Healthy rice recipes have been a meal staple for thousands of years. It’s probably fed more people around the world than any other food type.
Rice is a seed coming from the grass species Oryza. However, it’s technically classified as a grain. There are over 40,000 types of rice in the world. As varied as rice is, you’ll probably only come across a few types.
Short grain: Short grain rice is soft when it cooks. The starch in it makes it sticky, so it’s used in dishes such as sushi.
Long grain: Long grain rice cooks drier than short grain. It’s generally used as a side dish or in meals with sauce.
White rice: White rice can be found as long or short grain. Long grain white rice is lower on the glycemic index than short grain. The most popular long-grain white rice options are Basmati and Jasmine. Both Basmati and Jasmine rice are fragrant and come from Asia.
Brown rice: Brown rice can be found in short and long grain varieties. It’s generally thought to be healthier than white rice.
Wild rice: Wild rice is four different types of seed from four different plants. Those plants make up the genus Zizania. Wild rice is native to North America.
Is Rice Healthy?
Rice is incredibly healthy! Unfortunately for rice, it’s gotten mixed up in the low-carb, Ketogenic diet craze. People in Asian countries, such as Japan, eat a lot of rice. The longevity of their lives and obesity rates are much better than those in the United States.
Just like anything, rice can be made unhealthy if you prepare it with calorie-heavy ingredients and overeat.
What’s the Best Rice for Weight Loss?
The truth is losing weight has much more to do with the amount of calories you eat than the type of rice you’re consuming. Eating too many calories for your activity level means you’ll probably gain weight. Eating fewer calories than you burn means you’ll lose weight.
There are various types of rice, each of which has its merits. Although there isn’t any particular type of rice that would help you lose weight, you can be smart about how much rice you’re making and eating, and what nutrients it contains.
It may also be helpful to look at the calories.
White Rice: 204 calories in 1 cooked cup
Brown Rice: 216 calories in 1 cooked cup
Jasmine Rice: 180 calories in 1 cooked cup
Wild Rice: 166 calories in 1 cooked cup
In general, rice is high in carbohydrates. If you’re following a low-carb or Keto diet, chances are rice will rarely be on your menu. If you’re not, however, rice is a great way to get carbohydrates without any fat or additives. The grain is inexpensive, is easy to cook, and tastes great.
As you’re out shopping for rice, pay attention to how much protein and fiber are in each serving. You can also look at some of the other micronutrients rice contains. Some are high in B vitamins and antioxidant flavonoids.
In general, science tells us that whole grains are better for your health. So, while eating brown or wild rice may not cause you to lose weight, it can certainly help keep you feeling healthy and well.
White Rice vs. Brown Rice
Brown Rice still has a protective coating called the hull. The hull actually contains a surprising amount of nutrients. Although brown rice and white rice are similar in the number of carbohydrates they contain, brown rice is richer in fiber and protein.
The fiber and protein in brown rice help keep you feeling full, and brown rice also has less of an impact on your blood sugar. So, if you have diabetes or a blood sugar issue, brown rice may be a better choice.
Amazing Foods that Pair Well with Rice and Grains
Grains are an excellent, heart-healthy addition to your meal plan. If you’re trying to eat less meat, a great choice to pair with your rice is beans! Together, rice and beans make a complete protein, which means you’re getting all the essential amino acids your body needs to function at its best.
Rice also pairs well with just about any meat—you can mix in chicken, ground beef, or even fish.
Healthy Rice Recipe #1: Chicken and Rice Recipe
Our favorite chicken and rice recipe is simple as it comes but tastes GREAT. We suggest using brown rice.
• 4 chicken thighs
• 2 cups brown rice, cooked
• 2 cups broccoli, cooked as desired
• Olive oil
• Fresh rosemary
• Juice from 1 lemon
• Butter or ghee (if desired)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place chicken thighs in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and ½ lemon juice.
3. Cover and bake for about 15 minutes, uncover and cook for an additional 5, or until chicken is cooked through.
4. Season rice with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
5. Plate with chicken thighs and broccoli.
Healthy Rice Recipe #2: Beans and Rice (Vegan)
Beans and rice go together well on their own, but this recipe really helps spice things up! If you’re not vegan and want to use this recipe as a side dish, add some meat to the top!
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
• 4 cups vegetable broth
• 2 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
• 4 tbsp lime juice
• 4 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté until onion is soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add cumin and rice, mix together for one more minute.
2. Pour in broth and black beans and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
3. Remove from heat and drizzle with a little olive oil and lime juice. Mix in cilantro.
Healthy Rice Recipe #3: Wild Rice and Vegetable Pilaf
• 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
• 3 cups vegetable stock
• 1 cup grated carrots
• ½ bell pepper, diced
• ½ red onion, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 apple, diced
• 6 radishes, diced
• ½ cup parsley, chopped
• ½ tsp salt
• Ground pepper, to taste
• 1 medium lemon, juiced
• 3 tbsp olive oil1/8 tsp sea salt
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add rice, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 55 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the broth is gone. Leave covered and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine rice and veggies. Dress with your favorite dressing and toss to coat.