fast foods,

The problem with take-away foods is that we tend to get wrapped up in their convenience and we end up having one everyday which is a problem. 

Fast foods or take aways are generally high in saturated fats, high salt, low fibre and high energy which are the main indicators of unhealthy eating and compromise our health. 

Here are the dietitian tips to deal with load shedding inconvenience & be savvy: 

At home

  • Meal planning – Plan your meals for the week, just have an idea on what’s for dinner because if you know you are already a step ahead Eskom 
  • Salads are a great convenient food – Canned protein sources (e.g. Tuna/Salmon), Canned wholegrains (chickpeas, lentils, beans), fats (avo, olives, oils, seeds or nuts) and last but not least  (Raw Vegetables of choice) = It’s a Meal 
  • Grilling/ Roasting –   Do a Roasting pan meal (Chicken pieces/ chicken breast, Roast vegetables, Some sweet potato, Spices & herbs of choice, some oil – into the pan). If you know that your load shedding will start at 18:00pm {very important to check your area schedule for load shedding} , you can ask someone at home to put it in the oven an hour before load shedding and you get home to a piping hot convenient, home cooked meal 
  • Breakfast for bed – Yes you can, have that Bischer/overnight Oats  that you would have soaked and kept in the fridge, Add some fruit, seeds and milk or yoghurt and it’s a Meal “Breakfast for/in bed”

Buying take-aways / fast food

  • You can choose grilling outlets for your protein e.g. grilled chicken, grilled fish, lean “lady” side steak or plant protein e.g. Soya products, halloumi 
  • Sides:Choose Vegetables- Vegetables are low in kilojoules and high in fibre and other nutrients, Salads, Roast Sweet potato Rice, Basmati or Jacketed (with skin) potato. Avoid Fries even if their sweet potato fries 
  • Indian cuisines:Opt for vegetable curries or order tandoori vegetables and or sambal at Indian outlets. Cut all portions of rice and bread to half portions,
  • Burger places:Try to Avoid extra burgers, if you do opt for burgers you can choose “bun less” burger or a burger on a health roll, skip the fries
  • Italian Cuisine:  choose ½ portion pasta on tomato-based sauces not cream sauces, Pizza: No extra toppings, avoid a whole pizza, opt for a few slices and enjoy with a salad, Choose healthy toppings example: asparagus, ham, rocket, artichokes and chicken. Avoid chirizo sausage and pepperoni as toppings and request for less cheese
  • Chinese Cuisine: A clear soup with vegetables is always a good starter such as tom yum gong, which is hot and sour shrimp soup, or steamed dumplings. For a main dish, look for any combination of steamed or lightly stir-fried fresh vegetables with poultry/ fish/ seafood. If you’re vegetarian, order a main dish made with steamed or lightly stir-fried tofu.
  • Street cuisine:  Try to avoid “ikota” & Vetkoek – I can’t make these heathy, high fat, high sugar/carbohydrate, low fibre and high energy. However, the plate up food can be healthy – Ask for the lady to dish up less half serving especially starch (pap/rice/phuthu), and more or normal serving vegetables and beans. Avoid the energy drink or soft drink that is normally served with this meal and opt for water. 
  • Beverages:Choose low/No sugar versions of soft -drinks, dilute 100% fruit juice, or water 

At work:

  • Bring cold salads that do not need to be warmed up 
  • Carry health snacks: plain yoghurt (Add some seeds and it’s a vibe), Fruits, vegetables with some yummy dips such as hummus or guacamole, Nuts, Crackers & cottage cheese/ peanut butter 

The aim is to beat Eskom at their own game and we just become streetwise & savvy.  Stay healthy during these “dark” times. 

Yours in Health,


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