10 Cheap Foods to Eat Instead of Rice as a Bag Hits N80,000

As the price of a bag of rice in Nigeria soars to a staggering N80,000, driven by the removal of fuel subsidies and other policies implemented by President Bola Tinubu, many families are searching for more affordable alternatives to this staple food. 

The need to explore other nutritious and budget-friendly options has become imperative, as the cost of basic food items continues to climb, impacting the daily lives of millions. In this article, we’ll explore some cheap and nutritious foods that can serve as excellent substitutes for rice, helping you maintain a balanced diet without breaking the bank.

Cassava and Its Derivatives

Cassava is a versatile root crop that can be processed into various forms such as garri, fufu, and tapioca. Garri, when soaked in water, can be enjoyed with a variety of soups or stews, while fufu is a perfect accompaniment for almost any Nigerian soup.


Maize can be boiled or roasted and consumed as a snack. It can also be ground into flour to make “tuwo” or “ogi” (pap), which is a popular breakfast dish that pairs well with bean cake (akara) or moi moi.


Yams are a staple food in Nigeria that can be prepared in various ways – boiled, fried, or pounded into a smooth, stretchy dough called pounded yam. Pounded yam is an excellent accompaniment for Nigerian soups.


Beans are a great source of protein and can be cooked in various forms – porridge, moi moi (bean pudding), or akara (bean cakes). These dishes are nutritious and provide substantial dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and can be boiled, baked, or fried. They serve as a great side dish or a main course and can be a healthy, filling alternative to rice.


Plantains can be eaten boiled, fried, or roasted and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They can be a side dish or a main meal, depending on the preparation.

Millet and Sorghum

Millet and sorghum are grains that can be ground into flour and used to make porridge or tuwo. These grains are trendy in the northern parts of Nigeria and are known for their health benefits, including high fiber content and essential minerals.


Wheat flour is used to make bread, pasta, and pastries. However, in Nigerian cuisine, it’s also used to make “wheat meal,” a doughy staple that serves as a substitute for pounded yam or garri with soups.


Although not as common in Nigeria and more expensive than local grains, quinoa is a nutritious alternative that can be used similarly to rice. It’s high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.


Barley is another grain that can be prepared like rice and offers excellent health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and providing a high fiber content.

While rice remains a beloved staple in Nigerian cuisine, the current economic challenges have necessitated exploring alternative food options. By incorporating these affordable and nutritious foods into your diet, you can enjoy a diverse and balanced meal plan without the hefty price tag of rice.

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